Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Back in the game - Rested & Gearing up for Boston. And a little look back at Portland....

Boston........I feel like it is still sinking in, even after a few months to register, find hotels, find a training plan  -I am still digesting it all.  It is hard for me to even claim it - not sure why.  I have so many incredible family & friends that have bragged on me and have told me I should be doing the same - but I just haven't been able to.  When people have asked how Portland went - I generally tell them - "it went well".  But I haven't been able to say to many people and "I QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON".  It truly is so exciting in my own little world.  I guess there is a part of me that doesn't want to brag, and a part of me that is intimidated by the fact that I am going to actually have to show up and run a race among many incredible runners.  Scared knowing that my first attempt at a marathon landed me in a medic tent at mile 25 - I think that reality will always linger with me.  But Portland - oh sweet Portland - was a different story........
          I never did my official race re-cap for the Portland marathon because I had spent a few hours on an exciting play by play and I lost it on my computer.  Thinking I would come back to it - I took a little blogging and training break for some time with my family - but now I am back - training and otherwise.
So, just because I cannot completely avoid a race that left me with such great memories and an incredible challenge to face   - here is a quick re-cap of the highlights of Portland for me:
 - Waking up at home - knowing I was running a race on my own turf.
-  My dad and Andrew facing the early morning and the rain before the race with me.
-   Getting to show up at another start line with my best friend Julie (even though she was deciding to race injured) - it did a lot for me knowing she was on that course as we had been through some pretty tough training together.

Julie and I at Portland start line

-  Random moments but some of my favorites with my favorite running writer , who I have had the privilege to get to know - Sarah Bowen Shea - co-author of Run Like a Mother.  I love her on pre-race energy - she cracked me up & kept my pre-race jitters to a minimum.  I will remember that start line with her forever & I hope to start others with her.
-  The Portland course - LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT.  Partly because I grew up here & there is just something about your own stomping ground.
-  My incredible friends and family that showing up to cheer me on - you all know who you are and all have no idea how your sweet faces and support will stay with me forever.
-  The worship band at mile 8 - it was awesome!! I was singing & crying (one of the many points on that course that I got teary)
-  Sweet mile 25!!!!  As many of you know - mile 25 is where the race ended for me at the Seattle Rock n' Roll Marathon - this point in the race as I looked at the 25 mile marker, feeling strong & ran past it.......it was the most emotional part of the race for me.
-  The FINISH - it was so great to see my families face there.  Andrew, my dad and my sister Jen sprinted from the mile 21 marker where they cheered me on so they could maneuver through the crowds and be there where I crossed that line this time.   For a little history on how much this meant to them as well as me -  Andrew has been the most amazing, encouraging support through all my training for 2 marathons in the last 6 months & my dad has been so encouraging and excited for me(sometimes more excited than me) - he was the one that was running beside me in Seattle, planning to run me in my last 5 miles, when I had to go back with the medics.  The two of them (and Julie) were the only ones that knew how truly heartbreaking Seattle was and what an incredible victory Portland was for me.  Back to that finish line.......I could see their amazing smiles and hear them saying, "You did it!"  - "You qualified for Boston!"  I crossed that finish line with such a huge smile, for so many reasons!!  I just have to say that my sweet little sister Andrea, her husband Ryan and and their very new baby girl braved the truly ridiculous, traffic, weather and roadblocks.
-  Coming home to phone, e-mail & facebook messages of congrats from people who helped help encourage me through this journey was certainly a highlight.
-  Overall the race felt good.  Even though I had trained HARD, was pretty confident I had figured out the issues I had in the Seattle race - I still had doubt, that evil fear monster was still there.  But I conquered it this time......It wasn't easy - I certainly had to lock into my mental toughness and rely on song son my playlist and the faces of my family and friends to really get it done, but I never truly hit a wall, never felt like I had to stop.  Leaves me with a new evil mental game......what was I REALLY capable of, I should have pushed harder & so the new mental games begin.....

My Dad & I at the start line - such a great cheerleader!!
My sweet husband!!!

There were a few things that were less than ideal:  the pouring rain (though it wasn't that bad), my Garmin shorting out at the start line and the hardest for me was knowing that Julie wasn't able to run like she was capable of, that our dream of qualifying for Boston together wasn't going to happen this time around.  So proud of her that she ran a stinkin' marathon - injured - that would go on my list of accomplishments for sure and why she able to claim to be a "Badass Motherrunner" (click here to see the awesome shirts from run like a runner that we love!!)  I was so excited to finish a marathon with her - finally whether it was how we pictured it - we have many adventures running and otherwise that we will get to do together.

So, The Boston Marathon is what lies before me.  Yesterday was my first official training run.  I am excited and nervous to take on this next challenge, but so blessed to have the support and encouragement that I have.  More about my training plan (which I am still tweaking), my goals and oh yes, my fears.
Thanks for coming along for another chapter of these Inspired Miles of a Mom!!!


  1. I'll I've got for you is tears right now. A great recap. so proud of you, excited for you, and you know I'll be running (with) you in spirit. You've got one heck of a cheering section. Love you!

  2. I'm so pleased my goofy nervous energy helped you at the start. You showed great restraint not revealing what I *did* during the National Anthem!

    I hear you on the Boston Qualifier. It's different for me as I have opted to wait until 2012, but still I relate. Unlike you, I usually am Queen of the Braggarts, and I always thought I would shout it from the rooftops when I qualified. (Because, like Julie, it was a matter of "when," not "if," I qualified.) But I find I rarely talk about it or even think about it.

    Running Boston is going to be incredibly special. You are going to adore it as it's happening, so as you build your distance, also add to your anticipation of that great event. xo

  3. what a great journey and recap! I think Boston will be amazing and I love how you LOVE on your running buddies! I am daydreaming about Boston one day...what training plan did you follow for Portland?? Strategy? I ran Portland last year and may return?? CONGRATS!!

  4. Great post, Ash. I can't wait to see what Boston holds for you!