Narragansett Half Marathon Race Recap!

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Good morning beautiful people of Booyahville! I’m so sorry if you all have been feeling a little neglected, between crazy work hours and not feeling so booyah last week, I’m still here! Bad news though: I’m traveling for work to the great state of Alabama tomorrow (I’ve never been – anyone have any suggestions of must do/must see?) and the Booyah Updates may be erratic (brace yourself, and stay turned!).

As you may have gathered, I was going into the Narragansett Half not at prime booyah level, and had kind of fooled myself thinking, “I’ll do the normal race prep. I’ll fall asleep, I’ll wake up and I’ll be running sub-9 minute miles like an OG.” Did that happen? Uh, no.

Strike number one against my sub-nine pace goal: I was fooled by my lack of fever that I was completely “better.” I did start feeling better later in the week, and despite my dad’s vehement protests I was set on running the half marathon regardless. I called up the “home phone” – the one that’s plugged into the wall like it’s 1994 – to give my parents an update on how I was feeling the day before the race. While speaking with my mom, my dad picked up the phone in another room and yelled, “L*****, you need to withdraw from the race! Forget it, you’re sick! Call them up and withdraw!” (Dad doesn’t really understand that there are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of race participants and they aren’t going to wait for L Booyah to show up in order to start the race. But okay, dad!). I did all the pre-race things: I laid out my outfit, put together my “Go Time” Bag, made pasta and sauce to carb up, and then tucked myself into the couch and started marathon watching The Real Housewives of Orange County on my best friend’s suggestion.

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Pre-race bowl of pasta and sauce #2 with a Tofurkey Spinach and Pesto vegan sausage, sprinkled with red pepp flakes and Dr. Bragg’s nutritional yeast. NOMS.

Strike number two against my sub-nine pace: I didn’t sleep well. It was one of those frustrating evenings where you toss and turn and all you can focus on is the internal countdown until your alarm goes off at 4 am. I was tired, but I was nervous and excited, and I remember looking at the clock at 2:36 am thinking “Nooooo, I only have an hour and a half to sleep!” What a bummer.

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Race day outfit and essentials! Lululemon speed tights, CRB, swiftly long sleeve & ear warmer, New Balance FreshFoams, Camelbak handheld water bottle, Mountain Hardwear running gloves, Smart Wool PhD running socks, Bodyglide, Clif Energy Gel in Mocha, GU in Chocolate. πŸ˜€

Strike number three against my sub-nine pace: It was FREEZING. It was 33Β°F / 0.5Β°C at the start of the race! Brrrrrrrrrr! The outfit I chose to wear for the race ended up being perfect for the temperature (long sleeve over a raceback tank, tights, gloves and ear warmer), but it took until Mile 3 for my muscles to feel warm and my feet and hands to start thawing.

The course itself was beautiful; you really did get to enjoy the New England fall foliage. The rolling hills were a fun change from the normal flat road race, I don’t think the course was ever flat for more than 0.1 mile. However, going up and down those rolling hills was tiring. I felt like the first 6 miles flew by, and then we got to mile 8, 9, 10 – those last miles were tough. I was having trouble breathing, and my asthma was acting up. I just felt…exhausted. Usually in a race I’ll get to my zoom zone and I’ll just fly, blocking everything out but putting one foot in front of the other. I never found that mind space, I just felt beat. The silver lining of driving the struggle bus at the end of the race is that my running soul sister (and sorority sister) Ariel stayed with me, despite my serious struggs, and that helped to encourage me forward.

I finished with a still-solid time of 2:02:51, with an average pace of 9:22/mile. I wish that I could have felt stronger, but I’m still proud of my time! I finished the race, didn’t give up and that is an accomplishment in and of itself. I feel like with every one of these race experiences, there is a life lesson in there somewhere. The one I learned from this race is that the time on the clock is much less important than the experience of running, and taking pride in putting your best foot forward, regardless of how you feel/how well you feel you did/the numbers on a board. Nothing can diminish being proud of your accomplishments if you place the important on the experience as a whole, not just on the outcome. Onward to the next one: Seacoast Half Marathon on November 8th! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Have a great week, everyone!

With warmth,

L

ROC Half Marathon Recap

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Hey all! As you know, I ran the Rochester Half Marathon on Sunday. It was awesome! The course was challenging – several tough hills, but beautiful sights and a mix of trails and roads. It was the perfect day weather-wise: the sun was out, there was a light breeze, and it was cool. There was a drum circle at Mile 5 (amazing), spirit-filled water stations, spectators decked out in Bills gear. Awesome race all around! B and I ran together as Team Booyah. Let me tell you – running alongside your best friend > running alone (way less boring). This was our third race together, and it feels pretty stellar to finish a race and accomplish something momentous (such as running a half marathon) next to your sister from another mister! Girl power!

