Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I am dead man walking. Seriously, I am so tired I almost can't focus on the screen. Perfect night to allow three nine year olds to spend the night because I won't hear them at all!!!

Today's news report:

8 miles this morning @ 7:57. Six miles slower and two fast. OMG-the first four miles felt like hell. I almost had to reach behind me to pull each leg forward. I'm attributing this to the late night bike and then 5 a.m. run. Anyway, it sucked and I'm glad it's done. I had a good time with super fast Jess last night. She truly is an AMAZING athlete and seemed to be putting forth no effort pedaling away at probably twice my speed. I am just getting to know her and I love meeting new people. I'm thinking we probably won't be training together anytime soon, though. She has a 2 year old, 1 year old, and is pregnant now. Apparently, her husband is quite religious (not a bad thing) and doesn't believe in the wonderful invention of birth control. It appears she has no intention of being "unpregnant" for an extended period of time in the near future. Since I have no intention of being "pregnant" AKA "suicidal" anytime soon or ever again, I'm not sure we will be running in the same circles. I will take any tips she throws my way however since she obviously knows what she's talking about.

Since this is supposed to be a running blog, I'm going to use it to gather some advice from all you running gurus! Here are the random floating thoughts I need answers for!

*should I be training continually with energy gels and sports drinks or does it help to teach my body to work in a more depleted state? I really hate both of these but I know they do enhance my performance if they cooperate with my stomach. I haven't taken any gels or drank anything other than water in the last 7 weeks. Perhaps, I should be building up a tolerance to them again?

*I need a good treadmill hill workout. Any ideas? I live in super flat land but all summer I did at least half of my running through ATV trails that had road approaches every half mile. These approaches were short but steep and sandy and required some effort. I realized they must have helped since my sister came over to run one day and said it about killed her. I also did a lot of traveling and ran multiple miles on hilly terrain. I can't run the trails through the winter as they are not groomed and the safe roads to run don't have much of an elevation variation. Last I heard Boston wasn't a flat marathon and I need to get some quality hill work in. By March I should have a few more outdoor options.

*How is my husband going to spectate the race in Boston? Can you rent a bike? I don't think we'll get a car as we're staying in the Hilton by the Expo. Also, can he hand me water etc. during the race or is this taboo?

*Should I or can I wear my Ipod. I don't think I NEED it but it really does calm my nerves. I have raced with it and without it but I did use it on and off in the marathon and was glad I had it. Speaking of Ipod's, I've spent no less than $200 trying to find a decent pair of earbuds/headphones and they still continually fall out. I'm getting very irritated at this situation. Any suggestions?

*Most importantly, where is everyone drinking on Monday Night! Kidding (kind of) I always have big plans to reward myself after a race with a lot of food and drink (most of the time I have no appetite and I end up in bed by 9:00 but I'm hoping the adrenaline of the whole situation and the fact that I have no children or schedules to contend with will give me a second wind!)

These are probably only a couple of the million questions I will post on here over the next couple of months as I start to obsess about the reality of this race. Honestly, why couldn't I just be into scrapbooking!

Off to catch up on all your blogs now! Have a great night!


Suzy said...

I don't have answers to most of your questions - I hope you get some. Although, I prefer Sony earphones because they hook over my ears (

Bethany + Ryan said...

Good morning and happy new year, this will be my 5th time running Boston and I live in Boston (the Hilton is the view from my bedroom window!)
1. Spectating in Boston is near impossible and renting is a bike is definitely not going to work! His best bet wld be to stake out a spot near the finish line EARLY and just wait there. He could take the T out to the mile 17 mark (Green line "D" and get off at the Riverside T stop) BUT about 20,000 other ppl will have the same idea and the T in Boston *SUCKS* believe it or not, you will probably finish before he can get to the finish line. My parents HATE spectating at this race bc its a sea of ppl and they say you literlly move wherever the crowd takes you. Its shoulder to shoulder and everyone is fighting to see their person. I would just stay at the finish line area. Its his best chance to see you. He shld get a balloon or something if u want to see him. There will be about maybe 50,000 spectators in that last.4 mile stretch. Its a mad house. The marathon course is lined with guard rails and they have police and even the national guard patrolling the streets! If someone had a bike on the course they wld probably get tackled. And the side walks aren't even walkable on that day bc of all the crowds.
This is getting really long, sorry!
2.ipod- I say leave it behind. Boston is amazing with crowd support and you will lierally have ppl cheering for u from the start to finish (except around mile 1 bc there are cliff formation things on the side of the road). Its really exhillarating and unlike any other marathon u will ever run!
3. Handing u water is fine. All the houses along the course will be having parties and I'd say 3 out of every 10 houses will have food/drink for u. Water, gatorade, cabdy, fruit, popcicles, sponges, kleenex etc! Its like Halloween!! You will be able to find anything u want.
I hope this was helpful. Again, I live in Boston so please feel free to contact me if I can be of any help or if u want more info on anything! My email is
Oh 1 more thing, yes boston is hilly. it starts off downhill and u will see so many ppl going out too fast and those will be the ppl u pass at mile 24 lol. There are 4 decent hills that stretch from mile 17-20. There are some other bigger hills too and then its downhill for the last 6 miles. Heartbreak hill is the longest hill, its really not that steep but coming from a flat part of the country it may be steep to you. I think heart break hill is maybe .5 miles long? Not sure. Let me know if u have any questions that I can maybe answer. Good luck and happy 2010!!!

