Marathon Training Prep Mode


If you are anything like me, then you were probably going NUTS yesterday when Shalane was leading the way (she ended up finishing 7th), when Meb just completely dominated and became the first American male to win the Boston Marathon since 1983, and while watching various real-life and internet friends pass timing mats along the course.  I wasn’t able to watch the live coverage, but thankfully twitter described things perfectly in real time. What a morning!

The whole experience made me so pumped to run another marathon and hopefully get the chance to run Boston 2015.

And really, all of this excitement couldn’t come at a better time.

I can’t believe that I’m about to say this, but training for marathon #3 starts in less than 2 weeks.  The whole thing seemed so far into the future when we signed up for the race back in February (or was in January?) and now here we are, about ready to embark on the madness once again. It’s so hard to believe that just 2 years ago, a bunch of us were heading into training for our 1st marathon together, and now we are all repeat offenders.

We are now less than 18 weeks away from Santa Rosa.

Not that I'm counting...

Not that I’m counting…

Aside from desperately wanting to pin on a bib again and run through the streets while strangers cheer me on, mostly, I’m excited to have something to blog about again.  It’s hard to maintain a running blog when all you have to talk about are 3 mile runs every once in awhile.  Soon the internet will once again be bombarded by my training recaps, and occasional (and by occasional, I mean weekly) panic attacks over not hitting paces or wondering how I’m supposed to run 26 miles at a 7:53 pace when I can’t even hit that during my 800 repeats (I just shuddered thinking about 800 repeats).

Fun times.

With 12 days to go until training officially begins, we are starting to get into preparation mode.

We have:

* Started building up the mileage again and we are now running 6 days a week

* We’ve been modifying our marathon training plan

Training Plan

* Purchased new running shoes


* Started stalking up on our arsenal of coconut water, Nuun, and ClifShots


* We’ve started to become reacquainted with our BFF the Foam Roller (we will become very intimate at least twice a day over the next 4 months)



* We’ve looked into getting a chiropractor appointment in to correct any lopsidedness

* We’re also planning some sort of “kick-off” event.  I love being deep and symbolic, so we always try to do some sort of ceremonial thing that prepares us for 4 months of putting ourselves through running hell which hopefully yields Marathon PR Glory.

Climbing a mountain to kick-off Chicago Marathon Training in 2012

Climbing a mountain to kick-off Chicago Marathon Training in 2012

It may involve climbing a mountain again (but a bigger one since the goals are loftier this time around), or maybe something else.  I have just a few days to decide.

Also, Despite all of my big plans, I haven’t signed up for any other races.  We might still sign up for the Run For the Zoo (10-K since the Half sold out) which is on May 4th along with some shorter summer races, but I’ve really just can’t make myself excited over anything available.

Random question: I need to change my blog reading system.  Right now I use the WordPress reader (which sometimes includes all of the blogs I follow and sometimes doesn’t), email subscriptions (I’ve kind of been slacking on email reading), and the Blogger reader for those bloggers not on WordPress.  I need something a bit more comprehensive because my current system isn’t quite time efficient. Any reader suggestions? I know this was a big topic maybe a year ago, but I didn’t pay attention.

What’s your next race?

Will we be late summer/fall marathon training buddies? 



4/13/2013 Boston Strong

There is a condition called The Anniversary Effect, “defined as a unique set of unsettling feelings, thoughts, or memories that occur on the anniversary of a significant experience.” (thanks to for that tidbit of information).

Over the last month or so I’ve been following the One Run For Boston facebook group which of course is comprised of many Bostonians.  Several have mentioned that emotions have really been running high in the city recently, and one woman commented that the anniversary has brought so much back up to the surface that people thought they’d dealt with months ago.

I have to say,  I’ve been thinking a lot about April 15, 2013 over the last couple of weeks.  It is still so surreal to think that Aaron and I were in Boston one year ago.

Of course, there are the marathon memories. The Scream Tunnel at Wellesley that gave me so much motivation, the feeling of badassery that came with hitting the top of Heartbreak Hill, and finally coming to the Right at Hereford, then the Left at Boylston with my first Finish Line sighting.  All wonderful memories of my time running my dream race.

