Monday, May 23, 2016

Erie Marathon Training Recap: 16 Weeks Till Race Day!

I am so used to writing Boston Marathon Training Recap, that my fingers didn't even know how to type Erie Marathon. I have had Boston on the brain for so long...







Last week started the first week of marathon training and it felt super low key. This is a good thing :) 
I feel like I am just easing my way into a good groove, a nice sustainable rhythm while juggling life.

No doctor's appointment is complete without a lollipop! 




Mom's life!




Wednesday was the first workout with a longer speed element to it and it felt good to get my legs moving. 2 miles to warm up, 4 mile progression tempo starting at mid 7 minute pace and ending at low seven. I realize I read the workout incorrectly and did not end up doing a progression workout. The bright side was that I got a somewhat speedy 4 miles in, and looking forward to getting faster in the coming months :)









Friday evening we took the kiddos to their very first track meet! We drove to Occidental College (near Pasadena) for the Hoka One One Middle Distance meet. The track meets leading up to the Olympic Trials are always super exciting and we had a lot of fun cheering with the Oiselle women!
So neat to watch the women race - the majority came in just over 15 minutes. One of the most impressive moments was watching the last woman come in - she didn't give up even though everyone else was finished. She finished in just over 16 minutes, which is still incredibly fast! A good lesson for kids - even if you are in last place, you run strong till the end. Never give up. Finish what you started.




Explaining the women's 5,000 to my kiddos





I think it's safe to say that we love running!



Saturday night we had a date night! We went to a movie (has anyone seen Money Monster? It was pretty good) and later realized we should just go to dinner on our date night - more time to really talk. Which goes to show life isn't perfect, you just have fun and hang on for the ride. #lifelessons



Date night


Sunday I ran an early morning 13 mile run with some super star runners and we had a great time together. Blessed to run with these awesome athletes!




Good times on the run!!




Here are my workouts for the week:

Monday May 16th - 6 easy miles

Tuesday May 17th - 6 easy miles

Wednesday May 18th - 8.8 miles; 2.2 mile warm up, - 4 mile tempo: 7:02, 7:03, 6:59, 7:06 - 2.6 mile cool down.

Thursday May 19th - 6 easy miles

Friday May 20th - REST DAY

Saturday May 21st - 5 easy treadmill miles

Sunday May 22nd - 13 easy paced miles (8:14 pace)

Dynamic stretching every day before I run, stretching and core work at night. Weights 3 times this week, including Iron Strength for Runner's DVD.

Need to focus on: Getting in the pool this week!!!


Total miles for the week: 44.8



I hope you all have a wonderful start to your week!


When is the last time you've been to a track meet? 


What movies have you seen lately?



LIVE. RUN. BE HAPPY

xo,
Natalie










Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! This was the fastest and slowest week all at the same time - do you ever have that feeling?

Here is what I am loving this week!


1. THIS swimsuit from Oiselle! I just got it and I LOVE it. I can't wait to wear it all summer!!





2.  THIS article on running in Los Angeles. Here's the deal ---> I was born and raised as a young child in the the Midwest. When we moved to LA (well, we moved to a suburb 30 minutes north) I was a sophomore in high school, and I thought I would hate it here. There are so many preconceived notions of Los Angeles, but let me tell you - it's an awesome place to run and be an athlete. Additionally, there are so many hidden gems in this city to discover and it's a wonderful place to live and play. I truly love it here. 
Let me know if you ever come to LA - I know so many amazing places to run!





3. I couldn't resist buying GP's latest cookbook. I really like it! Great, easy recipes and beautiful photos...




I had a chance to make one of the salads last week and it did not disappoint!!





4. Really loving my Saucony Ride 8 running shoes! I ran in Saucony in high school and college. I switched to Brooks after college and have only run in Brooks since - until now. I decided to give these a whirl...





5.  You have to read THIS article about the awesome mother runner Stephanie Bruce and her journey to make it to Rio - all while raising two babies. Good stuff.





Have a wonderful weekend!!

Happiness is running life!

xo,
Natalie

Monday, May 16, 2016

Life Lately + 18 Weeks!!

