Friday, May 25, 2018

2018 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Recap

I've run the Cherry Blossom a few times.  In fact this was the fourth time I ran it but only my third since I started blogging.  Here are my recaps for 2016 (the infamous windy year) and 2017 expo (where I volunteered), race.

Fortunately, this year was mostly uneventful except if you were watching the weather.  The majority of the week meteorologists were calling 5-8 inches of snow the day before the race, which was truly bizarre for April.  They kept talking about how if it does snow, it won't amount to much, blah blah blah...Still wasn't enough to NOT make me nervous.  (DC is basically crippled if there's more than an inch.)  Thankfully, by the time the expo rolled around the snow threat went away and it was just going to be cold and windy.

This year the expo was a little more leisurely.  Most years I've volunteered at packet pickup handing out bibs.  Oddly this year the slots were already filled by the time I tried to sign up just after the lottery period ended.  So I signed up to take some of the elite athletes back to the airport after the race.  It was convenient since the airport was basically on the way home.  My first year volunteering after the 2015 race I got to take Aliphine Tuliamuk to BWI, and it was right before her first marathon.

I went to the expo a couple of hours after it opened on the first day.  It was a beautiful day--sunny and warmer than it had been for awhile.  The expo was the same as its always been with similar vendors and nothing overly exciting was being sold by the vendors so I was fine to just get my bib, shirt and various snacks.  Bark thins was offering samples and they were really tasty!  Even my Dad (who hates coconut) really liked the bark with coconut in it.  Ragnar was there offering lip balm, blinking lights (Ragnar approved!), and the chance to win a really nice blanket.  (Spoiler alert:  I didn't win.)

The next day I started to pack my bag to stay overnight with my parents.  I knew I would have to dress warmly so I packed several options.  I ended up settling on this.

Oiselle Flyte long sleeve in violet and gaiter in big blue, flyout tights in curfew, and their runwear pullover.  Balega hat and quarter length blister resist socks in pink/wineberry.  As always, my garmin, aftershokz headphones, Blue Q coin purse (for an id and cash), picky bar, spibelt, honey stinger chews and a random lip balm I grabbed at an expo.

The next morning my Dad and I were out the door at 6am and headed to a parking garage close to the race, but far enough away the road closures wouldn't effect it.  (I had also reserved parking in advance using Spot Hero and full disclosure, if you use the link you get $7 and I get $7 for your first reservation over $8.)  We arrived at the staging area around the Washington Monument at 6:45ish for the 7:30 gun time, which worked out well.  We had just enough time to visit the portajohns and head over to the start.  Because the National Park Service was working on turf restoration, everything was a little further away than usual.  Other than having a little further to walk, it really wasn't bad.  The lines for the portajohns were unusually short because the race organizers were encouraging runners to start lining up 45 minutes before gun time.  We got in line with plenty of time to spare and we got to see the sunrise.

One side of the Washington Monument, over by the World War II Memorial and the Reflecting Pool

The Washington Monument on the other side after the sunrise, from the green corral.

And of course a pre-race selfie.

The race was about as it has been in previous years--pretty crowded the whole way but not totally unbearable.  But with every beep of my garmin signifying every mile I looked down in disbelief.  The first five miles were all under 11 minutes.  Then I allowed myself to start taking walk breaks, especially as we got closer to Hains Point.  The cherry blossoms were at peak bloom so I wanted to savor every moment around the famous trees.  (This was the second time that I've run the race with the trees in peak bloom.)  And they were stunning!

Once we passed the cherry blossoms I was about ready to be done.  Around miles 8 and 9 I get a little extra antsy to be done because you can see the Washington Monument but you still have a ways to go.  Then there's the only real uphill on the course that feels like torture because you can SEE the finisher's area.  You can hear the music.  But that dang hill stands between you and the finish.

