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I always tell people that if you want incentive for going to the gym/exercising/eating right, sign up for something.

Anything – a 5K, a 10K, even a Half-Marathon.

Get something on the calendar; something that is not so far away that it joins the rest of the “some day”s in your bucket of  “I’ll get to that tomorrow”, but no so close that you are unable to train properly for it.  More importantly, tell people about it.  Let them know what you are doing so that they will hold you accountable.

After watching my various social media feeds during the Boston Marathon, I did just that.  I signed up for the Bay State Marathon which takes place on October 19th.  Although it is not until Fall, it gives me enough time to get my running legs back before I kick into Marathon Training Mode.  My goal is to go sub-3:25 (my new BQ-time as I move up in age group) with an eye on sub-3:20 to give me a cushion.

My plan is to spend the next month getting my legs back before beginning training in earnest near the end of June/early July.  I’ll even have a tune-up race in September that I will write about soon as a separate post.  I’m still trying to decide on a training plan so if some of you more experienced runners have suggestions, I am always open to them.

I’ve got something on the calendar and I’m announcing to the world so I am held accountable and incentivized to get out there and run.

***

Oh.

There’s one more thing.

I’m not exactly sure how, but it appears that I am signing up for the Ghost Train Rail Trail Ultra…which takes place 6 days after Bay State.  My friends Jeremy and Josh somehow convinced me (I’m positive one of them must be a Jedi and did the ole Jedi Mind Trick on me).  Runners can choose to run 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90 or 100 miles (I think there’s actually a 115 mile option for overachievers, but that’s just friggin’ ridiculous!).  I’m sure you can guess which distance we will be shooting for.  After completing the TARC 100 last June in just under 28 hours, my only regret was that I was not able to do it in under 24.  That will be the goal on October 25th/26th.  It just better not rain that week.

So there you have it.  Pushing the limits of what I am physically capable of will be the theme of the week from October 19th – 26th.

What the heck am I thinking?

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Dear Caleb, Maddy, John, Pete, Judith, Julie, Justin, Alain, Kathleen, Jamie, Brendan, Alett, Hugh, Tommy, Jim, Nancy, Mike, Paul, Ronnie, and Rick, along with the 32,000 others who ran with you,

 

I watched my social media feeds yesterday with more than a twinge of jealousy.  The looks on your faces, your posts, the posts by your loved ones, all conveyed what was a spectacular day.  Some of you finished with PRs, some of you you finished strong, some of you managed to just get through it and some of you decided it just wasn’t your day…

…all of you inspired.

All of you, in your own way, stoked a fire in me that has too long been on ember-mode.  On Saturday I had a slow, trudging 11-miler that made me wonder if I would ever get back to where you were yesterday.  Watching your smiles and tears yesterday made me hungry again.

This morning I went out for a short 3.1 mile run.  My legs felt like logs and my pace was inconsistent at best, but 23:28 later, I knew the comeback had begun.

Running is back in my life and I have each and every one of you to thank for it!  Whether it’s Boston 2015 or Boston 2016, I know that I will once again toe the line in Hopkinton for the greatest Marathon on Earth.

 

Thank you for the inspiration,

Luau

*I apologize for any names I may have missed…if I know you and I know you ran Boston yesterday, this letter is for you too!

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This past Saturday was a beautiful day – the sun was out; the temperature was moderate; runners from all over the world were flocking to my city.  Jess and Brooke were off to a play date with one of her friends and Katie was off at a food tasting for a friend’s upcoming event.  Everything was lined up for me to go out for a nice, long run – what would be my 4th run of 2014.  I set my playlist to laid back mellow music – a little SWV, some Michael Jackson, Brand New Heavies, Carl Carlton, Tribe Called Quest and a heavy dose of Jamiroquai – slipped on my favorite running shorts and VFF Bikilas, set the Garmin and I was off.

It felt good to be outside; it felt good to have the rush of air coursing in and out of my lungs; it felt good to hear and feel the rhythmic beat of my feet on the pavement; it felt good to feel the slow burn slowly build in my legs.

That feeling last about 3 miles.  As I made my way over a portion of the Boston Marathon course, I realized that perhaps my ambition to run a long run may have been more than I was physically ready for.

Five things I learned on my 11-mile run, covered in a slow, deliberate pace in 1:43:08:

  1. You haven’t been running nearly enough when your favorite running shoes leave wicked blisters on your feet.
  2. You haven’t been running nearly enough when carrying a water bottle while running proves to be a workout for your forearms.
  3. You haven’t been running nearly enough when after a mid-distance run, you glutes feel like their going to fall off while going up and down the stairs.
  4. You haven’t been running nearly enough when you purposely avoid hills you used to eat with a grin on your face because you’re afraid you’re not going to make it all the way.  But worst of all…
  5. You haven’t been running nearly enough when your favorite, lucky running shorts end up chafing you in places you never, ever, ever want to be chafed.

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So on this Marathon Monday Morning, when so many people I love and respect are waiting in Hopkinton for the start of their Boston Marathon, I promise myself that for the rest of the year, I will run more than a sad once a month, no matter how busy I am with my budding personal training business, mostly because I never, ever, EVER want to feel the kind of pain I felt Saturday afternoon when I got into the shower.