Life lately has been filled with my family and lots of rest. It's been good for me, good for my soul.
This time of the year is always crazy busy with packing every possible school event into the schedule before summer break.
It's been an awesome school year and I am holding onto my five year old daughter's last weeks of Kindergarten. Where did the time go? I am not ready for her to be a first grader yet, but I also know she must fly, spread her wings and move to a new phase. Josh is finishing up third grade and yet he is still my baby. I am feeling so thankful that he is allowing it - the snuggles, cuddles and extra long hugs. I love that he is nine, but not too cool for school to hold his Mom's hand down the block (that happened today when I picked him up from a birthday party and I couldn't have been more joyful.).
My youngest is almost finished with her first year in preschool and she is so full of life - wearing a tiara to school, dancing around the house and loudly never hesitating to tell us her opinion (we hear you sweetheart).

These weeks of running easy breezy have been so wonderful. I feel (pretty much) recovered from Boston and I haven't had an agenda - just running in the sun, appreciating the smell of jasmine everywhere and drinking in nature like never before. I am noticing everything - the blue jay on my trail run, the extra daylight we are getting in the evenings... such fun days.

I have been cooking interesting dishes and enjoying wine and chocolate. On Saturday, I woke up at 5:30 am, ran 12 miles (the longest since Boston), went to two basketball games for my kids, had a quick in person catch up with one of my dearest friends, and we all landed back home in the early afternoon pretty exhausted. The kids puttered in their rooms and Jerold and I had delectable salads and WINE at 3 PM. We talked and laughed together and had so much fun.

Life is fun right now and I love acknowledging that.




I also know that I love my running and I knew that soon I would want to think about the next step. What now? I didn't have a master race calendar for the year - I was so focused on rehab, getting strong again and running Boston that I just couldn't think much beyond April. Now I feel ready. My goals are still important and I want to have fun challenging myself with running and racing.

After a LOT of thought about which race I would like to tackle next, I have made a decision. I have to say - it wasn't a quick and easy decision! I knew that late summer, early fall would be a good timeline to prepare for another marathon. I thought about location, weather, race courses and more. I also decided that I will run Boston in 2017 (yay!), so a fall marathon would have to fit around that as well. One last factor for me was, if I couldn't find a race on the West Coast that appealed to me, then I wanted to pick something near my family - specifically my Dad. The hope was to have him come to the race or me to go and see him after the race.

Anyway.

I have decided to run the Erie Marathon in Erie, PA on Sunday September 11th! I know, right? Totally the opposite of the West Coast... I have signed up for the race and I am really excited about it. The timing gives me 18 weeks to train, which seems pretty short in a sense (probably because I had such a super long base period and then training for Boston), but I know I have plenty of time to train well for it. Lake Erie looks like a beautiful location and it is only four hours from where I was born and raised (Dayton, Ohio) until the middle of high school. The course consists of two loops around Lake Erie Presque Isle Park and it is one of the top courses in the country to qualify for Boston ---> which means it is a fast course. I feel confident that I will be prepared to run well there.

I am also excited to get even stronger and adding in some elements to my training that I didn't do for Boston. I will be swimming as a form of cross training - I'd like to shoot for once or twice a week. I know I will have to write it down and really push myself to get it done. I think once I get going, it'll be part of my routine. Jerold wants to swim more also, so we are going to try and do it together - maybe even with the kiddos and take turns. It's all about flexibility when it comes to training and parenting. Second, I am going to up the ante on strength training and commit to popping in the Iron Strength for Runners (have you tried it? It's intense!) and doing it twice a week at least. Third - I will keep chipping away at the hills and putting in more and more time on the trails, which I have been doing a lot lately. The hills are going to make me stronger and of course that is great! 





So - here I go! Another marathon training cycle that starts, um - RIGHT NOW. I ran 43.5 miles last week, so that is a good start. I am still extremely diligent on doing the PT exercises every day - have to keep strengthening those glutes and hips! Oh, and I am also going to try doing some new yoga poses (now I do pigeon, legs up the wall, child's pose, tree pose and happy baby. I need to broaden my horizon).





