Why I Ran The Boston Marathon on No Training

I could have trained. I should have trained. But as we all know, sometimes things do not go according to plan. I knew that if I turned to the online running community for tips on running Boston while logging less than 20 mile/month would be met with anything but support.My running buddies who became my friends over the years never doubted and even made the trek to Boston for Marathon Monday. We were all committed to getting my body over that finish line.

The last year of my life have been utter chaos. Still I made a promise to my mother that I was going to run the race that I set my eyes on in early 2013. There was no way, sans a natural disaster, that I would miss running Boston. Who knows if I was going to BQ on another marathon in the near future. The 16-20 weeks leading up to the race I told myself that I would get out and run. Eight weeks out I officially joined a gym with the intention of logging many a mile on the treadmill. In reality I went to Zumba or cardio classes twice a week and log a mile or two after. My body and my brain were on totally different wavelengths.

I had decided that this was going to be the race that I truly ran for fun. Considering the fact that I had run a marathon seven months before I knew I was still capable of completing the distance. Shoot, I ran 81 miles in a 24 hour race on a whim.

In order to finish looking like a human and not a zombie my plan was to ride the coast the downhills with as little effort as possible and focus on my form and foot turnover on the uphills. My base goal was to get to the half marathon mark without walking and then walk the Newton Hills as needed. The expo was superb and the other runners that I met that day were a friendly reminder that we all run for a reason. A race wouldn’t be a good race if I hadn’t drunk my two god luck beers the night before the race. The race dinner offered Samuel Adam’s 26.2 tap, just my luck.

Boston 2015

I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it!

On race day the weather wasn’t great. It was just under 40 degrees with wind gusts of over 20mph. By the 5k mark the rain was another ‘perk’. Once I arrived at bag check I realized that I had left my Body Glide at home. I hadn’t planned for rain so a friend let me borrow her jacket to run in. This morning was off to an amazing start, but I still didn’t doubt that this would be a great day. After bag check things calmed down and I planned out my final race strategy.

The race went off without any further surprises. The downhills early in the race were helpful. I coasted through the 5k and 10k marks in good time. The crowds were great, it seemed that no one packed up shop and left due to the weather. Somewhere between the 10k and 21.1k mark I met my first running mate, a guy from the Czech Republic. Around the same time I saw a pizza shop and someone walking out with a few boxes of piping hot pizza. This is also the same time that I started craving pizza! Approaching the Wellesley crowd was something special. Those ladies (and gentlemen) must go to class without voices for the rest of the week. I partook in no kissing myself, but for those that are looking for a unique moment this is the place.

I slurped down my first two gels and ate a few oranges leading up to the halfway point, but my body wanted something else. I continued to push forward, head first into the wind and rain. As I made it to the first of the Newton Hills I slowed my pace and power walked my way up. My running mate for the next 7.5 miles spoke to me then. He said something along the lines of, “You look like you have the right idea.” At that point we began talking and motivating each other to make it to the next stoplight, tree or mile marker. He had a surgery a few months earlier and couldn’t train, but felt that he still had to complete the race.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 3.30.11 PMWe ran, talked, ate Pringles and Swedish Fish. At mile 19 I saw a few friends and became a little more energized. A few miles later we saw his cheer crew. Eventually I knew my legs need a slightly longer break, a couple of minutes in a lovely porto would work. For the first time in a race 50k or under I did something different. I stopped running completely and went to the loo. I wished my mate a strong finished and proceeded to compose myself and shed a bit of liquid.

The last couple miles were tiring, I was walking anything that felt like an incline. The hill leading up to the Citgo sign was a walking hill for me. At this point I was saving as much steam as I could for the final 1.2 miles. The crowds continued to cheer and motivate runners. I had a few fun and friendly quick conversations with spectators.

Once I made it onto Hereford Street I started to pick up the pace. There was no more walking now, I was only a few minutes from keeping my word on one of the biggest promises that I have ever made. Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 3.22.52 PMAs I left onto Boylston Street and saw the finish lines in the distance I started to get emotional. I wished my mother was able to watch the race, see me finish it, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I unzipped my jacket in hopes that the photographers would snap a good photo of my crossing with my tribute shirt to my mother. All race photographers have a goal of catching you mid-moment, I had just finished opening the jacket when they snapped a photo with my arms flailing. Than all of a sudden it was over, years of planning to get here and after a few fun hours of running it was over. It didn’t feel like I had run completed another marathon, well physically it felt like I had run one, painfully smart.