***

Good luck to the 35,000+ runners running Boston this morning.  I am with you in spirit.

May the wind be at your backs, your feet be swift, your breath be powerful and your hearts be strong.

Boston Strong.

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One Year Later

I have been avoiding the topic.  All day today, I have turned on the local sports radio stations only to immediately change the station so I don’t have to think or hear about it.  I’m not sure why, but on this day, of all days, I do not want to talk about the Boston Marathon bombing.

Maybe I’m sticking my head in the sand.

Maybe I’m trying to convince myself I’ve moved on.

Maybe I don’t want to join in a one day conversation that does nothing but dredge up bitter memories, only to have everyone else move on to the next topic tomorrow.

I was not on Boylston when the two bombs went off 365 days ago.  It was the first time in several years that I wasn’t running as either an official entrant or a pacer for a friend.  I felt feel a mixture of relief and guilt not being there.

I still feel anger toward to two extremists who tried to crush the spirit of Boston.  I still feel sadness for those who were lost or permanently injured.

When I run now, there is a tinge of guilt,

a smattering of anger,

a swath of sadness…

a dose of…

fear.

I’ve tried my best to suppress it all, but it all lingers, out there, waiting…

The talk on the radio today just brings it all back – brings back the anger, the fear…the suspicion.  I can’t look at someone with a backpack now without wondering, “who do you pray to?  to a loving deity?  a vengeful deity? are you a jihadist?  a crusader?”

***

I don’t know if I will be able to make it to the course this Monday to cheer on the runners of the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Babysitting issues aside, even if I were able, I’m not sure I would go…

…not out of fear…

…not out of anger…

…not out of sadness…

…not out of guilt…

…or maybe it is all of those things.

One year later…

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Dear Stranger,

I do not know you.  I have never met you.

And yet, you lift me up; you give me strength; you drive me forward.

8 days ago two men attacked you.

They set off two bombs and harmed you, both physically and psychologically, and for that I am angry.

It is YOU who make a race what it is.

True, if I were not there, you would simply be staring at an empty road or cheering the passing traffic, but without you, I am just a runner.

The truth is I need you more than you need me.

You make me run harder, faster, farther with your energy, strength and will.

I am asking that you find the strength to come back.

Don’t let these two men scare you away from what you do, because to me, what you do is the most important part of any race.

Because without you, I am just a runner.

Thank you for all that you have done for me in the past.

Thank you for all that you will do for me in the future.

Yours,

Luau

Dear Stranger...Thank you.

Dear Stranger…Thank you.

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Last night I hopped in my car and drove so that I could take my daily #AutismStreaks run over to a specific part of the Boston Marathon course.  I ran up to it, refusing to run on it because that hallowed ground belongs to the runners today.  Instead I ran up to the twenty mile marker and took a moment to breath in what I envisioned would be happening today.   Mile 20 is right at the base of Heartbreak Hill, a place where many runners “lose it”.  I laid my hands on the ground, just hoping to absorb some of the energy and buzz that is the Boston Marathon.

Instead, I felt some of my energy flowing into the hill.  You know, energy is the wrong word.  It was more like my will flowing through my hands.  I could feel myself willing runners uphill during what will arguably be the hardest part of their day.

leaving some will power for both friends and strangers at the base of Heartbreak Hill...go get it my friends!

leaving some will power for both friends and strangers at the base of Heartbreak Hill…go get it my friends!

Whether you are a Boston first-timer, an experienced veteran of the Hopkinton to Boylston footrace or something in between, you are in for a treat today.  The forecast calls for 49° weather at the start and 49° weather at the finish.  I leave you with what I posted right before I ran Boston 2011, incidentally my last Boston to this point:

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs,
but he keeps on forgettin what he wrote down,
the whole crowd goes so loud

He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
He’s choking how, everybody’s joking now
The clock’s run out, time’s up over, bl-OW!
Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked
He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that
Easy, no
He won’t have it , he knows his whole back’s to these ropes
It don’t matter, he’s dope
He knows that, but he’s broke
He’s so stagnant that he knows
When he goes back to his mobile home, that’s when it’s
Back to the lab again yo
This whole rhapsody
He better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo!

-Eminem (Lose Yourself)

***   ***   ***

You never know when your next shot will be your last.

Get it!

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In three short days you will be toeing the line in Hopkinton for the Granddaddy of All Marathons.  On 26.2 miles of hallowed ground, you will follow the path taken by some of the all-time great marathoners.  I will not be with you on course on Monday.  Instead I will be cheering you all on from my couch; and I mean ALL – from the sub-3:00 marathoner to the shuffler coming in D.F.L.  The twenty some odd thousand of you who WILL cross the finish line on Boylston will be part of an exclusive annual group that so many yearn to join.

This year I will be one of those people looking from the outside in, but my heart and my soles will be with you every step of the way.

May your feet move swiftly, your breath be steady, your will like iron and your heart be strong as you fly to the finish…

...oh! and DO remember to look up at the camera when you cross the finish line!  (my first Boston - 2010, 3:32, a 22 minute PR)

…oh! and DO remember to look up at the camera when you cross the finish line! (my first Boston – 2010, 3:32, a 22 minute PR)

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