One year ago today

One year ago today I was celebrating my first Boston Marathon in the finisher’s chute when I heard two explosions go off a few hundred yards behind me.  Please join me in lifting up in prayer the families of the 4 who perished (3 at the finish line and the police officer killed during the hunt for the bombers), the many people that were injured, and all who were affected by the terror of that day.

Just after I crossed the finish line and minutes before the explosions.

Just after I crossed the finish line.

The next day looking toward the finish line were the first bomb went off.

The next day looking toward the finish line where the first bomb went off.

6 days from now I will be back at the starting line and, God-willing, eventually at the finish line to support this amazing city.  I am blessed to be a part of so many people that will come together to show that perseverance, strength and love ultimately win.

IMG_3858

 

 

 

2 Weeks Away

It’s been a busy few weeks for me between family, work, training, and a 5 day bus trip to California with 38 middle school kids!  Yes, I was “lucky” enough to chaperone my daughter’s show choir to a competition in Southern California.  It was a whirlwind of a trip with very minimal sleep and constantly being on the go.  Other than one early morning 5 mile run to help maintain my sanity, there was no other time for training.  That is unless I count 14 hours on my feet at Disneyland as a long run, which I’m tempted to do because I felt just as exhausted (probably more) as after an actual 20 mile run!  The trip was tons of fun and the group even won the middle school competition.

Stopping for a quick picture on my morning run

Stopping for a quick picture on my morning run

In 2 weeks I will be running the Boston Marathon for my second time.  I am beyond excited and a bit emotional at the thought of being back in Boston after last year.  Unfortunately, my family won’t be able to come with me as it is quite expensive for a family of 4 to travel across the country, but my sister will be meeting me there again like last year.  We had a great time together hanging out in Boston the days leading up to the marathon and she was a huge support and cheerleader for me on race day.  We are so blessed that when she came back from watching the race near the halfway point on the course, she was not able to get close enough to the finish line to watch me finish due to the crowds of spectators.  As it turned out, we were both a few hundred yards away from the bombs and were able to find each other quickly and make it safely back to our hotel.  Everything about that day has stuck with me throughout this year, and I think it will be a very emotional trip to Boston, but something I am looking forward to.

Finish line

Marathon Recovery and Cool Relief Review

It’s been a little over 2 weeks since I ran the Phoenix Marathon.  I have been working hard at my recovery since I will be running the Boston Marathon in just 5 more weeks.  I took 3 days completely off after the race and then added back some light swimming and biking for the next week.

It was tough, but I did not run a single step for 10 days post marathon!  For my injury-prone self I know right now with a couple of important races coming up that first and foremost, I need to stay healthy.  While the pull of jumping back into my half Ironman training is strong, I know that I need to allow my body time to recover.

In addition to recovering through time off, I have been icing, foam rolling, stretching, and even tried an Epsom salt bath.  I was also fortunate to have some special ice packs from Cool Relief to try out.

Cool Relief ice packs and shirt along with a cooling travel bag.

Cool Relief ice packs and shirt along with a cooling travel bag.

They sent me the Soft Knee Gel Ice Pack and the Soft Gel Foot and Ankle Wrap along with this really cool Ice Cooling Shirt that I can’t wait to try out in the summer months.  One of the major issues that many people living with MS have is heat sensitivity.  When your body gets too warm MS symptoms can flare up along with extreme fatigue and your body feels like shutting down.  I think this shirt will help me in the summer both for working out, and also for being outside doing different activities with my family.

I like that I can wear the knee pack while walking around and still get the benefits of icing.

I like that I can wear the knee pack while walking around and still get the benefits of icing.

I have been dealing with some patellar tendinitis, you may have seen me sporting some Kinesio Tape on my knee lately, so I have been working on icing my knee after running, and I love how I can wear this ice pack and yet still walk around and get things done while working my icing in.  Go check out there extensive line of hot and cold wraps here.

Do you have any other recovery tips that you do? 

Do you like to use ice for recovery?

High School Runner with MS

You may have seen this around the internet the past week, but I am so impressed by this high school runner who was diagnosed a few years ago with MS, that I felt the need to share it.  You can watch or read about Kayla Montgomery here.

