Fargo Marathon 2016 – The Lindsay Perspective

“Go Far”

Another year, another great experience at the Fargo Marathon. While the event itself had a lot of the same characteristics as usual, this year was quite different than others for me.

For the first time, I participated in the Friday night 5k.

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It really should read, “Goal 1:59”

For the second time, I had the opportunity to be a pace leader and Ainsley’s Angels wheelchair runner.

All in all, this year, my 10th anniversary running in this event, was by far the most fun and the least stress-free that I can remember.

That’s it in a nutshell – read on for my more detailed recap of Fargo Marathon 2016.
The Expo
I always love the expo and this year was no exception. Picked up some fun freebies, saw plenty of runner friends and made a few new ones – most notable, running coach and 11-year announcer of the Fargo Marathon, GP Pearlberg. We just started chatting and by the end of the weekend it felt like we were longtime friends. That’s just the running community I guess!

New this year, I hosted the pace team booth for part of the first day. Several people came to the table to ask about pacing and running advice in general so it was fun to share my knowledge and experience with others.

The 5k
Like most large races, the 5k takes place the Friday night before Saturday’s events. The Fargo Marathon 5k typically boasts well over “5K” (5,000 – get it?!) runners and walkers; I believe the actual number is closer to the 7-8K range. So, yes, it’s a ton of people.

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Ready to rock the RDO / Team Samantha chair

This year, Ainsley’s Angels was taking part in the 5k so I eagerly registered to run as a charity runner. A team of four of us took turns pushing our rider, Samantha, through north Fargo and the NDSU campus before ending back at the Fargodome. Even though we weren’t running fast, it went by so fast because we had so much fun. And, super fun bonus fact, the chair I was pushing happened to be the one donated by my employer, RDO Equipment Co. and R.D. Offutt Company. Cool, right?

I think it’s great to see so many people of all abilities take part in this event – truly a fitness event for everyone in the community. I will say one thing though; the amount of people and turns along the route, it would be really difficult to race or PR. Definitely one for fun!
The Change-Up
All season, I was planning to pace the 2:05 hour group in Saturday’s half marathon. After three dropouts, some shuffling by our pace leader and a confirmation from me the night before, I found myself in the 2:00 spot – the most popular spot in a half marathon.

Running a sub-2 hour half is one of the top goals for racers so this was the largest group. Pretty cool, knowing I’d have a big group of excited, eager runners along the course with me but also a bit more nerve-racking, as I was going to be partly responsible for helping runners achieve this goal. Let’s face it, no one runs with this group because they want to see the two hour mark or finish in 2:01/2:02 – these runners want to reach “one-derland” so it was going to be my mission to get them to the finish around the 1:59 mark.

Another unexpected part of the 2-hour pace group, because it’s so big and so many people want that sub-2, it requires two pacers. I admit, I was a little nervous about that. What if this other pacer was super-serious and didn’t appreciate my cheering, chatting and general annoying-ness? Or what if he/she didn’t agree with the plan and pace I had in mind?

Well, that fear was quickly quashed when I met Dana. She was on the same page as me with everything and it was so much fun running with another pacer. Plus, it was helpful having another person watching the pace and calculating mile-times-to-finish-time scenarios to make sure we got our runners across the finish line right under that 2 hour mark.

The result? Dana went ahead the last 0.1 mile and led the first part of the group across at 1:59:15ish, while I hung back a bit to get as many others across, eventually crossing the line at 1:59:28. Success!

The Race
A warm, sunny, calm day – for most people, this sounds like a spectacular Saturday. For me and for many others, these were less-than-ideal conditions for a long run.

The course included plenty of tree-lined streets so, thankfully, we had shade! The aid stations were perfectly timed and frequent enough so plenty of opportunities to stay hydrated. Several spectators sprayed garden hoses (after we missed the first one, Dana and I made it our mission to be on the lookout and notify our crew whenever we saw one coming), one group of kids even came out and doused us with water guns.

On a funny course-related note, there were two underpasses along the way; we in Fargo know these as “hills.” With the partial out-and-back course format, we knew we’d hit these “hills” on the way back so we were able to give our runners a heads up, let them know to conserve early, then encouraged on the climb.

The Love
Runners are, for the most part, wonderful people. Running can also be very emotional, especially in completing a big race like this. I received so many hugs, high-fives and fist-bumps from runners who made the 13.1 mile-journey with Dana and me. Some who I got to know out on the course through chatting and storytelling, others I had no idea I inspired along the way but let us know after. That, my friends, is why I pace, and it meant so much to know I helped.