Treating this race like an ultramarathon was my personal key to success. Shoot, I even dressed like I was running an ultra – so many colors, so many brands. I listened very intently to my body, paid attention to my foot turnover and ran my own race. Staying true to my word was another reason why I didn’t let any minor pain deter me from finishing. The Boston Marathon was my slowest marathon, but it is the race that I am most proud of. Thank you Boston for allowing me to run this great race and thank you mom for being my greatest supporter and motivation.

Missing: 11.5 Months!!

Almost a year ago today I was counting down the days until I boarded a flight to Honduras for a spur of the moment style trip. SO much has changed since then. I have crawled in the proverbial hole and am just starting to peak out.

About a week after I returned from my trip I decided to send my mother a photo from my trip that I hadn’t thought about until that moment. Since then I have played back a number of scenarios: What if I had called her 30 minutes earlier, What if I had not sent that photo, What could I have done that would have changed the course of what was to come. A few moments after I sent her the photo I received a response, but it wasn’t from her. My mother was being rushed to the hospital. I froze in front of my computer at work. It was still the middle of the day and I was over 1,000 miles away from her. What in the literal hell was going on and why was this happening?

I tried to calm myself especially seeing as though I was just as paralyzed as she was. It took me a few hours to figure everything out, book a flight, rent a car and finally let my boss know that I had an emergency. I tried my best to remain composed as I commuted home. I barely knew what was going on.

Over time more came to light and she slowly started to recover, but I felt as though I was stuck in very slow moving quick sand. There was hope, a branch jutting out just far enough for me to reach, but when I reached out I could only graze the tree branch with the tips of my fingers.

On her birthday, just two months after her accident she was laughing and telling stories from the rehab facility that she was in. Just about two weeks after her birthday I watched all that work disappear. Doctors had said that she was ready for another surgery, a surgery that they said should take place six months after her initial accident was now considered ‘safe’ after just two months. I guess we should have taken that with a grain of salt. I am glad that I was there to record her last words, we talked about her mother and my father. I hadn’t thought about it at the time, but my mother lost her mother around the same age.

While I still talk to her everyday I can no longer hold her hand and kiss her forehead the way that she did for me so many times throughout my life. I have tried to come out of the hole I’ve found so much comfort in, but it has been very hard.  This is my first step in making it official, all while carrying my mother with me. Next week I will stand with 30,000 other runners and take on the Boston Marathon course with her tucked in my belt. I had hoped that she could watch the race on tv and cheer for all of the other runners, but unfortunately this will never happen.

Now to keep a smile on my face and do everything possible to make sure I honor her and make her proud of me.

Don’t Miss Honduras!

Let’s get the negative out of the way. Yes, Honduras currently holds the title of being the ‘Most Dangerous Country in the World,’ yet there is much more to the country than one bad mark. Most people have done poorly on a test in school, I feel like that same bad experience is what’s keeping a cloud over the beauty that in Honduras. I only had time to scratch the surface, but with that tiny scratch I encountered so many great things. I was likely as fearful of entering Honduras as I was entering any country before it, it’s almost like crossing a state line at this point. A friend and I trekked through three cities and used San Pedro Sula as our transportation hub.

We hiked behind Pulhapanzak Waterfall

Pulhapanzak Waterfall (Peña Blanca): This was our first stop after we landed in San Pedro Sula. The bus ride to the area was via El Mochito at the San Pedro Sula bus station (we took a cab there from the airport), which is very similar to the dollar vans in NYC or the mini bus service in New Jersey. Vendors hop on and off the bus along the route and you can get fresh agua de coco, fried chicken or platanos. We were planning on using D&D Brewery as a landing place, but that didn’t work out so we just brought our bags to the resort at the waterfall and they watched things for us. Once we got the the park, which is about 15km from Lago Yojoa, we paid our entrance fees and hired a guide. Rafael was our guide and did a great job at getting us down to the waterfall and behind it. My friend can’t swim and was still able to do the waterfall tour. It takes about an hour and is worth the schlep. The bus ride there took about one hour and 45 minutes.