But the memories of post 2:50 pm are so much more prominent.

I remember that Whitney (a blog friend who I had met at a race before) was the first person to text me and ask if I was ok.  At that point, we didn’t know what had happened, and she was the one that broke the news to me that there had been an explosion at the Finish Line.

I remember all of the sudden getting a ton of messages, and having to post on facebook and twitter that we were all right.  Shortly after that, cell service was cut.


I remember having so many racing thoughts during our 2 mile walk to our hotel in Cambridge.  Wondering if another bomb was going to go off.  Wondering where I’d run if a building collapsed behind me.  Remembering back to a cold fall day in October, the day after the Chicago Marathon, sitting in a Bacon and Beer Bar in Chicago, deeply conflicted over whether or not I should register for Boston 2013 or hold off until 2014, and thinking that I should have listened to Aaron and waited to run.

But the most clear memory for me was getting back to our hotel, turning on the television, and seeing footage of the Finish Line, where I had just been, getting blown up.  My body tried to cry, but I was too dehydrated to produce tears. I will never forget the feeling of seeing that footage for the first time.


I have never experienced fear like I did in the following days.  We went into Boston the next day and I couldn’t walk past any trash cans without wondering what was in them.  There were armed guards with automatic rifles on every corner.  We drove into New York that night, and even though we were far away, I couldn’t sleep.  Back home in Albuquerque on Wednesday, I still felt so vulnerable.  It wasn’t until I woke up on Friday morning to see that the suspects were in hot pursuit that I felt any relief.  When the younger brother was found, I felt the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders.  It is unfathomable to me that so many people live in that type of fear for an entire lifetime because it was truthfully maddening.


I do believe in moving on and focusing on the positive, but sometimes, especially on milestones like anniversaries, reflecting on what we’ve been through is the only way to look forward. The more we talk about our bad experiences, the less power they have over us.


But, more than our experiences, April 15th is about the amazing people who have shown strength in the face of adversity.

During the last year, we’ve seen stories of SURVIVAL.  264 people were injured, and 14 of them required amputations.  Despite this, we’ve seen them overcome.  We’ve seen them get engaged, get married, and start families.  We’ve seen them rock climb and train for marathons.

They haven’t lied about their struggles, but more often we’ve seen them smile,  and we’ve seen how much life goes on after tragedy. They inspire me every day.

The phrase “Boston Strong” has come to be the mantra of Bostonians, the people who were there like us, and all runners who have ever crossed a finish line or had supporters cheering them on from the sidelines.

AP Photo/Elise Amendola


There have been far more stories of hope and strength in the last year than of fear and terror. Just my experiences with One Run For Boston this past month have shown how supportive we are of each other and our community.

Sadly, there will be other acts of terror and other senseless violence.  Just this weekend three people were shot in Kansas City for no other apparent reason than being Jewish. Last week a teenager stabbed more than 20 of his classmates. Today is just one of many anniversaries that will draw forth strong emotions of loss.  But we will go on, and we will endure.  Days like April 15th will come to symbolize our patriotism, our pride, and our strength in the face of evil. And I firmly believe that good will always triumph.

“Turn from evil and do good.  Seek peace and pursue it.” – Psalm 34:14

In honor of all those who lost their lives and whose lives were forever changed on April 15, 2013 including:

