April 24, 2015

BAA 5k Race Recap

I may not have gotten to run the Boston Marathon but I got to cross its finish line! Now how is that, you ask? During the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) 5k, the course runs down Boylston Street past the marathon finish line. Now that was cool! But I'm sure you're probably interested in hearing more about the race than a brief moment...

Our morning began under a clear blue sky with crisp, cool air. It was a beautiful day and one that was perfect for racing. Our group decided a long time ago that we were running this race for fun and we would run together. I knew Mom wouldn't want to push the pace so as not to expend too much energy before the marathon on Monday. And my foot and ankle had been bothering me a bit so this definitely wasn't a PR-worthy day!

We easily made our way to the starting line from our hotel which was only a few blocks away. Quite convenient! We snapped a few photos with the starting (and finish) line and then explored the race area.

It was all very well marked so that made it easy to navigate. We didn't check any bags since Dad was hanging out at the finish for us. I passed off my half-zip top to him and then we headed to our corrals. the corrals were self-seeded and we headed very near the back. While we were waiting, a girl recognized us and introduced herself. It was wonderful to meet Candace and hear about her runDisney race experiences and incredible weight loss journey! That was definitely one of the highlights of the morning! And a moment or two later, we heard the starting gun and we were off.

Mile 0-1: The beginning of the race was a bit crowded which we had heard, but given that we weren't shooting for any specific time goals, this didn't really bother us. In the first half mile or so, we saw the leaders heading back to the finish which was very exciting!

Mile 1-2: This stretch was an out and back portion on Commonwealth Avenue and was lined with beautiful blooming trees and residential homes. There were also a fair number of spectators out on this part of the course. It contained the only "hilly" section which was going down and up (twice) on an underpass.

Mile 2-3: We took a right on Hereford and a left on Boylston just like the marathon! Pretty exciting, although in full disclosure, I didn't notice the significance until we were on Boylston Street which was really exciting. And then crossing the Boston Marathon finish during the race was neat. I offered to take a photo of Mom but she passed. After all, we took one the day before at the expo and she would get the real thing on Monday.

Mile 3-Finish: We enjoyed running down the finish line chute together. There were tons of American Flags and great music which made it quite fun!

After the race, we received our medals (which was a pretty major bottleneck) and then headed back toward the main area to meet up with Dad. As we were walking, we ran into Candace again and snapped a photo this time!

We were easily able to meet up with Dad and headed to get some snacks. I love when races do a snack bag - it makes life so simple!  Next we headed to get our race shirts which we loved! They are  simple and classic shirts, bearing the BAA unicorn and race logo.

If you have the chance to run this race, it was definitely a great warm-up event for the marathon, or the "main event" for Adam and I. While it was an expensive 5k, I thought it was a neat experience and worth the price.


April 23, 2015

Boston Marathon Expo Highlights

On Friday at 1:45, our group of four, Christine, Adam, Alison and I were ready to hit the Hynes Auditorium Convention Center expo by storm.  Our race passports were in our bags, ID cards were ready and it was finally time to pick up the coveted bib for the Boston Marathon.  But before we went to bib pickup, we had plans to shop the expo, and shop we did.

As we entered the building, after waiting 10 minutes in line, we were allowed to enter the vendor areas. Wow, this was going to be an expo adventure like no other.  It went on for what seemed like miles and I doubt we covered all the booths.  But we did get to the ones that we thought were most important and yes, I was prepared with a shopping list!

Our first stop was at Brooks Running and of course this made me happy to see the lobstah Boston Marathon shoes on display.  Their expo booths are always so creative and fun and this one did not disappoint.  They had a photo booth where you could wear funny lobster gear so of course we had to ham it up for the camera!

After perusing some merchandise at City Sports, we found the Runner's World booth and they had a camera area set up for a new cover shot.  Christine encouraged us to to participate and here are the results of that and yea, we are not cover material  #oldladyrunners

Soon we found the Nuun Hydration booth and the Boston themed bottle this year is so cute.  Of course I bought a few tubes of Nuun so I could get the free bottle.  Adam wanted to visit the Sam Adams booth and test the 26.2 beer. After that, he had his fill of the expo and went back to the hotel to make some work calls. The girls shopped on, and on and on.  Or rather this girl did!  The official merchandise booth had some great apparel choices and since our jackets had already been purchased as birthday gifts from our other two siblings, we did not need to try any on for size. The booth was busy with excited marathon runners and many people were trying on all sorts of stuff from hoodies, shirts, shorts etc.  It was a sea of royal purple and orange along with the traditional blue and yellow Boston colors.
Love my new beverage containers!

