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Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 - A Look Back


2013 will be a year that will be engraved in my mind for the rest of my life. So much happened this past year. It was a year of many highs, many lows and many surprises.

I can say that this journey really started for me back in Dec of 2012, when I first got the news that I was selected as one of the lucky few to get a Boston number through our running club. To say I was excited was an understatement! Years and years of watching runners from the sidelines run in this event, I never dreamed that I, one day would be one of them. It was a childhood dream come true!  For the next couple weeks\months, that's all I talked about!

This about sums it up...LOL

Training for it didn't go as planned. Two weeks into training I started having bad knee issues. I was ready to give up on my dream of running Boston. After doctor visits, some X-rays and some MRIs, it was determined that it was my IT bands causing the problems. I was sent to PT for a couple of weeks and had to take a couple weeks off from running. But I worked hard at my PT program and reorganized my training plan and was back at it again. I wasn't running where I wanted to be, but at least I was running.

Boston came, and Boston went. We all know what happened that day. Personally for me (and my family), it was a day we will never forget. Physically we were all safe, but this day left a permanent mark in our lives. Not all bad though.

"There is always something good that comes out of something bad." - I never understood this saying.

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~ Because of this event I have met many people that went through similar experiences that day. I have gotten to know a lot more people from our running club and have become real good friends with many of them. I feel blessed because of this.

Here is a few of us from this past Friday's "Deep Fried Turkey Run"


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~ My wife who never ran before, has left the world of the "normies" and has crossed into the dark side. As of last month she is officially a member of the Central Mass Striders! Woot!!! She has raced a handful 5Ks this year and completed her first 10K last month. She has also been taking part of the free weekly hill workouts that our club offers to the members. There are also talks of doing a half soon...I see a great future in running for her!

With friends getting ready for a 5k


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~ This year I was more focused on my training and on my diet more so than I have ever been. A month after Boston I ran the Providence Marathon (cause it was free) and then set a high goal of running two fall marathons (#5 and #6). Completed them both and was really happy with their outcome. PR'd by 14min in the first one. Training had paid off tremendously!


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~ Apart from being a CMS member, a few of us locally have started a running club of our own. Thanks in part to my friend Joanne. Through Facebook, a few of us got together and planned afternoon runs once or twice a week. Joanne one day told me that the local news paper wanted to do a story on our "running club".

Full article HERE 

With that story, our Facebook running group page (Tri-State Running) went from 8 members to 30 members overnight. At last check we are at about 51 members! The newspaper story was a great idea. So many times I wished of getting together with local runners but never really knew how to reach out to them. At the moment planned runs are usually Tuesday nights and Thursday nights, and now with a few of us in marathon training, we are planning long runs on Saturday mornings. The goal, hopefully, is to get other runners to post when they are running and invite others to join them. CMS is a great running club (the best in all of MA) but it covers all of Central MA, something like 60 towns. With our group, we are just hoping to build a local running community where we get to know each other and get some runs together without having to travel far.


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~ All of the sudden I've become an expert. I have become that person that people go to when they have a question about running. Friends, coworkers and even complete strangers have approached me for advice on topics such as "What sneakers to buy?", "what to eat?" to even health questions like, "Why do my knees hurt?" or "why does my foot hurt?.." huh?... On my personal Facebook page I had posted that I had placed my Boston marathon training schedule on my calendar and within minutes I got about 7 messages from other runners (that I consider great runners by the way) asking me what training plan I was following because they were interested. I was flattered.

Expert? Me? Far from it. Everyone that knows me knows that I am passionate about my running and I am more than happy to give back in any way I can. I will always try to help out as much as I can or at least point them in the right direction. I only share what others have taught me.

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~ So something good out of something bad - I think I get it now


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~ Looking forward ....

2014 will bring on its own adventures, its own challenges, its own obstacles, but I'm ready to face them. What 2013 has taught me is that life throws things at you to get you going in the right direction., to get you where you need to be. At no other time in my life have I felt like I was heading in the right direction. Things seem to be falling into place. Life is good.

So I say to you 2014,... Bring it!! I'm ready....  I'm running right at ya!












Sunday, December 15, 2013

Back on the Plan


It's been nice NOT training for anything the past two months. It's been fun just running for the love of it versus for the need of it. These past couple of weeks I have been low key and have only run when I felt like running, how long I felt like running and raced only one race. I even signed up for a half that took place this weekend and then decided not to run it. Mostly for personal reasons, but honestly I just wasn't feeling it.