Getting ready to hand feed this lil guy (that I named Chippi)

Copán Ruinas: We got here pretty late at night after a very long taxi ride from San Pedro Sula, seeing as though the last bus to Copán Ruinas leaves around 3:30pm. Thankfully Hotel Brisas de Copán was very welcoming. We did have a reservation, which orginially with Hotel Acropolis across the street, but all the rooms were booked for the two nights that we needed. We proceeded to pass out and got up well after sunrise. We found a great breakfast at Copán Grills not too far from Parque Central. Baleadas, pupusas y licuados, they have a full menu that will fill you up for a great price. We found a tuk-tuk driver, Cesar R., that agreed to take us to the Ruinas, pick us up after and take us to the Canopy Tours location then drop us back off at our hotel for $7. Deal! The ruins are a great morning trip and we hired a guide to tell us about the ruins. There weren’t too many people at the site and there were some beautiful birds in the area. In the early afternoon I did the canopy tour, it’s worth the $45, which includes the bird park. I skipped the bird park, although there was a baby Guarda Barranco at the canopy start point that I helped feed. We spent the rest of the afternoon at a great restaurant and bar, Don Toño’s a few blocks from Parque Central. The owner was completely friendly and it was a great atmosphere.

Sunset over Bahia de Tela

Tela (Bahía de Tela): There are lots of buses towards La Ceiba that stop in Tela from San Pedro Sula. We got to Tela in the early afternoon and paid 60 lempiras for a ride to our hotel, Maya Vista. There are three stops for most buses in Tela and we opted for the second just in case. The hotel is basically the tallest building in Tela since it is at the top of a hill. The bay has great views and you can catch both sunrise and sunset on a clear day, unfortunately we had misty days. Here days are as long and calm as the beachfront. The restaurants close by 9-10pm and the streets are pretty desolate. There are tours that go to Punto Sal y Izopoo, but you need at least six confirmed people in order for the tour to go out so that was out of the question. I think there were maybe a dozen foreigners while we were here. If you are a seafood lover this is the place for you, while folks like me can’t get by on fresh cut coconuts and chicken. Tela was definitely a great place to end a whirlwind trip through Honduras. There are more mosquitos here than I recall encountering in other area. 

There are things that made each stop similar: the overtaking of vehicles on all roadways, vendors selling items on the side of every road, the love of Pepsi. As dangerous as Honduras is said to be I can say that I didn’t feel unsafe, even after seeing a corpse on the side of the road leaving Copán Ruinas. I’m sure there are tons of things I have forgotten, but I can only say that you should, ‘Visit Honduras,’ as it is a country full of beautiful people and places.

Desayuno! Baleada, licuados, pupusa y fajitas.

Desayuno! Baleada, licuados, pupusa y fajitas.

Getting Married At Burning Man

Those that know me would likely say that, “I am a bit of a free spirit and spontaneous.” I assume I proved them right when I decided to get married at Burning Man and then actually followed through by marrying someone I had never actually met until our wedding day. There are certainly folks that would say that is insane, but I think it was great that way.

I asked potential platonic spouses to fill out an online form. Over a dozen people responded and a group of folks sat down with me at a bar to go through the responses, names/gender were redacted to make this unbiased. The group ended up selecting someone from NYC. A virgin burner who had kick ass responses to questions on the form. Date and time were set and we agreed to meet at Champagne Lounge (who graciously let us use their lounge space for the ceremony and short reception, down the road from my camp, for the ceremony. 

After picking up a fun looking ring and sending Facebook wedding invites to camp mates I figured everything would work its way out. MagicMan would officiate, Dogbrain would walk me down the aisle, Ice Brain was to be my ring gal… It was set. For some odd reason I thought it would be a bright idea to run my first 50K the same day as my first wedding. The few hours between the race and wedding were not pretty. Could I really go through with this after putting my body through five hours of running? As we say at camp, “It’s probably fine.” So when Ice Brain ran over and said someone in a white dress walked by I knew I had to get ready for the big show.

We physically met for the first time just before we were to walk down the aisle. The music started and we were all systems go. It was great! A ton of my camp mates were there to celebrate this unofficial, temporary union. Her mad lib style wedding vows were crowd approved. I received messages from folks after the burn that they stopped by my wedding, but didn’t get the chance to catch me after.

We spent a little time wandering streets and chatting. She went with me for my post 50K massage. On my birthday there was a balloon and a flask labeled, “Birthday Bourbon. -Your Wife,” waiting for me at my camp bar on my birthday. I definitely found a winner! My camp loved her and if she’s back for 2014 she’s definitely found a home with us.

Would I do it again? I’m not sure. It takes a lot to coordinate something like this on playa, especially since everyone operates on ‘Playa Time.’ Overall the experience was a win. I wish I had spent a lil less time sleeping and a lil more time hanging out and exploring with her, but it was still all smiles in my book. So the platonic marriage to a perfect stranger turned into meeting a superb being that I definitely need to schedule a date with.

