Coming Back From the Worst Day of My Life

I wrote about what is arguably the worst, yet most inspiring, day of my life on an old blog of mine. In preparation for today’s post, I went back and re-read it, only to realize that I don’t want to rehash all of the details again. It just still hurts.

I will give you the bare bones details though, since that day has become such a huge part of who I am.

I am a runner. I have been running since I was in high school. Sometimes I run more than others, and now is one of those times.

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I am a Masshole through and through. Sweet Caroline, Dirty Water, and Shipping Up To Boston are my theme songs.

Marathon Monday is my second Christmas. The only year I didn’t watch the Boston Marathon was the year I ran it (2009). For the past 4 years I have stood at the same spot on Boylston Street at Mile 26 to watch as my heroes run by me, and this past year, April 15, 2013, was no exception.

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Looking away from the finish line.

My first instinct is still to take off sprinting when I hear loud noises. I still have nightmares -weekly- about the bombs going off. I will ALWAYS tense up when I hear sirens. And that break in my heart will never fully heal.

I was one of the luckiest. I was on the opposite side of the street, and less than half a block from the second explosion. I sprinted with everyone else to the Charles River – just to get away.

Ever since that day, I have run with more passion and determination than I have ever run with before. The move to California this fall, and being unable to secure a charity number, made it impossible for me to be in Boston on my second Christmas this year. Instead, I will be running the LA Marathon with “For Boston” on my bib on March 9th, followed a week later by running the first stage of the One Run For Boston – a 3300 mile relay from Santa Monica to Boston – on March 16th.

**Shameless self promotion: Please take a peek at my runner profile. My goal is to raise $250 for the One Fund, every little bit helps and goes to the victims of the Marathon bombings**

So, how’s that training for the LA Marathon going? Pretty darn well, I’d say!

I’m using the training plan from Marathon Rookie, and running a combination of trails, roads, and track workouts. Mixing up the surfaces I’ve run on has been amazing both mentally and physically, and I can seriously see a difference in my times.

Anyone can run a marathon. All it takes is the ability to make a plan and stick to it. Let me change that up a bit. All it takes is the ability to make a million plans that fall under one big plan. Like this:

Marathon Plan:
Follow 16 week Marathon Training Plan and complete the LA Marathon
Week 1: Run 3 miles x2, 4 miles x1, 5 miles x1
5 Miles plan: Keep 8:40 pace, rehydrate at mile 3, stretch before and after

So really, it’s like a tree of plans with all the branches connecting back to the trunk.

I’ve also found that being more flexible with my running plan has helped a LOT. I tend to be someone who fails miserably at getting things done on specific days (which is why I am in complete AWE that this blog is still going!) so I told myself that I just have to get my runs in during the week, but it doesn’t matter which days. This gives me the ability to not feel guilty if I miss a run, and lets me run based on how I am physically that day. Some days you just don’t feel up to an 8 mile run, so with my way of doing it, I can swap my 8 mile run for a 4 mile run, and that way I don’t skip running altogether.

I keep up with my training in my planner like this:

plan-1

I check off the box after the run, which gives me an instant sense of accomplishment. The color I check the box off with means nothing more than that was the pen I had handy at the time 🙂

I have a few things that I take with me when I run that I cannot live without:

plan-3

1. My running shoes. Duh. 🙂
2. My Garmin. I have the Garmin Forerunner 110. Chris got it for me for my birthday last year when my beloved Garmin 305 finally died. It’s perfect for me since it’s pretty minimal in what it can do. I can see my time, pace, and distance. That’s all I need!
3. GU! I can’t run more than 7 miles without it. I love the GU Chomps (pictured behind the GU) since they are easier for me to eat on the run, and I can eat a few at a time.
4. My Christmas present from Chris this year – an iPod Nano and Jaybird Bluetooth headphones (you can kind of see them wrapped around the ipod). This is the BEST thing ever. No more cords to tuck away and hide! The headphones sync via bluetooth to the ipod, and off I go! I download audiobooks from my library on to my ipod for longer runs (like that 16 miler I did last weekend) and music for my shorter runs to help me run at a faster pace.
5. My custom Oakleys. Chris got me these the year I ran the Boston Marathon. I am kind of obsessed with the color pink, so he customized them to be pink and white, and my name is etched in the lens. Now that I’m running in California, I use them ever single day.

Ok- 2 things I noticed when I was making this list: first, most of my gear is from Chris over the years, and second, I need to add sunscreen to that list. ASAP.

So there you have it. The story of my running, the things I can’t live without, and my plan for running success. Feel free to shoot any questions about running my way – I’m no pro, but I’ve definitely run a race or two! Thanks for hanging out for such a long winded, and (for me) emotional, post – I’ll see you back here on Friday!

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