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I’d also like to say this. When I told my Boston friends that I was running alongside my best friend for this race, a majority of the responses I got were “ugh, I hate doing that!” and while that may be my feeling the majority of the time (I’m a highly competitive lone wolf; I’ve promised my brother-in-law/friends that I’d run with them and then leave then in the dust and totally peace out unintentionally, when my competitive nature gets the best of me) there are times when sticking it out with someone you love and care about is more important. B set this trend first. When I was one of the last people out of the water during my first sprint triathlon in 2012, B was there, standing on the shore, cheering me on and waiting for me in her super cool orange swim cap before heading to the next portion of the race. When she was riding a super fast road bike and could smoke me on my non-fancy but perfectly functional bike (hybrid tires/mountain bike frame) during the cycling portion of the race, she waited for me to catch up. When I couldn’t run and had to walk during the 5K running final leg of the race, she walked right by my side, and told me not to feel bad. She encouraged me to keep going when I wanted to quit – and she was the sole reason why I didn’t quit. And, she ran right next to me all the way up to crossing the finish line at the end of the race. (If you want to read more about my first race experience, check out my post Guys, it’s my Raceaversary!). That’s what you do for friends. You encourage them when they think they can’t, when it feels everything is working against you, when you’re having a sh*tty running day, when you are exhausted and want to give up. That’s when you need your best friend by your side, telling you that you’re strong, not to quit, not to give up, that you can do it. And they will be right by your side to the bitter end. Sometimes it’s easier, in both life and races, to leave your friends/family behind so you can get ahead. But it’s not always the right thing to do.

There will be plenty more races for me to try and PR. In fact, I have two more this fall, and the next one is 26 days away. But, there is only one B (and she is WICKED special: she’s the one who will listen to your life drama for the upteenth time, stick by your side through the worst of the worst, the only person you want to talk to when you’re having a sh*t day, can communicate only using eyebrows, the one you remember all the good stories with and laugh until you bust a gut and/or pee your pants kinda friend). And she’s more important to me than numbers on a board. I’m proud to accomplish something I never thought I’d be able to do next to my best friend. You’re the friendship love of my life, B! I’m glad the stars aligned and we crossed paths in Organic Chemistry Lab a million years ago.

So, the race was tough and challenging. But I was next to my best friend, and that made it okay. πŸ™‚ And we ate an amazing breakfast afterwards at Jines on Park Ave in Rochester. Hello, pumpkin pancakes (not vegan – I cheated).

IMG_3806And then I watched the Buffalo Bills unfortunately lose to the Pats (not nice comment redacted, so please don’t give me any football hate! I’m already surrounded by Pats fans, I can’t take anymore πŸ˜‰ ) . 😦 WOMP! But I had an awesome local hard cider, the Flower City Blonde by Blue Toad Hard Cider, Zubaz pants (#BillsMafia) and CEP compression socks, so all was well.

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Flower City Blonde hard cider: A crisp and fruity cider, using a blend of the finest local Golden Delicious, Empire and Crispin apples. A light cider that is pale straw-colored and clean-tasting.

How was everyone’s weekend?? Tell me all about it in the comments. (I’m still catching up on responding to all of your wonderful comments from last week, but I promise I will respond to your comment today or tomorrow!)Β 

Happy first day of fall, everyone! I have lots of good recipes coming this week, so stay tuned. πŸ˜‰

With warmth,

L

xox ❀

7 Mile Trail Race Recap

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Hey everyone! This Sunday, I ran a 7 mile trail race that was so epic and SO much fun! I did okay for me – I finished in about 1:05, with a pace of 9:21/mile and was in the top 50% of finishers. I was hoping to do a little better than that, but I had two factors working against me: 1. The day before the race, I went on a 4.5 hour, ~35 mile biking adventure with my friend R (whooops!) all over the state of Massachusetts and 2. I was literally running through a forest of ragweed, so my lungs were in serious revolt. Overall, it was awesome, and the post-race party seemed like a grand ol’time, but I had to jet early to watch my Billsies crush the Colts. The Bills Mafia is walking on a cloud today after that win! πŸ™‚

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The view at the Buffalo Bills backers bar in Boston. ❀ ❀ ❀ So much Western New York in one space! YAS!

