formats

Boston Marathon 2018: Who to track.

 

IT’S COMING!! THE BOSTON MARATHON!! Runner’s Christmas! I may not be running the marathon this year but that doesn’t mean I’m any less excited. The energy in town is explosive right now so much so that I went into Boston all myself yesterday. That’s right- yesterday I challenged myself to head into the big city all alone. I ran some errands on Newbury street, headed into Cambridge for Scott Jurek’s book signing of North (his new book about running the Appalachian trail) and then finally made my way to the expo where I was surrounded by thousands of my people- marathoners :). I felt completely at home at the expo bopping around from table to table. I even bumped into my two Lone Runner athletes who happened to be there at the same time (yay Laurie and Will!!), caught up with my favorite Hoka Rep from my running store days and even saw a few other South Shore Running Moms.

 

Scott Jurek and his wife talking about their new book, North.

 

I roamed the aisles, took it all in and was on no one else’s time clock but my own. It was perfection. I bugged the dude at the Garmin booth for a while to help me reprogram my fenix5, sniffled in sadness when I realized that Sweaty Bands didn’t have a booth at the expo this year and inhaled farrrrr too much Krave turkey jerkey (the cherry bbq flavor flav is to die for. Drool.). Oh and MOST IMPORTANTLY I purchased MY RACE CHEERING SHIRT:

 

 

Shalane is MAH GIRLLLLL and I will be cheering her on rain or shine!!  I’M SO EXCITED!! But Shalane isn’t the only one I’ll be looking out for on Monday! One of the best parts about living in Boston and being a member of the amazing running community is that I know A LOT of people who are running on Monday. Here are a few of the runners who I will be tracking on marathon Monday….

 

Laurie Swansey (25104) – My friend and athlete, Laurie was born with club foot and has ran Boston 3 times so far in the Mobility Division. Last year she wrote this post where she declared 2017 would be her final year. The marathon was hard on her body and she swore she was done, especially after having undergone surgery after the race. But then I got an email from Miss Laurie in October telling me that she had secretly signed up for Boston again without telling her hubs and was sneaking in workouts on her new Peleton to safely gain fitness. Bahaha! I love this woman!! Will you take me on again as an athlete?? Kass, will you get me to the starting line?  HECK YES I WILL LAURIE! Tomorrow you will run your 4th Boston and I’m sooooo proud of you! Sub 5- here we come!!

 

 

 

 

Will Hall (25333)- Will is my childhood friend from my days back in Jersey! He moved up to Boston years ago and works like a dog to support with wife, Rena and 2 beautiful sons. This will be Will’s FIRST marathon and he’s aiming for a sub 4:30. GET IT WILL!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Wheeler (5596) Qualified. I’m not sure how or when but Eric has become one of my closest friends and support systems. A husband and father of 2 Eric squeezes in 2 workouts a day and seems to make it to every single hockey and lacrosse game out there.  Wheeler is incredibly fit and has put in the work– time to go sub 3 (that’s 6:52’s people!) on Monday so CHEER HIM ON!

 

 

 

 

 

From left to right: Dana Spencer, a force mulitsport athlete, Eric Snyder.

Dana Spencer (5302) Qualified. If you’ve been a long time reader then you’ve heard me chatter about mister Spencer. Dana is a Quincy firefighter, husband, father of 2 adorable kiddos, Ironman triathlete, marathoner, ultra-marathoner and Force Multisport coach. This guy knows his sh*t. Dana has been immensely supportive to my running and coaching over the years. He follows the Hanson’s Method of running which has taken himself from a 4:13 marathon time to a 3:01! Bring on Boston.

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Norcott (18643) Qualified. I wasn’t sure I’d ever meet anyone who loved running as much as I do, but then I met Sarah (through strava, naturally). This woman is AMAZING. She beams pure glee when she runs, jumps, frolics her way to the finish line and yet takes her running/training incredibly seriously. Side note: I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her without compression socks. She ran a 3:34:34 at Sugarloaf last year to earn a spot at this year’s Boston. Despite some nagging knee pain after last year’s California International Marathon girl has been training day in, day out and I know she has some serious strength in those legs. Sarah- we need to run more together!!