My 1st 50K & Burning Man Ramblings

Oh gosh!!! It’s been far to long and updates are definitely in order, (this is now a moot point as I have skipped this post and am now backtracking) especially on the running front as that is what has become of my life (I believe this still holds true). I forgot how much I missed running until it became my evening routine after being tucked away for over a decade.

As usual I made my way to Burning Man, I love that place and I can’t think of many other places I would enjoy returning to for almost two weeks annually. This year I decided to do two things while I was there:

  1. Run the 4th Burning Man Ultramarathon, it’s a 50k.
  2. Get married.

Both of these were things I haven’t done before and they were also among the infinite number of things I knew I could do on the playa. For some strange reason I also thought it would be a great idea to do both of these on the same day. I would later regret that, well my body regretted it. Mentally, I am glad that I followed through on both!

The ultramarathon was great. A couple things to note:

  • Cherri Bomb is the Race Director
  • You get to run beside some kickass runners
  • It’s free! Instead you are asked to bring a gallon of water & a shareable snack/fuel
  • Cool 5am start
  • It’s a looped course – four loops and an out and back
  • It gets hot
  • Clothing is optional
  • You need to acquire a ticket to Burning Man
  • It’s Ah-May-Zing! (Don’t believe me, watch this video)

I planned to use this race as a long training run while prepping for my first marathon.  I barely made it to the start on time because I love sleep. Upon arrival I jumped in for the group photo before hearing that there was only two minutes until the start. DAMMIT. I needed to pee, badly. Start on time and hold it as long as possible or use the potty and tack the time on my run? I’m a Virgo, I stood among my fellow Burners and started at the sound of the …. I don’t remember what was used, it wasn’t a gun. Right?

Into the darkness we went for almost two hours, which is when the center of the solar system decides to rise above the mountains and naturally light the city that me and my camp light every night. Although the course is looped you do not see the same thing each time since you are at Burning Man and people, art cars/mutant vehicles and parties roam around day and night. As the sun beat down during the fourth loop I remember just wanting to finish. I hadn’t run more than 23 or so miles and I tired. Hours ticked by. I sorta forgot about my bladder. A few of my campmates knew I was running and it was nice to see them on the course as they were doing morning lantern pickup. Eventually the out and back came, I was pushing it as best as I could. There it was, the finish line. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. I was done. I finished my first 50k in 5:15:23, fourth female finisher and 21st overall, not shabby.

A friend, whom I met on the playa two years earlier, met me at the finish and let me sit on his bike as he pushed it back to my camp. Upon entering camp I was greeted by, “How was the run?,” to which I promptly responded that, “Dumbest idea ever.” (I’ve since forgotten the pain and plan on running it again.) Other than tired legs, one toenail felt like it was in bad shape. Thanks to one of our awesome doctors, Dr. Tink, I was bandaged and ready to go.

I should note that I forgot my running gear on the East Coast so I resorted to wearing new gear, it worked out, kinda. I ran in an old pair of Nike Shocks, shoes that I wore for three weeks while cleaning homes in Staten Island and Far Rockaway following Hurricane Sandy. The pain of wearing those shoes for 50 dusty kilometers was worth it.

BMUltraFinisher

I was slated to be married three hours later. TBC

My Honolulu Marathon Fun Run

I decided to run the Honolulu Marathon in late 2012 and I’m glad I followed through on the run. I stopped training and running in early November, after the NJ Trail Series 24 hour run that I completed (a race report for another day), so I wasn’t sure how I’d do on no training. I’ve had mild knee pain since my 81 mile run, which I haven’t had checked out yet. Reading other reports I knew there were three things to be aware of:

  1. The runners that stand at the start line watching the fireworks that kick off the run
  2. Diamond Head elevation
  3. The weather

The night before the race I had dinner at Auntie Pasto’s, which was delicious. If you are in Honolulu, it’s worth checking out. I’ve decided that two bottles of beer the night before the race shall serve as my pre-race “good luck” tradition. I opted for two Kona Brewing Company Longboard lagers this time. Since the race starts at 5am I needed to be up by 3:30am so that I could walk to the start with enough time to wiggle my way to the front of the start. laid out my race gear, drank my beer and off to bed I went.