GP

Just hangin with GP Pearlberg. NBD.

I even got a shoutout from announcer, Coach GP, at the finish line. I didn’t actually hear it, as I was in the middle of a hug with a fellow runner, but I was told by numerous sources, including GP himself who came over to congratulate me after the race. Awesome.

Random Things
I harnessed my inner third base coach in the last quarter mile of the race. As we were approaching the final turn to head into the dome and with just one minute left to get across the finish line, I turned to the side, let my arm go and started “waving in” runners. That was fun.

For those of you wondering, Travis Hopkins (read more about him here) successfully completed his first half marathon. I waited in the crowd, hoping to see him finish and give him a high-five but sadly, I didn’t see him. I know he made it though so wishing him a big congrats and virtual high-five!

Chris and I closed on our new house this week so I went straight from the race to our old home to help move the final few things, then over to the new home to help unpack and organize – something we’re still doing (I’m taking a break right now to write this!) and will still be doing for awhile. It’s also probably why my legs and feet are still super-sore today.

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YAAAASSSS

But don’t worry – I made time to get my post-race meal of choise. Between my first trip from the old home to the new, I snuck in a trip to Jimmy John’s for a #6, no mayo and giant chocolate chunk cookie. Obviously. #LindsayRunsOnJimmy

Finally, some thank yous:
Thank you to Gwen Thomas, our fearless pace leader.
Thank you to Mark and Sue Knutson, the President and First Lady of the Fargo Marathon.
Thank you to the volunteers who, again, made the race fun, safe and rewarding.
Thank you to the cycling team members who lead the elite runners through the course, then head back out after to make sure no one veers off the course and gets lost.
Thank you to my fellow runners, especially those who put your trust in me to help you reach the finish line in your goal time.

Did you run the Fargo Marathon? What was your experience? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Essential Stretches for Runners

“Keep Calm and Stretch On”

For my Fargo-area peeps, this is the week you’ve been waiting for – it’s Fargo Marathon week! I’m so excited; this is one of my favorite weeks of the year and has been for the past 10 years I’ve been running.

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Stretching does the body – and mind – good.

Last week, I gave some pre-race tips and, in the spirit of Fargo Marathon just days away, shall do the same this week. Being that the days leading up to a race should focus on giving your body a break and staying mentally fit, this week, it’s all about one of my favorite topics: stretching.

I’ve shared my love of stretching on this blog many times and now I have a chance to again via one of my favorite past entries. Because stretching is so important, I invite you to read my 5 Essential Stretches for Runners. And, most importantly, take the time this week to stretch. I mean it; no more excuse of, “I don’t have time to stretch.” Make time! Most runners are tapering so I promise 5-10 minutes of post-cardio stretching is something you have time to do. And, mentally, stretching is so good for you too – crucial for the week before a big race.

Okay, I think I made my point so onto bigger things: Good luck to all Fargo Marathon runners! I’ll be out there Friday night as a wheelchair runner for Ainsley’s Angels, and again Saturday in a bright blue top and holding my big ole 2:05 pacer sign. So if you see me, say (actually, yell) hi. Better yet, come run with me!

Do you have questions about stretching or just pre-race week in general? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

As always, if you like this post and think other runners would too, please share it on Facebook or Twitter.

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5 Tips For Your First Half Marathon

“13.1 – You know, only half crazy”

Last week, I introduce my blog world to Travis. An ordinary guy who’s about to do something extraordinary – go from non-runner to half-marathoner. If you missed that blog, don’t fear, it’s right here.

I’m so excited for him and it got me thinking about other runners preparing to lace up their kicks in less than two weeks and tackle 13.1 miles throughout the beautiful community of Fargo. That’s right, first-time-half-marathoners, I’m talking to you! I wish you all a happy, healthy run.

For all the Fargo first-timers, and anyone prepping for a first half marathon, here are my five essential prerace tips to ensure your bod is at its best on race day.
Take a Taper
Half marathoners don’t need to follow the same three-week, strict taper that’s a hallmark of full marathon training, but should spend at least the week prior backing off on mileage, getting more sleep and getting eating more balanced to that of a normal – er, I mean, non-runner – person.

I’ve never been a fan of the taper but this year I really needed it (as explained in my Boston Marathon taper blog) and I embraced it. And you know what? The world didn’t end. And I actually felt strong and happy on race day.

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See – you don’t want to miss out on the race expo.

Rest the Day Before
Tying in with the taper is the all-important prerace rest day. Try to stay off your feet as much as possible the day before the race.