So what is wrong with me you may ask? Has Jose lost his passion for running? Is the fire from "And so it Burns" burning out?....

..... Far from it my friends, far from it.

I needed to take a step back. A step back from all the craziness of training. A step back from trying to figure out how to get my runs in. It felt like I was juggling back and forth between my normal life and my running life constantly. Sounds crazy, but it's true. I said I would take this break after my last marathon and I did. I have run many times these past couple of week, and they have all been stress free enjoyable runs. Running just because and for nothing else. The break has been good for me physically, which I needed, but most importantly, mentally.

 That being all said..., It's mid December. Approximately 18 weeks from the 2014 Boston Marathon.
My next marathon.

I plan on following the same training plan I did for the last two marathons - Hal Higdon's Marathon Intermediate 2. It's an 18 week program. Which means training starts this week!! It's been a fun, well deserved break, but it's time to get back to the grind.

The only thing different this time around is that I know a about 40-50 other people that are also running Boston this upcoming April. Most through the running club and some through social media.There are already plans on getting together with a handful of them to do long runs with. There is no way that I'll be doing any long runs solo. I have a feeling that this time around training will be more about getting together, getting the runs in, making friends, making memories and having fun. That's what I plan on making it anyways.

I don't plan on breaking any PRs in Boston. I have a feeling that this marathon will be a circus of an event. The media coverage of this race will be something nuts this year. I'm sure the BAA will have something planned to honor the victims of last year's tragedy. It will be an emotional event that's for sure. I want to be able to take it all in, I want to enjoy the moment, I want to run strong and most importantly, I want to finish strong!

I want to fulfill my dream of finally crossing the finish line on Boylston St. I want to finish what I couldn't finish last time. This time I will not be denied.


Let's do this!!










Sunday, December 1, 2013

This and That

Been slacking in my blog lately. I'm sure most of you didn't even notice :)  That's OK. Life, like always, gets in the way. And other times, I just don't want to sit in front of a computer after dealing with them all day at work.
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Ran a 10k last Sunday with the wife and a couple of friends. 

Adam, Kristen, Sandy, the wife - Michelle and me
Picture courtesy of Adam's wife Monica 

It was my wife's first attempt at a 10k and she kicked its ass! Finishing strong with an hour and four mins! Not once did she stop or walk the course. She battled through it all the way to the finish line! I'm soo proud of her. It wasn't a real tough course, but boy was it cold that morning! 10-15 degrees with a wind chill in the single digits! But she was all ready for it. I was suppose to run "with her" in this race, but my competitive side took over as soon as I got there and she knew it. "You just have to show off don't you?" she says.... I didn't know how well I would do, but surprisingly I came in 3rd in my age group :)

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Today I had plans to run a 10 mile race. Entry fee was just 15 canned good that would donated to a local food bank. But on Wednesday I was feeling a bit under the weather. Not sure what was going on. Mid afternoon I went out for a quick run and when I got back I really felt like crap. I was dizzy and nauseous. I took a shower and was couch bound with a fever all night. Thanksgiving day, I felt a bit better but 100%. I did make it out to family dinner we had planned.  Left early to visit my parents and it went down hill from there. I was back home early with a fever, back on the couch. Friday, I thought it was a great idea to go out for a quick run. Just a quick one. As soon as I left the house, I knew that I shouldn't have. I was cold and I was shivering. I turned right around. Back on the couch I went.

Now my family says that I'm just a miserable bastard when I'm sick. That I'm grumpy and not fun to be around with. I have no clue what they are talking about. I can't recall one single grumpy thing I do.


But my daughter put it best - "It's not that your grumpy cause you're sick. It's that you're grumpy cause you can't do your normal routine. Can't move around, can't sleep, can't eat, and worst of all, you can't run!"

She's right. I don't get sick that often. But when I do, my mind does not accepts the fact that I am. I want to continue living life like I'm not. It wasn't til Friday afternoon, when I finally gave in and didn't leave the house 'til Sunday morning. I was done. Needless to say, I also accepted the fact that I wasn't going to run the 10 miler today.

I'm feeling much better today. Maybe not at 100%, but better. Which is good because I need to travel for work tomorrow.