Krystle Campbell, 29 Fatal injury

Martin William Richard, 8, Fatal injury

Lingzi Lu, 23, Fatal Injury

Sean Collier, 26, Fatal Injury

Richard H. Donohue Jr., 33, Severe injury

Kaitlynn Cates, 25, Severe leg injury

Brittany Loring, 29 severe head, leg and arm injuries

Sydney Corcoran, 17, severe leg injury,

Liza Cherney

Heather Abbott, 38, Severe leg injury

Jeff Bauman Jr., 27, Severe leg injury

Roseann Sdoia, 45, Severe leg injury

Jacqui Webb, Severe leg injury

Patrick Downes, 30, severe leg injuries

Jessica Downes, 32, severe leg injuries

David Yepez, 15, Head and arm injuries

Jarrod Clowery, 35, Hearing loss, leg injuries

Aaron Hern, 11, Leg injury

Remy Lawler, 25, Upper leg injuries

JP Norden, 31, Severe leg injury

Paul Norden, 33, Severe leg injury

Caroline Reinsch, 39, Severe leg and ear injuries

Christian Williams, 41, Severe leg and hand injuries

Adrianne Haslet, 32, Severe leg injury

Adam Davis, 33, Severe foot and leg injuries

Sarah MacKay, 21, Severe leg and ear injuries

Ron Brassard, 51, Severe leg, artery, and nerve injuries

Karen Brassard, 51, Severe leg and ankle injuries

Krystara Brassard, 20, Severe hip and ankle injuries

Karen Rand, 52, Severe leg injury

Alvaro Galvis, 62, Severe leg and buttocks injuries

Martha Galvis, 60, Severe leg and hand injuries

Beth Roche, 59, Severe leg injury

Marc Fucarile, 34. Severe leg, chest injuries

Erika Brannock, 29, Severe leg injury

John Odom, 65, Severe leg injury

Eric Whalley, 65, Severe head injury, other wounds

Ann Whalley, 65, Severe leg injury

Sarah Girouard, 20, Injuries to lower extremities, received surgery

Celeste Corcoran, 47, Sydney’s mother, severe leg injury

Nicole Gross, 31, Severe leg and ear injuries

Marilyn Kight, 63, Severe leg injury

Denise Richard, Severe upper body injury, Martin Richard’s mother

Jane Richard, 7, Severe leg injury, Martin Richard’s sister

Denise Spenard, Abdominal injury

Lee Ann Yanni, 31, Severe leg injury

J.P. Craven, 24, Head injuries

Michelle L’Heureux, Severe arm and leg injuries

Darrel Folkert, 42, Leg injuries

William White, Severe leg injury

Victoria McGrath, 20, severe leg injuries

Michael Gross, 38, Head injuries

Michelle Connolly, 52, Head injuries

Nicholas Yanni, 32, Temporary hearing loss

Ascer Barlatier, 35, Wounded in chest and leg

Jenny Chung, Shrapnel wounds

Dan Soleau, 36, Hearing loss

Ryan C. McMahon, 33, Back and arm injuries

Mery Daniel, 31, Severe leg injury

One Run For Boston Relay Recap

There is a little baton named Miles Junior who spent the last month traveling in the sweaty hands of runners across the country.  He made it to his final destination, the Finish Line on Bolyston Street in Boston, yesterday evening and served as a symbol of the solidarity against the senseless act of terrorism that hijacked The Boston Marathon last year.  (Miles Senior, who made his way across the country last June, lives at the BAA offices).

Photo from Danny Bent, One Run For Boston

But three weeks ago, Miles Junior was hanging out here in New Mexico, and Aaron, my dad, and I had the distinct privilege of carrying him for almost 35 miles between us in his cross-country journey.

To catch up anyone sitting there like, “HUH?”: The One Run For Boston is a cross-country relay that started in Santa Monica, CA on March 16th and ended in Boston yesterday, moving 24 hours a day, rain or shine (or tornadoes as the case was in Missouri). The concept was created by three British mates (see, I can hang with the British lingo!) who felt the overwhelming need to help the people of Boston who were affected by the bombings.  Last year, they dreamed up this cross-country relay and brought it to fruition, and we were part of the inaugural run (you can read that recap HERE).  Round Two was organized to conclude near the one-year anniversary of the bombings.

This year, we signed up for stages on Sunday, March 23rd somewhere in the western part of the state, south of Albuquerque. While our stages this year were much closer to home than last year’s, we still decided to drive an hour south and stay in a small town called Socorro overnight to prevent a very early morning trek out to Middle of Nowhere.

This year, we also decided to take Giuseppe with us on his first big overnight adventure.

