Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Copenhagen Marathon 2017 {race recap}

What. A. Day.

I ran my 2nd BQ (3:35:21), 3rd fastest 26.2, and had a ton of fun running the streets of Copenhagen. {achievement unlocked}

I can't stop smiling when I think of race day.

I signed up for Copenhagen a few months prior to running Boston. I had wanted to run it on the past 2 visits, but never worked out. I was ecstatic that I was able to get the logistics sorted.


Pre race:

We went to the expo on Saturday. It was super chill and had loads of vendors and booths to check out. I found my name on the athlete wall. I also found alternatives to GU which I plan to pursue in the future.


I loved this shirt at the expo.


Night before I laid out my flat Xaar to make sure I had everything I needed for 26.2 in the morning. While it always makes for good Instagram content, the flat Xaar also is part of my race routine. From my professional clarinet playing days I learned that you can be the best, but If you couldn't replicate the product, you were worthless. Same principle applies to my running- routines make for replication of good performances.


We took the metro to Islands Brygge where the start of the race was. We also ran into fellow MRC'er Karina on the way.


Once out of the metro, we walked half a mile to the start area. Our bags were checked at a security point and then we were allowed into the athlete village.


We hung out for a bit and took photos before dropping our bags. Race logistics were A+ organized!


We also ran into the rest of the MRC folks who were running the marathon. It was so nice to see everyone again.


Going into race day I had low expectations for a time goal. I had come to Copenhagen for a beer festival, Ran a beer mile, had been eating some of the most delicious food ever, and had not been running much since Boston 5 weeks prior. Race week, I stopped drinking alcohol on Wednesday- save for a cocktail on Thursday at MRC. I ran 26 miles the week of the marathon- too many miles including 7+ on Thursday with GMP intervals at MRC and had walked around a ton on Friday at a gorgeous museum outside of CPH. Only goal: have fun. Secondary goal: feel good.


I lined up in the start corral in front of the 3:40 pacers. I figured I would be good for at least a 1:50 half, and would adjust expectations as I went on. Weather was on the warm side with a start in the upper 50's, and very few clouds in the sky. We took off and the course was pretty crowded- but was moving. I got into a groove and slipped behind the 3:40 pacers and ran with them for a few k before eventually pulling ahead because it was so crowded.


As we ran around Fælledparken I felt like I had to pee- the next portalets I got to were all occupied so I ducked into a perfect area full of bushes and was back on my way super fast. I caught back up to the pacers and got ahead of them again due to the crowding. We passed a "live zone" and we had to walk for a few seconds because the road was super narrow.

One interesting thing to note is you end up running one of the loops of the course twice. It was really strange to see the 31km and 4km markers and know that we would run the same streets again. Comforting for sure since we knew what to expect.


The course goes through the heart of Copenhagen- it is truly a city marathon. Spectators line most of the course- it's a huge city wide party. I saw my friend Jan (a badass Danish marathoner in the 80's) within the first 10k- so nice to see a familiar face cheering! I also found other MRC members running on the course and chatted a bit. I tossed my bottle of sports drink around 17k and was very concerned about getting enough fluids because the aid stations were about 2.5-3 km apart.


I hit the half in 1:49:16, and decided that attempting a BQ was on. I felt pretty good and figured why the hell not try. I also started walking through water stations around the half. The cups were plastic and difficult to run and drink out of at the same time. Walking the water stops worked great for me at Racine 70.3 for a 1:45 half so I was confident it would be ok for CPH.


At km 25 I found the Mikkeller Running Club cheer zone. As I ran through, I saw Henrik who handed me a beer. I high 5'd pikachu and took a few sips of the beer and then took off running again and high 5'd so many MRC friends.


I felt great. A few km later I ran through the NBRO cheer zone. It was insane. A guy from their club was a few feet behind me and I fed off of all the cheers for him. It was Tour De France style with his club members running along side him for 100m and someone taking videos and ended with a few blasts from a confetti canon. Insane.


I was having so much fun running the streets of one of my favorite cities. I saw another friend spectating after this point- i felt so good and pumped up.


Around km 30 my legs started to feel pretty heavy. I had to tell myself it was only 7.5 more miles to the finish- an hour left- you can do this. I put on my power songs which I had skipped until this point and started jamming out.

"Raise those hands, this is your party. We came here to live life like nobody was watching. I got my city right behind me, if I fall they got me." - Macklemore

With each step my legs got heavier and heavier. Returning to running after walking at the aid stations was getting more and more difficult. With 5k to go I knew I would be very close to 3:35. I couldn't blow it now. With 2km to go my legs felt like lead and I thought they were going to seize up with cramps. Each step took a tremendous amount of willpower and effort. I kept pushing and counted down the minutes until I was done. Just f*cking do it.