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What's next for me? Not sure. The only thing I know I'm sure of is that I need to start training for Boston at the end of this month. It's been nice running without any goals. Running just for running. But I can't wait to start doing long runs with the many friends that are also doing Boston. This training schedule will be one of the best ones ever.

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Well, that's it for now.... til next time. Have a great week everyone!



Monday, November 18, 2013

Water Baton

My friend Hicham and I have volunteered at a handful of water stops together with our running group the past few years. It's a lot of work. It takes a lot of time to get all the cups set up and filled with water or Gatorade to then pass them out to the runners as the run past us.

Here's Hicham and our friend Jen stacking and filling the cups 5 rows high!
There is close to 200 cups per row!

It is also messy, cold, wet and if you are working the Gatorade tables, it can be real sticky! Many times we have said, there's gotta be a better way!

Well I think my friend Hicham has probably come up with that "better way" Let me introduce you to his idea...

Water Baton
Example Picture from the Indiegogo site




Not only a great idea for us as volunteers, but for us as runners too. It's easy to grab, easy to carry and easy to drink from. I think it's a great idea.
But as with any great idea, to get it off and running, to get it from idea to reality, a little help is needed. Please visit Water Baton's Indiegogo site for more info and if you can, any contributions would be greatly appreciated.


Water Baton Link - http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/water-baton


What are your thoughts on this idea? I would like hear them. Please share.


Thanks,
Jose

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I Don't Even Know You Anymore....


"So I signed up for a 10k this month"

"I went to Sneakerama during my lunch they recommended I try running in New Balance's 860 v2"

"You wanna run this Sunday?"

"I can't believe I PR'd by a minute at the 5k!"

"My feet are sore"

"My knee hurts"

"I love my new running shoes!"

"So I was thinking. I need to start doing more hills. I need to get stronger at them."

"I need to get faster."

"Maybe I can do a half marathon...... What do you think?"

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This is Me with a blank stare on my face.....


I heard the words perfectly. I understood it all. These are things I've heard many runners say. These are words that at one time even came out of my mouth. They are familiar words. They make sense.

What doesn't make sense is who is saying them. Something's not right here. I'm a bit confused. Who is this person talking to me? Am I in the wrong house? She looks like my wife. Dresses like my wife. Except for the words coming out of her mouth, she sounds like my wife.

Who are you??

This is coming from someone who used to question my spending habits when it came to races and running gear. Who thought I was crazy for running a much as I did. Who thought my friends were all crazy too. Someone who would give ME the blank stare when I talked to her about my running. 

Now there she is. She has a handful of 5Ks under her belt. New running shoes. New running gear. Running every couple of days. A couple of my "crazy" friend are now her friends. Her next challenge is a 10K coming up in two weeks. ... and she is ready for it.

It's weird to hear her get excited about races and running in general. She "gets it" now. I must admit it's kinda cool. But she still doesn't consider herself as a "runner". Yeah,... I laugh at that.


Welcome to our world... You are officially as crazy as the rest of us!!






Friday, November 1, 2013

I Wish I Was Running NYC...

Well here I am. I have only run twice since Bay State Marathon. And you know what? I'm OK with that. I'm in no rush to jump back into it. These old bones need the rest. Plus, work has been keeping me way too busy. For past two weeks I've been covering for our European office which is 6 hours ahead of us, so I have been getting up at the wee hours of the morning to deal with any issues they may have. To then work a full day at my office. PLUS this week I'm working out of the NYC office. It's been busy!! I'm on the train back home as I blog tonight.

This Sunday is the ING NYC Marathon. New York City was flooded with runners from all over the world this week. While watching my beloved Red Sox (World Champs!!) on Wednesday night at the Heartland Brewery at the Empire State Building, I chatted with runners from Holland. The were telling me that there were over 250 from their running club in Holland coming to run NYC. Wow!

I of course wasn't going to pass up the chance of running this week while in NYC. This morning I headed out early in the rain and headed towards Central Park. I wanted to see the finish line for the marathon. Not knowing where it was exactly, I found it fairly easy. I just followed the hundreds of runners that were already out there that morning.


Plus it was just about all set up leading up to the finish line.




The finish line

A group of runners taking a picture in front of the finish line.
Not sure where they were from. They were speaking some language I didn't recognize.



And hey.... why the hell not? .... Haha!

