Tuesday, March 5, 2013

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.

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