Running On Average

Boston and the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon

As I’ve mentioned before, June 6th I flew up to Boston for the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half and Festival. We stayed at the Best Western by Boston college, and I didn’t get to the hotel until about 10 at night, ended up chatting with some other racers for a while, then going to a Whole Foods for some Dinner (a scone and a nectarine) and that was my night.

I slept in until 7 on Saturday and after breakfast, Danielle and I headed to the Half expo. I have to admit I was a little bit underwhelmed. We didn’t get “swag” bags, just virtual ones that…eh. And the expo was small. There were some neat stands, like the gait analysis, but for Runner’s World, we were expecting much more excitement for all the hype that went behind this race and the fact that it’s RW. We also got there pretty early, so that might have probably played a role in it.

Anyway, instead of sticking around for all the speakers and other events that were offered, some of which seemed really cool, we dropped our stuff off at the hotel and went to explore Boston. If I was a Boston native or had been there before, I probably would have participated more in the race festivities, but my blog is called WanderlustRunning for a reason! We didn’t have any plans for the whole day aside from eat and pick-up our bibs/t-shirts, so it really was just a lot of exploring.

We started by going to Boylston Street to see the Boston Marathon finish line! It’s so strange to see it not on TV or in photos during the race, but just there on a street with cars passing over it like NBD. But to me it is a big deal. Just being there and seeing it makes me want to qualify even more.

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We also went inside the Boston Public Library. The architecture and history of it just amazes me.

Gave Danielle a history lesson on the Old North Church. Feelin’ smart.

One if by land, two if by sea...

One if by land, two if by sea…

Copley Square

Copley Square

Walked through some parks and headed to Quincy Market for lunch and sat out on the steps to eat. I’d show you the honey Dijon chicken sandwich I ate, but, well, I ate it.

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Dr. Seuss inspired?

Dr. Seuss inspired?

Quaint little New England

Quaint little New England

After lunch, we headed up to see the Bunker Hill Monument. I minored in American History in college, so the historical part of Boston was what I really was geeked out about seeing.

Bunker Hill Monument

Bunker Hill Monument

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Then we followed a bit of the Freedom Trail to take a windy route to the USS Constitution! The only part of this ship that is documented as original is the keel, but a lot of it is still from the 19th century, so the history is there. The sailors onboard gave us small tours on each level of the deck, talking about some of the battles of the ship, the operations while onboard, the meals, and how it got its name “Old Ironsides.”

Old Ironsides

Old Ironsides

Canons

Canons

Hammocks for sleeping 4-hour shifts

Hammocks for sleeping 4-hour shifts

Plus, there were military men in uniform so obviously Danielle and I got a little excited.

We took the ferry T back to our hotel area and got a nice view of the city from the water.

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Then we met up with a former vendor/friend of Danielle’s at McGreevy’s. It is a sports bar/Irish pub so it was right up my alley! There was baseball stuff everywhere and we got to watch the horse derby then the NHL finals while we ate. I did something that I never do the night before a race: I had a drink! It was Tullamore Dew infused with apples and cinnamon, mixed with lemon and iced tea. Holy cow, I think it was the best drink I’ve ever had. I can’t even tell you. It tasted like Bert’s Bees honey lip balm smells, but in an incredibly awesome way. That’s the best I can describe it. Oh, and I got a turkey BLT sandwich with sweet potato fries. Yum!

We more or less called it a night after that. Went back to the hotel and just chilled until bedtime.

So I walked 12 miles up, down and around Boston the day before a half marathon. I got to see a new city and wrap myself up in history, inspiration, motivation, Irish tunes, and sports. And that’s what our getaway half races are about. Just having a fun weekend, committing all the pre-race no-no’s, and throwing a 13.1 in there somewhere.

National Running Day vs Nutella Brownies

In case you missed all the Facebook and Instagram hype, yesterday was National Running Day. Everyone was putting in their miles and posting them on various social media sites. Did you run? Did you post?

I didn’t. I had planned to run after work, so I didn’t bring clothes with me in the morning. Well. My stomach was wonky all day, all right, okay, but I was still going to get out there. Except that it started raining around 4 and didn’t quit. And my office/gym is on the other side of the city from where I live. So I just embraced the rest day and made some dinner instead.

1st course

1st course

Dinner and the new edition of RW!

Dinner and the new edition of RW!

Then I decided that if I’m not going to run, hell I might as well make brownies! But not just any brownies, no. Brownies with Nutella frosting! O.M.G.

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To my credit, I did do some ab work before letting myself indulge in a brownie and some coffee. So that counts, right?

I ran an easy 3.37 miles today. I tried to keep it slow and do negative splits and I really thought I was taking my time, but I started with an 8:35, then tried to slow down for an 8:41, then a stomach stop-off, then a 9:05. I have no idea how I’m going to handle my stomach Sunday. Arghh…

But the run felt nice so that made me feel good! 🙂

As seen on my run

As seen on my run

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Tomorrow after I work, I’m flying up to Boston to meet Danielle for the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon Weekend! I’m equal parts nervous and excited. Part of me just doesn’t give a hoot about my time (to an extent) because I know I didn’t put enough work into training this time around, so I just want to enjoy the weekend and race. On the other hand, I don’t want to be a slow poke.

But what I’m really nervous about is my stomach. Because, you know, I’ve been stopping every mile lately and that’s just not a good thing. And I don’t even know how to fix it. That’s the thing with colitis; sometimes there is nothing you can do except tough it out. And. It. Sucks. UGH.