Some quotes that stood out to me from Kayla:

“Instead of letting it stop me from running, I’ve used it to motivate me to break records.”

“Since I know that my mobility is a gift right now, I guess I make every day that I run as best I can, so I don’t waste that gift.”

What a courageous and inspiring young woman.  I look forward to hearing more about her in the future.  We can all learn some life lessons from Kayla.

Phoenix Marathon Race Recap

This past Saturday I ran the Phoenix Marathon.  It was my 10th marathon (and 6th since my MS diagnosis).  I flew in on Friday and went right to the Expo which was well organized, had a number of vendor booths, and many family friendly activities.  Unfortunately, my family wasn’t able to come with me, so I picked up my race packet and breezed through the expo and then went to get checked into my hotel.  The race swag was a tech fabric shirt and matching arm warmers, love them!

IMG_6357The weather forecast was showing 100% chance of rain and strong winds, so I was a bit apprehensive about how it all was going to go.  I packed warm clothes and a rain jacket for waiting around for the race to start.  I woke up at 3:45 Saturday morning, got ready and left my hotel to walk across the street and catch the busses that would take us 26.2 miles to the start of the race.  (It was great staying at the hotel near the bus loading and finish line, very convenient!)  I rode next to a man that was running his 37th marathon and was recovering from radiation therapy for cancer just a few months prior.  He was also at the Boston Marathon last year and finished a few minutes after me and was very close to the bombs that went off.  Wow, runners never cease to amaze me with their inspiring stories.

Staging area at the start line on Usery Mountain

Staging area at the starting line on Usery Mountain

I arrived at the staging area at the starting line at 5:20am, with the race scheduled to start at 6:30.  Thankfully it was not raining (yet), but the wind was whipping.  There were heaters set up for everyone, and after I made a trip to the porta potties, I found a place to sit down and relax for a bit.  Around 6:00 the temperature dropped about 10 degrees and the rain started.  They played the national anthem and shot off fireworks, which was a fun touch.  I started walking the short distance to the starting line, took off my sweats that were keeping me warm and checked my bag, deciding to keep the rain jacket on, not knowing if it was going to rain the entire race or not.

The race started on time, in the midst of a strong downpour.  I was so happy to start running and warm up.  It rained for the first few miles and then the rain stopped and the rest of the race was cloudy and windy, but fortunately there was no more rain.  Other than the wind, the weather ended being ideal.  The first 6 miles flew by with 2 uphill miles from 4-6, followed by some downhill.

At mile 7 my friend, Lorina, who lives in Phoenix, joined me to run the rest of the race with me.  The race had sold out by the time I told Lorina I was running it, and since my family was not going to be at the finish line for me, I was super happy to have a friend with me, just in case I needed some help during or after.  Since I have ended up in the medical tent in 2 out of the 10 marathons I have now run, my husband has a rule that I’m not “allowed” to race without having someone with me in the event something goes on with my health.  So Lorina ended up being my race day angel.  She stuck by my side the remainder of the miles (which got tough for me towards the end) and then helped me at the finish when I wasn’t feeling 100%.  I didn’t end up in the medical tent, so that’s always a win, but I wasn’t feeling great.  Lorina catered to me, stayed with me and got me food and water until I felt ready to head back to the hotel.

Sitting down at the finish line with my race day angel, Lorina

Sitting down at the finish line with my race day angel, Lorina

I ran a 3:41:59, which is a new PR and a Boston Qualifying time for me.  My last PR was marathon #5 and that was a 3:42:27 over a year and a half ago, so while I only beat it by 28 seconds, I’ll take it!

Never been so happy to finish a race!

Never been so happy to finish a race!

Overall, I was very impressed with the Phoenix Marathon.  The race was well organized, the volunteers were wonderful, the course is definitely PR friendly (although not the prettiest course), and they treat you great.  All runners that ran a Boston Qualifying time got a cool visor.  The race also offers a half marathon and a 10k for those looking for other options.  I would definitely run this race again!

“giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”  Ephesians 5:20