 

 

 

 

Greg Soutiea (28710) – Qualified. Greg thinks Boston’s so nice, he’s going to run it twice!  One wild vegan ultramarathoner with one heck of a beard, Greg will be running the Boston marathon from finish line to the starting line in the wee hours of the morning. A quick change and refuel and then Greg will be on his way again. He uses Boston as a day of fun and sometimes drinks a few beers along the way. This year he has decided to start a the back of the pack and see how fast he can make it to the finish. Read more about Greg, his beard and his ultramarathon adventures on his own blog here. Boston.com highlights this feat in the following article. Greg and Lauren are two of my favorite people in Quincy as not only do we often run together but they keep inviting me over to their home even though I (or my brood) have repeatedly (x3) broken things. Doh!! Home depot gift cards make it all better, riiiight?

 

Lauren Soutiea (19180) – Qualified! This amazing vegan athlete and Quincy resident has been logging the miles day in and day out, many accompanied by her awesome Vizsla Grettle. She even put in a 24 mile split run during training!! Lauren has worked incredibly hard to qualify for Boston and tomorrow will be her day to run hard and HAVE FUN!

Adam Manewell (4794)- I follow  mildly harass Adam on Strava. I own Q-town and Sea Street and he gets all of Weymouth- except for Webb park, that is neutral territory. 🙂 Gotta love having turf wars with people I’ve never met. Adam is an INSANELY FAST runner with the BAA team, husband and father. He is a dedicated athlete and his training has truly taken shape this season. I’m pumped to see what he throws down on Monday.

Thomas Giardino (2270)- Tom is a speedy runner from Falmouth who I met thru Wheeler and the Strava interwebs (naturally). He is aiming for a sub 2:50 and has undoubtedly put in the work. Give it hell out there!!

Christina Hall  (10257) Christina is a Boston south shore mother runner, nurse, ultra-marathoner, Boston Qualifier x8, cross-fitter and entrepreneur of EndurFit Nutrition Coaching. I’ll be brutally honest here: I have a total girl crush on Christina and I think I’ve met her only 1 or 2x. She is a force of nature when it comes to her running and it simply astounds me. Even though she is nursing an injury and hasn’t ran since February Christina is determined to cross the finish line with a walk on Monday. Go Christina!

Katie Lenihan (27540)- Another South Shore running mom this will be Katie’s second Boston! She qualified for her first Boston which ultimately went haywire due to *I believe* she had an alergic reaction on the race course and blacked out around mile 20. Lenihan is on her revenge tour and I know she’s going to kick ass. Go Katie!!

Anne Normand (20831); Apryl S (2086) Westfield, MA , Fred Campagna (7513) Bristol RI. I totally creep on these athletes daily via strava. Anne is committed to her training, Apryl is the epitome of a mother runner as she runs barefoot and often will do sprints in a field to log miles when her daughter is playing and Fred- well Fred is a CT meteorologist! I love reading his strava posts because they ALWAYS include the weather and it makes me chuckle. I’m not sure what Fred is going for, but based on his training I’d say sub 3 (maybe even sub 2:55). It’s been really cool to watch his progression in pace and devotion to training 60-70 mile weeks!

Jessica Byrnes (19033), Derrick Hamel (195), Amanda Deblauw (4856) – Behold the power of Strava stalking! Jess and I are friends via the interwebs as she lives in the town in Jersey where I grew up! Even though I don’t get back to Morristown too often it’s awesome to watch her train on many of the roads I run on!! Derrick is the runner to watch this marathon!! He is a SIX03 runner from Newmarket New Hampshire. Do you see his bib- 195! That’s no joke! He is one INSANELY fast runner and won the Eastern State 20 miler in a 1:48:06 finish time (that’s 5:21 splits people. The best part is the he used this AS A TRAINING RUN. 5:21 splits isn’t his all out pace – vom. I don’t know what time he’s gunning for at Boston but my bet is that it’s sub 2:30. And then there’s Amanda Deblauw, also a SIX03 runner from Newmarket, NH who is gunning for the almighty sub3. Deblauw suffered a stress fracture in the fall of 2016 when she ran the Hartford Marathon in 3:00:31 (6:54 splits), had to duck out of Boston 2017 but is BACK on the hunt for a sub 3.