First, let’s start off with my epic bike adventure on Saturday. R and I rode along the a lot of awesome trails: from the Minute Man Commuter Bikeway (a paved path) to the Minute Man Battle Road (loose gravel/sand) to main roads to dirt trails in Bedford. We covered somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 miles trails over 4.5 hours of biking. Getting off that bike, my legs were feeling pretty wobbly. Obviously, I do not suggest this if you are preparing for a 7 mile race the next day. I spent quality time in compression socks with my legs elevated after that, but there’s really only so much you can do once you’ve burned out your legs the day before a race. It’s almost good practice for me though – steeling yourself with the mental toughness to get through 7 miles on tired legs. Sounds kind of like the self-doubt-crushing mental toughness you’d need during a half marathon, doesn’t it? πŸ™‚

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On the Minute Man Battle Road in Concord, MA on our biking adventure.

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Another view from the Minute Man Park Battle Road that R and I biked on Saturday.

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R and I ate a lunch of PB&J by the Meriam House at the end of Battle Road. It was very picturesque. The only battling we did was squashing our quads, and we slayed those PB&J sandwiches.

Now, let’s get right to the race.

The trail was fairly flat, a majority of it was very rocky so you had to be careful and watch your step – I didn’t want to eat it and bust my sass seven days out from my first of three fall half marathons, so I kept telling myself to slow down. That was the hardest part – putting a lasso on my pace when I was feeling strong, and then dealing with the frustration of feeling like my lungs were letting me down when I was climbing hills or trying to speed up my pace. Regardless of those challenges, I had a blast, and really enjoyed it – it was cool and misty, and felt like a great kick off to fall racing season. With each race, you learn, so I was really glad about some of my race prep that I incorporated into my routine. Everyone is different, so your pre-race ritual may not be the same as mine, but I did a lot of planning ahead. Here are some things I’m glad I planned ahead:Β 

  1. I pre-made my breakfast. I made overnight oats the night before, so I could get up early, grab and go, and eat my oats in the parking lot about an hour before gun time.

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    Overnight oats with fresh blueberries and blackberries, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter and cinnamon. The perf pre-race breakfast!

  2. I packed a ton of water to bring in the car, for both before and after my race.
  3. I brought a book to read while I waited. I got to the parking lot super early, and instead of scrolling through Instagram or Facebook a million times, I read in my car. It distracted me and allowed me to focus on something other than my pre-race anxiety.
  4. I brought a post-race outfit: jacket, compression sleeves and flip flops to change into after the race. I knew I’d be a) freezing and b) my feet would be sore, so I brought layers to keep me warm, compression sleeves for recovery, and flip flops so I could immediately ditch my shoes. IMG_3663
  5. I packed a post-race PB&J. You never know what will be offered for food after the race (there may be limited vegetarian/vegan options), so it’s always a smart idea to bring your own snacks to refuel.

The best part? The post-race beer/cider, of course.

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All the local breweries were there, and I’m really excited to try Downeast Pumpkin Cider for fall – it looked sooooo good (but was only for the Downeast Running Club VIPs – womp)!! All in all, awesome race, I was stoked to run trails instead of roads and I can’t wait to do another trail race. BOOYAH!!! I’m so in love with trail running! ❀

So, what did you guys do this weekend? Anyone else completely burn out their legs? Tell me all about it in the comments. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€Β 

With warmth,

L

NYC Midnight Half Marathon Race Recap – Part Deux

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Life goals/this race’s mantra (it was fairly accurate, too – all the hotties WERE in front of us!)

Now that we’ve established the high level of professional athleticism B and I were about to exhibit (if you haven’t read Part One yet – you can find that here), we were ready to tackle the Big Show, the Main Event – the NYC Midnight Half Marathon.Β Hooray, it’s finally here! After capturing our likely route in 62 (not an exaggeration, literally 62) iPhone screen shots of Google Maps directions less than 2 hours before gun time, we were ready/still had basically no clue where we were going. And, we were running late to get our butts into Manhattan to the starting line from 7 miles south in Brooklyn. Lucky for me, it only took me 2.5 subway stops to down the extra large Gatorade that may be partially responsible for this race’s eventual success. We sped walk/jogged to the race check in, where we came upon a mass exodus of the race participants heading toward the start line. This was the first of many “Oh shit” moments we would experience.