Teamarcia said...

I agree Ipod stays home. Crowds are loud really the whole way, you wouldn't hear your tunes.

I've only been using water since my last marathon. I'll get back into using gels/Accelerade when my runs get over 15 miles. I like the idea of 'deprivation' and my body responds well to it.

My family spectated at about mile 17 right near the Newton Hills, DH handed off more fuel to me there then they took the T to the finish. They didn't get a prime spot at the finish, but saw me nevertheless.
Have them carry a mylar balloon.

For a flatlander like me, even the first half of the course is not flat! It's mostly downhill, but still there are some hills. The newton hills weren't large to me either, but if you go out too fast they are tough because of where they are in the race. Personally I think downhill training is more important than hill training. Your quads will be screaming.

There you have it, my 2 cents.
Happy New Year!

TMB said...

I really have no answers for you. As for the gel/sports drink thing ... I usually start putting them back in my routine about 8 weeks out from race day. For me, it works. Not sure if it will for everyone.

On another note, NO BIRTH CONTROL?!?! I would lose my mind!! 5 years of pregnancy/nursing was enough for me!

Ansky said...

Here is a decent TM hill workout that I've used:

Set the TM to a pace 10-15 slower than your 10k pace.

1st half mile: set the TM to 1%.
2nd half mile: set the TM to 2%.
3rd Half mile: set the TM to 5%.
4th half mile: set the TM to 2%.
5th half mile: set the TM to 7%.
6th half mile: set the TM to 2%.
7th half mile: set the TM to 5%.
8th half mile: set the TM to 2%.

Hope that helps.

Lily on the Road said...

Happy New Year!

Bethany has given you GREAT advice, as for hills, if you have snowshoes, get out on the hilly snowy trails and cross train!

Cycling will really help the legs and cardio, treadmill random elevations will help also....

good luck getting through the winter is snowing here as I type this...

Katie A. said...

Oh man, where to start!!!
I only use energy gels on my long runs over 12 miles. I HATE them, but I need them. I also always use Gatorade G2 watered down on my runs (50-50 mix). My hubbs carries it on his bike for me. If I am running fewer than 12 miles by myself, I don't carry anything and don't drink anything. Maybe not the best idea, but logistics is horrible for me. I am sure those runs would be better if I do, but can't do it without the hubbs next to me. I would say do it on your long runs, use the Gu's and energy drink watered down, it really does help.
I love doing hills on the treadmill! My standard formula:
I start out with an easy half mile (8:15/mi pace) then the next half mile I run at 7.6 mph...7:56/mi pace.
The next 1/2 mile I put the grade at 3% and run at 7.5mph, then 1/4 mi at 7.7mph at flat, next 1/2 mile at 3.5% at 7.5 mph, then 1/2 mi at 7.8 mph flat, then 3/4 mi at 3.5% at 7.5 mph, then 1/4 mi at 7.8 flat, then 3/4 mi at 4.0% at 7.5 mph, then 1/2 mi at 7.8 flat. I do this increasing pattern until I reach about six miles. It is a killer workout. I run hard on the flat and pretty decent on the incline until I reach 4% then work my way back to 3%. Okay, that was a lot :)
I still don't know how my hubbs is going to spectate. I don't think there is a spectator bus either. He was thinking of renting a bike too. Hmmm, maybe this is something we work on together? Let's chat!
Finally, we WILL NEED a good spot for after the race, too! Let's think about that, too! My Bro goes to Boston all the time so I will pick his brain!
Have a great New Year my friend!!
This was a lot, you can email me if you like!

Julie said...

Hi Jenn,
Great job on all of your intense workouts! Thanks to your blogger was nice to read their advice on the gels...I have been wondering about that myself.

PS. If it makes you feel better.... I am not a scrapbooker either:)

Christina said...

I have a friend who runs marathons and he eats Trader Joes gingersnap cookies during races and long runs. He says they don't upset his stomach and gives him the carbs and energy he needs.

Joni said...

Happy New Year! My husband is working nights, so my company is the computer!

Boston was such an awesome experience. No need for an IPOD, I think you would get annoyed with it. There are so many runners and so many spectators. The atmosphere is amazing...soak it in!