Abby Coers (16908) Lincoln, IL – I met Abby at the starting line at Boston last year, reconnected with her in the starting corral at Chicago and am SO EXCITED to have her back in Boston this year!! GO ABBY GO!!

Amanda Jacob Erickson (and baby) (13488) Nashville, TN Race4Chase – I met Amanda in the starting corral of my first Boston marathon back in 2015. It’s amazing the random friendships that can begin from standing in the porta potty line :). Amanda is a CRAZY amazing marathoner who runs between 3-4 marathons a year and typically throws down a 3:25 give/take. Although I distinctly remember her running a sub 3:20 the first year we met and she said, “I just felt good, so I went!” This year Amanda will be running for two – and as always she will be raising money for the Race4Chase foundation that serves the Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation.

 

My current plan is to be at mile 21.5 in Cleveland Circle Square. I might be with people, heck, I might be alone… nahhhh I’ll be with THOUSANDS of my closest friend!! I’ll be wearing my shalane tshirt, my green hoodie, jeans and probably a poncho but I’ll be screaming for you all!!! I’m thinking I’ll be on the left side of the road.

HAPPY MARATHON MONDAY!!

** DO NOT FORGET TO WEAR A HAT !!!! ***

Can’t stop, won’t stop. Till you cross the finish,

The Lone Runner

 

 

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Wilder Running Retreat

 

I GOT IN!!! I just found out that I was one of approximately 40 female runners (out of approximately 125 applicants) to have been accepted to go to Lauren Fleshman’s Wilder Running and Writing Retreat at Point Lookout in Northport, Maine next Fall. The three day retreat will be held in late September where participants will write, run, yoga and run some more through the trails and scenic views of Maine.

Wilder Retreat is in its second year and originated in Portland, Oregon. I learned of last years retreat too late to apply but put my name on the list to be one of the first notified for this year’s dates and locations. Led by Lauren Fleshman the retreat is geared towards women of all ages who at their core love to run and write about running. I know, I know- it’s like they created a weekend retreat just for meeeeee! In addition to writing and running there will be a mindfulness/yoga component to the weekend.

In case you’re not familiar with Miss Fleshman’s iconic work, Lauren running has brought 2 USA championships in the 5000 meter event and 5 World Championships for Team USA and a spot in the Hall of Fame. She is the co-creator of Picky Bars, the co-author of the well-known BELIEVE training journal series and is closely affiliated with Oiselle. Oh and girl ran a 2:37 marathon at her first 26.2 attempt at NYC in 2011. Yup, she’s my basically my idol.

A lot has been swirling around in my head this past week. A change is coming, maybe several changes. Good changes? Well, I sure hope so. I want to write about my excitement, my nerves, my hopes, my fears – all of it, but somethings is stopping me. I’m holding a few things close to the chest. It’s necessary. As goofy and open as I am in this blog I put a lot of thought into what I am willing to share with the world. Yet, I wonder if that’s fair. I want to be able to write like nobody is reading but that takes some serious courage and strength. I’m not sure if I’m there yet. My hope is that this retreat will help me further develop my written voice and find the confidence in my writing that has been wavering over the past few months.

The only problem is that I have to wait till September!!! I wanna go nowwwwwwww :).

Time to get ready for Sunday long runday 🙂

-Kass

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Eastern States 20 Miler 2018

Me and my girl, Lisa Gina Grafton (who raced VERY VERY well with 8:47 avg wahoooo!! GET IT LISA!).

I may be training for Sugarloaf Marathon in May but running this spring has been far from a traditional marathon training cycle. My hips are decidedly weak and my hamstring often cramps up on hard runs; consequently I’ve been doing physical therapy 2x a week for about 6 weeks. I’ve backed off of speedwork and most tempo runs to focus on maintaining a marathon training distance of 60-70 mpw. And then there’s my stomach. Trust me, I don’t want to go there, but today we’re going there. Crappity crap crap. WTF body? What is going on here? I’m not injured, but my running has been off. In all honesty I feel like I’ve been on the struggle bus since I PR’ed at the SSYMCA 5k in January (19:48 wahoo). On a positive note my athletes are kicking ass in their training runs nailing 4×1 mile repeats, 800s, tempo runs, you name it. It’s been awesome to watch their progress even if my own has been rather limited.

