Welcome to Tapertown! – 20 Mile Run Re-cap

The day started early with a 6am wake up and a 7:00am departure from Beverly. Our whole team was meet at Dr. Howard Weinstein‘s house in Newton to run our LAST long run of the season before Marathon Monday. When we arrived at his house, it was packed with other MGH team members. Perhaps the BEST part of the whole morning was meeting the fabulous Kelly Sarno, my IG bestie. It was like we were long lost friends! We picked up our SWEET MGH team tee-shirts, too. This isn’t what we’ll be running 26.2 in, but our whole fan club will be sporting them at the Mile 20 Party. We munched on some last minute fuel, and boarded the buses for the drive out to the marathon starting line in Hopkinton. Once we were boarded and moving, there was no turning back. Our only option was to JUST RUN the 20 miles back to Howard’s house.

Ready at the starting line

Ready at the starting line

When we arrived in Hopkinton, there were so many runners. I recognized all the Team in Training shirts right away (gotta love that PURPLE), and most people had crowded around the “start” line. I really didn’t know this was such a well organized training run. I thought it was just going to be our group!  I have seriously run real races that had less spectators than this run. The Boston Marathon is a celebration of the entire city, and the volunteers, and people along the route were SO proud to be out helping the marathoners-to-be. We high-fived kids in their front yards in Ashland. We were pumped up by a front-stoop DJ at Mile 10. Shops along the route in Wellesley left out buckets of water and Gatorade so that we could grab them if we needed them. Every single fire station offered a pit stop, complete with music, bathrooms, and candy. And after a week of tragedy, they were still out there, putting a smile on our faces, and offering encouragement. Boston Police held up traffic at every intersection for the runners so that we could cross safely. It was all so overwhelmingly generous.

Signs were placed the entire 20 mile route for our safety

Signs were placed the entire 20 mile route for our safety

Miles 1-3: We were off in Hopkinton We starting our run with Kelly, MJ and Jess and I think you could probably hear us before you could see us coming. Chatting, laughing and stopping for a few key photo ops made the first few miles fly by. At the first mile marker, there was a tree of running sneakers in honor of Meg Menzies who was struck and killed by a drunk driver while out on a morning run in Virginia, #megsmiles.

Tree for #megsmiles

Tree for #megsmiles

Miles 3-5: We hit Ashland at a pretty good clip. Marissa and I separated from the group and plugged in to our music.

Miles 5-9: Framingham. We passed our MGH team pit stop at Mile 5, but didn’t stop for too long. We had 15 more miles to run! We stopped briefly at the TNT table around mile 8 to grab some water.

Mile 10: HALFWAY! As we closed in on Natick Town Common, we saw the best sign of the day: 10 MILES TIL TAPERTOWN! That fired me up! MGH had a table set up, and we stopped for a second to stretch and grab some snacks. I have to say, Swedish Fish never tasted so good.

Miles 11-12: The road got residential, and we had to switch sides of the street as we climbed up a hill to reach Wellesley College.

Mile 13: The small town of Wellesley rolled out the red carpet for marathon runners. Stores had buckets of water and Gatorade sitting out for us, and fans were cheering us along with cow-bells. I had to keep reminding myself that this was just a training run. I pictured us crossing this point on Marathon Monday, and we could say that we were halfway to home!

Mile 14-16: Heading down Washington St in Wellesley, we knew we were getting close to the turn onto Comm Ave. A father/daughter combo was handing out lemonade and water from their driveway, and we happily took them up on it. Pretty much as this point, we were taking food and drinks from every stranger we met.

Mile 17-20: At Mile 17, runners turn right onto Comm Ave, which is a crucial part of the race. The crowds (if they aren’t already dense) get thicker as the route turns towards Boston. The Newton Fire Station was amazing. The guys had a whole spread of goodies, water and refreshments and even opened up their bathrooms to a bunch of weary runners. The last few miles were definitely the toughest. We took some short walking breaks to stretch our legs out, and switch up our cadence. At mile 19 we met a woman who was shuffling along with a TNT shirt on, so we started chatting. She beat cervical cancer THREE TIMES and is running her first marathon. Meeting her and chatting passed the time, and before we knew it (or, in what felt like an eternity) we finally hit the Heartbreak Hill Running Company at Mile 20. We did it!!

Tapertown, here we are! We have some light runs the next few weeks, but we’re ready for the Big Show. 21 days…

Team HudsonStrong

Team HudsonStrong

18 Miles- Donezo

*Meredith has reached her fundraising goal of $5,000 but I am still working towards my goal! Please consider donating to my Boston Marathon fundraiser by clicking HERE! Thank you to all who have already donated! We really appreciate your support!*

On Saturday I woke up at 7am and set out for my longest run yet… 18 miles.  I had no idea what to expect because I would be running the whole thing by myself and had nobody to push me or talk to me along the way.  I made sure to make a good spotify play list for this one…

Miles 1-3: I felt really good.  It was not too cold and I felt like I dressed perfectly.  Two long sleeves, a vest and our standard pashmina.  I started out my usual 7 mile loop towards Wenham.

