Dress Rehearsal

Training week: 16 of 18
Money raised: $5,004 of $8,000
Today’s run: Rest day (listen, I ran 21 yesterday)
Cumulative training miles: 390

I’m officially ready to run the Boston marathon! Yesterday I finished my 21-mile run, which is my longest “long run” of training season. Let me say that again: I ran twenty-one miles yesterday!!

All the conventional wisdom tells me that I’m now fit to complete a marathon on April 17. I guess all the scientists got together and decided that you’re supposed to do a final long run 3 weeks before the race, and it doesn’t even have to be as long as the marathon itself. Then you gradually decrease mileage until race day, at which point your body can miraculously bust out 26 miles. (Yeah, I don’t get it either, but I have to trust that I’m doing something right.)

Beyond the distance victory, yesterday was a pretty big day in and of itself. Because so many Boston trainees schedule their last long run on the same day, it’s a semi-organized event along the race course. Between 4,000-6,000 runners take to the course, and dozens of local running clubs and charities set up water and fuel stops along the way. Some of the towns even provide a police detail at the intersections. My running group bussed us out to Framingham to start at mile 6 of the course, and the whole experience is a bit like a dress rehearsal for race day.

Honestly, the run was a lot of fun! The weather was pretty solid for running — 40 degrees and cloudy, with just an occasional drizzle. After my 18-er in the slush and wind two weeks ago, I’m good with a little rain. The spectators along the course gave me a huge boost, and I even made a couple of friends:

Spotted on the Newton hills.
I’ll take any excuse to stop by mile 18.

Distance runs can be a real roller coaster, though. On my long runs, the first 3-4 miles are the toughest, as I’m just warming up. After about 60 minutes of running, everything starts to feel great, and I pick up speed without even meaning to. That’s when the lip syncing and air drum playing starts, too. Once the miles hit double digits, I honestly lose track. What’s the difference between mile 14 and mile 15 anyway? The second-to-last and third-to-last miles are incredibly trying, though, because I feel like I’m ready to be done, and I am most definitely NOT done. Then in the last stretch, my legs just go on autopilot, and often my last mile is my fastest split. (My average pace yesterday was 10:33, but the final split was 8:37). It always surprises me to look down and realize I’ve been running for almost 4 hours.

The bad news is that I messed up the nutrition this time around, which slowed me down after the run was over. I think I ate too many pretzels on the course, so I wasn’t hungry enough for them to refuel when I finished. This didn’t really impact my run performance, but it affected my enjoyment of all of the chicken parm I was planning to eat Saturday evening. I stopped at Dominic’s Italian deli in Waltham for my typical post-run dinner-for-two-for-one, but I just wasn’t feeling it once I got home. But perhaps my biggest mistake of the day was going home with just a single mini cannoli, instead of two large ones. Who made that decision?

All the running aside, I still have a LOT of fundraising work to do before race day. So far, I’ve raised over $5,000!! Over 90 donors have generously contributed to the Trinity Boston Foundation. I’m so thrilled by their support, and I’m encouraged to keep going. My goal is to raise another $3,000 by race day (and the charity has me on the hook for that money no matter what, so I definitely need your help!). Here’s what I have in the works:

I’m planning a 30th birthday party fundraiser at the Greatest Bar in Boston on Saturday, April 1, from 7-10pm. Everyone is invited! I’m excited to celebrate a milestone birthday with friends, colleagues, and former students, all while supporting a great charity. Tickets are $30 in advance ($35 at the door) and include one drink ticket and light apps.

I’m also launching a charity auction, where you can bid on items below cost, and all the proceeds go to Trinity Boston Foundation. I solicited over a hundred local businesses and received donations and gift cards from places like Soulcycle, Tasty Burger, Flour, MealPal, Flatbread Pizza Company, the Cookie Monstah food truck, and more. There’s over $1,000 worth of donations up for grabs at a fraction of their cost. You can even bid on career counseling services from yours truly! Check out the goods.

I’ve been asking my network to get involved in more and more ways, like asking my family members to solicit their friends, or having my supporters share Facebook posts with my donation link. My fundraising goal is seeming like a pipe dream at the moment, but these days I’m focusing much more on practicing gratitude for the many generous and surprising donations I’ve earned so far. I feel fortunate and I feel loved to have so many people raising their hands to support a cause I care about. That’s what keeps me going these days!

 

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