The morning of the race I woke up, got dress, ate a quick snack and headed off toward the start line. My strategy for the race was simple, have fun! If I finished under 4:00 I’d be happy. I didn’t notice the humidity initially, although it wasn’t terrible overall. Florida still holds the crown in terms of humidity. The fireworks went off and some of us were off. I wasn’t as close tot he front as I wanted to be so I crossed the start line about 2:00 into the race. I ran with one of the reps for The Stick that I met at the expo. I’d see him pull up to me again around Mile 21 and I reminded him he needed to pick up the pace if he wanted to finish within his goal. There were small crowds through the first seven miles.

When we reached Diamond Head the road narrowed considerably. I decided to plow through the hill and run along the caution tape that volunteers were hold up. Hi-fiving them as a darted by was nice. For the next however many miles it was residential running, but nice to see folks out cheering, singing and playing instruments. I was able to catch sunrise early in the second half of the race, of course this was after I’d watched the front runner pass me (this is an our and back course). 21K – 1:53:39


Once the sun came up the cold sponges at aid stations REALLY came in handy. I took one at each aid station that offered them. More ‘Good Mornings’ and ‘Hellos’ to everyone I passed, including lots of police officers. I was having fun, as hard as it is for some to believe. Time ticked away and one thing I tried to do was learn the Japanese phrase I kept hearing. It reminded me of the word ‘Sabaidee’ which you hear a lot in Thailand. I later found out that is was something like ‘Gambatee.’ Anywho, back to running. Diamond Head was a little more annoying at Mile 24, but there was a bonus. A group of Hashers set up an aid station near the 40k mark, just before the downhill begins. They made sure folks knew they were doling out beer and I gratefully accepted. 2.2km left in this race, Woohoo!!!

As I neared the finish I saw a Minnie Mouse, I didn’t want to get costumed so at this point I made an effort to sprint through the finish. The only issue with that is quite a few people slow down just as they get to the clock…. Run through the clock, if you can, please! The mouse got under just before me, but that means I finished also. Second marathon completed in 3:57:08. As the volunteer handed me my finisher beads she said, “You don’t even look like you just ran a marathon. It looks like you could run another one right now.” I smiled, told her, “I just had fun” and headed to the finishers village. My knee was throbbing a tad bit, but I was able to walk on it.

Time for my 10 minute shiatsu massage and a few malasadas before spending the afternoon at Lanikai Beach. The finishers village was well organized and had a lot to offer, especially since there were only about 1,200 of us there at the time.


Overall the race was nice, as most say it could do for a little nicer view at some points, but it wasn’t terrible. The race director may want to consider making at least one seeded corral so that those who want to run the race can without having to run on dividers and such for the first few miles, the corral signs they use are completely ignored. There is no reason why people should be dodging walkers from the start gun/fireworks. I’d definitely recommend this race to anyone looking to run a destination race just don’t come in expecting a super fast course. Come to have fun!

Now to take a few weeks off and let my body recover from all this running!

Steamtown Marathon, I Love You!

Just over six months ago I decided I needed to start base training for the Honolulu Marathon that I registered for in January. I told myself I wanted to Boston Qualify this year as well, 3:35:00 or better for my age group. As a reference point, there are lots of people that spend years trying to run a time that qualifies them for Boston. I, on the other hand, hoped to do so on my first try and with one official race completed since my high school track days, a half marathon on mostly treadmill running. This is going to go well, right? Well somewhere over the last six months I found out about this amazingly beautiful race in Scranton, PA. I registered and found myself trying to stick to a schedule I drew up on my own. It wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed it.

Fast forward to October 13th! Two friends and I parked in a garage around the corner from the bus loading area and got ready to run the Steamtown Marathon. Since this is a point to point race we all get dropped off in Forest City, PA and then run back to Scranton, PA. Sounds like fun? It is! The ride up was pretty calm, the sun had just started to rise and I was able to get a few minutes of sleep in. The men/women bathroom designations at the start worked well, we did have a guy in the women’s line – we let him use the women’s portos even though he somehow didn’t notice he was the only male in the line. It was nice to have an indoor place to wait and the messages from the students were a nice to see. Two bathroom trips later I made it to my corral/area that had a 8min/mi pace sign held up while taking my first gel.

There was a misfire of the traditional cannon start so runners started out with the gun blast. Three seconds later the cannon went off followed by cheers as runners crossed the starting mats. Miles 1-6… From what I recall they were great. The first half mile was pretty flat and the pace moved nicely, the downhill when you turn on Dundaff St. is very steep! I shuffled down it and turned right onto Main St. There are some early birds out there to cheer and it’s nice to know that the residents support 2,000+ runners making their way through the area at 8am. I don’t wear a fancy watch and I tend to forget to hit lap at mile markers, so I just did the math in my head at each mile marker. Thank you to all the runners around me with fancy watches that beeped and rang out as we approached each mile marker. I did use Map My Run on my phone so that I could see my stats later. 7:21 – 8:00 – 7:56 – 7:16 – 7:18 – 7:22

Miles 7-15 were equally as nice. I followed the advice of a friend, almost, and just enjoyed the run. I looked around, read signs, smiled and said ‘Good Morning’ to spectators. I believe I gave out about 12 high-5’s by this point. I made an effort to high-5 anyone the had a hand out or an ‘ Official High-5 Station’ sign, even when it meant darting to the other side of the street. Thank you to everyone lining the streets here: Carondale, Archbald and Jermyn. The scenery was gorgeous!! The support was fantastic and I breezed past the 13.1 mile clock at 1:41:11. At this point I had a few minutes banked, but I was feeling great and the best felt perfect with little effort. I took a gel at mile 8 and just after 13.1. The trails began just before mile 15 and they were lovely. The major elevation drop ends around this point as well. 7:54 – 7:17 – 7:46 – 7:33 – 7:38 – 7:39 7:53 – 7:43 – 7:51

Miles 16-23 included more trains and a loop in the park. I was on cruise control at this point and simply read signs and did pace/goal time math. I began to think that not only would I run a Boston qualifying time, but I may be able to run a sub-3:30. I told myself not to get ahead of myself and reassess my goal. Just as you exit the park there is a little wooden bridge that takes you over to the last of the trail section. Enjoy it!! I personally found it very enjoyable and not hard to manage. I took my final gel around mile 20. I think there was a little hill at mile 23, I’d compare it to one of the lower loop rollers in Central Park. I did the math at mile 23. I had 6.5 minutes banked if I wanted to hit 3:33 . I could run 10 minute mile pace at this point and reach my goal and rather than risk blowing out on the major hill that was yet to come I decided to start pulling back. I was around 2:58 with 5k to go. 7:47 – 7:47 – 7:47 – 7:56 – 7:53 – 7:52 – 8:01 – 8:12

Miles 24-26.2  is where the FUN begins in this race. Yes, they are kind enough to put a couple nice hills at the end of the race. I was very nervous about these hills going into the race and asked a few people at the expo about them. I tend to run Harlem Hill in Central Park and thought they would be a lot worse, thankfully they weren’t for the most part. The major hill is the one around mile 24.3. It’s a bit steep and a has a little curve at the end where it hides a little extra. I simply leaned forward a bit, shortened by stride and powered up the sucker. Sorry for the lack of smiles there, minus a smile and wave at the hospital patients I saw just before the right turn. It reminded me of Cat Hill in Central Park. More running, the support dies out a bit around here, everyone is on the last hill and at the finish minus the beer guy at mile 25, you are awesome, my friend. I told you I was coming back for that beer, I ended up asking a friend to grab one for me! Two ‘hills down’ and one to go is what I thought. I was greeted by my friend shouting at me. I love that kinda stuff!! ‘One little hill after the light, Espinoza, you’re almost done!!’ Trudging up to the top of the hill wasn’t effortless, it was a bit long, but once I reached the stoplight at the top I could see the finish line. YES!!!! I definitely had a sub-3:30 in the bag. I picked up the  pace a little, not a powerful finish by any means, but I was happy. Stopped my watch, 3:28:11! (It matched my chip time perfectly) ::Happy dance commences:: 8:17 – 8:13 – 8:13 – I forgot to stop my phone so it’s a little off, around 8:00

If you are going to run this race, get some hill training in, get some downhill training in and get some off-road running in if you can (nothing too crazy required). There’s no need for gloves, thermals, etc. at the start, IMHO. You’re body should warm up pretty quickly and by the halfway point the temperature should be ideal.

Overall I loved the race. The organization was great. They should definitely host a conference on ‘How to Plan and Execute A Great Marathon.’ The food at the finish was top notch. I love perogies! I love my medal! I was happy with my massage by Grace in the court house lobby. The shirts were a nice touch. The volunteers were very helpful and remembered faces, a great thing! If you are a looking for  a race that makes you feel like an elite and support from perfect strangers then definitely register for the 2014 Steamtown Marathon. I can’t gush about it enough, meaning I’ve probably forgotten about 300 great things I have been thinking about the race over the past 48 hours. I love you, Steamtown Marathon!