Next step is to find some fun races to fit in with my training this summer. A half marathon for sure and I'd like to race a 5K & a 10K - it's been awhile!

What races do you have planned this summer?

Anyone starting a new marathon training cycle?


Happiness Is Running Life!

xo,
Natalie

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Staying Safe On The Trails: 6 Tips For Trail Running

As the weather gets warmer, more runners are heading to the trails for their runs. I can't begin to tell you how much I love trail running! There is such an abundance of beauty out on the trails - an amazing variety of trees, wildflowers and wildlife (butterflies, a bluejay, lizards and jackrabbits are some of the wonderful creatures I saw on my last trail run).
Trail running is a great way to give your legs a break from concrete and asphalt and I love the peace and quiet that a trail run provides - zero cars and fewer people.

Running lots of hills on trail runs are one of the ways that I get stronger as a runner. Hills bring out your inner bad ass and make you a tougher, better runner. I love conquering a difficult hill - especially as I go back and run it over and over - and know that, if I can beat this hill, I'm ready for anything.







1. Tell someone where you are going

Text or leave a note for your spouse, friend, family member or neighbor with your trail route, time you left and what time you plan on returning.
This is such a great way for someone to track your whereabouts and to contact you if you aren't back at the designated time.


Nature's beauty


2. Bring your cell phone (+ ID and pepper spray!)

Some runners don't like to carry a cell phone, but it's a good idea to carry one on a trail run. You are in a (much) less populated area and it's critical to have some type of communication if the need arises.


3. Trust your instincts

Our instincts are such a great defense. If your gut tells you something isn't right, LISTEN to it. 
It can be anything from a person you see ahead that doesn't seem quite right or gives you a funny feeling, to hearing a rustle in the brush that doesn't add up to a squirrel. You can always turn around and add onto your run in the opposite direction. It's better to be safe than sorry.


4. Avoid dawn and dusk trail running

Large wildlife - coyotes, mountain lions and bears, tend to come out during these early morning or late evening hours.


Mountain lions and bears... oh my...


5. Pay attention to your footing

Running on a trail brings rocks, snakes, branches and exposed roots. Your attention is going to be focused on the ground a lot. Let go of your GPS watch, leave your headphones at home, and focus on the road ahead.


This brings me joy and a lot of sweat!


6. Run with a friend or a group

At the end of the day, there is safety in numbers. Try and run with at least one other person.



How often do you run on trails?

What do you do to stay safe on the trail?


Happiness Is Running Life!

xo,
Natalie


Friday, April 29, 2016

The Boston Marathon 2016: Runners Are The Nicest Friends!

It's been 11 days since the Boston Marathon and I am still smiling every time I think about the weekend. If you missed my posts on my experience as a Mom running a marathon or my full race recap - you can read them HERE and HERE.

This is my last post on Boston and it brought me a lot of joy to remember all the wonderful people that I met! I have said this before, but runners really are the nicest people and make wonderful friends. Maybe it's the bond we share of our mutual love of the sport, but I have met such humble, kind, salt of the earth people over the years...




First, I'll start with my dear friend Laura. Laura and I met as seventeen year old college freshman at UC Santa Barbara. We were on the cross country team together (she is an awesome runner!!) and our sophomore year we rented a house with NINE other runners (yes, we had some EPIC parties!). We called it the track house and we had such a blast together! Memories include sharing an entire pizza the night before a cross country meet, bonding over our early morning gorgeous runs in Santa Barbara and then laughing at some crazy joke on our long afternoon runs. When I arrived in Boston, we couldn't wait to see each other and catch up! She is also the rock star who made those awesome race signs for me and drove my family to the half so they could see me in two spots. I am so grateful for her friendship all these years later.


I think we all recall a time that we wouldn't dream of meeting up with someone we met over the internet and now it seems like no big deal. I have met some really great women through blogging, the internet and running....




I met Mar through her running blog, and I love her honest, fun approach about running. It was so wonderful to finally meet in person and she is just as awesome in person as she is on her blog!! :)




I met Fran at the Oiselle shake out run on Sunday morning, the day before the race. Fran reached out to me on my blog via Facebook over a year ago. She was so sweet and we have kept in touch ever since. We ended up running the 3 mile shake out together and had such a blast!! This was Fran's first Boston Marathon also, so we were both taking it all in...






