That New Shoe Feel

Isn’t there just something about new running shoes? That fresh-out-of-the-box feel (and smell!), the perfect amount of cushion and support, and a fast, new feel. Man, I love new running shoes.

I ran in a new pair of Brooks Launch the other day, and had my fastest run in months. The weather was perfect, I felt really strong, and ran fast. I felt good.

Coincidence? Or new shoes?

You decide.

What’s your go-to running shoe?

 

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Lawyers Have Heart 10k {recap}

It’s been 2 years since I’ve raced a 10k.  Lawyers Have Heart reminded me why: 10k’s aren’t easy.  I also wanted a new PR, but with the lack of track workouts since Boston (and by lack, I mean one workout), this race hurt.  Minutes after crossing the finish line Coach George reminded me that PR’s hurt, so I guess I got what I raced for.

I’m vaguely familiar with the LHH course – it’s an out-and-back, fairly flat course on concrete and asphalt.  I ran this race last year, but due to the heat index/advisory on race morning, the course was switched to a 5k.  Last year, I couldn’t have been more thankful for the switch – but this year I was ready for that 10k PR. 

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This year, we lucked out with the weather.  It was a really nice morning with low humidity and temperatures in the 70’s (dare I say it was slightly chilly in the shade, with the breeze?!).  For a race in June, I couldn’t have asked for better weather (although 9 minutes in, I wished for some, any, shade).  BJ, Julianne, and I took a cab to the start and met up with some friends.  It was easy (I like easy), there were plenty of porta-potties, and we had enough time to check our bags and hangout without feeling like we had too much time.  Perfectly executed race day logistics – check.  

Pre-race thoughts: My goal was to run a new PR, and preferably one in the 40 minute range (I was shooting for 40:30).  I checked my current 10k PR (41:37 at 6:42 pace) and thought about my recent 10 Mile PR pace (1:06:20 at 6:38); I knew that if I could run 10 miles at 6:38 pace, I could run a 10k at the same pace or faster.  Again, it wasn’t going to be easy – this course is much different than the Broad Street 10 Miler and the weather was easily 25 degrees warmer – but I was ready to dig deep. 

Mile 1 – I felt good, and strong.  It wasn’t too hot (yet) and I was on the back end of the Top 10 Female runners (umm, that never happens). 
Mile 2 – I started to feel the speed, and felt unprepared for the pace.  I looked down at my wrist, “Believe” looked back at me.  I needed to dig deep.  I needed this PR.
Mile 3 – Turn around (woo hoo).  Other runners tell me that I’m #9 Female and this totally pumps me up!  I also see all of my friends – BJ, Julianne, Elyse, Laura, Sarah, James.
Mile 4 – 2 more miles to go.  I see my CAR teammates and they cheer me on – thank you ladies (I needed those cheers!).
Mile 5 – Easily my slowest and most metal mile.  My legs hurt, the pace hurt, I was hot, I was thirsty. 
Mile 6 – This is when I knew I could finish with a PR.  4 laps around a track – 7 more minutes of pain.  There were 2 ladies in front of me, they were suffering and I knew I could pass them.  I had to grind it out. 
Finish: #7 Female to cross the finish line (but after results are compiled I’m #9 overall) and land a new PR of 40:20.           

Stats:
Time: 40:20 (6:30 pace)
Place: 106/3058
Sex Place: 9/1483
Age Place: 1/457  

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I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results.  More than anything, I got what I set out to do: a 10K PR.  The Age Group win and Top 10 Female finish are the (buttercream) icing on the cake (placing very rarely happens for me when I race in the DC area).  I ran a smart race, and even though Miles 4 & 5 were my slowest, Mile 6 was fast (and I felt strong).    

I’m thankful for all of the volunteers – they were wonderful and plenty of them.  This race is also known for the ice, cold sponges – they did not disappoint.  The ice cold sponge totally saved me.  Overall, Lawyers Have Heart (put on by Pacers) is a well run race, and race support/logistics are exactly what I look for.  If you’re in the market for an easy and fast 10k, don’t overlook LHH.