I crossed the finish and immediately got super emotional. (Starting to tear up as I type that) I stopped running and bent over to stretch and catch my breath- my legs were toast. Continued with the ugly cry-can't catch my breath-OMG legs are cramping- got my finisher's medal, and proceeded to hobble over to get my victory photo taken.


I negative split the second half by 3 minutes. 1:49:16 and 1:46:05 and qualified for Boston with a healthy 4:39 cushion. I was over the moon!


I ate a yogurt protein pouch and drank a bottle of water while I sat in the grass. My calf muscles were twitching and I was cooked. My hip flexors and hamstrings were in pain.


I ran into MRC'ers post race and we shared a non alcoholic post race beer together.

Josefine kicked major ass and got a 15 minute PB! I was so incredibly proud of her. Many others had PB days as well- it was a great day!


Post race I had pizza and beer with Josefine and her family- the perfect end to this amazing day.


It was a fabulous day of running through one of my favorite cities, seeing great people and having the time of my life. I look back now and realize I knew more people spectating/running in Copenhagen than I ever have at a race in the USA. After 3 visits to CPH, I'll give it the honorary title of my 2nd home. The people, the country are all amazing.


Housekeeping/Observations

•Oatmeal with honey 2.5 hours pre race.

•Salt tab 20 min pre race, then every 4ish miles

•Gu around every 4 miles total of 4

•Carried Vitamin Well sports drink with me until around 17km

•25% women in the field- I was running with men most of the time

•37% of the field was from outside Denmark

•The spectators didn't have many signs, But power zones had confetti canons, flame machines, they took spectating to 11.

•The live zones took photos of participants and instantly uploaded them to their profile in the app. Ive never seen this technology at a race before.


I give this race a 10/10 for course, organization, spectators and logistics.

It had 10,000 participants but didn't feel huge like Chicago or Boston- it had a nice smaller town race feel.

Would totally run it again.



What's next?

Nothing. For reals. I don't plan on any more races for a while due to some anticipated changes- for the better- in my life. Maybe a fall 5k or half. Nothing crazy.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mikkeller Danish World Beer Mile {race recap}

Yesterday I completed my first beer mile.


I was excited to try it, but also had been full of apprehension leading up to the event. The running part- piece of cake. The drinking 1.4 liters of beer part made my stomach hurt just thinking about it.


We met at Mikkeller Baghaven for the event. It was an official beer mile event and rules were read off- if you puke you have to drink another beer and run another lap. Etx. It was serious.


I was in a heat with all women. Many of whom seemed very serious about this race. I was terrified.


First beer went down in 45 seconds, then I trotted off around the buildings- burp, step, burp, step repeat. Ok. I feel good.


2nd beer took over 60 seconds. I trotted off in my fastest 400 of the day.


3rd beer I could feel the sloshing in my stomach.


Every step took effort.


The anticipation of the 4th beer and lap was the worst.


I got lapped by the faster, more experienced women.


Some of them held a practice beer mile a few weeks ago. That would have been very helpful.


4th beer was tough to get down. It took me nearly 3 minutes.


All we could do was laugh about it. It was so difficult to drink a bunch and run. But we had a fun time together.


I was so happy to waddle it in to the finish in 15:2x. I was happier to not drink any more beer.


We got a nice group photo with MRC CPH and San Diego post race too.

I can't thank them enough for all the generosity they have shown us the past few days.


Would I do another beer mile? Only when I forget this one. Lol.

When I do another beer mile, I will have to practice with tonic water.

The marathon next week will be a piece of cake compared to this.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Boston Marathon 2017 {Race Recap}

Monday Funday!

I woke up at 5:40 Marathon Monday morning and ate my trusty belvita biscuit. I got all my stuff together and walked with L over to the buses. As we got out of the elevator in our hotel we ran into Bart Yasso. I knew it would be a good day after that. I was calm but super excited that I would be running the Boston Marathon in a few short hours!



I was optimistic that it would somehow be cooler in Hopkinton than Boston and that I would be able to execute my race plan. I never looked at my weather app on Monday- I didn't need some dumb excuse to blame on a poor race before it even started. I had put in a lot of work to run this race- at the very least I was going to enjoy nearly every step. {achievement unlocked}



I said goodbye to L and got on a bus. I sat next to a girl from Toronto and we had a lovey chat on the hour long ride out to Hopkinton. We had both completed triathlons- it was so nice to pass the time chatting away.



We pulled into the drop off area and went our separate ways. My original plan was to meet at a house across from the school where my friend was- but I couldn't get past security, so I sat on the ground in the athlete village for a while. I eventually got up to take a photo with the famous "It all starts in Hopkinton" sign. I scampered off to use the portalet one last time before it was time to head towards the corrals. I ate 2 more Belvita biscuits at the village.