I took a disposable camera to tuck in my fuel belt so I could take pictures along the way. Boston was my first marathon after having my third baby and I wanted to document it as much as I could! I dropped the camera around the first mile mark. Because of how thick the first few miles are with runners, I couldn't grab it. I had put my address on it in case that happened. A man picked it up and ran with it the whole way! He took pictures then mailed the pictures to me a few weeks later! Long story short, he ended up coming to our city in Sept and running our marathon! Our family has developed quite a friendship with this man!

My husband had our 11 month baby along to care for in Boston, but he took the T to 22 miles. It was a miracle he saw me because of how many people are there! By the time he made it back to the hotel (2 blocks from finish), I had finished and was already up in the room. The crowds are crazy! Don't plan on meeting in the family area after. Too nuts! Just meet back at your room if you are close to the finish.

I was terrified of the hills as I heard so many horror stories. To sum up the course, it isn't a killer if your approach it conservatively. The first half is mostly downhill. I held back the first half, feeling like I wasn't running hard enough. But, it paid off during the four miles of hills when people were walking and I was surging up them. I felt I had reserved enough to bring me right to the finish. I wasn't sore at all the next day...we were up and down the subway stairs with no problem. I ended up with a PR, which a few people told me not to even try for a PR on that course. I trained in SK, which is FLAT and FREEZING! I didn't get too many hill workouts in and I didn't run on the treadmill at all. I did stairs at the 26 story hotel in our city, which I do think helped. I appreciate the comments with hill workouts for the TM, I plan to try those.

Few other thoughts...wear clothes to the start that you can ditch. They have people that will take them to charity. Also, bring a blanket to wrap up in until the start. This last year was perfect running weather, but cold until you actually got running. Also, if you drop something in the first two miles, leave it or you will cause a pile up!

Good luck with the Boston training! It is going to be worth the effort!

Robin said...

Hi Jenn,

As a newbie runner, I can't offer any answers for you, but can share that I read an interesting blurb in the Dec(?) issue of RW about the NYC Marathon and hot chocolate in mile 23...just a thought. Seemed to be a hit.

I was getting anxiety reading your questions b/c I could feel the nervousness and excitement coming through the darn computer! Wow! Good for you...I look forward to reading about your progress to Boston (love that city!), and the answers that your readers are sharing...always helpful to a newbie soaking it all in! My only advice: deep breaths, friend... you'll be amazing, and HAVE FUN!

Oh, ironically, I recently discovered a pair of (get this) $5.00 earbuds that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE - in of all places, a BIG LOTS store. I even asked Santa for an extra pair (hot pink) since I bought the cool green ones the day I found them. I have small ears (apparently) and have to look for small covers. These are great. They stay in place - even better than the original ones that came w/ my ipod, come in cool colors, and sound crisp. Bonus: they block the wind... nice! The box says, "EarHugger" with another label that says, "TWEAK" - Rock your way. Maybe that's an answer to one question?? Sounds like the consensus is 'no ipod for B' though...

BTW - 500 Mile Club and Giveaway on the Turtles blog (for your friends who are running fewer miles than you in 2010! LOL)

Happy New Year and Training...

Tricia said...

I'm going to keep reading your comments because I'm looking for an earbud answer myself :)

lindsay said...

lol about prego vs not-prego... i'll take NOT please! :)

i'm not an expert by any means - but i don't always train w/ gu's so that my body doesn't depend on them. some long runs i will take enough to use "every 45 min" as prescribed and sometimes i will just take 1 or 2 to give me a little bit of boost but not the full effect.

uhh hill workouts, i just kinda play with the incline every couple of minutes to help stave off boredom. i'm sure you can google workout ideas though, like

and no idea about the rest :) good luck finding good headphones! happy new year!

Jill said...

Okay, here's what "little" I know:

I cannot eat GU, I have major stomach issues. I tried, and failed, to teach myself to go in a carb depletion state during long runs. I now use Perpetuem and carry it in a small flask. No processed sugars - makes my stomach happy! And gives me the fuel I need.

I wore my iPod in Boston last year. No way I could NOT this year.

Practice HILLS, both up and down. The first part of the race is downhill. Mile 18ish are the infamous Newton hills, the first one being the worst of them all, and ending 4 hills later with Heartbreak. They suck!

You don't need a car in Boston!!

I'm not sure how your husband is going to spectate along the course unless he can get a ride from someone. I heard giving water or whatever is a big no-no but I took orange slices from some kid along the side of the road and I never got kicked out of the race. ha.

I wear these earbuds that go OVER your ear from Target. They stay in and I don't have problems.

Meg, from is planning a bloggy celebration after Boston - please come, it's my birthday, too :).

TX Runner Mom said...

I usually take some sort of energy gel or chew if I am running over 1 1/2 or 2 hours. My favorite used to be Vanilla Bean Gu, but I experimented a lot over the past 6-8 months and love the Bee Stinger Organic Chews. They taste great and don't upset my stomach.