And no I have not shaved yet..... how's it look Char?? LOL


I have to admit. I started to get a little bit jealous when I saw all the runners out there and the whole set up for the marathon. Can't tell you how many times I was asked this week if I was running it :(   .... After talking to a few of my friends today, we have decided to try our luck and enter the lottery for next years race. How sweet would that be! We'll wait and see.

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Speaking of races, I do have one race scheduled for the end of the year. The Jingle Bell Half in Salem, NH on the Dec 14th. Runnning it with a group of friends. It will be a fun race. Plus... they have beer at the finish line!! Woot!!

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Tomorrow I go to cheer on my wife as she does another 5k in the morning. She is slowly turning into one of us!! Ha!


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Have a great weekend every one. And if you're racing, run hard!!!









Monday, October 21, 2013

Marathon #6 - In the Books!




Yesterday I completed my 6th Marathon. BayState Marathon in Lowell, Ma. This for me is my 5th marathon in a years time.

Just to recap.
Cape Cod Marathon - 10/28/2012
Boston Marathon - 4/15/2013
Cox Sports Providence Marathon - 5/12/2013
Clarence DeMar Marathon - 9/29/2013
BayState Marathon - 10/20/2013

.... man am I tired.


Have no clue what those floating bodies were about :)

I had picked up my bib the day before, but still arrived early because I was told by others that ran before that traffic can get pretty bad. Waiting area was at Lowell High School so I set up camp at a table in the cafeteria. As I was getting ready, there was another guy across from me at the table doing the same. At the same time we both noticed that we were both wearing CMS club shirt. Then we realized that we are Facebook friends.. Ha! His name is Kevin and he is editor and publisher of a local online running magazine called Level Renner. It has some good articles and great local runner profiles. *cough* profile me next!*cough*... it was great to run into him there.

Weeks before this race I did a search for the hashtag #baystatemarathon on Instagram and found many people also running this marathon and started following them. They in turn started following me. I can't tell you how much of a great idea this was. We followed each other through training and I ended up meeting quite a few of them that morning ran with some during the race.

At the start, I found the 3:35 pacer and also 2 of the Instagram "friends" there as well. I was really planning on running the 3:35 pace, but I figured what the hell? If I get it great, and if I don't then whatever. So off we go.  The first eight miles were uneventful. Chatted with other runners about the Sox's big win over Detroit the night before that most of us did not see because we all went to bed early. Ha!

Uneventful, but a bit too fast.

Not to long after, a few us started to fall behind the 3:35 pace group. He seemed like he was going way too fast. By mile 10 or so, there were 4 of us still running together from the 3:35 group. I was still felling good though. 

BayState is a double loop marathon. See here for the course map. So at mile 12 we cut across a mile long bridge and meet back up around the original 3 mile mark.  Mentally it's tough, but we still moving along.


About mile 15 out of the four that were still running together, two started to fall behind. I started to run ahead with one of the ladies from the group. Her name was Nicole. We chatted for a while, but then she put on her head phones. Oh, that's another thing. Though I had my iPhone and headphones with me, I had not listen to it yet. Conversations throughout the race was keeping me occupied. At about mile 19 or so, Nicole took off her headphones and told me she was getting tired needed to talk to get her mind of running. So I just started to ask her questions,... what do you do for a living? any kids? what's your husband do for work?.... she was doing good until mile 21 where she got a leg cramp and had to stop. I felt bad, waited a sec but she told me to go on ahead. 

So here I was. Me and the last 5 miles. I slowed down a bit, but I was still feeling good. About mile 23 I decided to put my music on for a while. Everything was going good until mile 26.  As you can see below, I abruptly slowed down. I got the worst back pain!! Bad enough that it made me stop. It was hard to breathe. I walked for a bit, til I caught my breath. Ran for it bit, then walked again. Every time I walked my back ache even more.


This last mile was hard. I remember thinking to myself  "Where the hell is the finish line?!" ... I didn't even want to look at my Garmin to see far I was from the end. But I heard the beep telling me that all I had left was the .2 to go. Longest .2 ever! But I picked up pace just to get it done. And there is was! I heard the announcer call my name as I crossed the finish line and I have never been so happy!

Official: 3:44:18




Very nice Medal!


Grabbed my medal and a water and found a spot on the grass to lay down for a bit to rest my back. I must have looked bad because the paramedics even came over to check on me. Ha! I rested for a while then grabbed some food they were giving out. I felt better after that.


