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! 

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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Don't Worry.....


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!!

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. 

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.


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.


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!


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!

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!

Have a great week everyone!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Weekend.... What a Weekend!

As some of you may know, I work in IT. I support most of the east coast for our company. What that means is that I am on call 24/7 for the most part. I get calls and emails all weekend long. Some I have to respond to right away, most can wait til my next work day.

This weekend I end up going to my office twice for things that need to be taken care of. Not a big deal because I get paid extra for doing so, but one call happened to come in halfway through my long run on Saturday. In the middle of a 14 mile run, I get a call that I need to go into the office, which is 35 miles away, and let a service tech into the building. I'm still running as I tell the caller that he will need to give me at least an hour and a half before I can get there.  I'm still not sure if they were blown away by the fact that I answered my phone in the middle of a run or the fact that I was running 14 miles....

I ended up cutting it short so I could get there on time. Hopped in my car and headed to work....  you can tell by my pace (after mile 7) that I was rushing to get back.

A bit faster, but all over the place....


Monday, Labor Day, I got to run the Charlton Old Home Day 5 Mile Road race. 

Look at my low number!!!!!

This is my third year running this race. Now I want to point out that this year, surprisingly, I PRd. Now, I'm surprised because I didn't think I could get any faster in this 5 miler. This is a VERY hilly and challenging race. I was basically running on fumes towards the end....

Here are my times and place from the past two years:



Now this year (new Timing Company)

Still didn't place or win any awards, but I got 3 mins faster than my first year running this race. That alone is better than any award!... Next year I move up to a new age group (40-49). Now that will be interesting!


This week I'm going to take a bit easy. My IT bands are acting up and now my left ankle feels achy. I plan or running 5-6 miles only on Wednesday or Thursday. Saturday I'm running Canal Diggers 5k. This is also the 3rd year I'm running this race and it also happens to be my 5k PR (20:33). The day after I have to run a 21 miler as part of my training. I'm still unsure if I want to go all out and try to beat my PR or if I should take it easy and run with my my wife who is also running this race for her first time.

Decision, decision..... Guess I'll decide this on race day....

Race season is in full effect..... what is your next race???!


That is all for now.... hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend and a great week ahead of you!