Boston Marathon Reflection

As the 115th Boston Marathon kicks off this morning, I reflect on my amazing experience last year…..

Boston part 3: Rocket Fuel
For all those struggling through their next race from injury or exhaustion, I hope you can find inspiration and motivation from my incredible Boston Marathon experience!
Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good

Boston Bound Part IV- the sights, the sounds…the food

So J and I did do other things in Boston beside run 26.2 miles…we explored the many historic sites…like Fenway 🙂 and ate our way through the Freedom Trail.
Here’s a little recap of our trip:
Day 1
We treated Carl and Julia to a Italian feast aka “Carbo load”
at Allora Ristorante in Marlborough, MA (suburb of Boston)

Mediterranean Salmon stuffed with spinach, feta and sun dried tomato over fennel and arugula salad

Lobster and Ravioli chunks of lobster, baby spinach, red onion and zucchini simmered in tomato alfredo sauce
Day 2
see Boston Bound part III
Day 3
Boston Marathon
Day 4
it was time to say “good-bye” to Carl and Julia and head to the city to explore the sites

they dished us up with a lovely home, comfy bed, and awesome home cooking

Downtown Boston

J had to get in on the Dunkin’ Donuts craze while we were out there
they are EVERYWHERE on the East Coast….not sure I’m sold on the coffee

More baked goods at Bova’s Bakery in the North End
The Freedom Trail:
directions…follow the red brick line to see Boston’s historic sites (approx.2.5 miles)
warning…this may not be the best thing to do after running a marathon

Here we go!

we saw the State House…ooooooohhh

the site where the Declaration of Independence was read….ahhhhhhh

Paul Revere’s grave and home…

a large steeple and clock….more ooohhhs and ahhhs

“hey…I didn’t know they had Starbuck’s back then….did you J?”

and OF COURSE we found some historic food….the oldest restaurant in America…
Union Oyster House est 1826
we finally got a table after making our reservation in 1856

New England Clam Chowder…YUM…coming from someone who doesn’t typically like this soup

J ordered oysters….not me

but after J’s persuasion and my hesitation I tried one and………..was done

we made it all the way to Bunker Hill aka the end of the trail

we were exhausted…J looked like a British solider defeated at Bunker Hill

and I fell asleep in the hotel lobby waiting for our room

Boston Common
the oldest park in the country…lots of “oldest” stuff in Boston

I felt like I was taking my senior pictures

Fenway Park

J and I finally had our celebratory drink…cheers!

Red Sox’s WON!

Day 5
Boston Duck Tour

J made me sit in the driver seat….can’t wait till we have kids so I don’t have to do the korny pics anymore

a slice of heaven…I mean Boston Cream pie at the site it was created, Omni Parker House

Regina’s Pizza, this has to be where pizza landed in the US because it was GOOOOOD

of course, I had to get one with veggies on it

a few random pics:

wish this was my spice rack

J picked up a new cellphone out there…it’s called the Banana Berry
I receive Bible Verse emails every day….this just happen to be the one I received the morning of the marathon (pretty appropriate):
Put no high value on your wisdom: let the fear of the Lord be before you, and keep yourself from evil: This will give strength to your flesh, and new life to your bones. -Proverbs 3:7-8
Until next time…

look good, feel good, do good

Boston Bound Part III – Rocket Fuel aka Huevos Rancheros

J and I were fortunate enough to have a contact in Boston to stay with….Carl and Julia Kinkel. They were the most gracious host and hostesses and opened up there home and arms to us.

Carl made his famous Huevos Rancheros for brunch Sunday. Keep in mind this is probably something I would have passed on, choosing something less fiberous and spicy, had I been planning on running the whole 26.2 miles the next day….however I did pass on the beans… because as I mentioned before something in the back of my head was telling I was going to be able to.

We joked at brunch that this would be great “jet fuel” for the marathon. I made a comment that mine was “unleaded” (no beans) and J’s and Carl’s was “diesel” (beans). We shared a good belly laugh.

The following post is written by Carl Kinkel:

Huevos Rancheros de Carlos
“Boston Marathon Rocket Fuel”

This dish is in the classification of “Refrigerator Management”- ie. Use what you’ve got and help clean things out of the fridge.