Broad Steet 10 Miler {recap}

Redemption feels really good, especially when it comes in the form of a new PR.    

I didn’t talk much about running Broad Street 10 Miler.  I wasn’t registered until 5 days before the race, when a good friend was able to secure a last-minute bib.  Plus, I didn’t know what my legs (or body) were capable of 3 weeks post-Boston.  In my head, Broad Street was my {redemption run} but I didn’t let many people know that I was running.  It couldn’t be redemption if I didn’t run hard and fast.     

My {redemption run} didn’t let me down – it’s exactly what I needed post-Boston.  I’m in a good place these days: back to running, a new PR, and a new focus for the summer (short and fast races).  But, every few days I get the urge to run an impromptu marathon – especially in the wake of Eugene Marathon, where every runner I know ran a major PR.  It’s hard when you dedicate 14 weeks of your life to training (training harder than I’ve ever worked for anything) and the one thing you can’t control lets you down.  It’s a hard thing to get over.  That’s exactly why I needed Broad Street.  It’s how Broad Street redeemed me.

Broad Street 10 Miler was a great race – point-to-point, fast, and fairly flat.  I felt really good, considering I haven’t had high mileage weeks or speed/tempo workouts since before Boston.  At the start of the race I saw Cris, a Capital Area Runners teammate, and tried to run behind her for as long as I could (until about Mile 8).  She’s faster than I am, so it was great motivation to stay as close as possible for as long as possible.  Thanks for pushing me, Cris!  My legs started to fatigue around Mile 7 but with a 5k left, I knew that I could push through the pain and finish strong.  I ran a new PR (by 2+ minutes) and totally redeemed myself.     

Time: 1:06:20 (6:38 pace)
Overall: 650/33,982
Sex: 81/19,018
Age Group: 32/5090   

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Post-race, with my friend Jess

Broad Street 10 Miler was really well organized, had plenty of water stops, and awesome volunteers.  Logistically, a point-to-point race can be hard, and I think Broad Street needs some help, especially as the race grows.  My suggestion: more shuttle buses to the start, and more trains on race morning.  I did, however, love the medal – medals are my newest obsession (especially after receiving my Boston medal).

This was such a fun weekend.  I love racing, but it was fun to see my friends and drink some margaritas {it was Cinco de Mayo}.  I can’t wait for next year!

Boston Marathon {recap}

This is not an easy post to write.  I’m actually more disappointed today than I was on Monday; disappointed that I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do (this is made even harder knowing that I likely won’t run another marathon in 2012).  I know I’m being ridiculous but I worked hard, really hard, for 15 weeks and I didn’t achieve my goal (or even my “B” goal).  It’s a hard thing to accept, even when I know I’m being ridiculous.  

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Boston Marathon: it all starts here {Hopkinton}

I’ve never been so happy for something to be over.

It was one of the best weekends of my life. 

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Bostom Marathon Expo - it's officially offical

Race Day
I woke up feeling very excited and ready.  I had trained hard for this race, but knew I had a {very hot} challenge in front of me.  I decided to stick with my goal and access/adjust as needed.  The weather was the one thing I couldn’t control, so I took the attitude of: it is what it isWhat’s talking about or stressing over the weather going to change?

It was in the low 70’s when I woke-up, and 77 degrees by the time I made my way to the start for my 10:20am departure: Wave 2, Corral 6.  It was already hot but I felt really good, and excited.  I was running THE Boston Marathon.  Miles 1-4 seemed to pass by, and by the time I reached Mile 4 I was hoping the crowds would thin out.  After all, I was running a race were everyone had to qualify, where everyone is fast.  No such luck, I spent the remainder of the race (26.2 miles total) passing people, saying “on your right, on your left, in the middle”, and dodging runners-turned-walkers.  It wasn’t fun. 

