19 Mile Fun Run

Yesterday, the DFMC team had one of our last group long-runs.  We departed from Wellesley and spent the majority of our 18-20 miles on the course, which meant that we ran up and down all 4 Newton Hills including Heartbreak.  

The luck of the Irish was not necessarily with us, as many of my teammates are now experiencing injuries.  March Madness takes on an entirely different meaning in the world of Boston Marathon training – it is somewhat expected that injuries will pop-up during the month of March, when the mileage for most runners climbs over 40 miles/week (not me of course, due to my shotty training schedule).  During our run, we took a break to massage Jamie’s IT band and continued to monitor Eileen’s Plantar fasciitis.  Fortunately, the most I had to complain about was a rock in my shoe, some hemorrhoids (apparently it happens to endurance athletes quite frequently), and the smallest indication that my IT Bands need a little more love.

The usual crew of girls and I (although a couple key players were still missing), polished off 19 miles.  They weren’t all pretty but we certainly did our best to have a good time despite the ridiculous headwind on the return trip and those crazy hills.  

Photos from the run…

Chillin with Heartbreak Hill Bill.
Can’t get too much of Bill.

Getting some wisdom from Johnny Kelley.

Wrecking one of the hills.
THANK YOU to everyone who has donated so far, this year.  With less than 1 month to go until Marathon Monday, we still have a little ways to go.  100% of the donations go directly to fighting cancer through novel cancer research in cancer treatment and prevention!

A Snowy Run on the Marathon Training Highway

(Don’t) Let it Snow!
On Thursday night, Boston and much of Massachusetts was nailed by yet another winter storm (details).  Despite my positive thoughts and pleas to ULLR (the Norse god of snow), the storm continued into Friday afternoon making roads pretty awful.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE snow- I grew up in Buffalo, went to college in PA, and lived in Stowe, VT (by choice) for a bunch of years before moving to Boston  (none of which are really warm places).  However, when you find yourself having to fit in really long runs once a week and it snows before and during them (multiple times throughout a training season), you start to get a little annoyed. 

Proof that I loved snow at a young age (I think I’m smiling)
Lovin the snow outside our first apartment in Vermont.

Plan B
Fortunately, as I adamantly followed the progress of the storm on Friday worried about the impending cancellation of our run in Wayland, I simultaneously chatted with 26 other DFMC runners- we were creating a back-up plan.  While Boston (only) received 10-13″ of snow, Wayland was hit with 18-20″.  As you may have guessed, the run was cancelled.  Operation back-up group-run was in full effect! 

Our back-up plan had a lot of positives: 1) it was on the marathon course,  2) we would run 3 of the 4 Newton Hills (flats, as Jack our coach calls them), including Heartbreak Hill,  3) we would run as a group instead of attempting a solo treadmill run (huge plus!)  and  4) most of our run would be snow, ice, and car free.

The Run

We assembled in the parking lot pre-run and asside from someone needing to apply some Body Glide to their feet and the obligatory group photo, we were off running, literally. 

The first 2 miles proved to be a little hairy since all 14 of us were forced to run on the road.  Fortunately, our DFMC team jackets made it pretty hard for drivers to not see us.  Also, the ice on the first couple of miles was a little anxiety-inducing but once we made it onto the marathon course it was smooth sailing. 

Along the marathon course in Newton, there is a main road and then an access road (aka the Carriage Road).  The Carriage Road is a great place to run normally due to the nice pavement, rolling terrain and minimal car traffic; however, during this time of year, it is an especially great place to run because it is on the marathon course.  Thus, it has earned the nickname of the “marathon training highway.”  As expected, it was packed Saturday morning, which made the run even more fun… and helped to put a little pressure on. 

The Carriage Road (photo obviously not taken on Saturday)
A popular route!

Overall, we had a great 16 mile run.  Eileen, Jamie, and I did our best to comfort one another about how smoothly race day will go – knowing that the outcome of race day is largely depend on things we cannot control.  Either way, we had a great time running the hills and stopping to take 1 or 2 ridiculous photos along the way.

One of the snowy trails we had to jump through along the route.

With only 35 days left until Marathon Monday, the fundraising and training deadlines are rapidly approaching.  Although there is little I can do to alter my training at this point, the fundraising can kick ass without fear of stress fractures or shin splints.  Please consider making a donation.  No amount is too small – really… just donate $5!  A cancer survivor will thank you (that’s me)!!!  