3-6 : I still felt pretty good and was heading through Wenham when I took a left instead of my usual right and ran into Hamilton until I hit a gas station so I could grab a Gatorade and eat my GU chomps!  This took probably 2 minutes but I stopped my timer and made sure to eat and drink enough that I had the energy to start up again.

Hamilton

Hamilton!

 

6-10:  These miles were slow and I felt overwhelmed that I was only getting to the halfway point.  I was still running through Wenham and I stopped to stretch out my hamstrings and drink a little more Gatorade.  I decided to run back into Danvers.

10-14:  I headed back into Danvers and started to feel a little better.  Ditched the Gatorade and started to feel like I was getting close to the end!

14-18: I was definitely tired at this point and headed back to Beverly.  I was going at probably 10:30 mile pace.  I was really bored and my play list had looped through a few times but I also was proud I had gone so far.

 

Trail!

18 miles done

I finished after 3 hours and 20 minutes of running.  It was a nice slow run and I hope that it will feel a little easier when I am running with Mer and have the energy of the other marathoners around me!

Last long run this weekend- 2o miles! Then Mer and I are headed to Portland, ME to see Darius Rucker! Happy Belated Birthdays to us!!

 

5 Week Countdown – Weekly Training Plan

Monday – REST & recover from NYC Half

TuesdayCrossFit Endurance workout: 4x400s (uphill, recover on descent): I ended up doing this workout with my whole 6am WOD, and took about 2-3 minutes rest each 400. Legs still felt really heavy from Sunday’s race.

Love my Milky Way WUCs

Love my Milky Way WUCs

WednesdayCrossFit516

Thursday – CrossFit Endurance workout: 4 min on, 3 min off, 2 min on, 30 sec off, 1 min on,3 min off, 2 min on, 30 sec off, 4 min on.

Friday – REST.

Saturday – Birthday WOD! CrossFit Endurance workout: 4 x 5K with 5 mins rest, then my favorite Long Island Vineyards!

Sunday – 30 min run/30 min yoga

A Pair of Gloves: The NYC Half-Marathon

When my alarm went off at 5AM, I was already awake. I didn’t get the best night’s sleep. In fact, I am pretty sure I was up every. single. hour.  It was time for the NYC Half-Marathon. Today was my second time running the streets of NYC. I ran in the inagural NYC Half Marathon presented by Nike waaaay back in 2006 while I was training for the Chicago Marathon. It was pretty much a lifetime ago. Before KJ. Before E&e. Before CrossFit. Before I really loved running. My time was 2:07.42. I was 23. I was 6 months out of chemo and cancer.  It was a lifetime ago.

At 6AM, my dad drove me to meet my friends at the Forest Hills subway station. Not sure how many 30 year olds still have their dads drive them around, but for me, it is pretty much the norm. He drove, and I chugged water, and we chatted mostly about my girls, and how funny they are. He knew I had a big goal that morning; sub-2 hours. He dropped me off at the Dunkin Donuts in Forest Hills, and my dad said “Have a great race. I know you’ll do great.” And I knew he meant it. I was ready.

The CrossFit516 Crew (Astrid, Ed and I) hopped on the subway and got to the starting line in Central Park at just about 7:30AM. The walkways were PACKED, and the air had a nice chill to it.By nice, I mean absolutely frigid.  I had throw-away sweatpants and an old Yale sweatshirt, but I was really dying for a pair of gloves. I started obsessively searching the ground for any discarded gloves (yes, I was willingly going to wear a stranger’s gloves), but I wasn’t having much luck. Gloves are probably one of the last things that people discard, especially when it is 30 degrees. The crowds were getting thicker, we were getting closer to the starting line, and I was fussing with my sweatshirt, my phone, my Nike+ app, and my headphones when I finally spotted them; gloves. Little fleece diamonds in the rough. I literally jumped for joy to get them, and the last thing I heard before I plugged in and started running was Ed telling me “those gloves are a sign!” Yup. A sign of great things.

Miles 1-3 were a total blur of awesomeness. Astrid and I were cruising and I literally felt like I was running on air. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that great for the first few miles of a run. They are usually my worse miles! The top of the park was sort of chaotic, with some zigging and zagging in a really crowded area. I think it was my least favorite part of the race. Miles 3-5 were the nice rolling hills of Harlem, and I charged up each hill like I meant BUSINESS. I really still felt like my legs just took over my whole body. Taking two days off from any running or CrossFit was definitely the right move.

official pic

official pic

We headed out of Central Park and down through Time’s Square, and I couldn’t help but smile (and tear up a little). I knew I would see my mom and my sister around mile 7, and I was getting sooooo close. If you ever get the chance to stand in the middle of 7th Avenue with no cars, no cabs, literally nothing around you; do it. I tried to remember to look UP as some of the best views are of the tallest buildings in NYC.

nyc half official pic

nyc half official pic

I turned right onto 42nd Street I spotted my mom and Marissa on the right side. I high-fived, and Marissa snapped some pics. What I wanted to say was, “HI! My pace is fast! I am doing it! I am going to break 2!” However, I am pretty sure I  just whooped, and high-fived and went on my way. Any seconds lost were going to be added on to the end, and I had a PR to make! Seeing my mom and my sister made me run MUCH faster down 42nd Street.