The exception to this rule: the race expo. You have to go to pick up your packet so walk around to check out the booths. The energy, the excitement, the excuse to buy unnecessary running swag – oh how I love the expo!
Skip…Leg…Day
OMG that was such a struggle for me to type! I love leg day and I’m very vocal that it should be part of everyone’s workout program, runners included.

But the week before the race is not the time to push your legs to the point of fatigue. It’s the time to ease up on their workload and give them a break so they can be strong and light on race day. So, as much as I love a good leg workout, I’m giving you the okay to skip it – just this once.
Don’t Overload
Carb-loading, fat-loading, beer-loading (nope, that’s not really a thing). Whatever fueling strategy you follow in the days leading up to the race is fine, just don’t overeat, especially the day before the race.

Yes you want to be properly fueled but you don’t want to feel sluggish – or have to hit the porta-potty by mile 3 (let’s be honest, sometimes that just happens no matter how well you prepare).
Hydrate, Hydrate
While you don’t want to overdo it on food, overdo it, just a little bit, on water. Drink it throughout race week and, most importantly, all day the day before the race.
Your first half marathon is one of the greatest feelings ever. I’m super pumped for you all. To my fellow Fargo runners, I hope to see you out there on May 21!
Now, I want to leave you with one final tip that’s not designed for you bod’s health, but it’s my favorite piece of advice for first-timers: Start a Tradition.

Most athletes have a pre-game ritual; one thing they always must do in order to have their best performance. Part of it’s mental; part of it is that athletes are so disciplined, it’s one more easy thing they can add to enhance routine and mental prep. You’re a runner, you’re an athlete, so take a page from the pro’s playbook and start your own tradition.

Let me share my tradition story. It involves food (shocking!):

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Lindsay runs on Jimmy.

The day before my first Fargo Marathon, I ate Jimmy John’s for lunch. It was delicious, it fueled me up and I had a great run with no stomach trouble. Since then, Jimmy John’s has been my official Fargo Marathon prerace lunch. And I even took it one step further – when I’m in peak training, I eat Jimmy John’s for lunch every Friday, in prep for long run Saturday. Oh, but it doesn’t end there. I eat Jimmy John’s for lunch after a big race too.

Yep, I love me some Jimmy John’s. Shameless sponsorship plug: Please sponsor me, JJs.

Maybe you’re not planning to ever run another race. But, as runners know, racing is addicting! So why not create something that’s just yours, just in case you race again?

If you like this post and think other runners would too, please share it on Facebook or Twitter. As always, if you have questions or something to say, please leave a comment or tweet me, @runlikeagirl311.

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Radio Guy, Mama’s Boy & Half Marathoner – Meet Travis Hopkins

“I may not be the strongest, I may not be the fastest. But I’ll be damned if I’m not trying my hardest”

Today begins a new series on the blog. For the past few weeks, I’ve been interviewing people in the health and fitness world. Not just any people, those with unique stories, those with some kind of notoriety, just something to make for an interesting read and conversation.

First up, a guy who’s training for his first half marathon. The Fargo half marathon is happening in less than 3 weeks and he has been hard at it since January. I first took notice of his leap early this year; the guy has never been a runner and decided to run a half marathon for his first race (I can relate!). I’ve since followed his journey on his Facebook page and have admired his progress, dedication and positivity.

Because the Fargo Marathon is a special race to me, and because there’s still time for anyone interested to get inspired and sign up to run, I wanted to kick off my interview series with him. Blog pals, I’m please to introduce to you: Travis Hopkins!

L: What’s your fitness/athletic background, as a child and your high school years?

Travis-Hopkins

The day it all began.

T: In grade school I was in every sport, especially good in basketball. Once I reached middle school my interests grew towards music and entertainment and I drifted away from athletics. I had never been a runner though. In fact, in high school when we took the annual fitness tests, running the mile was my least favorite. And it wasn’t pretty, my mile was in the 14 mins range, yikes!

L: So you’re going from non-runner to full-out, half-marathon mode – what made you decide to go that route?

T: Around November of last year I told myself I wasn’t going to indulge in all the holiday treats and I would make it a point to hit the gym more. A few weeks of watching my diet and maintaining exercise, I noticed better sleep, better energy, feeling better, and losing weight. Then the New Year came around, and I’ve never been one to make a New Year’s Resolution; however, I decided to set goals.