Courtney and I also met for the first time at the Oiselle shake out run on Sunday. It was so fun to meet and hang out with Courtney! Let me say, Courtney is like a celebrity - so many runners were coming up to her, extremely excited to meet her!! She is so kind and genuine and I look forward to seeing her again someday soon.




Sandra and I met last summer at Blog Fest. I recognized Sandra from her running blog and went up and introduced myself. You know when you have that feeling that someone is immediately going to be your friend? Yep, that's how it was and I always look forward to hanging out with her! We spent Saturday afternoon at the expo, checking out the finish line and having a carbo charged lunch together. This is what running is about - meeting awesome friends! 




And we met Sarah from Another Mother Runner at the expo!!

Well, that's a wrap friends. Part three of my Boston experience is complete and now it is time to move on to new adventures.
I would love to tell you all about the amazing race calendar that I have lined up for the rest of the year, but it doesn't exist right now. 

I am running slow, easy runs, enjoying the sunshine and thinking about what's next. 

Stay tuned!

Have a wonderful weekend!!


Anyone racing this weekend?


Tell me something fun about your weekend!


Happiness Is Running Life!

xo,
Natalie





Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Boston Marathon 2016: My Race Recap

In the blink of an eye, the Boston Marathon is a memory and a week has gone by in such a blur. It has really taken me the whole week to process my emotions and coherently pour them out onto the page.
I have learned so much through this journey - working hard for what you want will fuel you and inspire you to your own personal greatness. Even if you fall short, you can still walk away knowing your will and dedication is worth something pretty special. You can use those feelings to propel you onward in a continuing path of never giving up and always striving to reach your goals.

This has been such a long awaited weekend. In fact, I distinctly remember my high school cross country coach telling us how amazing the Boston Marathon was when she ran it and that we MUST run it at some point in our lives. As a young, impressionable teen, I listened to her with awe and wonder - I knew in that moment that this would be an important goal of mine. 




I was never extremely hungry for Boston until after I had my kids. Then it hit me that life was swiftly passing by and I had better make this little dream come true. Pre kids, I had run 5 marathons and achieved a few BQs, but had never taken advantage of going to Boston. There was always something more important going on in my life and I chose life over Boston.
I had done my extreme share (and honor - I loved all of it) of dirty diapers and nursing three babies, now it was time to get to it. 
Go to BOSTON.
As the new year rang in 2014, the hunger could no longer be denied. The rest of the story, you all know (post babies marathon, injury, heartbreak, surgery, struggle, recovery).




Now here I am. Exactly one year post surgery. The training is done, and I feel like I kicked serious butt in this training cycle.
I put in the work and most importantly, I had a blast doing it. In fact, I believe there was only one run (I think it was a 14 miler) toward the end of the cycle, right before the taper that I lost it. I was super tired, I felt a little off and I just wanted to be finished.
I called Jerold (which I never do during a run) and told him I couldn't do it - I felt really crappy and I just wanted it to be over.

Jerold: "Well, you have a choice - you can finish the workout, or you can quit. It's really that simple."

Ugh. Zero sympathy from him. That of course made me mad and I finished the run with a vengence. 


One week before Marathon Monday, my coach sent me the plan. I had been waiting with bated breath for his marathon plan. I knew how hard I worked, how I completed every workout, how meticulous I been in the planning and mental preparation that comes with marathon training. Toward the beginning of the cycle, I shared my goals with Mark, and yet this would be the first time that it was laid out in black in white.

The plan.

I remember dropping my kids at school, going for a short run (taper week) and receiving the email on my phone as I was running errands. I immediately stopped to devour every word.

I believe in you, otherwise I wouldn't give it to you...

3:14-3:17 (even a bit faster if all goes well).

You are are capable, you can do this.

There it was. I knew that I had been training to run 3:15 and even sub 3:15. I felt in my heart that I was ready for that. It had been a long time goal of mine - one that always, always seemed to fall short.
I love running so much, and numbers are such a small part of the equation, but still...