The wind heading towards the West Side Highway was fierce. I don’t have my exact splits, but I think my slowest miles might have been 8 and 9.  We were rewarded though, because miles 10-12 put the wind at our back, and I found my groove again on the nice, flat terrain of the West Side Highway. I had no idea as we passed mile 12 that we were going through a DARK TUNNEL for mile 13, but that was sort of awesome. We came out of the tunnel, ran 900 more meters up the FDR and crossed that finish line on South Street. I still didn’t know my exact time, though I knew I was coming in under 2. When I crossed, I was finally able to check my phone, and I saw that the NYC Half app had already posted my time.

1:54.43. A PR by 13 minutes. 

Those black fleece gloves? I am keeping them forever.

Twas the night before the NYC Half…

It’s finally here! I have been looking forward to this race all training season, and I’m all prepped for tomorrow morning. I just took a Sharpie to my race shirt given to me at the Expo and wrote a big MEREDITH on the front, and SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON – 6 WEEKS on the back.

Here is the plan: Alarm goes off at 5am. Eat half a bagel with almond butter, half a banana and have a cup of coffee at home. Start drinking water.

Wearing: lululemon run ispire crops, Under Armor long-sleeve, NYC Half race shirt (with my name on it, and my number pinned to it), my favorite lululemon socks, Mizuno Wave Inspires, and my new lucky hat from my dad.

ready, go.

ready, go.

I’m going to bring my phone, headphones, Gu Chomps, the other half of the banana, and a water to the start line with me, along with an old sweatshirt and sweatpants to wear on top so I don’t get totally frozen standing in the corrals.

Leave the house at 6:00am, and meet my  CrossFit516 friends Astrid and Ed at the Forest Hills subway stop. Astrid has promised to run the first couple miles with me to help me pace it out, but I expect her to TAKE OFF once we leave the park and go on her merry way of her FIRST HALF-MARATHON!  We should get to Central Park by 7:00am and we’ll be racing by 7:45am.

Tonight I am going to make sure I eat a good meal, lots of protein, and good carbs. Also, restricting to ONE glass of wine. Tomorrow post-race (and hopefully with a new PR, fingers crossed) I’ll be celebrating with some bubbly!

I am so pumped to run NYC tomorrow, that I hope I’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep tonight. If you are in NYC, and anywhere along the race route, be sure to come out and cheer! I’d love to see you!

Happy trails & swift feet tomorrow everyone!

The Numbers Are In! – Boston Marathon 2014

Yesterday the BAA posted bib numbers and start times for the 118th Boston Marathon. This is all starting to feel so real! I have such mixed feelings of anticipation; on one hand I am SO utterly excited for April 21st and all that those 26.2 miles hold, but on the other hand, I could cry at the drop of the hat that there is an end in sight. It hasn’t even started yet, but I don’t want it to be over. Typical Meredith Hudson mentality!
Here are our bib numbers, wave and corral assignments. I gotta say, its pretty cool to have 31031 as a number when I’ll actually be 31 on race day! We are in Wave 4 with a start time of 11:25AM.

Meredith Johnston, 31031

Meredith Johnston, 31031

Marissa Hudson, 31027

Marissa Hudson, 31027

SIX WEEKS TO GO!

6 Weeks!

6 Weeks!

Six weeks to go until the big day!  Here are six things I am looking forward to on Marathon Monday:

1) Waking up knowing that today I will run the Boston Marathon (in these pants?);

2) Riding on the bus with my team to Hopkington;

3) Hitting the halfway mark in Wellesley- hootiehoooo;

4) Seeing my family at mile 20;

5) Crossing the finish line with my sister;

6) CELEBRATING THE NIGHT AWAY AT THE LIBERTY HOTEL (Or just laying down with champagne and not moving for a few days).

We are getting so excited for the big day and are still working hard to prepare!

Tonight’s workout at Crossfit Variance started with backsquats:  3 at 75% of max weight; 4 at 90% of max weight; and 2 sets of 4 at 95% of max weight.

The WOD consisted of 30-20-10: push press; pullups and pistols.  There was a 10 minute cap so the goal was to get as far as possible.  I got 137 total reps which ended in the middle of my pistol set of 20.  Toughhh.

We ended with Tabata Burpees.  20 seconds on; 10 seconds off for 8 rounds. I totaled 48 burpees and was ready for dinner after that.

Backsquats to Burpees

Backsquats to Burpees

*Meredith has reached her fundraising goal of $5,000 but I am still working towards my goal! Please consider donating to my Boston Marathon fundraiser by clicking HERE!  Thank you to all who have already donated! We really appreciate your support!*