One of my favorite moments of the expo was meeting Katherine Switzer. Runners are such friendly people and despite our awe of her accomplishments she greeted us like long lost friends.   We had a lovely time chatting with her about running Boston and she even wondered what the time qualifying was for Alison's age group since it is also hers!  She posed with us for a photo and signed a copy of her book for me as well.

Now after expo exhaustion started to set in, we headed to the bib pick up.  I could hardly contain my excitement and honestly the place was not very busy at 3:30 pm on Friday.  With no line at all, Alison and I went straight up to our numbered area for the highlight of the visit.  I might have jumped up and down and squealed just a little when she handed me my bib!  Alison was all smiles too and then Christine took a photo of us at the wall!

After a great afternoon it was time for a Red Sox game to celebrate Tom's birthday while Alison and I attended the Meb for Mortals book talk with Meb!

April 22, 2015

Boston Marathon photos

Since we arrived home last night, exhaustion has totally set in.  Neither Tom or I slept much Saturday night due to the unexpected emergency room visit.  And unfortunately Sunday night I fell asleep quickly after a tough day recovering from food poisoning only to wake up several hours later.  Of course I started thinking about the race and how would I manage with so little fueling ahead of time.  Carb loading?  That did not happen this time.  I digress.  Back to the topic of the post, here are some photos from the start of our weekend that we wanted to share!

Loved seeing the finish line as they were finishing up with the race day preparations on Thursday afternoon.  I would cross this line both during the 5k and the marathon!

A beautiful tribute to the four who died because of the 2013 bombings.

Old South Church

I so badly wanted to attend one of these services, but due to my ER room visit on late Saturday night until Sunday at 2:30am, it was impossible. 

Attended the premiere of Run Free, more on this in another post when my brain is not mush!

And I finally met the speedy Kass from Lone Runner!  Plenty of recaps of our time in Boston will be coming soon.  Many thanks for all your support on social media throughout a very challenging race weekend.

April 20, 2015

Today is the day!

Dear Mom and Auntie,

Well today is the day. It’s hard to believe that it was nearly two years ago when the dream to qualify for the Boston Marathon hatched. You ran countless miles to nail the qualifying time, battling wind, rain, snow, and humidity to get here...obviously I’m talking about the North Carolina humidity and snow in Boston. And now you’ll walk to the starting line in Hopkinton today poised to run through Ashland, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline, and finally Boston. 

I could not be more proud of you both. When people ask me if I’m running the marathon, I am genuinely excited to tell them “No, but my Mom and Aunt are. They both qualified.” When we stopped by the mall yesterday to try to find a rain jacket for me, I told every Eddie Bauer employee about your accomplishments. Some might call it bragging! I’ll never forget the moment when I learned you each qualified. From screaming “we’re going to Boston” in the Shamrock finish line tent when Mom called to jumping up and down in my kitchen when I got the text from Mom telling me that my sneaky aunt ran a marathon without telling us and qualified. 

I only wish that I could be with you during every mile of the route because I know this is an incredibly important day for you both. I would love to share those moments with you. But the moment I will share with you will be different. I’ll be standing on the sidelines in Wellesley with our mega family cheering squad, screaming my head off as you run by…and I’m hoping you’ll pause for a hug and a high five. And while I won't be there at the finish line for a celebratory embrace, I'll be cheering and celebrating the moment I see your finish times come through on my phone.

You are strong. You are fearless. You are determined. And you make us so proud. Now go get 'em out there today and show Heartbreak Hill who's boss! I love you both and am more proud of you than you'll ever know. 


April 17, 2015

Friday Five: Boston Brands

We're linking up with the girls in DC, MarCourtney, and Cynthia for this week's Friday Five. The topic is brands and we figured we would continue the Boston Marathon focus for our posts this week. These are brands that have a place during our Boston Marathon weekend fun!

1. Marathon Sports: Our friend Megan sent us great Boston Marathon themed shirts for this weekend. I plan to wear mine on Monday when we're watching the race! 

2. Red Sox: Tonight we'll be heading to Fenway to watch the game with my Dad. I'm a lifelong Red Sox fan and have never been to Fenway. I know, it's a real problem! I can't wait to enjoy a game there and best of all, we'll be celebrating my Dad's Borthday tonight! 

3. Adidas: As you probably know, Adiddas is the official apparel brand of the race so you know Mom will be picking up a lot of new duds including the coveted Boston marathon jacket. 