L: (I’m smiling at this point because, as we all know, I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions either)

T: I thought to myself, I need to do something once for all that will get me past that wall that I always run into: A few weeks of diet and exercise, and then my busy work schedule takes over and I go backwards, maybe even fall behind further than from where I started. [Trav is promotions director for Radio FM Media and an on-air talent for 107.9 The Fox]
A 5K or a 10K, those were too short of goals. I chose the half marathon, that’s 13.1 miles, that’s going to take everything I’ve got. For the first 6 months of my year, it would be training, running, dieting, getting educated, especially since I had never ever done something like this before!

L: Speaking of that training, what has that been like? Can you describe the workouts?

T: My week begins with a Sunday afternoon strength training session. I use to be one of those guys that hated “leg day” but now it’s become a priority! I try to do a full body strength training work out in general. Mondays, weather-permitting, I will either run to work or run home from work, literally a 5K distance. With weather getting nicer, I want to run to and from work on the same day. Tuesdays and Thursdays I work with my Ultra Body Fitness trainer at Anytime Fitness. He’s really great about making sure I’m stretched out, working on any soreness, realizes what I need to work on to help me progress and ultimately achieve my marathon goal. With my trainer I typically get full body workouts, circuit training to boost my endurance.

For me, it’s the accountability and the hard work. It’s not a successful workout unless I’m face down on the floor after it’s all said and done!

L: Okay, that’s all good – but tell me a story of training that shows the not-so-glamorous side of running! We all know I love to keep it real on the blog so you’ve gotta have something good for this, right?

T: Yes!! My first attempt at a run outdoors, I ran to work on an 18-degree day in January. I had just run across the street, nearly falling because it was icy, and BAM! A big truck goes by, hitting a big puddle, and covers my entire backside with water. Soooo cold!! I still had two miles to run yet before I reached work so now this water is freezing all over my back, my nose is frozen and runny, my eyes are watering. I felt like I was getting put to the test.

L: Oh no – that’s such a good one! If it makes you feel any better, I too have been victim of the drive-by-puddle-splash.

T: Well if that wasn’t bad enough, a co-worker was driving by and slowed down to take a pic. But I made it; I finally reached work, mission accomplished, and I’m a wet, dirty, sweaty, frost-covered mess! The co-worker who drove past me is the one who drives me back to my house so that I can shower and change to come back to work and make my meetings.

L: Ha ha, a nice gesture after slowing down to take a pic of your misery and probably laughing!

T: Some good came from it though. Mrs. North Dakota gave me props all over social media that day! And the marathon committee took note and have ever since been extremely supportive in my quest.

L: That’s awesome! Have your family, friends and co-workers been supportive of your quest as well?

Team-Travis-Hopkins

Post-run with a few members of #TeamTrav.

T: Not only are my family and friends being very supportive but the community is being very supportive. Folks I’ve never met are following me on social media with encouragement and support. Some of the ladies from the TV show, “Pretty Strong” on Oxygen were tweeting support!

L: What do you feel has been your proudest training moment thus far? Describe it and the feelings when it happened.

T: Hands down accomplishing my first big run! It was me and a couple of co-workers who signed up to be on #TeamTrav for the half marathon. One day, they said, “Next Saturday, we’re running 6 miles. Be ready!”

So I prepped, I trained, the day came and, not only did I complete the 6 miles, I finished ahead of them. It felt amazing! I actually got choked up over it ha, big baby.

L: It’s crazy how the emotions take over with running! We’re almost done and we’ve made it to my most important question: What’s your favorite food?

T: The one thing that has always been my vice, even though I’ve cut back on them, I still enjoy my iced turtle mochas from Caribou Coffee ha! Damn I’m weak, it’s hard to say no to those!

L: Love it. Like I always say, gotta #TreatYoSelf!

T: I hang my head in shame but with a smirk ha!

L: Do you have a personal “slogan” or quote that you really believe?

T: The 107.9 The FOX morning show said it best to me one day when I was whining about the hard work: “Suck It Up Princess!” Ha, whenever I feel like I’m hurting on a run or pooping out their voices speak loudly in my head “Suck It Up Princess!”

L: I can hear Robbie, Dave and Moose saying that. It’s perfect!
Lastly, the part of the interview I’m calling “Anything but the Obvious” – what’s something totally unrelated to fitness, your radio/music background, and all the obvious stuff, that you’d want people to know about you?

T: I’m a mama and a grandma’s boy! They both raised me from a very young age. They were strong, hardworking women who got it done. Once I left the nest, I never wanted to disappoint them. I have a role in a film called “Supermoto” that premiered at the Fargo Theatre as part of the Fargo Film Festival. I play a bad guy but who do you think I had on my arms at the premiere: my lady, my mom and my grandma. Three special gals, how lucky am I?!