In general…Huevos Carlos consists of a flour (whole wheat) burrito/ wrap shell filled with “stuff” and folded in half. Topped by one or two sunny side up eggs… sprinkled cheese (Cheddar, Jack, whatever)… some Pace Picante sauce lavishly poured on the top. Sides can be beans (refried, regular, black), Rice (grits or Quinoa), and some iceberg lettuce sliced with an orange slice… fruit, etc.

Here’s what we made for Sunday morning brunch the day before the Boston Marathon so that Sara would have the extra added benefit of Jet Propulsion.

Stuff for inside the half folded Burrito Shell
Cooked up a bunch of Jimmy Dean Sausage (hot)… then added a can of Old El Paso Enchalada sauce to the sausage. We had some Taco Seasoning… so we added that as well… then about an equal amount of Swiss Cheese… or anything you have (a can of queso works as well). For a veggie alternative… onions, green peppers, beans, tomatoes, etc. work great. Simmer it all.

These were terrific. Regular grits following the cooking recipe on the canister. Add Some Chili Powder and Cumin to taste… 2 to 1 Chili powder to Cumin. Should just turn the Grits a yellow/ orange/ brown color.

We opened a couple of cans of refried beans and heated it up. Then added a bit of cheese to the top. Don’t doctor up the beans… it’s the one thing that you should leave bland.

2 are best… Sunny Side Up. Placed on top of the half folded burrito with the stuff inside. Sprinkled with cheese… and Pace Picante Sauce. Then popped into the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese.

Add Beans and Grits… and garnish. And Serve.
Good with Orange Juice!

Now Sara has the “Umph” to make it the 26 miles from Hopkinton to the Common… watch out for Chestnut Hill !!!! It’s a heartbreak. You’ll need the Rocket Fuel.

Carl- thanks for sharing your delicious recipe! It was sooo yummy, hope everyone enjoys!

Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good

Boston Bound Part II – The Race

By the grace of God…I was able to complete the 114th Boston Marathon. I have NO idea how or why my leg held up but it did and I feel so unbelievably blessed. ELATED! On second thought I think I do know how….there is something to be said about the power of prayer….

As J and I packed up for Boston I was very relaxed about what I packed and how I prepared myself for the upcoming marathon. I just had it in my head that I was starting the race, running a couple miles, and then would have to pull out. I didn’t need the gu’s, the body balm, or even the proper nutrition for the expected 2 miles I was going to be able to run of the 26….so I brought the bare necessities. When our host and hostess (Julia and Carl) picked J and I up from the airport Julia asked if I was nervous…I wasn’t, because who gets nervous for a couple miles? I did so many things I would have NOT done had I known I was running a marathon in the proceeding days.

Sunday morning (1 day till marathon) J and I went for a swim. After, we joined Julia and Carl at their church. During church the congregation had an opportunity to express concerns they wanted prayed for. You could sense an amazing feeling of love and support from everyone. I’m not sure I have ever witnessed so much confidence in the power of prayer. Father Len came over to J and and Julia let it slip that I was running the marathon. So of course he made an announcement and with my two ears encompassing my bright red face I hear yewwwws and aweees and then prayers. I felt those prayers, I felt my parents, J’s, my siblings, and my friends thoughts and prayers. Afterwards people kept coming up wanting to talk about the marathon. For some reason this was the first moment where my thoughts changed from running just 2 miles to actually thinking I could complete the Boston Marathon! I walked out of church with a skip in my step instead of a limp.
Ok, but I still had to be realistic. Although, I had these new ambitions, the fact of the matter was my knee was still injured and I hadn’t been able to run more than 2 miles in the last month and a half. J and I headed to the convention where we got all the cool swag and perused through the venders. I purchased some of the stylin’ official Boston gear but not the “jacket” which they are known for…..I just didn’t know if I could wear it if I was not actually going to complete the race. I got taped up with Kinesiology tape and headed back to our hosts exhausted and ready for bed. Quickdinner, quick stretch and “good night Irene.”