Then once I crossed the finish line, I got my post race snacks (including cottage cheese which I ended up leaving by some volunteers because that's not really the kind of thing I want to eat right after running 10 miles) and my heatsheet because I was starting to actually get cold.  Then got my medal at the tent and waited for my Dad to finish.  Soon after we headed back to the car and I took a shower and had a real lunch while I waited to head back out to pick up some of the elite athletes from the host hotel.

When I showed up to pickup my athlete at the host hotel, it quickly turned into 4 because they could all fit in my car.  The volunteer coordinator scanned my QR code to check me in (since I get guaranteed entry into next year's race for volunteering), handed me my volunteer shirt and we were on our way!  All four of the athletes were from Kenya, but only one of them could speak English fluently.  We had an interesting conversation as I drove up 295 (usually scenic, but since winter lasted too long the trees were still bare) and I learned a lot about Kenya like how it's an 18 hour flight to DC from there (and a lot of the runners were coming just for the weekend!) The weather is the same year round AND it's at a high elevation so there are pretty awesome running conditions year round.  (Which is also part of the reason why Kenyans are such notoriously amazing runners--they get to practice year round while those of us in more temperate climates have to adapt to the other conditions!)

Before I knew it, I was dropping them off at the airport.  I was nearly home but their journey had just begun and it blew my mind that they would do so much to get here for the race.  After saying our goodbyes I drove the 20 minutes home, unloaded the car and took a nap with my cats.

Overall, the race is a great one to do at least once especially if you're from out of town.  It's always a gamble as far as the weather goes but the course is generally the same every year.  (There were slight modifications this year because of construction on the bridge we normally run out and back on.)  It's really hit or miss in terms of seeing the trees in peak bloom.  This year the trees were really stunning and that made it worth it in my mind.  The expo is pretty easy as long as you don't come right when it opens because the line is always long.  It's also really easy to get to since it's right across the street from a metro stop.  The only truly difficult part (besides training) is figuring out how to get there on race morning and even that wasn't terrible since we got there fairly early.  

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Thrifty Thursday for May!

 So glad it's finally warming up, however this summer like weather is a little much.  Spring race season is already winding down for me, so I'm already looking to fall race season.  (Yes, I will readily admit I am a total wimp when it comes to running in the heat.)  But onto my thrifting finds for the month of May!

These tank tops are fantastic!  High enough that it has a lot of coverage and silicone grip in the bottom hem so it doesn't creep up during a workout.  
Athleta Fastest Track Tank:  Originally $44, paid 3.50

I love track pant material.  Something about it being so lightweight and comfortable makes everything in that type of fabric my go-to when the weather gets warmer.
Athleta Allegro Capri:  Originally $69, paid $5

 Black leggings of any length are a must have in any wardrobe!  And added bonus, generally it can be acceptable casual wear, or under a dress that's a little too short.
Tasc Performance NOLA Fitted Capri:  Originally $58, paid $3.50

I love a good brightly colored water bottle with a small opening so I can get water easily during my workouts, but removable so I can add ice and the entire container can easily be cleaned.  
Tervis Water Bottle:  Originally $24.99, paid $2.50

It's never too early (or too late) to work on my outfit for the Jingle All the Way 5k in December!  When I came across these festive, slightly sparkly leggings for an absolute steal I couldn't pass them up!  And then when I got home and did some research, I was absolutely shocked at the original retail price of these leggings.
Terez Candy Cane Leggings:  Originally $82, paid $3.50

Anyone have any good thrifting finds?  Anyone racing soon?  My next one isn't until early June.  Although some May races have caught my eye, so it's possible my next race might be even sooner.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

2017 Little Patuxent River 10k Race Recap

When registration came up for the Little Patuxent River 10k and Half Marathon back in December I thought "Sure, I could do a trail 10k in February.  It'll keep me motivated over the holidays!"

Once race weekend hit all I could think about was "WHY did I think this was a good idea?!"  The weather report called for a messy wintery mix so naturally I was just dreading it.  But off I went to packet pickup.  And it was quick.  I was second in line when I arrived, and quickly got my shirt and bibs (one for timing, the other showing that I was running the 10k.)