I wanted it and was willing to work hard for it. I felt there was no reason why I couldn't accomplish this goal that seems to be an invisible barrier in running. 


We arrived in Boston on Thursday late afternoon. I planned this so that I would have plenty of time to rest and get sort of used to the three hour time change.


Yes, there were 3 children and a husband right across from me.


The weekend went by in a blur of rest, friends, expo and fun. (Note: I will write another post on the the friends portion of Boston - so fun! So many wonderful friends.)

I felt like I slept well each night, ate my normal foods that weekend, along with some added carbs - have to have a giant pretzel at a Red Sox game! 




Finally, finally the alarm buzzed on Marathon Monday. This was it! I couldn't believe the day had finally arrived.
I got out of bed at 6:15 am and ate my normal pre race meal: two pieces of raisin toast with almond butter, a banana, water and a glass of sports drink (I use Fluid Performance Drink).

My ritual with hydrating for the marathon is to drink well (not excessive) a mix of water and electrolyte drink and then two hours before the race I stop drinking. At that point all you are going to do is run to the bathroom, which I did anyway.




Jerold and I left the hotel and jumped in an Uber to get to the buses that would carry thousands of runners to Hopkinton. The traffic was crazy and we made the decision to get out of the car and walk a block to Boston Common, such a good choice.

It was time to say goodbye to Jerold and I felt a little bit of emotion welling up inside. This was it. I knew a big reason why I was getting onto that bus was because of my husband. He has supported me and been there for me every step of the way, and I can't begin to thank him enough. I feel really blessed that he takes my goals and dreams as seriously as I do. So, we hugged, kissed and hugged again and then he picked me up, twirled me around and said "Go get it."

The bus ride was relaxing + super long (I talked to a nice girl from DC and then took a nap) and I could feel my bladder pleading for release. We arrived at athlete's village and nothing prepared me for what I had heard so many people talking about. A runner's dream - runners everywhere. It was glorious.






I snapped a few pictures, made a bee line for the porta potties and I realized the wonderful insanity of it all. I knew that I would be in line for a very, very long time. Never had I ever had to go to the bathroom so badly. Anyone that spotted me would think I was either going to be violently ill or was just a complete weirdo. It was hard to take everything in clearly, because all I could think about was peeing. Don't think about, try not to think about it. Should I ask someone to let me go ahead. No, that would be rude. Ugh. What do I do. Don't think about it. This is miserable.
Finally I get toward the front of the line and there are 3 guys and a girl ahead of me. At this point, I must look like I am in complete agony, because one guy (thank you!!) asks if I'd like to go ahead. Oh yes, please, thank you, thank you.

Once I peed, all was well.




It was so obvious that the day was going to be hot. Already I was feeling super warm and didn't need my throw away sweats, but left them on till the last minute. I didn't know anyone, so I had time to zone out, talk to myself and do a little bit of dynamic stretching. Very shortly, it was time to walk to our corrals. It was a pretty long walk, but there was so much to take in, all the runners, the homeowners outside of their homes, cheering for us and we could all feel the heat beating down on us. What happened to the cloudy, chilly previous couple of days?




Right before the corrals, there were tons of porta potties and I knew I needed to pee again. Another less agonizing wait, a little more dynamic stretching and a light jog. By the time I went to the bathroom, I had two minutes until the race began.

I hurried and tried to get to my corral # 3 and there just wasn't time - they immediately directed me to corral #5. I hope this isn't a bad thing.

In what seemed like an instant, we were off. I was running the Boston freakin Marathon.
I remember thinking that there would be zero trouble with going out too fast, because there were wall to wall runners everywhere.
Don't panic about the pace.
This is like a snails pace.
Just take it in.

I could tell some runners were thinking the same thing that I was, so we all started running to the left side of the road without weaving and I kept thinking I didn't want to burn up any extra energy.
I recalled how much zip in my step I had at the start of the Oakland half marathon last month. I had felt like a caged tiger ready to pounce. At that moment I felt sort of like a limp dishrag, but quickly threw that thought out of the window. I kept my thoughts centered around what my coach outlined for me: ease into the first few miles. Find your rhythm at mile 4, steady does it and come in the half at 1:37/1:38.