L: I would have never guessed that and that’s why it’s so great!
And, okay I lied I have one more question. Be honest: Do you enjoy running? Like, do you think you’ll stick with it after May 21?

T: I have learned to enjoy running and the benefits that I receive from it. I absolutely want to run more marathons in the future! I’m not fast. I’m not in tip-top shape, yet. But for the first time in my life I’m running and it feels awesome!

I asked Trav about his goal time for the race and he wants to just keep running, no matter the pace, and finish with his head held high. I know he will and I can’t wait to be there at the finish line to give him a well-deserved high five.

Those of you who want to run with Trav, check out his Facebook page, Feel the Burn with Trav, and sign up on the Fargo Marathon website. Please leave him a comment on his page or here on the blog with your best piece of advice for the first time half-marathoner or just well wishes for a great race on May 21!

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My Experience Running the Boston Marathon

“You’re everything I hoped for” 

Wow. What else can I say, just wow.

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Enjoying my Sam Adams 26.2 brew at Cheers!

Okay, I do have more to say – a lot more! My experience running the Boston Marathon was nothing short of incredible. I know this isn’t surprising to anyone so, rather than drone on about how great it was, let me take you through it, including some surprises, hilarious happenings and favorite moments.

As this entry got a little longer than usual, I’ve divided out the experience into some nifty subsections; those of you with short attention spans can scan thru and those of you who want to read about the full experience, please do. Cheers!

The People
You think you know what 30,000 runners and 500,000+ fans is going to look like – but you don’t. It’s unbelievable, unreal.

I’ve never seen so many people come out for an event. There was never a time the crowd was thin; the streets were packed every single mile. The Boston Marathon and Patriots’ Day truly is more than just one city’s race, one city’s day – it’s like a national holiday.

And the volunteers. So many volunteers! And thank goodness for them because I felt so cared for the entire time. From the bussing volunteers to those directing us to the start line to the ones who handed us water, gel and Gatorade at every mile – thank you!

And, my personal favorite: the 70ish year-old-man who greeted me at the finish line with a smile and, “Welcome back to Boston. We’re glad you’re here.” I made it the whole day without crying – up until that!

Start

The start line – I still get chills thinking about it.

Early Miles
Most veteran runners give the same piece of advice to newbs: Don’t start out too fast, no matter how good you’re feeling. You’ll need that energy for those later miles. Very true for this race so I made sure to start and maintain a nice, easy pace for the early miles. Not only was I saving energy for the Newton Hills and the infamous Heartbreak Hill, I was trying to look around and soak in as much as possible.

The Signs
Spectator signs have become one of my favorite things at races. This race was no exception, they were everywhere! A couple signs about farting and pooping. A few about Trump and the government. A ton of, “Boston Strong,” and two of the classic, “Run Like Someone Just Called You A Jogger.” The signs were pretty typical, except there was one that stood out to me. It was a small one that read, “Boston loves yaaaaahhhhh!” Made me smile!

The Wellesley Girls
There came a time, around mile 11 I think, I started to hear something. It sounded like cheering, but so much louder than the fans so far. It was the Wellesley girls and the famous “Scream Tunnel,” that I could hear nearly a mile away. Girls lined up just screaming.

Also, the signs. “Kiss me, I’m Canadian.” “Kiss me, it’s my first time.” Dozens of others like that. So I did – sort of. I kissed my hand and high-fived a ton of the girls, blew kisses at the rest.

When my friend Tom ran Boston, he did it in just over 4 hours. Had he not stopped to kiss the Wellesley Girls, he jokes he could have broken the 4-hour barrier. The Wellesley Girls distracted me enough that I missed a sub-3:50 finish by 10 seconds but it was totally worth it. Those girls were rad.

Beating the Heat
It was a warm, sunny day. I knew that was going to be an issue for me. Luckily, I was able to beat the heat by capitalizing on several opportunities. First, I ran through every water obstacle possible – kid in the yard with a hose, giant fan blowing water by the firehouse, the sprinkler tent – I hit em all. I even had a drafting strategy; running right behind a person going thru the aid station, dumping water on him/herself, getting the mist from the breeze. Okay, I didn’t really have that as a strategy, it just kind of happened.

Also, props to the B.A.A. for setting up aid stations at every mile. This was a lifesaver; even though it slowed me down, I stayed cool, hydrated and cramp-free. From about mile 16 and on, I think I took advantage of every aid station for water or Gatorade. The mile 10 aid station was the one where I inhaled a big gulp of water up my nose…don’t worry, I recovered quickly.