I awoke the morning of the race to PERFECT running weather….50’s and sunny. My dilemma was what to wear (typical girl). Do I wear capri tights so I don’t freeze when I might have to pull out OR do I wear shorts which is more realistic of 50 degrees and 26 miles. I decided to go with capri tights. As you can see my doubts still lingered however, I did decide to grab an extra gu just in case. Holy cow, it was a roller-coaster morning!

7:30am we headed out the door. I was dropped off at the “athlete village” and J went to our pre-scoped out meeting place about ½ mile into the course. This is where he would jump in to be my life-support and pack mule. Yes, he was going to “bandit” the Boston Marathon!
After 2 hours in the athlete village, relaxing, stretching, using the port-a-potty I headed to the start. Of all 26,000 runners I start chatting to this older gentleman…we talked about Boston, the weather, I even caught myself saying, “it is perfect huh? Nothing to worry about… just go run.” I asked where he was from….Cedar Rapids, IA, so weird! Before you knew it…10:30 and bang – race time!

I was so happy to see J! He was the best support I could have ever imagined. 2 miles down, then 3….the pain in the knee started rising up; at 5 I was thinking “hey…I have already gone farther than expected!”, so J and I celebrated with a fist pump. I wanted to make it to 6 miles because that is where Julia and Carl were waiting to cheer us on OR to aid us with a change of clothes if we had to pull out. I was feeling good so we gave them a quick smile and high five and kept on trucking. It was great to see someone we knew on the course!
After 6 we decided to make 10 our goal. 10 came and we did our habitual celebratory fist pump. Let’s keep on rolling….next goal…Wellesley College scream tunnel where the street is lined with yelling college kids. Then it became 13 miles…half way! I could not believe it! We took it one yellow mile sign at a time. Every time we passed a 5k mark I knew people at home got tracking updates about me…that was a huge motivator. I pictured my family back in Iowa surprised with each update and cheering me on to keep fighting.

Along the way I thought about all the wonderful prayers that the church and my family had said for me. I had an incredible feeling of God’s presence and I just kept talking to him….” Philippians 4:13-“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” repeatedly came into my thoughts. Every time I heard a “Go Sara!” I knew it was probably someone around me who had Sara written on her shirt or arm, but instead I chose to think they were angels sent to cheer me on. 🙂 Loved it!

The pain was growing and had started moving up and down my leg. It scared me because I was not ready to be done however I did not want to injure myself further…regardless I pressed on. The knee pain turned to cramping. To combat this I would stop and stretch while J tried to massage my calf or go fetch Tylenol. We then started walking but walking hurt so bad, it was better to run. So after a few painful steps I would tip toe back into my run until the clenching vice around my knee eased up.
A few key things kept my mind off the pain. J was giving me small goals…the stoplight, the tent at the top of the hill or making fun conversation. We also had a good time high-fiving kids and thanking all the armed service men and women who lined the course. We also passed Team Hoyt, a blind man, a man in a wheel chair, an amputee, and a man carrying oxygen…I thought to myself “if they can do it, I can do it!”
Mile 17 was the point of no return. I wanted to see Heartbreak Hill, I wanted to run that last exhilarating mile, and I wanted to cross that finish line. Mile 18 started the beginning of three long hills (the last being Heartbreak) it also brought on a massive side ache. I was now feeling the lack of marathon training due to my injury the last month and a half, regardless I kept saying…one foot in front of the other. My leg cramped so bad on the hills that I thought for a second I was going to have to crawl it in….I turned and looked at J and said “we will NOT walk Heartbreak Hill.” Now, I definitely wasn’t smiling, but we made it to the top and there was NO walking. At this point adrenaline and tunnel vision clouded any pain I was having.
Miles 22,23,24 brought Boston College and Boston U resulting in a sea of loud, partying college students…it was awesome!

25…this is it! J peeled off and I brought it on home with a huge smile…26.2! Despite the lack of preparation, training and injury… I did it! I ran the Boston Marathon! Did I learn a lesson? You bet I did!

1) The power of prayer… so thank you everyone who thought of me race day and perhaps said a quick word to God. I felt your thoughts and appreciated it!
2) The mind is a powerful tool – often times much greater than your own physical strength.
The coach I work with at Solon High School has a rule that the girls do 10 pushups for every time they say “can’t.” I never really thought it applied to me until I reflected back on this experience, so don’t worry ladies, I will own up for all the times prior to the race I said I would not be able to finish.