Mile one: 8:05
Seriously, 8:05? Holy moly. I tried not to be thrown for a loop. There were so many people, I couldn't run any faster. Well, I am definitely not in danger of going out too fast. It is mile one. Don't let this throw you off.

I couldn't help but get caught up in the elation of the race - people cheering, runners breathing, feet moving.

Miles 2, 3, 4: 7:49, 7:33, 7:02

Finally, finally mile 4-5 things started to thin out a bit

Miles, 5, 6, 7: 7:24, 7:16, 7:30

I was hot. Don't think about the heat, just keep running. Just make it to the half strong, but with little effort. Jerold, the kids and my dear friend Laura (we ran cross country together in college and she is from Boston) would be there waiting for me.


Miles 8, 9, 10: 7:32, 7:31, 7:37

The 7:30s pace was troublesome. I knew that the heat was present, but I knew I had to keep working. I knew under any other circumstances, I should be running faster than 7:30s in a goal race, but I couldn't dwell on it. Run the mile you are in. keep pushing.

Miles 11, 12, 13: 7:38, 7:21, 7:28

Coach had directed me to run between 7:24 and 7:30 pace until after Heartbeak Hill and then give it everything I had left. I vowed I wouldn't go out too fast, I promised myself I would stick with the plan.

Halfway mark: 1:38 and I got to see my family!!! I was so happy to see them and I felt a renewed sense of energy that I got to the half in 1:38. I blew them a kiss and kept chugging.
The crowds were incredible. Everything I imagined and so much more. 
This is awesome. I love this.

Look at the sweet signs my friend Laura made for me!!! Thank you so much my friend!! 






13.1 down, 13.1 to go!!


Miles 14, 15, 16: 7:27, 7:43, 7:21

It's too soon to be running 7:40 something.

Miles 17, 18, 19: (Newton Hills) 7:38, 8:02, 7:46

I knew that my training runs were so much better than this marathon I was running right now. The heat was intensifying and I knew I had to make it up Heartbreak. I was running along with a girl who was running steps ahead of me and every couple of minutes she would stop and hug someone she knew, grab food and talk. I would run past her and after a couple more minutes, she would pass me again. This kept going for miles. At one point I thought, maybe I would have better luck if I stopped for a while - it's clearly working for her.
I kept going. Hydrating at almost every water stop. I had a GU at mile 7, 14 and I had one GU left.
I grabbed a cold paper towel that people were passing out. Gosh, it's freakin hot.
Why do my legs feel like I'm running in quick sand?

Miles 21, 22, 23: 8:47, 8:03, 8:41

Heartbreak was hard, harder in the heat. I knew I had practiced for this. I have so many heartbreaks near my home that I had run on tired legs. Then why am I running so slow?
After Heartbreak, I grabbed my final GU and was determined to have a new resolve. 
So what you have just run 3 miles well over goal pace. So what that you feel like crap. So what that this isn't the goal race you envisioned.
You will not give up.
Keep pushing.
This sucks. Why can't my legs move faster?

Mile 24, 25: 8:27, 8:27

I can't believe this race is almost over. I am scared to look at my watch. I know I am not going to make my goal time. Not by a freakin long shot.
I'm so hot. I want to finish so badly and yet how can it be over?
Where is the Citgo sign???
The people are incredible. It feels like a 26.2 mile rock concert.
This is incredible...


Not taken during the race :)



Mile 26: 8:25

The left on Hereford and suddenly I am running down Bolyston. I am completely spent. I am hurting. I am happy. I can't sprint. I feel like I'm barely moving. I have nothing left. Is it mental? No, I physically have zero left.
I am sad. I am happy.
I had a friend at the BAA who was so wonderful to get my family grandstand seats (thank you so much Gina!). Where are they?
There they are. Hi guys.
I am finishing. I am okay. Don't worry.


Waiting for Mommy to finish. 


Don't forget to smile and raise your hands.
You did it.
Remember this is for Lesley. She is looking down on you, cheering you on. Finish with pride.