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Waiting at the subway stop in Brooklyn to swoosh us up to the race’s start in Manhattan. Do you like our sunnies? πŸ˜‰

Nerves were running high, and I was still unconvinced that I would actually be able to finish this b*tch without dying a death. Trying to contain the level of freakout to below a solid 6/10, we jogged to the race’s start under the bridge, about 1 mile-ish away from the race check in.

Except no one was there. Not a soul. (= Oh Shit Moment #2)

Pulling out the folded-a-million-times (and already sweaty) printout of check points from my pocket, I realized that we were at the wrong bridge. That’s right folks, the Williamsburg Bridge β‰  Manhattan Bridge. Mo. Thur. Eff. Still trying to maintain the threatening-to-skyrocket Freakout Level within normal operating conditions, we ran sprinted to the Manhattan Bridge. We reached the starting line as the race organizers were gingerly folding up the timing mat that would clock our start time. Approaching one of the race volunteers, I exclaim, “We ran to the wrong bridge! What do we do?!” He (and everyone else standing around packing up cases of water bottles, immediately fell silent) looks at me like I’m Queen of the Morons, kind of throws his hands up in exasperation and barks, “Go!” (Hey buddy, just because YOU and 99% of the race participants live in NYC/Brooklyn does not mean that everyone does, mk? Chiiiiill).

Slightly demoralized, and now running this race 100% freestyle with no start time clocked in (and at least 20+ minutes after the rest of the pack), B and I take off towards the Brooklyn Bridge – check points 1 and 2 involve us crossing the East River into Brooklyn. Except we cannot for the life of us figure out how the EFF to get ONTO the Brooklyn Bridge, instead of just running in circles under/around/beyond it. And it’s really starting to feel like the start of a Law and Order: SVU episode (it’s dark, and creepy, and we are running on a bike path that feels a little bit like I should be holding mace in my hand). Finally, my patience hits a wall and my AAA personality wrenches control of navigating (sorry for firing you B, I love you always), and following logic and reason we begin to run back towards and then under/along side the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. Question: How many biochemists does it take to navigate over the Brooklyn Bridge? Answer: Apparently more than two.

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What even is this?

In the course of the next 5-7 minutes, approximately 374 f-bombs were dropped. Sample: “This is TOTALLY F&^%ed UP! Why is Google Maps such a worthless f&^%ing piece of $%&?! What the actual &^%$!!!!!!” It was a liiiiittle bit like an all-caps Kanye rant. And that was just me racking up that f-bomb count, B was the still on the other side of optimism, while I was firmly within Raging Red limits. Under the guise of logic and reason, we encountered a map that made no sense (see above), a German tourist who I accosted and demanded to know if he lived in the city, and one extremely helpful, and devoid of judgement police officer/parking attendant/idk this dude was wearing a uniform, who kindly directed us to the g-damn pedestrian staircase to get onto the g-damn Brooklyn Bridge. *LE SIGH*, FINALLY.

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WE FINALLY FOUND THIS BITCH.

Once we start cranking it over the bridge, the Kanye rant ceases, the Freakout Level plummets, and I begin to appreciate just how effin’ cool this is. It was the perfect temperature for running (mid 60’s), dark (i.e. no sunscreen necessary for this fair one over here), an almost-full moon and the views were stunning. NYC at night is pretty freakin’ gorgeous. That sparkly feeling lasted until we were almost halfway over the bridge, and realized that the elite runners at the head of the pack were running back over the bridge, having hit checkpoints 1, 2 and were already halfway done with the race. (= Oh Shit Moment #4)

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Photo credit: B #skillz

Determined not to be a complainer, and appreciate the fact that I get to run next to my best friend, at midnight, in NYC, just for fun, I decided it was time to focus on the fact that our Cheer Squad was at Checkpoint #2, and just think about moving my little stems to get there. And of course, the fact that there would be ice water and encouragement from our Cheer Squad waiting for us when we arrived. (Meanwhile, I later find out that B was thinking about zombies chasing her in order to motivate her to run faster. Lolz. Love that betch.)

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Halfway over the bridge = time for a selfie! πŸ˜‰

We passed by Checkpoint #1, which was completely abandoned (no surprises there, we were way behind at this point), and the reality set in that we were totes on our own on this one: it was just me and B. As we made our way through Brooklyn toward Checkpoint #2, the rest of the race participants passed us running in the opposite direction, so at least we knew that we were most likely going the right way (score!). And it was somewhere along there that I remembered our Cheer Squad, B’s bf Miguel* and his bff Diggy* (*names have been changed to protect the innocent), were tracking our route on Find My iPhone, and probably were wondering what the EFF we were doing earlier on our tour of Law & Order: SVU film locations before we made it to our actual course. Somewhere along the way in Red Hook, I hit my stride, and as we were zooming along the Red Hook Container Terminal, which is sketchy as f^%$ at midnight, I finally felt that I could probably finish this race without actually dying a death.

