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Twas the night before Boston.

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It’s the night before Boston. I have so many things that I want to (and eventually will) write, but it’s the night before Boston and I have to get my butt to bed soon!! Somehow tomorrow I am running my fifth marathon?!?! How did that happen?! Why does it still feel like my first?

Goals? Well I’m pretty sure I’m fit enough to run a 7:45 pace give/take IF the legs show up- BUT it’s going to be 70 degrees tomorrow. While 70 degrees isn’t horrible, I’ve been training in 40-45 degree temperatures. So, I’m going to adjust my plan and run smart! My #1 goal is to run sub 3:35. My #2 goal is to run sub 3:29:30 (last year time, 7:55 pace). My #3 goal is to nail 7:45 average- whatever time that is. But no matter what- I’M GOING TO HAVE A KICKASS TIME AND SMILE FOR ALL THE MILES!!

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*If you’re running on the course I’m pretty sure I’ll be wearing my hot pink compression socks and Lone Runner shirt (pictured above) and running on the south side (right side) of the road).

*If you’re watching from home I’m bib #15405. 

I’m nervous as hell, but there’s no turning back now!! Time to run myself a marathon!!

 

Never Stop Running,

Kass

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Hello Tuesday morning, you sexy thang.

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Boston Bound: Meet Lisa Grafton

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On May 31st, 2015 I received an email from a blog reader interested in my coaching services. I had just completed the RRCA run coaching certification program (read about it: here and here) and I was an eager young coach ready to share my passion with as many runners as possible. Then I received an email from a Miss Lisa Grafton and I immediately became scared sh*tless. It’s one thing to train yourself for a marathon. It’s an entirely different matter when a complete stranger puts their marathon dreams in your hands for the next 4-5 months. You better be darn sure that you can get them to marathon on race day!

In all honesty back in May of 2015 I was about seventy percent sure that I could confidently get an athlete to marathon day… ok that’s low balling- let’s go with seventy five percent. Because I was so green in the coaching field when Lisa approached me for coaching I was brutally honest with her about my newness. Since she had been following the blog she knew of my coaching knowledge- or lack thereof – already. But she knew me- my passion for running, my training philosophy, my experiences working at the running store and my know-how of learning to run after my daughter was born- she knew it all and she was willing to take the risk. There are times in our life when we just need someone to give us a chance at our dream and Lisa gave me that chance. She was willing to risk her marathon dreams of a BQ on me- and for this I will be forever grateful. <3

Since May 31st 2015 Lisa and I have sent 887 emails to each other- that’s more than 2 emails a day. She has seen me through being a stay at home mom, to working at the running store, a divorce, escapades in dating, love, loss and life. I have coached her through 2 marathons (Baystate 2015 and 2016) and countless races at every distance. I have stood at the finish line to catch her in my arms – sometimes as she flies into the finish with a PR (SSYMCA Frozen 5k with a 22:52, 7:22 pace) and sometimes with tears in her eyes as she tries to shake off the pain from a TOUGH race (oh Run to the Rock Half Marathon 2016 why do you have to always be balls hot out with evil evil rolling hills??).

 

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Lisa (far left in pink hat) nailed her 5k PR at the 2016 SSYMCA Frozen 5k!!

 

On March 10th 2017 I finished the Black Cat 10 miler in a feels like of -8 degrees, glanced at my watch and knew that Lisa wouldn’t be too far behind me. So I turned around and I ran to her. I found her trudging through the 30+ mph winds in the final mile of the course and told her to tuck in behind me. I told her, “Don’t think. Just follow my feet. Four laps around the track left… WE GOT THIS…three laps… never stop running… two laps… the finish line is just around the corner… ONE lap. GO GO GO.” In May 2015 Lisa took a chance on me and I’ll always do my absolute best to be there for her. Why? Because sometimes in life you need someone to believe in you enough so that you can begin to believe in yourself and your own strength. I’m starting to realize that Lisa and I do that for each other <3 

 

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Meet Lisa:

Bradford, MA,  47 yrs,  Bib # 21165

Here is her Boston story…

 

For the first time in my life I will not be standing on the sidewalks spectating the Boston Marathon – this year, I will be on the course, running. I’ve been running since 2008 – countless 5ks and half marathons, 6 marathons.   Back in 2008, I was not working, my kids were in 1st grade and preschool and for the first time, I found myself with a few hours to myself.  I had a new gym membership and found myself walking on a treadmill quickly becoming bored.  Curiosity led me to increasing the speed on the machine and I was soon breaking into a light jog and the best part was that I wasn’t losing a lung in the process.  Each day I returned fascinated by this challenge of pushing myself farther and faster.  I was hooked.  Once I had graduated into racing the half marathon distance, I knew I would run a marathon but that my heart would tell me when that time would be.  