I cross the line and immediately start crying. I can't stop crying. 
A girl who has also finished asked me if I am okay. Do I need medical?
No, I just gave it everything I have.

I can't stop crying.
Crying for the year I have had, crying for the friend I lost (Lesley), crying for the race that I finally got to run, crying for the training that didn't reflect in this race. Crying for coming up short yet again, and yet - why cry? My knee is better than ever - I have the world in front of me. I have two legs.

Stop crying.

Another woman asks if I am okay. We chat. Do I need medical?
No, I am just so happy to be finished.

I call coach. He says how proud he is of me and how everyone had a hard day today.
Really? I thought it was just me.
No, everyone had a slow day. You did so great.
What's my time coach?
3:26
That's a PR he says. No it's not I say (3:23 was previous PR).
A PR from your last marathon and the surgery.
YES.
Thank you coach for everything.

We hang up and my sweet friend Kristin calls. I pick up the phone.
I can't believe you answered the phone! She cries out.
I am so proud of you.
I gave it all that I had, I tell her. It was so, so hard today.
We hang up, and I get the beautiful medal around my neck.

I am at the Boston freaking Marathon.

My legs hurt.
My legs are cramping...

Ohhh, I don't feel well. I am drinking water, but it's not helping. I munch on a banana.

I can't walk. I stop.
The medic comes over.
Are you okay?
My legs hurt, I can't walk.

A wheelchair instantly appears. I don't need a wheelchair.
I need a wheelchair.
The pain is unbearable.

I go to medical. I am freezing. My temp is 94.
Get her warm. They say. Get the heat blower and heat blankets.
I need my family. I don't need to be here. Yet I am freezing and my legs hurt so badly.
They give me chicken broth and electrolytes.
How do you feel?
Awful.
Temp is at 95. Still so cold.
My Mom calls. Mom, I am in the medical tent.
I'll be right there, she says.

No family allowed in the medical tent.
Just relax.
Ahhh, the heat feels so good. My legs are still cramping.

An hour (was it an hour?) passes and I can finally leave.
My Mom and the kids are right there and Jerold is on his way.
I am freezing and just want to get to the hotel.
I look around and try to take it in. This is my first Boston. It's surreal. I can't wait to come back.

I had no desire to go out that night. I mean I really wanted to, but I was tired. I was so happy to be warm in my jammies. Hooray for jammies.
I felt like I should be partying! We need to go out. 
Jerold says, we can do whatever you want. I have a couple of restuarants lined up.
Let me think about it, I say.
No, this bed is pretty awesome.

Mommy, Mommy, we love you and are so proud of you!!

That's all I need. Those words meant everything to me.


I found Josh's sweater on sale at the Gap for $4. SCORE. (it's on backwards).


Text from my Dad - You did it Champ. I am so proud of you.

Thanks Dad.

I slept so well that night, grateful I don't have to get on a plane. Grateful for so many things.

Home on Tuesday evening, with a stop in Harvard Square and a lot of wonderful memories from this trip.

There will always be another marathon, another race. 

This was unique and special. I will never forget it.

Thanks God. Thanks for holding me up out there.

SO many people to thank. These words don't begin to express my gratitude. You are all true friends.

Coach Mark Hadley, Julie Knap, Roger Thomas, Brian McGovern, Kristin and Rob Pelinka, Dr. Banffy (my amazing surgeon), Rob (my amazing PT), everyone at Gail Wehner physical therapy in Santa Monica, Vanessa at Massage Envy, the staff at Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, MT, Laura Hodnett, all of my girlfriends who inspire me with their love and thoughtfulness, everyone at my amazing church, all the friends at my kids' school (who always ask about my training - thanks guys!), my late friend Lesley, her husband Brian and their kids. Gina at the BAA for the amazing seats and kindness. All of my friends I have met through social media - you guys seriously rock. My extended family for their love and support (aunts, uncles, cousins), My Mom (a huge thank you to my Mom for all her help!) and Dad, my 3 super star kids and my husband Jerold.

Hoping I didn't forget anyone...

THANK YOU.

Until next time Boston. Thanks for everything.





Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie