Tag Archives: Boston Strong

ZERO Week (almost over)

The final week before a marathon (or any goal event really) is both an awesome time and stressful time. You’re excited and you’re fit (hopefully), but by resting more than usual you feel not-so-fit. You’re excited to run the marathon, but on the other hand it’s a marathon, it’s so LONG and it gets so darn difficult…and so on and so forth. There are more opportunities for ambivalence than a political convention. For many people yesterday was the peak of these mixed-feelings as it was the 3rd anniversary of 4-15-2013, and the deaths of 3 people (later, 4), with 260 people sustaining injuries, and also the day when many are flooding into Boston to kick-off 4 days of indulgence in running lore.

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2014: Synchro-Myofacial-Release

One of the things that draws many to marathon running is its duality. It is an individual sporting competition but also a thing that hints at the very definition of community and teamwork. This duality will be the exact driving force behind my own performance this Marathon Monday. I’m going to be running with Meredith. We’ve never actually done a race side by side before. She’s one of the best friends (and humans, period) I’ve ever known. And yes, we’ve logged many hours running side by side, we’ve composed the Great American Novel’s worth of text messages about running, we’ve coached and counseled each other in running and in life, and we’ve run the same races plenty of times. But never 100% together.

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2013: Shakeout run, SoCal Style

After the rough fall season I had with my health, and then totally bonking at the LA Marathon also due to illness, I decided not to go to the Catalina Marathon after all (discussed here). And then, I sort of tanked emotionally and physically (again). Instead of increasing my stress by trying to stick to my training plan for Boston I switched up to a more intuitive style for a couple weeks, and that coincided with racing season kicking off. I love races. Not because I’m particularly competitive really, I just love the feel of races…people are so friendly at them, and I love that while you’re participating in a race from 1 mile to an ultra-marathon that’s all that exists for that period of time: running. It’s good medicine.

Top: "yaaay we're going to run on trails!" Middle: "Yay, we ran on trails" Bottom: muddy happy trail running Bootleggers.

2016: Paleozoic Trail Races Silurian Spring 25k: Top: “yaaay we’re going to run on trails!”
Middle: “Yay, we ran on trails”
Bottom: muddy happy trail running Bootleggers.

 

 

Basically my strategy became: run when I wanted to and do whatever type of run I felt would bring me a psychological boost (while maintaining a minimum of marathon readiness), and I would race for the fun of it. This way, even though I’m feeling heavy, slow, and tired (all the time, more or less), I wouldn’t lose sight of how much I love running, and how much it makes the rest of life manageable.

The Good Life Race 5k: Start coral happy place with Lauren. The last 50 meters, and the start of the women's race. (I'm in the front!)

The Good Life Race 5k:
Start coral happy place with Lauren. The last 50 meters, and the start of the women’s race. (I’m in the front!)

Even once I decided to switch to this love-based running strategy I was consumed with kind of wanting to bow out of Boston this year. Which, well, is a bit out of character for me. What really was going on was that I have gained weight and haven’t been getting enough rest – all related to overall stress I think, and that was being channelled into a complete lack of confidence. 0dcae5b0347e3156b1a13392aa9c3825I spent a lot of  time thinking about all the reasons why it would be better NOT to run Boston this year, and although all of these things are true, it’s embarrassing to admit I nearly committed to a DNS because of them: I don’t have the money to spend on the trip, I’ve gained too much weight to feel good when I run, I have no chance for a PR and it’s been so long that another slow marathon will leave me too frustrated to handle, my gut issues (celiac, colitis, diverticulosis – for those who don’t already know everything about my plumbing) have been unpredictable lately and I don’t want to eat out for 4 days, I have too much work to catch up on….and so on…you see how ridiculous this all was at this point.

Whenever I was talking with people about their running during this time, and especially when talking with Meredith or other close friends, I noticed that all those excuses weren’t present in my mind. So I asked Meredith what she thought about running together. Like, TOGETHER – together. Like, you know, teamwork. But we’re focused on her goals and the purpose of my race is to make her race better (hopefully). She was in! Phew! The magic in that is this will make my race better. It will make my race, period. Ever since making that decision, I’ve been enjoying (almost) every run, and have been so excited for marathon weekend.

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2016: Post Shamrock Shuffle 8k with some BRC essentials.

That’s the beautiful thing, not just within running, but in life. If you put your focus on others, and strive to lift them up. You end up getting lifted up too. In fact, you ‘re really the one getting the better deal.

*AB

kelly

Kelly, always saving the world and stuff.

P.S. I’d be inexcusably remiss if I didn’t note also that for the second year in a row I’m staying with my wonderfully generous and thoughtful friends Kelly and Tish, who live in Boston.  Kelly is running the LONDON MARATHON next weekend! Kelly is also fundraising for VICTA a charity providing support for children with visual impairments. As a personal favor to me, please head to her fundraising page and drop a British Pound or two!

 

New pub-trivia facts about Annabelle, and a 5k you should check out

I can't share a running photo, because I haven't been racing! But this is proof positive for you that all else is still in order.