America's Best Value Inn...truthfully not terrible

America’s Best Value Inn…truthfully not terrible

Unfortunately, Giuseppe was on edge all night in the strange environment with strange sounds, and an unusually high number of people seemed to arrive at midnight, so none of us Lavenders got very much sleep.  Aaron’s stage started at about 6:30 about an hour and a half away from the motel, so we got up at about 4:00 am after what I would call a 2-hour nighttime nap.

My dad had opted to stay in a small motel closer to Aaron’s start (smart man, that father of mine), so we drove out to pick him up before heading to the meeting point of  County Road A095 (thank goodness the relay organizers provided coordinates, because we could just copy them into our GPS to get an exact location instead of trying to find A095 on our own in the dark open wilderness).

When we arrived at the start of Aaron’s stage, a man was waiting there for us in a pickup truck.  That man, Scott, who flew in from Pennsylvania, had been traveling with the relay since Phoenix.  His brother Will, who came in from Fort Collins, CO was the current runner with the baton.  Will, who we met last year during the relay, was being supported by a woman from Phoenix named Amanda, and the Brits, Danny and Kate, who are some of the most awesome people you will ever meet, were with them.

We climbed out of the car to meet Scott (and gave hugs because this group of people is kind of obsessed with them), and realized that it was in fact freezing in a very unexpected way.  About 17 degrees actually.  When Amanda drove up, she was wearing an actual adult onsie covered in rubber ducks that they found in a K-Mart to keep her warm because she was similarly not anticipating an encounter with the tundra.

As we were all talking and devouring some Breaking Bad donuts that I brought, we saw a light slowly bouncing its way towards us, which turns out was Kate running with the Baton.  Aaron prepared himself as best he could for the frigid 13 miler he was about to embark on.

Since the relay had fallen about half an hour behind, Aaron wasted absolutely no time in the hand-off (plus, it was cold and we all wanted to be back in our warm cars).  With little to-do, Aaron started his stage into the sunrise.  He reported later that ice formed on his beard.


Aaron and Kate in a very cold Baton hand-off.


As the sun came up, the temperature rose, and each time I stopped to give Aaron some water, he stripped off some layers.  We slowly made our way closer and closer to Pie Town, NM where I would take over baton duties from Aaron.


Aaron and his sushi hat…I can’t make him stop wearing it!


Photo from Danny Bent, One Run For Boston

I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of Pie Town before this relay, but apparently it is well know for (wait for it…) PIE.  There are exactly two pie establishments in Pie Town and maybe 2 non-pie establishments.  The place is tiny, but I was so excited to get to run through a place dedicated to Pie! Sadly, there was no pie to be had in Pie Town.  Things didn’t open up until about 10:00 am, and despite some begging from some cold runners and friendly Brits, no doors were opened.

Thanks to Aaron’s super fast running skills, he ran into Pie Town about a half hour ahead of schedule.  I asked the Brits if they’d rather we wait for a bit in order to keep the relay on time, or if I should just go for it.  They decided it was best for me to keep going in case we got behind later in the day, so Aaron and I did our symbolic hand-off, and I started running. But first, I had to take a Miles Selfie in front of a Pie Town sign.

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It was now almost 9:00 am, the sun was up, and the temperatures were warm enough for me to strip off my Boston Marathon long-sleeve pretty early into my stage.  This year, unlike last year, we were so far ahead of schedule, that I had the luxury of really just enjoying my run.  I was able to enjoy the scenery, take photos, and even upload some to the facebook group and instagram when I had data and cell service.


IMG_8270 - Copy IMG_8258 - Copy

This year, Toyota donated the relay support vehicle, so Danny and Kate made it across the country in style, plus the car doubled as a moving autograph wall for runners to sign.  Danny and Kate were great cheerleaders, blasting music next to me as I ran (they were belting out some song that I truthfully didn’t know, but it was nice all the same).


My support car with Aaron, my dad, and Giuseppe stopped every couple of miles to cheer me on with water and snacks.