I drove the hour home and I was beat. I had a few beers with dinner and I was out like a light. Did I mention I was tired? My back still hurt too. Oh yeah.... it's break time for me. Feels like I have been in training mode for a long time. The way I see it, I have at least two months before I start training for Boston again. I'm relaxing the next two months!

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One thing that I learned from this race is that my last marathon and PR was not a fluke. This is real. I am getting faster and stronger. Though not a PR this time, I am extremely happy with the time!

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Well that's it for now. I'm still achy but feeling good. Thank you all for reading.

Have a great week!




Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fall Marathon #2



Fall marathon #2 is just 3 days away. I'm honestly more nervous about this one than I was for the first one three weeks ago. I didn't expect to do as good as I did for that one. I feel like I set the bar a bit too high for myself. I dont think I could ever top that one. At least not this time, not now.
I feel like all of the sudden I have become a master marathoner (in other's eyes) and everyone is asking my advice. It feels weird. I don't like being in that spotlight. I'm no professional runner. I'm just Jose... Running because I love it and nothing else. Sure, I have trained hard the past couple of months, but that is my only secret. I trained hard!!

I have a friend that wants to break 3:35, her BQ, and asked me to help her try achieve this. Man, that's 5 mins off my personal PR. I don't need that added stress. My response to her was, Let's run together and if you feel strong and up to it, go ahead and go for it. I have no goal for this race. I just want to finish strong.....

I'm not looking for a PR. I have already accomplished that with my last marathon. I'm super happy about it and I'm not looking to out do it.

That being said, and honestly for my own benefit, .... I'm just looking to finishing. Baystate, next to Boston, is one of the bigger marathons in the state, It's one of those "must do" marathon for us locals. It's a big BQ marathons for a lot of folks around here..... but not for me though. Not even close. I'll just stick to finishing. (I have to keep saying this to myself.... LOL)


I feel good going into this marathon.... Physically, I feel OK. My last couple runs weren't that great, though today's run (my last run), was pretty good. Mentally, I'm half and half. I'm nervous, but I think I'll be Ok.
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Congrats to  those that conquered Chicago and Hartford this past weekend. I'm super inspired by your accomplishments. Both of those marathons are on my "to do" list.

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Let's see what this weekend brings!


Let's do  this!!





Sunday, October 13, 2013

Volunteering at Races

As some of you may know, I got my 2013 Boston Marathon number through my running club (Central Mass Striders) for volunteering at races throughout 2012. It's a great perk for giving a a few hours of your time to a sport you love. It could be a lot of work at times, but it's always fun, and always rewarding.

At this point in the year, I have already surpassed last years volunteer hours. I have volunteer at more races this year than I did last year. But I already have a number for Boston 2014. As you may recall, I was one of the 5700 runners that did not get to finish Boston due to the bombings. So why do I continue to volunteer? What do I get out of it? I don't know.... I just enjoy doing it. It's kinda like my way of giving back. Giving back to this sport that gave me soo much and also giving back to the greatest running club ever!

Today was no exception. 



I was up at the crack of dawn to meet up with other volunteers in Worcester, so we could then drive into Boston for 7am to volunteer at the BAA Half Marathon. We worked fluid station #3 at about mile 6 of the race.


We had plenty of water

...and plenty of Gatorade


Stacking the cups and filling them up is a lot of work. But boy do we have a blast doing it. We started at about 7:30 stacking and filling cups and the races started at 8:30. It was roughly 8:45 when the first wheelchairs racers came through and not too long after that, the elite runners came through. I forgot to snap a picture of them... grr. But this time I did not miss Kim Smith like I did last time. This time I was ready for her:

Tan lines and all!!! She won the woman's division!


I don't have the exact numbers, I heard that something like 8000 people ran this half. At the rate we were passing out drinks, that number could be right. It was darn right busy at times. We even ran out of Gatorade cups and had to start filling more very quickly. It was nuts. But as crazy as it was, most runners were very appreciative of us. I don't think that I was ever thanked more in my life. Ha!

After it was all said and done and the last runner had come through, it was clean up time. There were thousands of cups EVERYWHERE!! But with the amount of volunteers we had, I swear that the clean up only took about 15mins. A garbage truck was not too far behind the last runner. All was picked up and the streets were left as if a race had never happened. The BAA has this routine down pat!! 