3) And many more I may figure out tomorrow or in years to come.
I could NOT have finished without my wonderful husband. Heck…he ran the Boston Marathon without getting any recognition what so ever…give him props for that. Good thing he is conditioned as heck to be able to just “jump in” and run a marathon. He was soooo motivating and kind; helping me obtain my goal. He would constantly tell me to think about what does feel good…”your elbows?” “your nose?” THANK YOU honey! Love you!

My leg is rather stiff as I sit here writing, in fact it doesn’t want to bend at all. I also have one toenail that looks like the top of ET’s finger, blistery and swollen….but it’s all good because those things are temporary and will heal and the fact that I have my finishers medal from the 114th Boston Marathon will be with me forever!

Until next time…
look good, feel good do good

Boston Bound

A little off the beaten path today, bear with me.
The Road to Boston
Walking home in blinding tears and melodramatic sobs…I reflected…

Sometimes God sends a gentle reminder that even though we may think we have control of our lives…we are in someone else’s hands. Someone else has greater plan for us then we can even comprehend. Someone else provides us with moments of joy and moments of frustrations.

We can try to PLAN PLAN PLAN and CONTROL CONTROL CONTROL all we want but what happens when it doesn’t go our way…a storm rolls in, they’re late, it falls through. How do we embrace it…do we cry, do we laugh, do we grab a tub of Ben and Jerry’s? And most importantly…do we learn the lesson God wants us to learn?

4 months ago I looked at my Boston Marathon training plan, I was reminded of how awesome it was to finish my first marathon in Chicago of 08. I was also reminded that as I celebrated qualifying for Boston in Chicago I was thinking…”great, I have to run another one of these things.”

For some reason training this time was harder to get into…maybe it was the freezing cold runs, so cold my water bottles would freeze shut or maybe because training went sooo smoothly the first time around I was taking things for granted and not following the PLAN to a tee.

While training for Chicago I had loved my long runs and embraced the freedom I felt to just cruise for miles because I could.
Whatever it was… I was finally getting into my groove after getting all the way to my 18 miler and about a month and a half till the race. Then things came to a startling halt.
I knew what it was as soon as it happened….my IT BAND!
After a week of rest and PT I thought for sure I had combated it. I headed out for a test run. 10meters, good, 400meters, good, 1/2 mile…yikes better stretch, 1 mile..DID SOMEONE PUT A KNIFE THROUGH MY KNEE! I saw it then…Boston’s 26 miles stretched out in front of me and I couldn’t take a step further.

The tears came on real quick as a kid in Converse ran by me with ease.
I had always heard the saying “getting to the start line of a race is 90% of the battle” but never put much thought to it….until that walk home.
I was SO mad.

So mad, but didn’t know who or what to be mad at….myself, my shoes, that darn puddle I just step in? Why did I hurt and why could I not run Boston!? You realize how much you want something during those moments when its slipping away and you wish you could have done SOMETHING. I worried about the expectations I had put on myself and others held for me. I realized that it was just ME who had to except my incapability to run it. J, my parents, my sister, everyone was very comforting…THANK YOU!

That night as I sulked to myself I saw a man on TV riding a bike with 1 arm and no legs. Wow, reality check. There are far greater challenges that life deals out than a bummed knee. Why was I sitting here feeling sorry for myself?

At that point my mindset changed…
God doesn’t throw anything at you he knows you can’t handle. That guy is one tough cookie and has embraced the adversity. PLANS change, can we? Did we learn the lesson we were suppose to learn? I needed to figure it out.

Today, I look forward to my Boston Marathon experience…the excitement, the crowd, and of course the swag (free t-shirt). My goal: start it and run what I can…2 miles, 5? Whatever it is I plan to take in every step of it! It may not be the race I PLANNED out, but it’s still going to be a wonderful adventure.
I just received a great card in the mail from my parents…Challenges: a bump in the road is either an obstacle to be fought or an opportunity to be enjoyed…it is all up to you.
Perhaps in my next 25 years I will be blessed with the opportunity to qualify again….and finish. Is it in my PLAN? I hope so!
see you in a week!
Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good