Boston Marathon Update!

With only 40 days to go until the 117th Boston Marathon, I figured it was time for a long overdue update.

My Marathon Training In a Nutshell
So we need to get one thing out of the way.  Every time I meet someone who learns that I am running Boston the first thing I hear is, “Wow!  How do you train for a marathon with infant twins and a 3 year old?”  The answer… you don’t really (I hope Jack [our fearless leader and coach] isn’t reading this).  Don’t get me wrong, I do run… occasionally… and by occasionally, I mean once a week.  There’s good news, though.  My once a week run is our weekend long-run.  Since we started these bad boys back before Christmas, I’ve only missed 2; 1 when I had conjunctivitis and strep throat and 1 when I was out in Salt Lake City trying to rid the world of cancer through a different method at the annual BMT conference (CIBMTR Tandem Meetings).  I had every intention of exploring SLC through a 16 mile long-run but once I learned of their smog issues I decided my lungs have already endured enough.

So, here we are with only 3 weeks left of real marathon training (the three weeks of tapering hardly count).  As with basketball games where I only watch the very end, I decided to save you from the boring details of the first three quarters and bring you in when things are starting to get exciting. 

A Hilly 18 Miles
On Saturday, at least 40-50 Dana-Farber runners spent a good portion of the morning running the hills of Waltham, Massachusetts.  Personally, I spent ALL morning running the hills… 18 miles of hills to be exact.  Although it is not part of the official Boston Marathon course, it is great training for Boston.  Throughout the burly 18 mile course, there are virtually no flat sections (seriously) – you’re either running up a hill or down a hill.  Unlike cycling, going down a hill while running is NOT a break (unless you log roll down but that is frowned upon during marathons)- in fact, it sometimes feels worse running downhill than uphill.  You use all sorts of muscles that you often don’t never use, which can really make your calves, knees, ankles, hamstrings, glutes, etc feel… well, terrible.  Fortunately, I had a couple things going for me as I fought through this particpularly hard run…

We’re blurry because we’re running SOOOO quickly.

1) New sneakers and team jacket! Your game-day marathon sneakers should have about 100 miles on them, which is about how much training I have left until April 15th.

Look what I made! I’m selling these jackets to fund even more cancer research.

2) Amazing running partners and friends! At mile 0.5 (yes… not even a mile into the run), I developed THE WORST cramp in my chest (I’m blaming it on my shotty navigation skills and the 3 wrong-turns I took to get to the run, which caused way too much anxiety).  After a 4 minute impromptu yoga session in the middle of the road (again, I hope Jack isn’t reading), the cramp dissipated and we were able to continue running.  I do not know what I would have done without my trusty running buddies!

Most of the gang.

3) The vision of crossing the finish line with my patient partner, Nicole.  Hands-down, Nicole is one of the most inspiring people I know.  Last month, she was able to climb up 3 flights of stairs for the first time since she initiated chemo for Stage 4B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  We’re in cahoots and have every intention of running the last mile together; thus, I will not let my low tolerance of pain prevent us from being awesome.

4) Cancer and Kids.  Thinking of my 3 kids makes it so easy to fight through the challenges on the course because I know that I would do anything to keep them from getting cancer, as most parents would.


I know that the discoveries made in the labs funded by this marathon program are making HUGE advances in cancer fighting and prevention (stay tuned for specifics).  It’s hard to raise money for cancer fighting with a ‘Sex and the City Viewing Marathon,’ which is why I know that it’s the running part that makes the difference – every single step.  Thus, the options that I am faced with at each hill are 1.) fight cancer and run the hill or 2.) let cancer continue to do its thing (it’s a good thing my mind works in extremes).

A quick post-run snuggle.

THE (post-run) ICE BATH
Upon the recommendation of many people on Saturday, I took a leap of faith and “jumped” into an ice bath.  To everyone out there who said “it gets better after 20-30 seconds” – you’re nuts!  It was f*ing cold.  I’m pretty sure I was in pain for at least a few minutes.  Yes, eventually everything went numb.  The outcome?  Not sure.  There is a real possibility that it may have helped.  With that being said, since there is no hard and fast scientific evidence to support this borderline masochistic practice, I am still contemplating whether this will become a post-run routine.