Garmin Talk and 15 mile run

When I first started running after college in 2011, I knew nothing about Garmin’s and GPS watches. I either ran on the treadmill, which tracked my mileage or I would wear a watch and use mapmyrun to figure out how far I went. A few months later, I started to read running blogs and hear all about these GPS watches and how they tracked your pace and mileage. I had finally signed up for my first marathon, Philadelphia at the end of 2011 (I got Plantar Fasciitis 2 weeks out and had to withdraw); I knew I would want/need one of these watches. For one, mapping out a 20 mile run did not sound like fun and since I usually go out way too fast, I figured a Garmin would be perfect to slow myself down and pace better throughout the run. After I bought the Garmin, I would never leave home without it and I definitely would never consider doing a race without it either. My thoughts on wearing a Garmin have changed a lot in the past year.

The first turning point was meeting Duran, who is a natural runner, and someone who did not wear a Garmin. He ran on feel and started to show me that running consistently even for just 30 minutes and more frequently can help you make big gains in the run. The second big turning point was after racing Raleigh 70.3 in June of this year. I only have the Garmin 305, which is not water proof, so I had to put my Garmin on right before the run in order to see my pace. Note: I always wear a regular Timex watch to track my total time for the race. Once I headed in to T2, I put on my shoes, visor and race belt and grabbed my watch to put on while I was running out to the run course. Of course it took over a mile for the Garmin to find the satellites and I realized that I never even looked at it for the run. I only looked at my Timex for overall time. When Lake Placid Ironman came about, I was also left with the choice of putting my Garmin on once I got off my bike. I barely used it. It’s an Ironman, you’re going to run as well as you can run. Would pace really matter to you at this point? Sure, I think knowing your pace in the beginning may slow you down a bit since it is common to go a bit fast but there are mile markers and a lap button on your watch to figure out your splits if needed. After Lake Placid, I haven’t worn my Garmin in any races nor do I plan on wearing it at Ironman Cozumel.

To add to this, I barely wear my Garmin when I am training now either. The only time I wear it is for key workouts. So back to the title of this post about my 15 mile run. I consider a long run during a key build for an Ironman to be an important workout. I wore my Garmin for this long run to gauge how my pace was after a hard weekend on the bike. I ended up finishing this run with a 7:37 average pace and stayed steady throughout the whole run even with a slightly hilly route I picked. It’s nice to be able to see look back on this workout compared to past builds where I have run similar distances, which is why I wore the Garmin.

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When I hit the road at 4:20 AM this morning for a 40 minute recovery run I just wore my Timex watch. I didn’t need to see how fast I was going, that was not the purpose of the run. I will have another 50 minute run later in the week that won’t be for recovery but just at a steady pace, I won’t wear my Garmin for this either. In my opinion, Garmin’s don’t allow you to run by feel or to your potential. If you are a normal 7:30 pace runner I think a Garmin may be holding you back from going faster since you are always looking for that 7:30 pace. Go out with a watch and just run by feel! If you feel like going fast then go fast! If you are sore or the legs aren’t there that day then slow down. I have learned that if I do that a few times a week for a couple of weeks – I start to really be in tune with my running and have seen a lot of gains because of it.

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After all of this rambling, the point is to not be tied down to your Garmin. Run by feel and I bet you will be amazed by how freeing it is.

Question for you all –

Do you rely on your Garmin? How often do you run without it?

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Boston Marathon: The Story

 

This is my story of what took place after I finished The Boston Marathon in 2013….

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I finished the marathon and continued to walk through the long line to get everything. First was the heat blanket, then medals, then water and Gatorade then food, then they told us to get our checked bags. I didn’t check a bag (big mistake because it was freezing after!). The way they had the finished set up it continued you over a mile past the finish in the opposite direction of where I was staying. I was staying on Hereford street less than a mile from the finish and also was part of the marathon.

I ended having to walk farther away from the apartment in order to back track. It took me about an hour to get back to the apartment. On the walk, I was filled with emotions. I was cold and upset because it was so far and I was all alone with no one to share the experience with. I was also so happy and was recapping how amazing of a race it was.

Once I finally made it back to the apartment right before I went in is when I heard the first explosion. Except, I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was just kids doing something. So I went into the apartment and since I was so cold I just went right into the shower and decided I would pack up and get a cab to the airport as quick as possible so I wouldn’t miss my flight. I figured I could text and respond to everyone at the airport.

Once all packed up – I headed outside and all I saw were people crying and running. I walked around a bit and a women asked if she could do something for me. I said I am trying to get to the airport and that is when she told me what had happened. It was terrifying. I had no idea what to do – or who to call. I finally checked my phone and had 50 missed messages. I got a hold of Duran and my mom and was trying to hail a cab. There were just sirens and emergency vehicles flying by. All the cabs that went by were full and people were in a massive panic. I tried to contact people I knew in Boston to pick me up but since I was a mile from the finish no one could get close enough to get me.

After an hour outside a cab finally stopped and said he wanted to be done for the day but would bring me where I needed to be. A woman and her husband got in the cab too and were incredibly nice. She paid for my cab and let me know if I got stuck I could stay with her.

Once at the airport, my flight was delayed and I would miss my connecting. Luckily, they were able to switch flights around and I was still able to get on a flight.

It was around 6 at this point and I still hadn’t eaten or comprehended anything. Once I sat down, the emotions started to come. People would talk to you and you would try to answer them but it was all so surreal.