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Each year, I would watch the Boston Marathon and be so inspired by the countless numbers of “regular” runners making that 26.2 trek from Hopkinton.   There were some years that I would join my father in his annual pilgrimage from Haverhill, MA to downtown Boston to spectate the marathon.  During those times together, he would turn to me and say “someday” meaning “someday” he would be watching me out there running the course.  Yeah, Dad, maybe someday.  When the bombings happened in 2013, I was devastated for so many different reasons, but it was then that I knew I was ready to run my first marathon.   I was now a full-time working mother with a husband who worked second shift.  This meant that my training runs were always run early in the pre-dawn hours before I needed to get the kids and myself ready for school and work. After I finished my second marathon only 5 minutes slower than my Boston Qualifying time (3:55) I knew I had a qualifying run in me. 

 

A couple of failed attempts later and I found Kass.  Actually I think I was meant to find her.  It was 5 days after I had run my 4th marathon and blew up on the race course.  I was very discouraged.  I had been following Kass’s blog – loving her honesty,humor and ability to connect with me through her words – and she had just  announced her plans to pursue a running coach certification.  I contacted Kass asking if she’d coach me to hit my goal to qualify for Boston.    Kass introduced me to heart rate training, track workouts, and strength work.   I began to run faster than ever and felt strong when I ran.   I never once missed a workout – I logged every mile Kass put in front of me, every crazy core exercise, all the strength.  There would not be any regrets.  I did not want to risk falling short of my goal. The day of my goal race arrived and for 26.2 miles I maintained a pace I would never even dream about before working with Kass.  Mile after mile, it all clicked.  The weather, my fueling, my legs.  I crossed the finish line 11 minutes faster than the time I needed to qualify.  11 minutes!  There was no denying that I was going to run the 2017 Boston Marathon.  I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time.    That day is now here.  Kass has continued to coach me (she’s the best) and I’ve had a successful training cycle -with the exception of the flu arriving to visit me last week.  When I think of all that Boston is and visualize myself as a part of this momentous day, I become overwhelmed with emotion.  I’m excited to share this day with so many and to give my Dad  his “someday” 

xoxo,

Lisa (Bib #21165)

 

 

Two years ago Lisa was a complete stranger who lived in a town about 45 min north of Boston. Today she’s not only my athlete but my close friend whose daily emails about her runs wield the power to make inappropriate jokes that makes me spit out my coffee at work in-between bouts of snarky laughter. Muhahhahaha!! On Monday Lisa will tackle her FIRST Boston. I can’t even begin to express how amazing this journey has been and how sweet the victory of running the Boston Marathon will taste. GO GET YOUR BOSTON LADY!! YOU DESERVE IT!! I love you!

Never stop running,

Kass

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Boston Bound: Meet Miss Laurie.

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It coming!!!!

It’s race week runners! I met with 24 clients this week, talked to a few potential new athletes and have one athlete racing the Newport Half Marathon and 3 athletes racing Boston. It’s Thursday night and my head is full of feelings from the day job. My belly wants all the carbs. My heart just wants to fast forward to Monday. Ahhh beautiful taper psychosis is in full effect but not just for me… for my athletes too! My inbox is FULL with back and forth threads from my Boston bound athletes pertaining to getting buses to the start, pacing, fueling and hydration plans (it’s going to be a warm one!). I love all of my athletes to pieces, but yes, sometimes I do feel like preparing marathoner’s for Boston is like trying to soothe a pair of triples to sleep in the same room. You soothe one to sleep and the other starts chirping! Haha we runners are so neurotic and I love it! Talking running is what I dooooooo! 🙂  I LOVE MY CHICKADEES!!!  <3.

This training cycle I had the honor of training three athletes for Monday’s Boston Marathon. You, my readers, have an insight into my running story but I wanted to give you the opportunity of hearing some of the other amazing stories that are out there. I have asked each of my Boston runners to write a short post about their Boston story, why they run and what they hope to accomplish on race day. I’ll be posting their stories in the next few days along with their name and bib # so you can follow them along on race day.