I can’t share a running photo, because I haven’t been racing! But this is proof positive for you that all else is still in order.

Please forgive me the fact that most of this post is a duplicate of what you’ll find on another blog, one that I hope you’ll have an interest in after reading this. I’ve been on a long slow road to getting my blogger mojo back after a rough 2014 in terms of training, racing, and running culture in general. I’ll begin elaborating on these things, as well as the typical over-indulgent posts you subscribe here for, in the near future. In the meantime here are a few “Annabelle Trivia” bits for you to enjoy:

  1. I rarely untie/retie my shoes. My mother has scolded me for this since the day I learned to tie laces in the first place. My running shoes get re-tied maybe once a month on average, and my non-running sneakers maybe twice in their lifetime, if that. *note: sometimes before a race, if I’m nervous, I’ll tie and retie my laces upwards of 15 times – a life lived in extremes.
  2. I AM running the Boston Marathon this year, my 4th shot at the course. I WILL NOT be anywhere near PR shape.
  3. I am still working on being OK with #2
  4. I really enjoy the boxed wine from Target
  5. My favorite foods, in random order are: apples, lasagna, pie (apple, blueberry), single-malt scotch, pickles, Classic Lays potato chips, Skittles, Goat cheese … you can see why I’ve never seen 10lbs within range of my racing weight.
  6. I recently traded in the 1999 Chevy S10 Pickup that I’ve been commuting over 300 miles a week in for 4 years. My spiffy new ride has lots of bells and whistles, and now I have all kinds of data to illustrate that I spend, on average, 15-20 hours per week in my car…no more mystery about my injuries!
  7. I am a race director (mostly self-appointed and title)! I’ve always wanted to be at the helm of an event, and here we go, I’m feverishly trying to expand my skill-set to ensure success (yes, this is me asking if any of you want to join my planning committee).

Why you should register for the Super Sunny 5k today!

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day, and I hope your 2015 is off to a great start! For me, a few notable things come to mind when I check in with my personal goals (in no particular order):

  1. I have created some energizing momentum toward my professional
  2. goals in just the first 5 weeks of the year.
  3. I am, thankfully, 7 weeks into training for the Boston Marathon!
  4. I’m struggling with a couple of health related resolutions I made for 2015…time to find a different motivation!
  5. I’ve witnessed more than a dozen breakthrough moments as GCS staff members and people receiving services work toward their goals!
  6. My job is sometimes hard to understand, sometimes challenging, and always important. I think everyone who works at GCS could say the same, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
  7. I’ve developed a deeper understanding of just how much of a turning-point 2015 might be for the work we do at GCS, both as employees and people receiving services.

Let me elaborate on this last points MILLION dollars, 70 of them. SEVENTY MILLION DOLLARS! For me, this is such a large figure, that it doesn’t seem real, yet at the same time, it sort of terrifies me.

For me, this is such a large figure that it doesn’t seem real—but it does seem terrifying. If you are like me and this figure seems too big to touch, let me bring it closer to home. With the end of the tax increase of 2011, your personal paychecks will increase by a few dollars. Multiply that by all the income-earners in Illinois, and you have over a billion dollars! A portion of this tax money is allocated to providing crucial services to adults with developmental disabilities. More of your paycheck in your pocket means tax revenue decreases. When the tax money decreases, the funding thus decreases.

Currently, GCS sees an annual gap of $300,000 for day-program services alone. That is to say, after financial support from the state and federal departments is exhausted, we need to raise $300K in order to continue to provide quality, progressive, and inclusive support.

Overwhelming, isn’t it? I sure think so! Take a deep breath, because you can make a real impact very easily! Here are two ways to help:

1.)  Contact your legislative leaders! They are the play-makers, and they can’t know what is important to us if we don’t tell them! Use the links below to advocate for those we support, and for that which we believe in, and strive for.

Senate

House

2.)  REGISTER TODAY for the Super Sunny 5k. Your $25 registration fee goes right into filling these funding gaps, and you’ll also have to opportunity to help us raise additional funds in the registration process. Click here to go to our registration page.

With hope and aspiration,

*AB

Boston Victims Still Need Our Help.

Boylston 6

It’s been a month since the Boston Marathon. And although I still do not plan on doing a race re-cap or writing much about my experience here, I do find myself thinking more and more about what running and racing means to me, and to contemporary society. I was already defensive about running, and the Boston Marathon was already a hugely symbolic, personal, and meaningful event that I care very much about, but now, on top of all of these things, I’ll not take my ability to run, my freedom to train, and the easy access to racing opportunities for granted.

And although I now feel a little more at ease developing and talking  about my personal running goals for the rest of the year, those injured at Boston are barely even getting started on their own, changed, life paths.

The One Fund Boston has collected just over 30 million dollars, which sounds like it might be enough. But it’s not even close. If you really think about the life-time health-care costs (including mental health, PT, adaptive technologies, environmental renovations and so on), for any one person injured on April 15th you can probably imagine that just that individual might need $30-million over the course of their life, specifically if you consider that a great many of those injured are very young.