As predicted, Miguel and Diggy were waiting for us outside Checkpoint #2, Sketchy Dive Bar* in Red Hook. We took a breather, chugged ice water, gave them an abridged version of our adventure thus far (including how we are both completely Navigationally Challenged), and were on our way with ice cubes shoved in our sports bras. This time, much easier – all we had to do was retrace our steps, not fall into a pothole, and watch for the creepers. We passed by zero other race participants, and the second half of the race was filled with much more laughter than curse words and happily unremarkable.

In the interest of time (as in we didn’t want to still be running at 2:30 am), personal safety (all the checkpoints had been disassembled and the race volunteers had peaced) and the fact that we would prob end up running more than 13.1 miles, we crossed off Checkpoint #4 from our list and headed straight over to the finish line.

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WE DID IT!!!! We don’t sweat, we sparkle/Yea ok we prob sweated out 2.7 Liters of water between the two of us and probably smelled worse than the overflowing garbage cans in Chinatown.

And we freakin’ did it. Without dying, vomiting, injuring ourselves or encountering any creeps. BOOYAH!!!!

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Here’s how not to win the NYC Midnight Half Marathon.

Lessons Learned:

1. Yes, Gatorade will save your life if you are mostly unprepared for a race.

2. Running with your BFF is the best motivation in the universe.

3. Being forced to run to a bar in Red Hook where your Cheer Squad is waiting WILL motivate you to actually do so.

4. Booyah.

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VICTORY!

And even though the winner finished in a record 1:11 (what kind of non-human animal that person is, I do not know), I can guarantee that B and I had 3000% more fun than anyone else. Because that’s how we roll. And life is not THAT serious, so sometimes you just have to prepare for a race in completely opposite the way you know how. And have fun. And then, you get pizza.

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Since we had pretty much the best tour guide ever, Diggy delivered and put up with my demands for pizza, right now, at 2:33 am. Post race, we “walked out our legs” (in quotes because it was only semi-on purpose, *cough* Diggy *cough*), and we made our way to Little Italy and had the best pizza ever. Photo evidence:

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Yes, in my mouth NOW.

Yum. So that’s how you do it, folks. Prepare as instructed in Part One, get super lost during the start of the actual race, make up your own route to the finish, and then eat pizza. These four simple things lead to complete and overwhelming race success. And, if you want to know what you’re supposed to do after you check all of those things off your list, come back tomorrow for Part Three: How to Celebrate Your Complete Victory and Domination of 13.1 miles. Yaaaasssss!

With warmth,

L

L’s Trail Half Marathon Race Recap

15 seconds.

If I finished 15 seconds faster, I would have snagged a podium spot for my age group.

What. The. F***.

The thing that really bothers me is that, when I started the race, I was holding back. I was running with my friend because I didn’t really know what to expect. Screw that, I should have just taken off right outta the gate. Lesson learned: always run a race like you’re trying to snag that podium spot. Or, you’ll end up feeling like me – Mayor of Race Regret City over here.

Let’s see how the Real Housewives feel about that:

tAnd…

RHBH

Wait one more…

Are-you-fucking-kidding-me-GIF_1Yep. That about sums it up.

However, since I’ve been MIA all week, let’s back up the bus.

1. I totally fell off the vegan wagon while I was in DC for the weekend (again). I ate pizza Friday night, and eggs Saturday morning in the name of carbo-loading (a good justification is always needed for these situations) and I have no regrets.

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IMG_0068Wine is a carb, right?? πŸ˜‰

2. The night before the race I whipped up a batch of Vegan Linguine alla Puttanesca and it was BOMB. You can find the recipe here.

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3. I specifically removed my “in case of emergency” cold weather running gear before I left to make room for a pair of cute shoes in my suitcase. Mistake.

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It was f***ing cold. My hands were totally messed up the rest of the day because of how little circulation they got. I survived though. Because I’m tough as nails, duh.

4. For breakfast on race day, I ate a bowl of Evoke Athlete Fuel muesli. If you want to know why I love them so hard right now, read about it in last week’s Friday Faves.

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Yum. I topped it off with Wild Friends Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter – soooo gooood.