My body’s hodgepodge of issues led me to sign up for Eastern States 20 miler with the intent of running it as social training run with my friends Lisa and Eric. My initial race plan was to run the first 14 miles at a 7:30-7:40 pace  (estimated, ideal GMP) and then see what I had left for the final 6.

[Sidenote] Do you have any friends who you’re not sure exactly when or how you became such good friends? Yea, that’s Eric Wheeler and Lisa Grafton. When it comes to Wheeler sometimes we chat a lot. Sometimes we don’t talk for weeks. He’s a crazy triathlete who has been incredibly supportive over the years- not to mention that he’s a physical therapist. It’s possible I have a small ulterior motive for our friendship. Muhahaha. I may or may not have sent him videos of my feet in the past asking him to diagnose my pain from 60 miles away. I consider myself lucky the man hasn’t blocked me on all forms of social media. Lisa Grafton is my athlete, my sister from another mister, my person on this Earth who takes my calls at whatever hour of the day or night. Imagine any awkward question you might have about dating, body parts, sex, bodily functions during running, basically anything mortifying that you’re probably better off asking Google or Siri… right, well, I ask Lisa. Lisa is my Siri, and she doesn’t make me feel judged (unlike Siri, that judgy B)

Oh yea, the race… Eastern States 20 miler is a point to point race that begins in Maine, runs along about 19 miles of New Hampshire coastline and ends after you take 2 steps into Massachusetts. If you plan on running this in the future be aware that the race logistics take a moment to wrap your head around. This year runners parked at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, NH and were bused to the starting line in Kittery, ME. There athletes waited in a local high school until race start at 11 am. The race route runs along the coastline, is incredibly flat with a downhill grade and if you’re lucky you’ll get a tailwind to boot! The race finishes about two steps over the Massachusetts state line and is a hair over 20 miles. There the finishers are bused back to to Winnacunnet High School for post-race food, awards and bathrooms (no showers though).

Wheeler picked me up around 6:30 am to make it to the buses in New Hampshire by 8 am. We… errr, I chatted mostly about the tragedy that I brought jeans to wear post race and that in the absence of a post-race shower I will have to wash said jeans. You read that right: I will be forced to wash my jeans. Whyyyyyyy!?! Wheeler simply didn’t understand my feminine plight. Naturally this fruitful discussion passed the hour long drive up to New Hampshire.

We arrived at the starting line around 830 am, met up with Lisa and had 2.5 hours to kill. What on Earth would we do for 2.5 hours?? Thankfully I’m a chatty one with little to no shame so we played a little game of “remember that time I….” Guys, remember that time last year I pretended I was buying a house so I could talk to the cute real estate agent in my office building? (Technically, I’m not NOT looking for a house… turns out he’s engaged. But we’re buds now, so its cool).  Remember the time last fall I couldn’t figure out why I was having digestive issues while running so I spent the better part of a week texting Wheeler to diagnose why I was dying a slow and painful death? Are you doing anything different Kass? … NO! I SWEAR NOTHING!!– Think Kass. Anything different??…. Wait a sec- I have been eating a lot of figs lately. …. Yep, that’ll do it. STAY AWAY FROM THE FIGS KASS.  … whoopsies.

Wheeler, Lisa and I played that game for a while and the hours passed. I wasn’t nervous; mostly I just felt impatient and ready to run. My body was a little thrown off by the later race start. Early morning I had dry cereal (my go-to pre-run. It’s weird, but it’s what I eat.), at 8:30 I ate a cliff bar and at 10:30 I had a half a honey stinger waffle. As I think back to my pre-race ritual I suppose I could have/ should have drank more water. I don’t feel like I avoided water, but apparently my body disagreed.

The race started promptly at 11 am and my mind felt at ease. It’s just a catered training run with a bunch of other runners and some beautiful views of the ocean. I ran this race last year too, but this year was different. This year I was alone. I spent the early miles reflecting on last year’s race; instead of feeling sadness at every mile I felt very much at peace. Memories aren’t painful anymore, they’re just memories. I guess this means I’m healing. So I’m going to do exactly what I love to do; I’m going to keep on running.