4. One More Mile: I used their custom design tool to help me in creating some unique race day shirts for Mom and Auntie Allie. I love One More Mile for custom shirts for several reasons. First and most importantly, you can order small quantities and there is no minimum for a shirt order. The shirts are also very reasonable. And the custom design interface is user friendly and easy to use.

5. Sam Adams: A favorite beer of most of the members in our family, I'm excited to try the 26.2 brew. I expect that Dad will have the low down on where to find a pint and some merchandise. It's funny, he has a knack for finding beer at races, just like Adam...it's unclear who mastered this skill first but it makes for a great quality in spectators. 

When you think of Boston Marathon, what brands come to mind? And don't forget to check out the other Friday Five posts! 

April 16, 2015

Traveling to Boston

Today I am flying to Boston for the beginning of a long weekend of fun and running.  It is hard to believe it is finally here after a long year of planning. Yesterday there was a total freak out moment for me when I logged on to US Airways to print our boarding passes.  When I entered our confirmation number, a message came up saying it was too early to check in. What?  It was less than 22 hours until our flight.  Next I had the pleasure of calling the help desk.  The girl who answered was professional and courteous quickly putting me at ease. She said there was a schedule change announced earlier in the day and our flight was not leaving until 3 hours later than what I had on my itinerary. This would not work with our evening plans, so she immediately found space for us on an earlier flight.  Best of all, we have TSA Precheck and Zone 1!  Now we don't have to worry about our bags getting on the plane with us!

With the schedule change, we now need to bring breakfast for the flight, so a quick trip to the store and muffins and bananas are packed.

Had to use my Without Limits bag for my breakfast!
Choosing a travel outfit was hard, but I ended up with jeans, my Brooks Running Ravenna shoes for race day and my sweatshirt from the race that helped me get to Boston! Normally I dress in nicer clothing for a plane flight, but this seemed appropriate for a trip to the marathon!
Quintiles Marathon sweatshirt!
There will be some Facebook posts from Boston, but I am not sure if Christine or I will have time for blogging but we will have plenty to say when we return home next week!  I also want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the support I have received over the past 12 months leading up to this weekend. It has been humbling and so appreciated.

April 15, 2015

The Bride and her 'zilla alter ego

I really don't intend to write much about wedding planning on the blog, but this incident is too good not to share...in a self-deprecating, man-I-can-be-a-jerk kind of way. Generally speaking, I've been really low key about our nuptials. We agreed early on that this would be a low key affair and include a small crowd of family and friends. We have prioritized the same things, arrived at a guest list with ease, and our families are on board with all of these things. Simple right? My friends and coworkers have laughed at how laissez-faire I've been. Some call me the anti-bride. I take it as a compliment.

Color scheme? What do you mean? I'll just pick flowers based on what is in season. 

Cake tasting? Oh you don't do that for small weddings? Ok, well I guess we'll do cupcakes instead. 

We set a date over the weekend and booked a photographer and DJ. I couldn't be more excited about the location we've chosen. It works for us - includes some beautiful outdoor spaces, has some rooms to accommodate our out-of-town family members, and incorporates history (both Civil War history for Adam, and country antiques for me). It's a beautiful place and I look forward to tying the knot there.

I bought a dress at the first place Mom and I visited. It's simply perfect and I can't wait to wear it when I marry Adam.  I found a beautiful hairpiece and some sparkly shoes.
Behind the bride lurks a bridezilla. We don't want her to
appear again!
This is too good to be true isn't it? Why yes, yes it is. The big vendors have fallen into place easily. Given the size and timeline for the wedding, we decided to forgo a mailed save the date card and send one via email instead. I spent some time putting something together using the exact same font and color scheme as the invitation. I'm no graphic designer but I know details matter! I showed it to Adam and he gave it a thumbs up. We put together the email list for our guests and he agreed to send it. We reviewed the email 3 or 4 times, double-checked the image, and hit send. For some reason the file never went through. Apparently the file type doesn't work with gmail or something like that so Adam changed it. The end result didn't look the way I had hoped it would and I totally lost my cool. Bridezilla arrived with a vengeance. It was totally irrational and I knew it, but I was frustrated and unable to keep my cool. My perfectionist tendencies manifested themselves in a less-than-pleasant manner. Ugh! The good news is that Adam and I have shrugged this one off. If this is our "worst" wedding-related incident, we'll be ok.

I perused some photos we took of our venue and smiled, knowing this is the place where we'll become husband and wife. And really, that's all that matters!  I found some mental clarity after my long run on Sunday.

Ever experienced the bridezilla take over during wedding planning?