On race morning, I dressed warmly in my Flyout tights and jacket and wazzie wool baselayer from Oiselle, along with my Balega blister resist socks and hat and my favorite buff twisted and flipped into a hat.

Since there was only one water stop that you passed by at the 1.5 mile and the 4.5 mile points I also grabbed my handheld water bottle.  I decided against gloves (big mistake.)

I got to the starting area a little less than an hour before gun time, used the bathroom and by the time I got out I started seeing some familiar faces from a local running group that I hadn't seen in awhile.  (I had been laying low lately over the winter and doing a lot of my runs on the treadmill.)  I took a few moments to catch up until it was time to line up.  My hands were freezing so I spent entirely too much time with my hands in my armpits feeling like Mary Katherine Gallagher (minus the smelling part.)

Once we lined up it started lightly snowing and I knew we were in for an interesting race.

The race starts out on the Little Patuxent Branch Trail a little ways from the Guilford Pratt Truss Bridge which I feel like I've run at least a hundred times.  From there you cross a street (normally scary since drivers fly down the hill, but not so much with cops there to stop traffic) go up a hill then turn to pick up the trail and essentially follow the perimeter of the cleared trails.  (Obligatory link just in case you want to see the course map.)  This part I haven't run as much, but it was marked out well with large arrow signs since it loops around a little bit.

At about the halfway point of the race, the sleet started.  It wasn't so bad on the trail portion of the race, but once we got closer to the finish, the freezing rain started and the pavement started feeling really slick especially since I was wearing trail running shoes.

The course itself was challenging but doable and great for beginner trail runners, especially if you have the chance to try them on your own beforehand.  (Case in point, my average pace was about 2 minutes faster than it was on any of the loops during last year's Ragnar Trail Relay.)

At the end of the race you're handed a bottle of water, and a pint glass with the race logo with a ticket for a hot beverage (either coffee or hot chocolate.)  Then opposite the coffee they had post-race snacks that were the usual--chewy granola bars and chips.  (For a $30 10k, I wasn't expecting much.)

(The Balega Blister Resist socks were perfect.)

Overall, if you're a winter runner and/or enjoy trail races I'd recommend doing this race at least once.  It's inexpensive ($30!) and it sells out fast.  It was crowded, but tolerable because you could still easily pass people if you were patient.  The course is easily accessible if you want to try it out beforehand and is a great way to try a trail race before race season even starts.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Boston Marathon 2018 Weekend Recap Day 3: Marathon Monday!

(ICYMI:  Here's Day 1 and Day 2)

By the time I went to sleep on Sunday night, the rain had become pretty steady and still was when I woke up.  I packed up the last of my belongings and turned on the tv to watch the beginnings of marathon coverage.  They were saying nothing new, so I went ahead and grabbed all my bags and left them with the front desk of the hotel and headed towards the T.

I managed to get to the commuter rail station just in time to get my tickets for the day and sprint to the train, which was truly an amazing feat since I was wearing rain boots.  (I pretty much immediately got a blister on my heel.)  I sat down and after catching my breath I started eating breakfast (a picky bar) while the train chugged away towards Wellesley.

Once I got to the Starbucks, there were a few other members of the Volee so I went ahead and chatted with them before getting coffee.  By this point a few of the pushrim athletes had already passed (I was a little disappointed to have missed Tatyana McFadden, a fellow Marylander, who went on to win her division.)  Once the pushrim athletes were beginning to pass by more often, we stood at the fence and cowbelled and cheered for them.  We were basically warming up until the elite women came through.  It was just as I remembered last year, except even more exciting because we had the best chance of a woman winning Boston in several years.

Then the parade of vehicles began.  First the police on motorcycles.

Then the pickup trucks, with the first one showing the runners gun time.  Then the rain came down even heavier and all I could do was laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation.  I was already soaked and starting to get cold, but it was so worth it.

And then the first elite runners--the women!!

At this point, Mamitu Daska was in the lead, then Buzunesh Deba, Molly Huddle, Edna Kiplagat, and bringing up the rear is Desi Linden and Shalane Flanagan.