Well that’s my ranting for the day. Your turn!

Is anybody else running the Heartbreak Hill Half this weekend? Anyone doing the hat trick? Overachievers. 😛

Run, Bike…Yoga?

Well hey there! How’s it going in your neck of the woods?

I was flying solo for dinner tonight, so I did it right.

Salad and wine and blogging

Salad and wine and blogging

Yesterday I did a short and fast (for me) 3 miles, blazing through some crazy humidity. I was aiming for 4-5 miles, but my stomach crapped out on me right at the 3 mile mark, so I walked home and that was that. What The Heck?! I thought I was improving and it’s starting to feel like I’m just regressing now! Last Thursday, the same thing happened. I ran 5 miles, but was so SO uncomfortable and had to stop 3 times. I’m so frustrated by this.

On a positive note, I kept an 8:19 pace yesterday even with hills and humidity so that made me feel good. #upside

But seriously.

But seriously.

Is it just me, or is anyone else sometimes incredibly grateful when are crossing a busy street, but have to stop and wait for some cars to pass? Sometimes I hate it because I’m going and in a groove, but yesterday it was a nice little pause for a couple cars. 😛

Since I have a race this weekend, I’m not lifting this week and I’m already going a bit stir crazy. I feel lazy! And squishy. I usually lift 3x a week and play volleyball one. I’m in an intramural company league that started the week of my Knoxville race. Convenient! We are somehow in the playoffs, so this will be the last week of it. Which is sad, but means that my Thursday lunch hour is now free so I can take the lunchtime yoga class that I’ve wanted to try since I started working here. Hurray!

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When Dave and I went home Memorial Day weekend, he hooked up a bike rack to his car and we brought our bikes back to Pittsburgh with us. I haven’t ridden consistently since I was…oh about 11, but now that we have a flat bike trail nearby I’m stoked to pick it up again. It definitely won’t replace my running, but will be another great cross training activity. Maybe one day I’ll do a duathalon….

Hopefully we’ll get to start next week, once my race is over and things settle down a bit.

Ready to ride!

Ready to ride!

Speaking of which, what are some must-see places in Boston? And by must-see I mean interesting, easy to get to, and inexpensive free?

Welcome to Summer Weather Running!

This weekend showcased some gorgeous weather out here in the Burgh! But along with that, came some…adjustments…in my running. I had a 10- to 12-miler scheduled for Saturday and was debating running around the neighborhood (hillier) or on the trail (flatter, though not flat). I ended up going with the trail because of its convenient porta john stops.

I woke up around 8:45 and was on the trail by 10:20, which for me to be ready that quickly is unheard of. I usually take 2+ hours of waking up, getting up, and eating before I make my way outside. It was a pretty nice run, not too many complaints. Plenty of porta john stops because my mind was messing with me, but whatever. I went a mile passed the furthest I’ve gone on the trail before, which meant exploring! I got to run down a steep hill and up some very, very shallow steps. I also got to run along a train track for a mile or so before stopping and turning around.

Sunny skies, country music, and the faint smell of the beach...running bliss

Sunny skies, country music, and the faint smell of the beach…running bliss

Stop and enjoy the turnaround point

Stop and enjoy the turnaround point

It wasn’t a bad run and I actually quite enjoyed it, but it was hot and I was tired and sluggish. To the point of walking a little and actually just all out stopping and sitting on a bench at one point. I’m not sure what my deal was. I didn’t start out too fast. I think the heat, quitting a medication on Friday (it was making my stomach totally haywire), and Friday’s eats (not exactly healthy) were making me sluggish. I was also battling the usual stomach-ness, where if I stretch my body too much or run at a certain pace, my intestines get all cranky and I need to walk, pause, or find a porta john asap. Which feels a little like cheating to me, but there’s nothing I can do about it except push through and just run the best that I can.

I dont care what that says, it was hotter than that!

I dont care what that says, it was hotter than that!

Anyway, like I said, I actually enjoyed the run. I was glad I did 12 miles because I went into it only anticipating 10. I’m running the Heartbreak Hill Half in Boston next week with my friend Danielle. I had big goals for this race, but honestly, I got cocky after running Knoxville and undertrained like woah. One (dreadful, stomach-sick, walk-filled) 8-miler, two 10-milers and Saturday’s 12-miler were my longest runs and most of the others hovered in the 3-4 range (with a fun fantastic 6-miler thrown in one mid-week). Still I’m hoping that the hills I run will help me out for Boston. My shorter runs haven’t even been that fast, I’m now realizing. I’m pretty much screwed for this race. Oops. Live and learn, I guess!

So, Danielle, if you’re reading this, be ready for my turtle pace on Sunday!

The weekend as a whole was just amazing. After running, Dave and I explored the Tanger Outlets and I found some great deals, though perhaps too many. (I’m looking at you, J.Crew!) For dinner, we bought the Blue Moon summer case and grilled up steak, potatoes and veggies and ate al fresco, hanging out on our patio until 10, then going inside and watching American Hustle. It turned out to be pretty great! Sunday, we went to mass and had brunch before Dave packed and had to leave for a business trip. Which is fun for a while, but then gets lonely. I countered the loneliness with Chinese takeout for dinner and a lot of cleaning while watching reruns of Castle.

How was your weekend? Did you log any good miles, fast or slow, hot or cool?