5. Here’s my super cute race day outfit.

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I basically wore a Lululemon store. All Sport Bra in blue camo (camo obv bc I’m on a mission), Cool Racerback tank, double layer of long sleeve swiftlys, Trail Bound 7/8 tight and my new super dope Saucony Peregrine 4 Trail Running Shoes.

It was fantastic – everything ended up being just right, despite the unexpected cold temps. I’m glad I was indecisive and packed two swiflys because I couldn’t pick which one I wanted to wear – the double layer kept me warm for the first two miles until my internal furnace reached normal operating temperatures.

6. I drank my first FULL BEER in 14 years post-race to celebrate (the last full beer I drank was a Molson double label* underage in a parking lot in Upstate New York). If you’re new to B & B, or you just don’t know me that well, that is a big deal – I am a strictly wine and spirit kinda gal. If I am out at a bar, and you see me holding a beer, that means I am in MAJ TROUB and I need to be shipped home IMMEDIATELY. However, I liked it! It was delicious! Minus the fact that I was so cold I was shaking, and was drinking an ice cold beer, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s only taken me 14 years, but I can still become a beer drinker YET. Why the hell not.

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Even B couldn’t believe it.

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Yup.

*7. What’s a Molson double label?

molsonThey were a staple in Western/Upstate New York back in the day, when I was a delinquent underage drinker. Because where I grew up is basically a high-five away from The Great White North (i.e. Canada). Now you know *ding*.

My favorite one was “Trust me, I’m a Scientist.” <— this still applies in my real life.

My second favorite was “The boots stay on.” <— no comment. πŸ˜‰

8. OMG stop talking about all this random shiz. What about the actual race, L?

The actual race was AMAZING. I’m totally in LOVE with trail racing!!!!!! I spent the majority of it running on single track all by myself (sometimes singing, sometimes cursing, sometimes just enjoying the view), and I didn’t EVEN FALL. I did see lots of wipe-outs, though – it was muddy in the second half. I had a near miss when I came upon a steep decline with lots of momentum and literally slid on my shoes (still upright!) while screaming like a 10 year old girl (probably sounded like someone was getting murdered in the woods), and then had to try to control my breathing while laughing hysterically, thinking I was alone, until I heard, “Well that was pretty epic!” and turned around to find a guy with an ear to ear grin on his face. At least someone saw that, and got to enjoy it besides me. Haha. Captain of the Klutz Team over here. What’s up.

Even though I missed the podium by 15 seconds, I still gave it my all up til the final minute and sprinted the last bit in all the way to the finish. Obv, I wish I had started sprinting earlier, but for my first trail race, I’ll take it and stop grumbling. πŸ™‚

All in all, it was super rad. I loved it. I will now proceed to do all the trail races I can get my hands on, wooohooo!!

How was everyone’s week?? I missed you guys a lot! What are you up to this weekend? Tell me all about everything I missed and what you’re up to this weekend in the comments.

With warmth,

L

xoxoxox

Life Update!

Good morning good morning!! I’m writing to you not from my desk but from my kitchen table! I am taking today off to spend time with my little sister (from my sorority) who I haven’t seen in what feels like a billion years. When I landed on Friday night from New Mexico, there she was! We have had such an amazing weekend. It’s been sooooo much fun to drag her all over Boston (and the surrounding towns of course) and show her all of my fave haunts. We went to one of my fave spots EVER Highland Kitchen in Somerville, MA and got amazinggg food and drinks.
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Yesterday we ran in the Jingle Bell 5K with 7,000 of our closest friends. People were DECKED OUT. It was pretty fantastic. I did “okaaaay” for me and ran it in about 26 minutes. It was not a PR but at least I was faster than 8:30 min/mile. πŸ˜‰

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I made a pretty stellar muesli with apples, cranberries and spices cooked right in for our pre race breakfast. Don’t worry, recipes to come. It’s kinda tricky writing posts from your phone, so check back later on. I topped the muesli with banana, pomegranate, cacao nibs, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, coconut and almond butter. It was one of the best combos I’ve ever made! Amazingggg.

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Today we are going to get to so my dream day off – gym (check, already done), a mellow morning yoga class and then shopping on Newbury Street and romping all over Boston to see my fave city all snazzed up for the Holidays.

Welp, I’m off to have my holiday filled day! I hope you all had great weekends and have a great Monday today!!

With warmth,

L

Boo-FREAKIN-yah!