Shalane and Desi!! 

They make running 6:00 miles look so effortless!  

Soon after the women passed, a few of us went back inside to keep tracking their progress.  Within a few minutes I said "the elite men should be passing by soon" just in time to look up from my phone and see the men glide past the window.  From here we cycled between being in the rain, cheering on runners to drying off and warming up in Starbucks and checking on how the women runners were doing and how our friends and other runners were doing.  This year since Meb was running for charity, he started in the second wave and it was great getting to see him really enjoy himself.  (And he waved at us when he heard us yell for him.)

About an hour after the elite women passed I started refreshing the BAA app, we noticed that Desi was at the front of the pack.  And with less than two miles left, she was the only one popping up in the elite women's section and that's when I realized "You guys!  She's by herself!"

We started watching our phones like hawks and then we saw the news:  DESI LINDEN WON!  Our table in that Starbucks erupted in cheers, and I pulled out the poster board and sharpie from my backpack and I excitedly wrote "Desi Won!" and shoved the board into a clear plastic bag.  I also opened up a bag of twizzlers and had the sign in one hand and twizzlers in the other by the fencing showing the runners my sign.  

It wasn't much, but the reactions were priceless.  You could tell who the running nerds were, and generally the reaction was "REALLY?" then as they kept going you'd hear "Yaaayyyyyyy" 

Occasionally I'd pass out twizzlers to fellow spectators as they got water logged (it turns out we were basically right after an aid station with gu, so not many runners were interested.)  And we enjoyed seeing people's reactions to Desi's big win, and giving hugs to friends who needed the extra encouragement.  Soon the group of us trickled down into just Sally Bergesen, Lesko, and myself.  I couldn't leave yet and not just because the next commuter train was scheduled at 2:50 and it was only 1:00.  My DC Volee teammate, Jill, hadn't passed yet.  I told her I would be there.  Then she finally got to us at 1:38 and her face said it all. 

Story time: Yesterday in Boston was hard for everybody. I stood out at the fencing when I knew someone was getting close. And cheered and offered a hug and a twizzler. One of my fellow DC volee teammates knew way ahead of time yesterday would be rough. So I asked if she needed anything. She said twizzlers. So I bought 2lbs (that got my carry on bag flagged by TSA) and on race day I stood out there with my bag of twizzlers. As they started to get water logged I started eating them and offering them to others around me. I knew Jill would be looking for me. I had to be there. She did the same for me during my first marathon last fall. I watched the BAA app as she got closer and I could tell she would be hurting. Finally I saw her and she came over and needed a hug first. Then twizzlers. Then reassurance that it would be okay and she can and should keep going. The interaction maybe lasted less than a minute but my heart broke for her because this was not the race she was expecting, even more so because of the weather. But she did it!!! She finished AND got her sixth star and now can be called a World Marathon Major Finisher. But even more so she’s a finisher of one of the hardest years for the Boston Marathon EVER. Congrats, Jill!! You did it!!! Photos by @drlesko . . #sweatpink #sweatpinkambassador #oisellevolée #oiselleteamdmv #sistersinsport #bostonmarathon #runboston #bostonmarathon2018 #bostonstrong
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All I remember her saying is "It's so hard!" And soon she was on her way and the three of us went back into Starbucks for one last cup of coffee.

I still had time to kill so I said bye to Sally and Lesko and waited inside Starbucks until it was almost time for the train.  This year it was slightly easier getting back to the train, because by this point the packs of runners had almost completely passed through and the spectators were pretty much gone.  It was so hard to get the motivation to go back out in the cold rain because I was freezing and completely soaked, but I found it in a little Italian market up the street that also had a deli.  (I had only eaten my picky bar and twizzlers so I was a little hungry.)  Walking in the place looked amazing.  But I only had eyes for the deli counter.

Okay it only ended up being one:  Fresh mozzarella.