I couldn’t wait to get home and see Duran and just be home in a familiar place.

Boston will not be tainted for me. It was an amazing experience – one I will never forget in a positive way. I will also never forget how horrific such an inspiring event can turn.

I called in sick to work today. I was in not physically (those down hills hurt my quads!) and more importantly emotionally to deal with the questions my students and co-workers would have. I went and got breakfast today on my own at a little cafe to just process some things. Once home, I turned on the Today Show and just lost it. I cried and it felt really good after. I think I had been so stimulated and in panic/survival mode I never had a chance to process and feel.

I have felt a lot better this afternoon and tonight. It is very similar to your race advice when you have to acknowledge a feeling. Instead of my knee feels funky it is more of it is okay to feel hurt but then move forward.

This inspires me more to continue with the lifestyle I have and if you stop doing what you love you allow them to win. If anything it has reminded as many things do, that it is okay to go for your dreams and reach big. It has reminded me that if you are not 100% happy in a situation then do something about it because you get one life. It has reminded me to thank my body for what is CAN do and not what it COULD look like if. It has reminded me to love with my whole heart because there is not room for anything less in your life.

September 11th is a date I still get chills when I hear – The Boston Marathon will be another day – I will never forget.

Boston Marathon: The Race

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Start:

I woke up around 5 AM to get ready for the day. Did my usually pre-day ritual of drinking a glass of hot water. Pre-race breakfast @ 5:30 was two rice cakes, a little almond butter on each with one banana. I ate this very slow to make sure it would not upset my stomach at all.

Once on the bus – I sipped my water which had NUUN in it. Waiting was not bad at all – My friend from home, Allison Conner was also racing so it was nice to have her there with me. It was funny to think back at what we talked about because you could tell it was just nervous/excited babble talk. My feet did start to go numb while waiting because it was chilly but I had brought a garbage bag to sit on and used that to wrap around my feet while in socks and they warmed up just before the race. Around 9 I started to eat bites of a KIND bar until it was gone. I tried to get coffee when we arrived thinking I may need to go to the bathroom again and that would help get things moving but they ran out which at the time I said must not be meant to be to have coffee. SO GLAD I didn’t. I didn’t have any stomach issues!

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Miles 1 – 5: Holy cow – they weren’t kidding about it being downhill! I had a race plan to stay conservative…nothing above 7:30s in the beginning. Once I saw the downhill – it was almost impossible to hold that. I could have easily gone 6:40s at the start so I knew that holding around 7:20s would be ok. I knew that the down hills were going to hurt my quads no matter what – if I was going 7:20s or 7:30s so my form felt good and I felt in control at the 7:20 pace. I was on top of this world and felt great! (I should point out that my run on Sunday was amazing and I knew I was going to feel good for the race).

Miles 6 – 11: I welcomed the change up with some short little hills to break up the downhill’s. At this point – I noticed my feet were burning a little bit which I contribute to the downhill madness but just kept going. I still felt very comfortable in the pace I was running and was not breathing hard in the slightest. I did notice that I would speed up anytime the crowds would come which wasn’t a big deal then but I am glad I realized it and just made a point to be careful about it. Best tasting things on the course were freeze pops being handed out by little kids! I had half of two of them during the race.

Miles 11 – 14: Girls everywhere! Still feeling strong at the halfway point. My legs were feeling the down hills but not in a way where I was worried about the finish. I was more than ready for some flat and hills though.

Miles: 15 – 16: This is where my quads started to feel a bit “shredded” and my water was completely gone. I started to grab Gatorade and water at the aid stations. I need to work on getting them in my mouth haha. It started to warm up on the course at this point too. The thought of a 3:15 marathon came in to my head. I just reminded myself to do the best you can – you may not have a 20 mile run in you but you have the fight!

Miles 17 – 21: This is where the hills started. They were very welcomed. It was a break for my quads. I did not think the hills were much at all. The only one that was difficult was the last one because it being at mile 20 but I remember just keeping it steady and being strong going up it. At this point though – I am feeling my quads quite a bit. My boss was at mile 20 and ran with me up one of the hills and gave me a water bottle to drink. I remember him saying you shouldn’t look this strong at this point in the marathon. I told him I felt great besides my quads. He said I had one more hill then it was home free. I knew my pace dropped a bit but knew I had time in the bank from the beginning of the course.

Mile 21-23: This is where it finally got to me: the downhill at mile 22. OUCH!! It was painful having to go down that hill. My quads were not happy about it. But I continued to motor on just a bit slower than I would have liked.

Mile 24 – 26: This is where I felt my calf cramp up a little bit. I stopped and stretched it out and stopped at every aid station to make sure I got some fluids in me. My body was tired and it knew it hadn’t been at this distance or on my feet for this amount of time in awhile. I had a little cramp in my side too in Mile 25. I remember I saw a sign that said, “You are at mile 25, you can’t stop now.” It kept me moving as I would take small 10 sec walking breaks to keep things going. Once I turned the corner and headed home, all the cramps and pain went away as I ran to the finish in the last .2. It was an incredible feeling running that final mile of the Boston Marathon The sense of accomplishment you feel and rush is indescribable.

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I was so happy to be finished and so proud of my accomplishment. I thought I executed this race very well. I was amazed at how strong I felt on the hills. The challenge of this course is not the hills, it is the down hills for sure. The crowds were incredible! This is a PR course for sure. I am trying to keep it out of my mind that I want to do it again to see if I could 😉