Random Things
To my OCR and Spartan Race peeps – around mile 9, I saw a guy step off to the side of the race to do burpees. He was wearing a Spartan headband. I gave him a big AROO!

I wore my Fargo Running Company tank and tons of people yelled, “Go Fargo!” I wish I would have kept count, it was so cool! The best had to be the guy who yelled, “Yeah, Fargo! Go Minnesota!” Well, not quite – but it is practically in Minnesota so we’ll go with it.

Speaking of yelling, from about mile 4 to mile 9, I must have been running next to the town celebrity, Nina. I heard, I don’t know how many cheers for Nina. Maybe she had NINA in big, block letters on her bib? Or maybe she was a local gal who everyone in that stretch came out to watch. Either way, Go Nina!

Numerous countries were represented in this race too. At some point in the race, I saw or heard cheers for Brazil, Canada, Korea, Mexico and Sweden.

A final random note, a lot of people had vicious cramps in this race. I think it was the heat or maybe the hills. A woman got a cramp so bad, she fell into me around mile 17. I saw a few other runners fall or stumble off to the side, rubbing their calves. And, the most heartbreaking thing I saw was right before turning onto Boylston street. A man collapsed in major pain. There were medics there within seconds and I have to think he was able to get up and finish the race. He was SO close – he just HAD to finish.

Recovery

My post-race party, courtesy of the hard-fought miles & hills.

The Hills
Okay, let’s be clear about something – there are hills throughout the entire Boston course. Nothing outrageous, not an excessive amount. But they’re there, throughout the race. Anyone who tells you to only prepare for the Newton Hills (miles 16-17ish) and Heartbreak Hill (20-21 area), they’re forgetting the rest of the race is a lot of up-and-down terrain. Mile 25, for example. Yep, that was a big ol incline.

Living in one of the flattest areas of the country, I did my best to train for a hilly course. I was confident I’d handle them well and I did. I knew my big butt, tree trunk legs and strong upper body would come in handy sometime and they finally did! It was hard to watch fellow runners struggle and walk up the hills while I powered on by – but this ND girl was proud! And because of that, I can honestly say, this might have been my favorite part of the race. Boston Hills=0 Lindsay=1!

The History
This was the 120th year of the Boston Marathon. For a full century and two decades, people have been lining up in Hopkinton and running through the outlying cities before arriving in Boston. And it’s not just the runners; for 120 years, people have lined the streets along the route to cheer on runners. It’s hard to think about that and not feel special to be part of that kind of history.

Another piece of history I thought about several times was the bombings. It has only been a few years since that horrid, senseless act of violence. Seeing all the “Boston Strong” signs and feeling the energy of a community coming together – again, it’s hard to think about that and not feel incredible to be part of it.

Finally, I have to give a shoutout to Bobbi Gibb. 50 years ago, she changed the game for marathon running when she became the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon. Not only that, she kicked ass, finishing in something ridiculous like 3:21. That’s what it means to #RunLikeAGirl!

The Town of Boston
For a race called the Boston Marathon, surprisingly little of it takes place in the city of Boston. I think it’s only the final three miles.

Maybe it’s because it was towards the end of the race. Or maybe because the lines of fans along the streets were just that thick. But I don’t remember any of the sights or areas I ran thru in Boston. What, we ran by Fenway Park? You’d think that would be hard to miss…

What I do remember though were three main things:
1. The Boston Strong bridge. A reminder this race was so much bigger than just me, than any of us runners really. It was about good overcoming evil and bonding hundreds of thousands of people together on one day, in one event, for one moment.

2. The last part of the race that winds through a park-like setting. Something I remember from watching the Boston Marathon on TV. Soemthing I definitely noticed, and it reminded me I was running the same race as elite athletes.

3. Boylston Street. My friend, Kristin, described running the last few tenths of the race down Boylston as one of the most significant moments in her sports life – her life, period. I didn’t fully understand until I was there. It was incredible. Something I’ll never forget and maybe my most cherished memory of them all.

My Friends
Finally, the prerace comments on the blog, tweets, texts, Facebook posts – everything. I was bombarded by so much love and support from you all that I can’t even describe the gratitude. I always knew the Boston Marathon was a big deal to me but the fact so many others remembered and acknowledged this day – I can’t even put that feeling into words. And as you all know, I’m not one who’s ever at a loss for words.