I ordered my sandwich and was practically drooling as the woman pulled out the leg of prosciutto and started shaving off pieces for my sandwich.  I was running low on time so I shoved it in my bag and went back out in the rain to wait for the train.  Once I got to the station, everyone was gathered under the overpass to try and get some shelter from the rain.  And naturally the train was running late.  I kept reminding myself that soon we would be on the train and this was only temporary.  And people are doing something much more difficult in the rain right now.  I'm just waiting for a train to get back to the hotel to get my bags before heading to the airport.

Once I got back to my hotel, I retrieved my bags and went to the bathroom to change into some dry clothes.  (I have never been so thankful to overpack by one whole outfit.)  Then I took a seat in the hotel lobby and took out my sandwich and bottle of sparkling water.  And they did not disappoint.

Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil leaves. It was perfect.

After inhaling my sandwich, I started checking my email and there was one from my airline saying my flight was delayed from 7:15 to 7:55.  That was fine, I could just relax in the lobby a little longer.  Soon it jumped to 11:15.  I still had my can of White Claw hard seltzer from the Runner's World pop up hoping to drink it at some point.  I look over and see someone getting a pizza delivered.  Seconds later I see another email saying my time was bumped up to 9:40 and it was almost 7:30.  I grabbed my bags and went to throw out my trash.  I saw the person with her pizza at the elevator and offered her my remaining drink.  

"This is going to sound really weird.  I'm about to get on a plane so I can't take this.  Do you want it?" (Show her the can of hard seltzer)
"SURE! Thanks!"  
And feeling like a magical booze fairy I run out the door to catch the next train to the airport shuttle.  

And then by the time I got to the shuttle, my flight got bumped to a later time.  After a few more bumps, I was flying home at midnight on what should've been a 7:15 flight.  

I finally got home at 1:45am.  And when my head hit the pillow, I crashed hard.  I was exhausted by the amazing weekend, but as always it was oh so worth it.

I went into this weekend swearing next year I'll spectate from home.

By the time I started to head home I began making plans to come back next year.  This time with some of my Badass Lady Gang in tow for the ultimate running nerd weekend in Boston for Marathon Monday.

Boston, I love you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Boston Marathon 2018 Weekend Recap Day 2: Meet-ups, the Finish Line and more Expo Fun!

In case you missed it, here's Day 1 of my trip.

So onto day 2 of my Boston trip.

It was MUCH colder so I  bundled up with as many layers as I could reasonably wear.  (I wore a wazzie wool base layer, Oiselle hoodie, a light rain jacket, jeans and a wazzie wool neck gaiter.)

Outside the Seaport World Trade Center

As I walked over to the Thinking Cup for a meet up with the Oiselle Volee, I was pelted by little pieces of sleet as I walked from the T stop.  I was definitely thankful for a good cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich with the Oiselle Volee and Oiselle Founder, Sally Bergesen and Dr Sarah Lesko (known just as Lesko to the birds) who is Sally's BRF (Best Running Friend) and Oiselle's head of Corporate Development.  I met them both for the first time at the Women's March in DC and spent time cowbelling with Lesko in Boston last year.  It was great getting to connect with birds I hadn't seen since last year and meeting new birds who were running on Marathon Monday.

From the Thinking Cup, I headed over to the Make Way for Ducklings statues in Boston Common since it was right across the street.  I was so excited to see that they had spring bonnets with flowers and that pots of daffodils were placed by each of the ducks.

After that, I hopped on the T again to get closer to the Goodr/Rabbit pop up shop on Newbury street.  I couldn't decide on a color for sunglasses, so I moved on to check out the Runner's World Pop Up on Boylston where there was a panel of experts offering advice for Marathon Monday.  The main concern was just how to prepare for the cold rain.  One great tip was to keep nutrition close to your body so it doesn't freeze up.  Basically keep it in a pocket in your leggings rather than a running belt so your body heat can help keep the gu and chews.  I also picked up a can of White Claw hard seltzer for later and some free sunglasses and a headband with their logo.

