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!

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!


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.

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.


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!!

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


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!


Have a great week everyone!!!