Volunteering like I said is a lot of work. But I enjoy every minute of it. The best part for me is getting to hang out with some great friends!

Good looking bunch here!!

I also got to see everyone I knew that was running this race, including club members Sandy, Brenda & Pete, Intagram friends Raquel & Crystal, and even Michelle from Running with Attitude. I said hi to her and cheered her on, but I don't think she realized who I was... LOL. It's all good. Great job everybody!!

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Today was also the Chicago Marathon. Congrats to all my blogger friends that ran that today. Can't wait to read your recaps!!

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Can't wait 'til my next volunteer assignment!! Have a great week everyone!!


- Jose












Sunday, October 6, 2013

Almost Done



This has been a long couple of months of training. Seems like everything I have done, every decision I have made has revolved around my running. I have shied away from parties or events where there would be drinking if I had to run the next day. I didn't even want to chance it. I have literally "disappeared" from my  non running friends lives. The only reason they know I'm still alive is because of my Facebook... LOL. But on the upside, I have made a lot of new "runner" friends. Hanging out with them, running with them and being motivated by them has been awesome! It has helped me a lot!

What I have been eating has also revolved around my running. I have been more attentive as to what I eat before runs, during runs and after runs. This time around I did not fall into the "I can eat whatever because I ran (insert mileage here) today" mentality. Not that I have been dieting or anything like that. It has been more of a conscious effort to watch what I eat. I have stayed away from greasy foods which is my weakness :(  
oh greasy pizza..... I miss you...



I've been eating a lot more greens and eating organic foods when possible. 
Now this is a meal!!!


People have noticed. I've been told in more that one occasion that I look "fit". Which is always good to hear :) .... Plus I am positive that eating healthier helped me out at last week's marathon. Thank you all for the comments by the way!


My body has been taking a beating too. I don't talk about it much, but seems like every week something new hurts on me. My knee, my foot, my hip,.... you name it. Something has hurt at one time or another during this training. Plus I still continue to struggle with my IT bands. They have their good days and like yesterday, during my 12 miler, they have their bad days. I really struggled to finish the twelve. I ran strong, but it was not a pleasant feeling run. It plain just sucked!

Today I rested, I did nothing but watch TV,.... and I liked it. It was a perfect lazy Sunday.


Two weeks to go, BayState Marathon, almost here. Then I can rest this body for a while.
Can't wait!

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Have a great week everyone!!!



Monday, September 30, 2013

Clarence DeMar Marathon


What a day....

My day started at 3:30 am as I jumped out of bed with the fear that I was going to be late. Surprisingly, I had a good night of sleep though. No tossing and turning worrying about the race. Had a coffee, a cliff bar, and a banana and I was out the door by 4:30 for the hour and forty min drive up to Keene, NH. I got there roughly about 6am. Temperature was a chilly 36 degrees at that time. Brrrr!! Luckily I had a sweat shirt!

Clarence DeMar is a point to point marathon. We had to park our cars at Keene State College, which is the finish line location. From there we got bused up to Gilsum, NH about 20mins away. I was there early enough to hop on the first bus. My friends Melissa and Jenn came up not too long after on other buses. We chatted for a while and at 7:40 we had to head down to the start line which was a 10min walk downhill. By then the temperature had warmed up to the mid 40's. I took off my sweatshirt before the walk and was only in my club singlet and shorts. I was freekin' freezing!!

At the start my friend Jenn asked me if I had a finish time that I wanted to meet. I honestly hadn't given a time any thought. My previous marathons were shy under 4 hrs, so if I came close to the same, I would be happy. I did want to come in faster, but I had said before, my goal was to finish the race strong. I did not want to feel like I was dying at the end! Ha!

So, the gun went off a little bit after 8am, and we were off!

Clarence DeMar Marathon is also know as the down hill marathon. Look at the elevation drop:
So that being said, this marathon felt like it was going fast. The first half was mostly a blur. I ran it on and off with Jenn. Occasionally one of us would stop at a water stop while the other continued on, then we'd eventually meet up again on the course. By mile 14 I had moved up ahead went on my own. I was feeling good.