Afterwards I  headed over to Trader Joe's to grab a quick lunch (I settled on a turkey club wrap) along with some of their Raspberry Lime Sparkling Water.  I shoved the bottle of water into my backpack and ate my wrap as I  headed to the nearest T stop.  It was finally time to experience the expo in full.  And unsurprisingly, it was a lot better than Saturday in terms of crowds because the marathoners were at home resting for the big race the next day.

I managed to get away only buying a couple pieces of merch--a hat from Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston and I finally settled on a pair of Goodr sunglasses in Swedish Meatball Hangover (yellow frames, blue lenses.)  However the swag was much better since vendors wanted to get rid of as much as they could.  Here's my haul for day 2:

I got a 5oz sample from Vital Proteins, 2 full sized samples of Mighty Muffins from Flapjacked, a pack of mints and cups of brown rice and quinoa from Minute Rice, a full sized Trimino protein water, a Pure Protein bar, 2 lara bar samples, a copy of Women's Running magazine, a can of White Claw hard seltzer (which I tasted at the expo) along with a headband and sunglasses and a poster board from John Hancock that you could decorate at the expo.  (In this case, I didn't decorate it and intended on writing the American winner for the Boston Marathon to show to the runners.)

After a little bit of a break I headed back to Copley Square to meet up with a DC Oiselle Volee teammate to Uber to the team dinner at a Boston Volee member's house.  It was super simple--pasta, meatballs, salad and cookies and good company.

It was fun getting to know other team members and getting to meet one of Oiselle's Haute Volee (their elite running team), Sasha Gollish.  My fellow DC teammate wanted to get back early since she was running the next morning and we ended up Ubering back to downtown Boston with Sasha!  (That was kind of cool.)  After getting dropped off, I still had a little bit of a walk to get to the T and back to my hotel.  The path to the T took me right past the Finish line.  It was only 8:00 and the drizzle had started.  I could see there was barely anyone there.  I had to go check it out.  And I am so happy I did.

It was absolute pure magic.  I had chills just thinking about how history could be made in this exact spot in less than 14 hours.

Being in the spot where history will be made tomorrow was absolutely incredible. It was barely even 8:00, but yet there were about 20 people just walking around taking pictures in the drizzle. After having completed my own first marathon and just thinking about all the sacrifices and work that went into somebody getting to this point is absolutely awe inspiring. (Seriously. I nearly cried. And I’m not much of a crier unless it’s something HUGE.) Marathoners, enjoy every second! THIS is your victory lap! I’ll see you at 13.1. I’ll be on your right holding a sign showing the winners in one hand and twizzlers in the other. . . #nuunbassador #balegaimpi #balegaimpiteam2018 #balegabestsocksever #teamzensah #hshive #sweatpink #sweatpinkambassador #marathonmonday #bostonmarathon #cantstopmarathonmonday #victorylap #abbotworldmarathonmajors
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I was so excited to see what would happen the next day.  The forecast couldn't keep me away.  Not a whole lot could.  I had rain boots, a rain jacket, waterproof pants, and twizzlers, a blank piece of posterboard, a clear plastic bag and a sharpie packed away in my backpack.  I was in it for the long haul even as the rain started.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Boston Marathon 2018 Weekend Recap Day 1: BAA 5k, Meetups and the Expo

Last year after going to Boston, I really wanted to come back for Marathon Weekend.  After Shalane Flanagan won the NYC Marathon, I just knew she would soon announce that she would be running Boston.  That clinched it for me.  I had to come back.  (She was supposed to run in 2017, but a back injury sidelined her after the Tokyo Marathon.)

I started looking at hotels and flights immediately and settled on a schedule similar to last year where I would arrive later on Friday, run the 5k on Saturday, then fly back Monday evening after watching the Marathon.

Shortly after arriving on Friday night I finalized my outfit for the BAA 5k the next morning.

The next morning, the 5k race conditions were very similar to last year, except maybe slightly cooler and so sunny.  It was the perfect morning for a race!  I grabbed my race shirt then walked over to a meeting spot with my Oiselle Volee teammates.  On the way over, I noticed someone was being followed by a camera and boom mic and realized it was Scott Jurek!  It looked like he was doing a quick shakeout before the 5k.