Just before the start of the first wave, there was a flyover of F15's. We were warned multiple times this would occur by the announcer. The announcer was hilarious. He kept saying how they were only asking for wave 1 (red bibs) to head to the start- and if you didn't have one to stay in the village until it was your time. And if you wanted to run in wave 1, you need to run faster to belong there.



Rip Get Lucky shirt.

Soon it was time for the wave 2 folks to head towards the start corrals. I sprayed myself with sunscreen and dropped my Get Lucky shirt at a clothing collection site. The herd moved slowly towards the staging area in the parking lot. I was a big ball of emotions.



The walk ended at the parking lot where we stood for 10-15 min before being herded to the start line.



It felt like the walk took forever to get to the start line. It was .7 miles- everyone for the most part was quiet. It was a great time to go over my race plan one last time and think about the mantra in the meditation from JasYoga I had been using- I am....here now.



I was full of emotions standing in the start corral waiting to start my journey to Boston. The corral was full of younger women and some older guys- expected since we were placed by qualifying time.

As we shuffled to the start line, I was overcome with emotion. I was finally here, I was healthy. This is it!

Goal A- have fun, PR
Goal B- have fun, BQ
Goal C- have fun

Had I looked at the temps, I would have readjusted to simply "have fun" because 75 degrees is not ideal to run a marathon..



I took off towards Boston and monitored my watch every once In a while. My goal would have been to run 7:45's the first 5k, but my pace was low 8's-8:20. I knew at this point the heat would be a big factor for the race. I continued to run smart and not push it- especially on the downhills. I didn't want to blow out my legs in the first 10k of the race.



Around 9-10 miles into the race, I caught up to my BFF's boyfriend, E. Running into him gave me a bit of pep in my step- while the crowds were amazing, the heat was starting to wear on me. We chatted and I felt more consistent in pacing and effort- and banished the "omg so hot" thoughts out of my head.

Running through the Wellesley scream tunnel was intense. I kissed a few girls on the cheek- when in Boston... I wanted the full Boston experience.

We hit the halfway around 1:50, and I was feeling good, but warm. It was around halfway that I started dumping water on my head at every aid station.



It was so nice running without headphones- I would talk to people as we passed by. Around mile 17 we ran into V and I gave her a big wet hug! It was around this point that I thought to myself, Carnage. We were passing people instead of going with the flow or being passed. There were also more and more folks walking.

The Newton hills were hilly, but not as bad as I expected. Whatever I did to prepare worked (loads of squats and stairs). Around the hills I got a popsicle from a spectator- nectar of the gods. I ran through sprinklers and fire hydrants spraying water on the road. The water felt great especially when a good breeze came by.





I saw L and friends at mile 22 and gave him a big hug and kiss. For the duration of the race I had a big goofy grin plastered to my face. It was hot, yeah, but I trained hard and felt relatively good running. I gave hugs to some spectators who held up "free hugs" signs. Why not!? I high fived 100's of people on the journey from Hopkinton to Boston. Around mile 24 I started to speed up and zoomed it in to the finish. Seeing the Citgo sign made me cry.



Right on Hereford and left on Boylston gave me all the feels. I had to hold back the ugly cry- plus it was extremely difficult to run and cry at the same time. The finish line seemed to take forever to get to- and then it was over. I collected my medal and water and took a picture.



I was ecstatic about my time of 3:42:01. I felt like I ran a super smart race despite the crappy weather. If I could run a 3:42 in the heat, then I could certainly BQ no problem in better temps.

One of the many conversations E and I had was about effort in races. I know that at best, in a marathon I'm operating at 80%. I tend to want to feel comfortable the entire time- save for the last bit when I know things can't go wrong. Also, I want to avoid the med tent. It got me wondering what I would truly be capable of if I embraced the tough times more.



Post race and post shower L and I went to Row 34 for a delicious seafood dinner. Then we went to Bukowskis where I continued the celebration with a Sam Adams 26.2 brew.



And then continued the celebrations with a Marathon Wheat from Start Line brewing- they are out of Hopkinton and recently opened in November.



The brewers happened to be sitting next to us at the bar and were super nice. Their IPA was also delicious



These past 18 weeks flew by- I can't believe it's all over now. I can't thank L enough for supporting me to achieve this dream. It's been amazing.

Housekeeping:

•Salt tab pre race
•Gu at mile 4.5, 10, 15, 20
•Salt tab at mile 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 23
•Carried bottle of Osmo until mile 13 when I finished it- usually I still am drinking from my handheld until like 20!
•2 popsicles on the course
•Mile 13 started dumping water on my head
•100's of high fives given
•Smiles the whole way.




This was one of the most fun races I've ever run. I'm happy I ran a smart race and didn't try to PR or kill myself out there. So many awesome memories. I hope to return and run Boston again. 💛🦄💙