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Marathon Monday Morning

I still felt really good by Mile 6, and even through Mile 9, but by Mile 10 I could tell my pace was starting to slow.  It was hot, I was thirsty, and I couldn’t keep cool (no matter how many cups of water I drank or poured on my head/neck/back).  It’s probably safe to say that 90 degrees is not conducive for running a fast marathon.  Dodging runners didn’t help either.  Even on some of my “fastest” miles – miles where I felt like I was running fast/hard effort – the pace was barely a 7:37.

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The {best} support crew a girl could ever ask for

By Mile 12, I knew I was going to finish the race (but not achieve my goal), so I slowed the pace and tried to enjoy what I could.  Wellesley was awesome – girls everywhere, screaming at the top of their lungs.  I anxiously awaited Mile 16, where my family and friends were waiting for me with {awesome} signs & cowbells.  I was so happy to see them (and actually spotted them first).  I was all smiles as I ran past them, so thankful for their love and support.  My little sister Katie jumped in and ran 2 miles with me – it was awesome.  She encouraged me and told me to DIG DEEP.  I wasn’t about to stop digging deep, even with 10 miles to go!  Mile 21 put a pep in my step – Boston College!  Adding “Mel” to my sports bra was the best decision I could’ve ever made: college students were cheering like crazy, high-fiving me, and telling me I was beautiful (there’s no way that was true given the conditions, but it still made me feel awesome).  I loved their energy.  The final miles were a bit of a blur.  It was a (slow) race to the finish and I was ready to be done.  

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My {very official} cheer crew. Note: my family solicited the support of strangers.

I cried when I crossed the finish line.  It’s the first time I’ve ever cried after a race.  I don’t even know why I was crying or what triggered the cry, but I cried.  For a couple of minutes.  Then I stopped, and cried again.  I cried when I saw my family, I was so happy to see them.  I cried this morning when I realized it was all over.  I’m a post-marathon wreck.

I’ve never run such a hard or emotional race.  I’ve never been more prepared (or dedicated) for something in my life.  When I crossed the finish line I was happy, sad, proud, disappointed, excited, and defeated.

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Post-race {i'm proud to wear my medal}

I was way off of my (sub) 3:20 goal but given the circumstances, I ran the best race I could.  I’m thankful for a faithful God, one that was by my side every step of the way, one that gave me the legs (and courage) to finish what I started to do.  He never promised it would be easy, He just promised He would never leave my side.    

{a HUGE thank you to every volunteer – we couldn’t have run this race without you!  And to every bystander who gave me ice, orange slices, hose spray-downs, cold water, wet towels – I know you used your own money and will not get reimbursed. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all of it.  I (and 21,553 other runners) desperately needed it!}

Results

Time: 3:34:35 (I squeaked by with a BQ!)
Place: 3,668/21,554
Gender: 575/8,966
Division: 471/4,580

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Oh, I {earned} this jacket!

Splits

5k10k15k20kHalf25k30k35k40k
0:24:270:48:301:12:351:37:331:43:092:03:162:30:282:57:353:23:30


Race Weekend
Boston 2012 was one of the most fun weekends I’ve ever had!  My best fans were in town: BJ, my mom, my little sister Katie, best friend Allison, great friend Julianne, running partner James and favorite rep John.  I felt loved and am so thankful for their support. 

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Boston Marathon Expo: mom, mel, and katie

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Post-marathon margaritas (&drinks)

We had fun, and laughed a lot.  I bought more BAA branded apparel than I know what to do with.  We ate at great restaurants.  We enjoyed the city and walked around Boston Commons {I could live in Boston}.  We drank Starbucks, margaritas, wine, and beer.  We ate delicious dessert.  We had FUN.  I loved every minute and didn’t want the weekend to end. 

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Post-marathon dress, drinks, and compression socks

Final Thoughts
I am forever thankful to everyone for their love, support and encouragement (family, friends, facebook, tiwtter, blog followers).  It wasn’t an easy race – but I pushed through and NEVER gave up.  I thought Boston 2012 would be my last marathon, but someone has bigger plans for me.  There will be a re-match and I will get my (sub) 3:20.  DIG DEEP.

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BJ, thank you for supporting my {racing} dreams!