I kept walking while eating my usual Smooth Caffeinator Picky Bar and took a quick picture with the Volee then we were off to the start.  After dropping off my race shirt at bag check, I got separated from one of my teammates who was also running the 5k so I just went ahead and bypassed the lines for the portajohns (my hotel was close enough that I didn't need them, and it was just a 5k.  That's a really short race for me now after my first marathon this past fall.)  Then on my way to a corral I ran into a DC Volee teammate and stopped while the National Anthem was being sung.  After it was over we ended up seeding ourselves further back past the pace to Scott Jurek?  (That's not intimidating at all.)  It looked like he was guiding a blind runner for the 5k.  (Scott is in the yellow shirt.)

Pretty sure I nerded out more this year than last because I recently read his book, "Eat and Run" and he just released a new one about his run through the Appalachian Trail, "North:  Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail."  I didn't approach him though because it looked like he was pretty occupied and from what I've heard guiding blind runners is fun but sounds a little stressful.  Essentially the guides have to guide blind runners through a race and warn them about passing people, any sort of change in terrain including potholes, manhole covers, grates, etc. so they know they need to step a little higher or move to the side.  There are teams all over the country, but the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers the opportunity to match blind runners with sighted runners for the Boston Marathon.

Just like last year, it took some time to get to the start.  And once again I got to see the elite runners finish.  This time, my DC friend and I got to see Michael Wardian finish.  We called out his name and he started to head in our direction. It would've been nice to finally meet him, but we had a 5k to run!

The course was exactly the same as last year so there weren't any surprises.  The course is flat for the most part and close to the halfway point there's a little bit of a hill but nothing terrible.  This year I actually ran the hills even though my mind kept screaming for me stop.  I have done some difficult things in the past year.  This is nothing.  After that hill, you join up with the three lines that measure out 26.2, run across the finish line and back to the start in Boston Common.  I took a couple walk breaks, and after seeing my official time I was kicking myself for the last one.  This year my time was 31:20.  Exactly 19 seconds slower than last year.  Considering how I was/am coming off of a bad case of IT Band Syndrome from my fall marathon, I am mostly happy with the time.

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After the race, I headed over to the Thinking Cup to grab a cup of coffee before getting on the subway back to the hotel.  Once I returned to the hotel I changed into my race shirt, threw a few things into my running backpack and headed back out for the Nuun Ambassador (or Nuunbassador) meetup.  After getting a swag bag (containing this year's Boston water bottle, two tubes of Nuun Immunity, temporary tattoos and a decal) Mike Sommers, the Chief Field Marketing Manager, said a few words along with Chris Heuisler, the lead Run Concierge for Westin Hotels.  (Kevin Rutherford, the CEO of Nuun, was unable to make it this year.)  Then after a filling the elevators of the Westin Copley Square a few times, we were all down in the lobby and we went for a run towards the Charles River.  And seriously, these runners are fast.  I managed to keep up for the first mile or so, but then quickly dropped back because my legs were a little tired from the 5k.  I couldn't believe that the first mile was 9:04!  The second and third miles were a little more my speed (10:45 and 10:54.)

And naturally we had to take a picture at the halfway point.

I'm off to the right in the orange jacket and the purple running backpack.  After we took the picture I hung back a little more because I at least wanted to get a picture of the scenery.  (It was basically the best day of the whole weekend weather-wise even though it progressively got colder throughout the day.)

Originally I totally intended on heading out from there, until Mike Sommers came back and met up with me just as I was headed back into the city.  He ran with me all the way back and at that point, I might as well go back to the meeting room!  I was glad I did because I got to meet other Nuunbassadors (including fellow Marylander Lauren of Breathe Deeply and Smile, another blogger who I've kept crossing paths with but never really had a chance to say hello.)

From there I headed towards Eataly with a quick detour to check out the finish line area.