If you are a runner, know a runner, aspire to run, enjoy sports, or belive in our ability to congregate peacefully and without fear, then please contribute to THE ONE FUND or to one of the individual funds set up to help victims (and their families) of the Boston Marathon bombing.

The Go Fund Me website has a page (Believe in Boston) where you can scroll through all of the different funds set up via their site, many of these are groups or individual fund-raising efforts that will then go to other group funds, or families and so on. I tend to prefer to know exactly where my donation will go and prefer to directly contribute to the individual or family. It’s entirely up to you! Here are just a few options:

If you know of a person or fund that needs help, leave a link the comments below!

*AB

“…Hopkinton…will be a lovefest such as running has never seen…”

That (title), an edited quote from Amby Burfoot’s brief article on the Runner’s World website today. There are many great pieces being published on the internet every hour, and I still find myself devouring every one. This one holds tremendous weight because as Amby (who won the Boston Marathon in 1968, and is editor-at-large for Runner’s World Magazine) points out, that this was not an attack on runners, it was an attack on people congregating in celebration on the public sidewalks of a major city.

boston strong

We runners tend to wax poetic about training, racing, and the running community. It’s usually a practice that is embraced only by our training partners and our closest and most loyal supporters, those who (with an occasional sigh or roll of the eyes) put up with our bizarre habits, constant self-criticism, and tireless sense of betterment.

If runners are a sub-culture, then Boston Marathon runners and spectators, are a fiercely close and loyal family. One of my training buddies, and closest friends, was at work in Chicago when everything went to chaos on Monday, she was there with us last year, and she felt the floor drop away until she knew we were all safe. She described her feelings on Tuesday as I think a lot of us feel, like someone broke into our homes when we were sleeping, and took everything.

The following quote was part of a status update on The Science of Sport’s Facebook page on Tuesday:

“I believe the price of admission into running self-selects people who can hear an explosion at the end of a gruelling test of endurance, turn and keep on running straight into the debris with no regard for safety or trembling legs. Images like this will be the outcome of this barbaric act, and it will unite runners in their common qualities of courage and perseverance”

-from a FaceBook follower, Quill McWilliams

I’m already grateful we took a very last-minute group picture as we were leaving the athletes village on Monday morning.

Village 2013

The weather on Monday was beautiful, and a lot of people posted new PR’s. We didn’t feel exactly right doing it, but we sheepishly took a few photos when we were able leave our meet-up spot on Monday evening. We had to be strategic to not have Metro SWAT officers (agents?) in the photos.

AB and Susana Boston 2013

I’m sharing these pictures because like everything else, they come with so many conflicting emotions. It’s impossible to know what is appropriate, what is selfish, what is helpful, what is normal, what is an overreaction…

You try to focus on work or other things you’d normally do three days after a marathon and you feel guilty for not keeping vigilant watch over your friends, family, and the news. Then, you turn to tracking all the news and social media, and you feel guilty for not doing work, or whatever else needs to be seen to. You get compulsively anger when people crack a simple joke, and you’re angry at yourself when you laugh.

At this point things are moving very fast, and yet very slow. For those wanting to help it is my thought that the best thing you can do is contribute to The One Fund Boston. Information here. Don’t buy items on eBay that say they’ll contribute, and don’t donate to any other grassroots efforts, not because they’re a definite scam, but because they might be, and because the charity business can be tricky and even with the purest of intentions, sometimes money doesn’t go where it’s intended.

On the other side of this, there are going to be a lot of people who need medical and mental health services, not to mention things that are long-term such as prosthetics and other technologies. Knowing the running community as intimately as I do, and having taken so much from it in just the past two years, I have every confidence that those directly harmed in Monday’s inexorable and despicable act will want for nothing, because they have millions of runners behind them, and there is not a more driven population anywhere.

Every year (for the past 25 yrs) the BAA offers somewhere around 2,500 entries to charity runners. The Boston Marathon event raises more than 16 million US dollars for a variety of charities. Something I haven’t heard echoed in the media yet, is that many of the runners who were halted from finishing, were there as charity entrants, and each had raised a minimum of $4,000. It was these runners for whom the crowds on Boylston street were cheering.

Just chew on that for a minute.

There really isn’t much beyond the symbolic gestures of support that we can do right now, but we  can contribute funds so that the victims of Monday’s tragedy, our biggest fans, our family, want for nothing, and feel as loved and cared for as I did on Monday afternoon, both as congratulatory messages poured in first, and then as panicked inquiries came soon after.

Adidas is producing shirts , they are the official partner of the BAA and proceeds of the shirts will go to The One Fund Boston. Click on the image to purchase a shirt from Adidas. (it appears they are selling out, I’d bet they do another production round)

all boston shirts

New Balance has announced they’ll donate from sales of this year’s Boston limited edition shoe.

NB One Fund

Running stores all over the country are holding “Runners for Boston” events on Monday evening, the 22nd, and they will all be either taking cash donations, selling shirts and donating the proceeds, or both.

I’ll be at the Fleet Feet Old Town event in Chicago. Click here for information.

Also here is more information on ways to show your support for Boston.

Or, of course, you can go to www.onefundboston.org and make a cash donation.

*AB