So thank you, from the bottom of my heart – and the soles of my feet. Ugh, my poor, gross feet. xoxo

Whether you were there, watched it on TV or just cheered on the runners from your desk at work, please share your Boston Marathon experience with me. Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Time to Run the Boston Marathon

“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 2(6.)2”

Today, Chris and I leave for Boston. Can’t wait for the sights, the food, the Red Sox, and the time with just me and him before we enter into wedded bliss – and of course, to run the Boston Marathon!!

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Just the essentials.

The blog will be quiet until I’m back; hence the earlier-than-usual weekend entry. Expect a full race recap upon my return. In the meantime, I’ll be taking pics, some during the actual race, and sharing on Instagram and Twitter. I invite you to follow along!

Also, now that this chapter on the blog is coming to a close, it’s time to start a new one. I’m launching a new interview series on the blog and am super excited about it. Each month, I’ll have a new interview with someone awesome in the fitness world. I have some amazing people lined up – a first-time half marathon runner, a popular blogger who’s a fellow dog lover, an Ironman-in-training, and, this one might be my personal favorite: an Olympic runner! That one will be just in time for the Summer Olympics. I’ll keep the series going as long as people like it and as long as I have interviewees so please share your feedback and, if you’re interested in being featured, contact me, post a comment, or tweet me.

As I prepare for the biggest race of my life, I of course have some thank yous to share.

To My Family:
First, to my mom. You’ve been one of my biggest supporters since I began running. You were there for my very first race 10 years ago, and have showed up to every marathon since, most half marathons, even some 10ks, 5ks and triathlons. Even when I messed up the time and you and pops showed up 20 minutes after I had already finished a race, you were still excited to be there. This goes to my dad and stepmom too, who have understood that my life often revolves around running. And my extended family and siblings, for the encouragement – even though you probably think I’m crazy.

To My New Family:
My soon-to-be in-laws. The cards, the encouragement, the prayers and the love. I’m lucky to be marrying into such a great crew.

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My BFF is a wife, mother, teacher & thinks I’m Wonder Woman. #loveher

To My Friends:
For understanding why I can’t go out on Friday nights, why it’s so difficult to schedule dinners or weekend time with me, and for always being my cheerleaders – in fact, many of you are former cheerleaders! Special shoutout to Brandon, Brenton, Jenny and Shari for voluntarily getting up early, dragging your asses way up north of town, getting out onto the course and watching me run a marathon. And the biggest virtual high-five goes to Kristin for all the advice, encouragement, and endless answer of questions about Boston over the past three years.

JJs

A good luck card, complete with a Jimmy John’s gift card – they just get me.

To My Work Teammates:
I eat constantly at my desk. I drink so much water and pre-workouts I’m getting up to refill bottles and pee every 20 minutes. I consciously try not to talk about running all the time but I know I probably talk about running all the time. You guys are around me more than anybody and, not only do you put up with all my shenanigans, you encourage me. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people with which to live the cube life.

To Everyone Who Reads the Blog: 
Thank you for coming back every week to read about my crazy adventures and loudmouth opinions, my never-ending stories and glimmers of actual advice. Thank you for all the positive feedback, shoutouts on Twitter, and embracing all the photos of my dogs and my food. I love writing, for me, but knowing people out there read it, enjoy it and maybe learn something from it – that’s what keeps me wanting to make this blog the best running and fitness blog out there.

To Chris:
I can’t possibly list all the reasons why I need to thank you. I feel like I should try but the list would go on and on and I know I’d still forget something. So just, thank you for being my person.

And we’re off! See y’all next week!

Follow me on Twitter @runlikegirl311
And Instagram @runlikeagirl311

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Runner Banned from Boston Marathon Deserves Her Punishment

“Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching” 

A runner has been banned from this year’s Boston Marathon and all future B.A.A. (Boston Athletic Association) events, apologizes, says she meant no harm, and has supporters who feel bad for her and think she receive unfair punishment.

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I earned this. It wouldn’t mean anything if I didn’t.

That’s the story in a nutshell. Now let’s look a little deeper at what happened:
Runner qualifies for 2015 Boston Marathon (yay).
Runner gets pregnant and is unable to run (bummer but yay for a baby).
Runner gives her bib to someone who did not qualify (not cool).
Runner assumes that person’s finish time as her own and uses it to register for 2016 Boston Marathon (liar, cheater, deceiver).

She deserves the punishment she got. I can’t even believe there’s any debate on this and that people are supporting her. One supporter says what she did is okay because Boston is a race that’s “almost impossible for anyone to get into these days.” Um, I got into it. My friend, Don got in. My friend, Kristen ran it only a couple years ago. How in the world did all of us, regular folks, got into an impossible race? By working hard and putting up a qualifying time in another marathon.