I had my iPhone with me and it was playing music, but I hardly listened to it. I had the headphones pinned to my shirt and every now and then I would put one ear bud in. But mostly I spent the race just chatting with other runners. Yes, I am a talker!!! By mile 18, I started to feel a bit tired, so I put my music on just to get my mind somewhere else.
By mile 21 I got my second wind and was moving. Most of the marathon felt like you were running through a state forest with its beautiful scenery, but by this point were back in Keene and running through some neighborhoods. Mile 23 came along and this is where in my last marathons my legs gave out so I was expecting that "wall" to show up soon. Mile 24, still cruising, and cruising by a few other runners. Mile 25 came up and I was still feeling strong. I couldn't believe it!
Mile 26 sign just ahead. Through out the race I hardly looked at my Garmin. I knew I was doing good. I looked down at it. All I saw was 3:30-"something". I didn't want to believe it. Only one runner ahead of me. I picked it up so I could pass by her. Done. One final left turn and there it was, the finish line! I could see the timer - 3:40! A 14min PR!!! I couldn't believe it!!! As I crossed the finish line, I pointed at the sky I thanked the big man upstairs. This was truly a gift from him.



In awe the rest of the day. On cloud nine. On the mountain top! 

All that training, all the effort, all the sacrifice, all the time I put into this, it really paid off. 


As far as stats, if you are interested:
Pretty much even splits! (mile 13 bathroom break :) )



It could also be that it was a mostly downhill marathon that helped. None the less, it does not take away that I felt good and strong throughout the whole race. 26.2 miles is 26.2 miles no matter how you cut it.
This marathon is also one of the most scenic marathons I've run. Like I said before, it felt like you were running through a state park. The trees, lakes and the view from a dam that you run across at mile twelve is UNBELIEVABLE!!! A must do, for any runner out there!

So phew... Marathon #5 in in the books! Today, the day after, I'm a bit sore but overall feeling pretty good. I'm taking a couple days rest then I'm right back at it. Bay State Marathon is 3 weeks away! 

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Thanks for reading! Have a great week everyone!!!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Don't Worry.....

Ha!

For those of you who are my FB friends, you may have already noticed. I brought back marathon beard for the two upcoming marathons. 

Oh, it's on now!! Sh!t just got real! 

Game face!! Bring it!!

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Who knows..... might even leave it 'til Boston!



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Running Has Changed My Life

If you haven't figured out by now, I am a runner. I love to run!! And if you follow this blog or my Facebook page, I guessing you are a runner too. I want to take a quick moment to introduce myself to those of you who just recently started following me.

My name is Jose. I live, work and run just outside of Boston, Ma. I became a runner, kinda by accident. If you've read the "About Me" section, you know that smoked for a good 18yrs of my life. When I  quit smoking at 34, I quickly gained weight and was pushing 200 pounds. The most I've ever weighed in my life!

Though I was happy I quit smoking, I was not happy about how I looked and felt. 


It was 8 months after I quit smoking that I decided to make a change in my life. I started out by changing what I ate. ... and I love to eat. Greasy, fatty, salty foods were my favorites. I never had a sweet tooth thank goodness! I traded the bacon and scrabbled eggs in the morning for yogurts and fruits. Swapped my cheeseburgers and fries at lunch for salads. My dinners are now smaller portions than previous, and I don't eat after 7pm.

Then I started walking..... a lot. I walked before work, at lunch time, and in the evenings. I probably walked 5 to 10 miles a day depending on the day, but I walked every day. One day, walking turned into running. Like Forest Gump said "I just felt like running". No, I did not run across America or anything crazy like that. I probably only ran an 1/8 of a mile the first time I ran. But I knew, honest to god, I knew that this was I wanted to do. It was love at first run. 

 Fast forward to today.

So here I am five years later. I have run thousands of miles since those few steps. I have completed countless 5k and 10ks. I have run a handful of half marathons and have completed 4 marathons including Boston this past year. So not only am I a runner, I am proud to call myself a marathoner!



I have 3 scheduled marathons coming up, including Clarence DeMar Marathon next week. Bay State Marathon three weeks after that. Then doing Boston once again in 2014. 

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Where would I be without running? I don't really know. I dont want to know. Running has changed my life in more ways than I can explain.  It's a way of life now. I eat, sleep, breath & live running. It has been worth all the pain and sacrifice.

Lost 50 pounds and maintained throughout the years


The people I've met and the great friends I've made through running have been a bonus. There is no other community like the running community. I am inspired by the people I meet, and hopefully inspired a few along the way.

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So this is me. This is my story...., but it's not over yet. There is more to be written.