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Race Day Gear! Clockwise, from bottom left: Camelback hand-held water bottle, Body glide, New Balance sneaks, sports bra, swiftly long sleeve shirt, cool racerback tank, running pants and bang buster headband (all Lululemon, I have a problem), mini champagne bottle (for after!), Picky bars (for after), headphones, iPod shuffle, safety pins, my lucky sunglasses, Smartwool PhD running socks, race bib, inhaler (for my sketchy lungs),Β  Clif bar Mocha energy gels.

This past Sunday, I raced in my first ever half marathon! And after all those pre-race jitters, I’m proud to say: I KILLED IT!! I ran it in 1:56:26.3, with an average pace of 8:54 per mile overall. My average pace is 26 seconds faster than my fastest ever training run (see: 42 Seconds), and my math-whiz dad figured out that I ran the last 3.3 miles at an average pace of 8:10 per mile, which also happens to be my fastest ever 5K time! So, LOTS to celebrate here! Booyah!

Here’s how it all went down.

The Night Before…

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Pre-race meal the night before, Italian style πŸ˜‰ (Don’t worry, the wine belonged to the birthday girl).

Lucky for me, my mom trekked all the way from WNY to watch me run in my first half ever, and it was her BIRTHDAY! Yay Mom! She made the V family recipe of marinara sauce (I’m half Italian, which makes pasta its own food group) for myself and my friend who ran her first full marathon in the same race (we’re really taking names over here, go us!). I was so nervous, and I didn’t want any heartburn, so Mom dumped extra extra baking soda into the tomato sauce to make sure that the acidity was neutralized (Yay chemistry! You can use this trick with your own sauce, store-bought OR homemade – it really helps. Just add 2 – 3 tsp of baking soda to your sauce while it’s heating up on the stove top, and stir . The sauce will bubble up – that is the CO2 gas being released from the acid neutralization, and you won’t get any heartburn! Bonus!).

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I dumped some Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes on my whole-wheat rigatoni and complimented them with a veggie Italian-style (fake) sausage. Mmm, carbo-loading!

Because Mom is an October baby, she always loved pumpkin pie instead of cake to celebrate her birthday. I went to Petsi Pies (http://petsipies.com/) and got her one of the last pumpkin pies available so we could celebrate her special day.

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Happy Birthday Mom! Pumpkin pie, mmmm! This fueled me through my last few miles πŸ˜‰

Mom entertained my friend D and I throughout dinner with funny stories. I’d say laughter was the key ingredient to having a successful “Night Before”. I turn into Anxiety Annie when I get jittery and nervous, and having Mom there definitely eased my anxiety and helped me relax. And most importantly, made me LAUGH! Trust me, I needed it. With pasta in my belly, and a smile on my face, I had a cup of Sleepytime tea and tucked myself into bed at around 8:45 pm.

It’s finally here! The Day of…

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5:30 am overnight oats with the usual suspects: banana sprinkled with chia seeds, maple almond butter, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes and a sh*tload of cinnamon sprinkled on top!

As to be expected, I did not sleep all that well. I was up and out of bed at 4:40 am raring and ready to go! I spent the majority of my morning pushing my pre-race jitters out of my head. When we got to the race, all the pre-race time went by in a flash: I visited the port-a-john and pretended to be anywhere else as I held my nose, drank sips out of my designated pre-race water bottle, and ate my energy gel at 7:30 am. I was surprisingly calm, just trying to focus on the goal ahead, and imagine what it would feel like when I had that metal around my neck on the other side of the finish line. Fifteen minutes before gun time, I was in the corral, freezing my rear off (it was a balmy 49Β°F with 10 – 20 mph winds) with two thousand other runners. The nerves barreled me over. Mom flashed an “I love you” in sign language, and I gave a probably grim, terrified, smile back. I talked to myself: “I can do this.” Then, I did what I normally do – I reached out for those other human connections. “It’s my first half ever!” I nervously confided the woman that asked where I got my sneakers. Everyone around me gave me last minute advice and comforting words. “Don’t go too fast out of the gate. Your adrenaline will be pumping!”, advised the guy next to me. Three women, who all seemed to be friends and running together, said “Oh how fun! Your first EVER. You’ll do great, honey.” The sneaker woman: “Just pace yourself at the start, and you’ll be fine!”