Furthermore, I can’t believe she tried to make excuses, saying things like “we all innocently transfer our bibs.” Um, no, we don’t all do that. And even if people do it in most races, there’s nothing innocent about transferring a race bib, one that has to be earned, to someone who didn’t earn it. Another humdinger she came up with, “This year I was able to run…healthy and not pregnant…so I was going to run Boston!” Um, let’s not forget, you registered this year using someone else’s time. So just because you’re healthy and able to run doesn’t mean you are entitled to.

Speaking of excuses, there are plenty more “buts” this runner and her supporters could use to rationalize what she did and excuse her behavior. All are bullshit and, even though you’ve probably read multiple opinions on this story by now, I’m going to give mine.

BostonRun

Hats off to all who work hard & run hard to earn their victories.

But…she didn’t sell her bib
B.A.A. rules clearly state that you cannot transfer bibs. As I stated above, this isn’t a typical race where you pay a fee and get to run; it’s a race that one must qualify to run. Giving a bib to someone who didn’t earn it is disgraceful to those who did and those who barely missed the cut or who did qualify but still missed the cut.

That’s right; so many people want to run the Boston Marathon that some people who qualify still don’t even get to run it. Had this runner forfeited her bib like she should have, she could have opened up a spot to a legit qualifier who barely missed the final cut.

But…people who can’t run races give away their bibs all the time
I don’t believe this is true. I mean, I know it happens but not “all the time.” And even if they do, let me repeat: the Boston Marathon isn’t a typical race you just sign up for and get to run. You have to earn your spot. People work for months, years to get that bib.

Anyone who runs this race and didn’t earn their way in is just as disgraceful as the person who gave away the bib. A disgrace to the prestige of this race and the elite status it has earned.

But…she was pregnant and had to forfeit her place when she did qualify
Good for her, she decided to get pregnant. That was her choice. She knew a consequence of that choice was she’d have to forfeit her place in the race. The fact she applied for a pregnancy deferral (to try to carry over her qualifying time to this year instead of having to lose it last year) only further shows that she knew what she was doing was cheating.

But…she has qualified to run before
Think about this: A few years ago, I ran a 42:40 10k and won the race. The next year, I didn’t run as fast and came in second. The woman who beat me ran the race in 43 minutes and change. Since I ran faster than her the year before, should I have demanded I be the winner of that race?

See how stupid that sounds?

But…the woman who got the bib ran a time that was of BQ standards
Really? Please see above statement. Actually, all of them – please see ALL of the above statements.

But…
No more buts. The B.A.A. has the authority to set its rules and punishments for those who violate those rules. And it has every right to uphold those rules to their fullest extent. If they didn’t, would we all train so hard for the honor of running this race?

Bravo, B.A.A. It’s nice to see an organization that has the balls to hold people accountable for their own actions. I can’t stand it when people make excuses for their bad choices and expect no repercussions or, worse, expect sympathy. I have even more respect for the BAA and even more pride to be part of one of its races. Side note, I don’t know whether or not the woman who ran with the bib she didn’t earn was banned too – but I hope so.

Now let me just say something else here: I’m not naïve. I know this runner isn’t the first person to do this and certainly won’t be the last. I know celebrities and other people of influence or stature are allowed to run the Boston Marathon without having to qualify. I’m not happy about it but, again, the B.A.A. has the authority to set the rules and I support it.

BostonAM

Up before sunrise, running in cold – qualifying for Boston is work.

Finally, to the runner who did this. You know what you did was disrespectful to the B.A.A. and anyone who has earned their spot in this race. You don’t need to hear it from me – even though you just did. And I don’t care you admitted what you did and posted an apology. I’m not a gambling woman but I’d wager my house that you only did so because you were caught. Had you not been caught, you would have run and never spoke a word about your error in judgment. So I have no respect for you for “owning up” to this. When no one was watching, you chose to do what you knew was wrong.

I guess, maybe now in hindsight, she really does mean it. Or maybe, deep down, she still feels like the victim and the actions were justified because the intentions were good. Like I said, at this point, I don’t care. What I do care about is she was caught and punished, and hopefully that will discourage others from lying, cheating and tarnishing the honor of this race. A race I personally worked my ass off for three years to be able to run. A race tons of people never get the opportunity to run, even if they qualified or because they missed the cut by as little as one minute.

There, you’ve all now heard what I think. Now I want to hear what you think. Runners and non-runners, do you agree with me or think I (and the B.A.A.) are being too harsh on this runner? Please comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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