Because when you get the Saucony x Dunkin shoes, you gotta take at least one picture on the 3 blue lines signifying the exact 26.2 miles of the marathon.

At Eataly I  got a sample plate of 3 dishes to go since I was running late for an unofficial, last minute meet up at the expo with some ambassadors for Balega.  I was so excited for the caprese salad, caponata, and a fragola salad with tuna.  (Fragola is a kind of pearl shaped pasta.)  The whole train and bus ride over the food was just taunting me.  (By this point it was about 2:00 and I was feeling ravenous!)  Once I got to the expo I stopped by the Nuun booth to say hello en route to the Balega booth.  I met several of the employees, received a bag of swag and after a few minutes continued through the expo.  Since it was Saturday, the expo was crazy busy and in the new venue it felt extra crowded. I made it to the Kodiak Cakes booth to try some of their buttermilk pancakes (yum!), over to Flapjacked to try their probiotic microwave muffin.  I also stopped by the Sparkly Soul booth and got a couple new headbands.  By then I was about done with the crowds and ready to sit down and eat my food from Eataly.  So I hopped back on the bus to the T and to my hotel.

Thanks to Balega and Nuun for the amazing swag!!

Where I promptly inhaled the food that was taunting me for 2 hours.  And it was amazing.  And I  relaxed for the rest of the night because after over 30,000 steps I deserved it.

Today has been bananas. So glad tonight is going to be laidback. Started off the day with a 5k (official time: 31:20, 19 seconds slower than last year 🤦‍♀️) Went back to the hotel for a quick wardrobe change and grab a backpack for the necessities (and inevitable swag) then headed out for a run with my fellow nuunbassadors along the Charles (holy cow you guys are fast! That first mile was 9:23!) then went to Eataly to grab some lunch and take pictures by the finish area (including my Dunkin x saucony shoes on the blue 26.2 lines), took my lunch to the expo and stayed for a quick(ish) hello to @balega_international then a quick once around to see what was there. Then headed back to the hotel and inhaled my food. (And it was amazing. The caponata from the gastronomia counter does NOT disappoint!) Now showered and resting with my legs up. Six miles of running and a total of almost 29,000 steps (so far) makes for super tired legs. . . #nuunbassador #hshive #teamzensah #balegaimpi #balegabestsocksever #balegaimpiteam2018 #sweatpink #sweatpinkambassador #bostonmarathon #cantstopmarathonmonday #baa5k #sauconyxdunkin #dunkindonuts #americarunsondunkin
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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Thrifty Thursday for April!

I know I seem to say it every month, but how is it April already??  I can't wait for the warmer temperatures and spring race season to get into full swing!

April is typically pretty rainy so I always welcome a good light rain jacket like this one!  (Now if only it would actually warm up.)
Marmot ROM Jacket (2013):  Originally $185, Paid $15

Here in the mid-Atlantic it might be April, but it's still been cold.  (We only had one 60*F+ day in the whole month of March!)  So I've still been picking up layers, although they've been getting lighter. 
Lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Tee in Space Dye Heathered Fuel Green:Originally $68 Paid $7

Found this one right by the one above in the same size, so I grabbed it too!
Lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Tee Bleached Coral/Pop Orange:  Originally $68, Paid $7

Another nice, light layer with pockets!  Couldn't pass it up to stash some snacks on the run (literally) or to warm up both hands, which is hard to find in a quarter zip like this one.
Lululemon Pace Pusher 1/2 Zip in Heathered Harbor Blue:  Originally $98, Paid $6

A friend of mine in the Oiselle Volee is a big fan of Lily Pulitzer.  I found these and sent her a message immediately asking if she wanted them, so I grabbed them for her!  The print is so cute, but definitely not my size.
Lilly Pulitzer Leggings:  Originally $98, Paid $7

Anyone racing this weekend?  I have the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler coming up this Sunday and it should be interesting thanks to the weather.  (They're calling for 1-3 inches of wintery mix or snow on Saturday, then record lows on Sunday!)  Anyone have any good thrifting finds last month?  Leave a comment below!