Oh sh*t, this is really happening: The Race…

All the pre-race advice helped ease my nerves slightly: I wasn’t doing this alone. Suddenly, we were singing the national anthem, and cheers rose up out of the four thousand or so runners (half doing the full marathon, the rest of us doing the half). And we were off!”Holy sh*t, this is really happening right now,” I thought as my legs started propelling me forward on auto-pilot. I felt frozen with nerves and I was breathing too fast. “I can’t do this,” flashed through my brain, and the thought paralyzed me for a split second but rationality took over. “Of course you can do this,” I said, “I trained my ass off. I ate the right breakfast. I have all the stuff I need. I got a new shirt from Lulu.” I was afraid of going too fast out of the gate so I followed the three women running together for the first mile. My pace was slow, probably only about 9:25 per mile. After the second mile I started loosening up and getting into my rhythm. By mile three, I felt like I was going too slow and pushed forward, “I can go faster. I’ve done this before,” I told myself. I gingerly pulled off my long sleeve (I was not about to lose my fave, tried-and-true running shirt!) and tied it around my waist while still running. Feeling the cool air wash over me, I focused on my breathing. “I can do this, I can do this,” I said.

It was long. With each mile I told myself my mantra I had used on my last training run: “Don’t slow down. Keep going. Push. Up, down, up, down. Keep going.” I saved drinking water until I was just starting to feel thirst and needed to cool my mouth down, probably about mile 5. The first 6 -7 miles went by like a breeze (relatively speaking). I saved my Mocha energy gel for about halfway, and the rush of sugar to my system helped give me a bump. Then the uphill mental challenge starting rolling in. My knees hurt, my legs started to feel fatigued, “Don’t give up L, you’re more than halfway!” I told myself. I never would have made it without that positive inner dialogue running through my head like the stock ticker on Wall Street. Just as I was starting to really feel my muscles yelling at me, there was Mom! She was waving! “Go L! Go L!” she shouted, “You’re doing awesome!” I almost burst into tears because I was going faster than I thought: I realized I could make it under two hours, which was my goal time. “Okay legs, we are going to DO THIS.” I told myself. The second half was hard; it was a much harder mental challenge to urge your legs faster when you started feeling tired, to fight the constant mental battle against your legs telling you to slow down and stop.

But I did it. The sun eventually came out and the clouds looked pretty; I tried to look up and think about something else, but I kept having that inner monologue: “Go L, don’t slow down!” When I passed the clock at 9.8 miles it was 1:29:29. “Okay, I just have to run the last 3.3 miles in less than half an hour, and I got this under two hours.” My legs were fatigued but I knew I had a little bit left. I cranked it. I changed my music to Booyah (seriously) and turned it up (I’ll probably be hard of hearing at age 60 with how loud I listen to my music). I started pushing forward, across the river, around the bend. Once we got close, I judged the finish line too soon and started sprinting: my legs and lungs were on fire but I just kept telling myself, “Almost there, almost there, keep going, don’t give up!” I rounded the last bend and there was Mom! I probably looked like hell, bright red and sprinting my ass off, but I heard her cheer me on and wave just as the clock came into view: 1:55…1:56….

I heard my trainer S’s voice in head, “GO! GO! GO! SPRINT! SPRINT! SPRINT!” and I gave it all I had right up to the end. I remember how relieved and full of joy I felt as I saw those time trackers at the finish line under my sneakers. Thank god, I MADE IT! I must have looked like I was dying because one of the volunteers rushed over to me and wrapped a heat blanket around me, “Are you okay?” they asked, a serious look of concern on their face. “Yes, (exhale) I know look (inhale) like I’m dying (exhale) but I promise I’m okay…” I managed. I pulled my phone out of my pocket to turn off the Nike+ app I was using to track my pace and play my music and the screen went black and it immediately died. I made it. I MADE IT!

race day after

I DID IT!!!!!!

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Chugging the celebratory bubbles! (Also, the secret is out: my face is really just a yellow cartoon smiley!) πŸ˜‰

I celebrated appropriately by drinking the mini-champagne bottle of bubbles once I got home. Woooohoooo!!

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Celebratory breakfast! Banana bread chocolate chip pancakes and half of Mom’s veggie omelet. Not pictured: a bangin’ pineapple-cranberry mimosa! More bubbles!:)

I’m not ashamed to say: I’m really proud of myself. I trained really hard, and I beat my own goal that I set out. I can’t even believe it’s over already! I guess I got bit by the bug, because I can’t wait for my next one. I’m hoping to continue with my training momentum to keep running through the blustery New England winter and increase my pace (or decrease? I just want to be faster!). In order to prevent losing my motivation, I’ve already signed up for my next half marathon and will be hounding my bestie B to run it with me. YES!

I’m glad you all have joined me on the last bit of my training journey and I’m excited to keep going forward with my sights set on my next goal. πŸ™‚ πŸ˜›

Happy Monday!

With warmth,
L