 

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Laurie S. (left)

Meet Laurie.

Laurie is a long-time blog reader who approached me last November via a FB message. She expressed interest in getting a coach (I’m listening...), things didn’t go well for her in her last Boston (because we weren’t training together, duh!!). Then she dropped the bomb: she is running for the mobility division, ran over 5 hours at her last Boston while limping to the finish and getting through training and the marathon injury-free is her number one priority (Whoa whoa whoa Miss. Lippy- tv time out. Whaaaat?!?). Number two? KICK ASS, TAKE NAMES AND PR (done and done). The combination of priority number one and number two gave me heart palpitations.

 

I talk a lot about coaching athletes to bend without breaking but this time I was TRULY worried that I might break Laurie. I’ll be honest- part of me was extremely apprehensive about taking Laurie on as an athlete. She was placing her marathon dreams and physical safety in my hands and I respect that as a huge responsibility.

 

One Friday afternoon in early November Laurie and I had a long conference call as I drove my bum down to CT to meet my guy. I drove and we chatted while I made my way from Boston to the CT border. Funny how when you start talking running you can talk to a complete stranger for hours :). While our back and forth emails helped me get to know Laurie I needed to hear her voice. Her voice was steady, her passion was powerful and she was determined one way or another to take revenge on the Boston Marathon course this year. During that phone call I became entranced with story and I wanted to be the one to safely coach her to her marathon dreams. So we brainstormed on how to ride the fine line of keeping her running safely, while also breaking down the walls of what she thought she was capable of. Holy wow! The results have been astounding!! Here is her story…

 

Laurie writes:

What running this Boston Marathon Means to me:

 

My story? What is my story?!? Hmmm. Well, I was born with a severe clubfoot, and my parents were told I would never walk. I have had too many surgeries to count and grew up mostly in a wheelchair. My parents drove me to be like everyone else, and would not allow me to feel sorry for myself. They signed me up for whatever the other kids were doing. I would drag my leg, I would be in pain – but I never gave up.

 

Five years ago I started pushing children who had disabilities through road races. I pushed my girlfriend’s child during a race that went from New York to Canada and by doing that I qualified for the Boston Marathon Mobility Division.

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Laurie and her son at the 2015 Boston Marathon

 

At one point in my life I was told that I would never walk and yet I have now run the Boston Marathon twice. Monday’s race will be my third and final Boston marathon. This time around running Boston means something entirely different. At mile 6 last year, I ruptured a disk in my back, fell to the ground in pain and I lost feeling in my leg and foot. The medical team came to my aid and tried to pull me off the course. I immediately looked to my son (who was my mobility division marathon guide at the time) and said

 

“In life you can choose to give up or keep going; let’s finish this.

 

I have never experienced so much pain in my life as during that marathon. Out of sheer will and determination four and half hours from that moment we crossed the finish line. Due to that injury, I still have yet to regain feeling in my thigh and cannot feel my foot hit the ground on my bad leg. In fact I had to relearn how to run without these feelings and unfortunately even more weakness in my already bad leg.

 

This leads me to my REVENGE TOUR! I am doing Boston ONE MORE TIME! This time I knew it would be the hardest thing I have ever done, mentally and physically. But I am determined to show my children that you can do anything in life you put your mind to, as well as the children born with my disability that they too can accomplish anything with no boundaries.

 

Kass has pushed me beyond my comfort zone and has helped me become comfortable being uncomfortable. She has shown me that I am capable of more then I ever thought possible and I am slowly believing it one step at a time. I have improved in such a short time, I was running 10:50 minute miles when I started training in December , my last long training run I did 20 miles with an average of 9:37 even with only running with one leg and the other leg just comes along for the ride. I will hit the starting line on Monday with my son by my side and I will take down Boston one mile at a time.

 

Boston HERE I COME! 

Laurie (bib #25171).

 

 

Isn’t she amazing?? Laurie, thank you for letting me coach you during your self-proclaimed Revenge Tour. No matter what happens on Monday it has been an absolute honor coaching you this training cycle- together we’ve seen you run your fastest mile, break your half marathon PR by over 10 minutes and safely push harder than you ever imagined for your body. Thank you for trusting me to coach you!! So. Much. Love. – Kass

 

FOLLOW LAURIE on Monday: bib #25171.

Never stop running,

Kass

 

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We are Boston Strong.