Thank you for following my blog and Facebook page. I will do my best to keep blog interesting and my Facebook posting entertaining and motivating. 

Please stop by and say "hi", and if you have a blog of your own, please share. Would love to follow you as well!


Have a great week everyone!!!!!!!

- Jose










Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tapering .... Kind of...

Fall Marathon #1 is two weeks away!! 


I can't believe that time has flown by so quickly.

I guess you can say that I'm tapering, but with Fall Marathon #2, just 3 weeks after the first one, I guess I'm using #1 as part of training for #2., THEN you can say I'm officially tapering. Regardless, I'm enjoying the lower mileage for now. So after Clarence DeMar, I will follow the same tapering mileage for long runs I'm doing now. 12 miles the weeks after then 8 the week before.

I can honestly say, that I'm not nervous about doing double fall marathons. I'm looking forward to it. I was told that if I do one more before the end of the year, that makes me an official "maniac"... ha! I don't see that happening..... but, hey, you never know!

For right now I'm only focusing on marathon #1. That has been my only focus. Once that one is done, I will then turn my focus on #2 (Bay State). What is good with Bay State is that if I'm not up to running another 26.2, I can always drop down to the half. If I do it ahead of time of course. It's nice to have that option.

I'm ready though. Bring on the marathons! All I need to do now is stay healthy and enjoy the taper. Normalcy to life will return in 5 weeks! Ha!


Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Another Great Weekend of Runs....

I think us as runners, as people, we always want to do better. Better than our last run. Better than our last race. I think, whether we say it or not, we all long for that next PR or to place in a race. I know I do. My last post, which I deleted cause it was such a downer post, touched on me wanting to be a lot better and faster than what I am. If you read it, please dont get the wrong impressing of me. I've been training hard these past couple of months and I feel like I have been chipping away at getting better and faster. The slow progress sometimes eats at me that's all.

.... so let's just move along.

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Saturday, Canal Diggers 5k. This is the 3rd year I ran this race. One of my favorites races and also my current 5k PR from 2012 - 20:33. My wife also ran this race for the first time (her 3rd 5k) and she did awesome!!!

31:21 - Killing it!!!!

Me going back to my previous topic of getting better\faster, I wanted to PR in this race. My goal was to come in under 20mins. As soon as the gun went off, so did I! Through out the whole race I felt pretty good. Didn't feel like I was dying through it. As I approach the finish line I could see the clock at 19:56\57\58\59 - 20:00.... I was like "Sh*t!!!"

See my mouth halfway through the word "sh*t!" :)
 My Garmin read - 20:01

Not too long after the finish times were posted and to my surprise, the chip time had me a second  under 20mins!!!!!!!! Woot, woot!!! 
I finally did it!!! Officially under 20mins!! (even if just barely!)
I can't tell you how much this made my day!!! 

After the race we enjoyed some free drinks and food that were offered to all runners.
My wife's first medal!! I am soo proud of her!!
Can't wait til our next race!

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Sunday -  My friends, Jen & Melissa, who are also running the Clarence DeMar Marathon, were planning of running 21 miles of the Boston Marathon course from Hopkinton to Boston College as part of their training and asked me to come along. As I mentioned before, it was the same day as the Jimmy Fund Walk (a walk that does the whole marathon course). So there was crowd support, police support and most importantly porta potties through the course!!
The run went great. There is nothing like having company through a long run. Time just flew by and next thing you know we were at mile 17.5 looking at heart break hill. Melissa decided to take it easy up the hill. Jen ran half way up with me before she decided to take it easy. I then ran the rest by myself.

My last 4 miles were a lot faster than the rest

At the 21 mile marker, there was a water stop and porta potties just waiting for us. The volunteers were great, they encouraged us to take drinks and snacks. It was perfect!!!

Jen, Melissa, & myself..... Thanks for the great run today!!!

I also need to thank Jen's husband, Pete, for supporting us throughout the whole course. He met up with us at key locations with water and snacks and just making sure that we were OK. He also gave us a ride back to our cars in Hopkinton. We couldn't have done it with out him.
I dont know if you read my blog Pete, but thanks a million for the support!
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Looking forward to tapering and less mileage. Actually, I'm looking forward to finishing off both upcoming marathons and getting back to a "normal" life. For a while anyways.... I miss my non-running friends... Ha!


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Have a great week everyone!!