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What support crews do in Middle of Nowhere

It turns out that I had the highest elevation point of the relay.  I was a bit worried, because 8,100 feet is about 2,000 feet higher than Albuquerque, but overall I was feeling pretty good and only noticed the lack of oxygen a couple of times.  Whereas Aaron had the steep uphills, I had the long uphills,and while a year ago that might have been an issue for me, (uphill is my weakness in a big way), I actually felt really strong pounding out the uphill miles. At some point I crossed over the Continental Divide which was kind of cool (less cool though because I didn’t actually see the sign, and I had planned on a Miles Selfie).

After that curve, the uphill keeps going.

After that curve, the uphill keeps going.

The highest point was pretty easy to identify based on my ability to inhale, and after I hit the summit, the rest of the stage was glorious downhill.

Miles had been redesigned this year and was much easier to hold.  I actually feel like I bonded more with him this year as we braved the wild west. I started thinking about all of the people who had held him before me, and all of the people who would hold him after, and as I was taking Miles Selfie pictures, I imagined all of the places that he would see and the landscapes that he would run though.  He might be the most personified cylinder of plastic that I’ve ever met!

Before I knew it, I could spot the entourage at the side of the road, signaling that my 12 miles were almost up.

In addition to my support crew, I had hundreds of people following along via the facebook group (there was some sort of glitch with the baton tracker GPS for about 2 days, so they couldn’t see exactly where we were), and I was sad to know, that once again, my time carrying the baton for Boston and for the survivors was coming to an end.

My dad was taking over the baton for me, but two other people had signed up to run with him. We were still running ahead of schedule, and the other runners hadn’t made it to the meeting point yet, and this was one of those points without cell service.  This turned out to be a good thing because Will, the IT guru of the relay who knew the secret to all baton issues, needed to do some surgery.



DeAnza is also from Albuquerque and she had three adorable little kids with her (her husband is serving with the military in Korea).  Steve is a track coach/cowboy from a small town in that area called Magdalena, and looked to be a pretty serious runner type.  He had his daughter, son-in-law, and adorable grandson with him.

Even though there wasn’t a true hand-off, they still headed into their 9 mile stage with a bang.


As they made their way with plenty of support from other people, Aaron and I took this opportunity to head toward their finishing point and take a nap.

About an hour later, slightly more rested than before, we saw the trio triumphantly running their last little bit, and I snapped a picture that was actually used in a USA Today video about the event!


They came to the end of their stage in a small town called Datil, and handed the Baton off to Matt, a runner from Albuquerque (originally from Boston) who was one of the qualifiers who didn’t get a spot in this year’s marathon.

As Matt made his way across New Mexico, we continued to bond with Brits, make friends with runners who had stages later in the day, and check out Very Large Array, which is a huge field of satellites in the middle of New Mexico.

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And, I am happy to report that in all, I only had to pee on the side of the road TWICE this year which is about 1/3 of the amount of times I had to last year.  I consider this a One Run For Boston victory.

Overall, I will say that the whole experience felt different this year, though not necessarily in a bad way.  Last year, there were less runners and the focus was on getting the baton across the country.  This year, the focus was on raising as much money as possible for the people most affected by the bombings.  Everything felt far more emotional this year, and I can’t imagine what the atmosphere must have been like when the baton crossed the finish line last night, led by the survivors of the attacks.

Everyone is in a process of healing, and with the upcoming anniversary, I’ve heard that people from  Boston are feeling very stressed and emotions are running high. I’m glad that an event like this exists to help facilitate some positivity and hope, and even possibly the celebration of resilience.  Walkers/runners/people in wheelchairs were all invited to participate. To date, we have raised over $434,000 for the One Fund. People like me who couldn’t be at the finish line this year were able to run in solidarity with more than 2,000 baton-carriers across the country. The little baton I held for 12 miles was also carried by people who have overcome so much to be running today. Sometimes I forget that people are willing to stand up and help those in need.  An event like this shows just how much can be accomplished by some big ideas and some running shoes.

And that is absolutely amazing.

LOVE this photo of me taking a photo! Courtesy of Danny Bent

LOVE this photo of me taking a photo! Courtesy of Danny Bent

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

-Margaret Mead

A special thanks to the wonderful blog friends who donated to my run: Hyedi, Dan, and Dominick.  You can still donate HERE to the One Fund via my One Run For Boston fundraising page.