The miles ticked away for the first half of the race: 7:41, 7:36, 7:37, 7:38, 7:35, 7:27, 7:30, 7:28, 7:28. I felt good, really good. My breath was even, my stride was balanced and I kept my watch on lap pace so I could stay on top of each mile split. My primary concern was the amount of water I was getting in on the run. Not only does this race have water stops every 2.5-3 miles (IMO not enough stations), but the stations had PLASTIC CUPS! Have you ever tried to bend a plastic cup to funnel water into your mouth? I assure you, it doesn’t work very well. By mile 10 I started to get very concerned that I wasn’t taking in enough. I know how much I typically drink during a marathon and during a training run and my intake on this run was startlingly low. By the third station I started taking 2 cups, but it didn’t matter. It was already too late.

Miles 11-14 is where my body started to unravel. You can’t see it in the paces (7:24, 7:22, 7:26, 7:21), but I felt it in my stomach and eventually my heavy legs and clouded thoughts. With no race portapotties on this portion of the course I kept my eyes peeled for other options. I may have had to hurdle some caution tape, but out of thin air the gods answered my prayers and sent me a construction portapotty. Unfortunately during this side shuffle somehow I stopped my watch and saved the run. Not a big deal, except I wasn’t sure exactly how far I had run. Was I on mile 13? 14? 12? I simply couldn’t remember and this race has its mile markers written in chalk on the ground (easily missed, especially if you’re hallucinating).

I CAN SEE THE FINISH!!!!

 

Miles 15-20 were dicey. I was getting progressively more dehydrated and had a stomach in knots. Instead of descending my splits I quickly turned to survival mode and focused on maintaining my effort. My watch splits are deceiving because I had to stop 2 more times for the bathroom and paused my watch… something I typically wouldn’t do in a race, but this was now just a training run. Splits were: 7:19. 7:22, 7:19, 7:23, 7:32, 7:35. My mind was abuzz with a relentless tirade of one singular thought:  Just get to the next mile. Just get to the next mile. I wasn’t actually sure how many miles I had left… 3… maybe 4? Who knows. Definitely not the police man I asked. I refused to go into panic mode. I refused to allow worry or fear envelope my thoughts. My thoughts were foggy and emotionless. They were simple and consistent: Just get to the next mile. DNF’ing was never an option. I didn’t doubt my ability to finish. I just had to get to the next mile, and then the next. One mile at a time. It was the only way I was going to finish. I credit this mental focus to my being able to push through the physical defeat I was experiencing with every stride.

I crossed the finish line in 2:32:27 (7:35 splits) exhausted and with sharp pains in my stomach, but it was done. I had finished and finally allowed myself to stop running. Shivering and a little disoriented Eric and I reconnected and took the bus back to the high school. Once back I changed into my jeans and my body started to officially revolt. I’ll save the yucky details, but it was a rough go of it. I wasn’t interested in eating or drinking; I just wanted to curl up in a ball and moan for a few hours. Ohhhhhhh, so this is what dehydration feels like!?! Fun times. I made it back home by 6:30 pm, forced myself to eat some chicken soup and crackers and then curled into bed.

I continued to experience some dicey symptoms of dehydration Monday and Tuesday so I booked an appointment with my PCP, had my labs run and got the official go-ahead to run again. The doc shook his little fists at me as he announced in a foreboding tone, “You lucked out this time. But if this happens again you could bleed out and need immediate surgery.  If it happens again STOP RUNNING IMMEDIATELY.” Ok maybe he didn’t literally shake his fists at me, but a warning like that warranted a little fist-shaking imagery. Am I right? ….Regardless, I’m not worried. The lesson: BRING YOUR OWN DAMN WATER FRENCH AND SUCK IT DOWN LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW.

 

Behold the promise land.

 

The silver lining: my run friends are AMAZING and checked in on me throughout the week- THANK YOU to Lisa, Eric, Greg, Anne, Jake, Sarah M, Sarah S., Mark, Laura, and anyone I may have missed. I have far more friends who I can talk about GI distress and intense dehydration with then I have ever imagined. Such an interesting way to feel so loved, but I guess I’ll take it. haha. ohhhhhhh well.

Up next: Washing my jeans 🙁 Then either Newport Half on April 14th or possibly Portsmouth Half on April 22. TBD.

 

Ohbladi  oblada. Life goes on bra. La-la how the life goes on…

Never stop running,

Kass

 

It’s like this ice cream was made especially for this training cycle.