A Love Letter to the City of Burlington, VT

First things first, THANK YOU SO MUCH to every one of you who has commented either here, on Facebook, on Instagram, or Twitter. Even though I may not have replied to everyone, please know that I read and appreciate every single kind word. You guys are wonderful. Now, on to business.

I know that my recap of the Vermont City Marathon yesterday was a huge downer. I’m still feeling really, really shitty. I’ll get over it eventually, but I just need to feel what I’m feeling and acknowledge it before I can move on.

HOWEVER-I don’t want people to think that I hated the race, or that I don’t appreciate the amazing way this city stepped up to support runners on an oppressively, dangerously hot day. In fact, this post is an attempt to recognize all of the positive things that happened on Sunday, in spite of my disappointment and frustration. I need to pay homage to the incredible residents of my city.

When it became apparent that Sunday’s temperatures were going to be extreme, RunVermont put out a call to folks living on the race course, asking them to help runners by leaving sprinklers running, or putting out hoses for runners to go through. And I’m here to tell you that Burlington answered that call. And then some.

There was not a single neighborhood that didn’t have some kind of unofficial support going. Children were standing on the side of the road holding out bags of ice. Men and women stood on their front lawns all day and hosed runners down, calling out, “Free showers! Cold showers! You earned it!” There were college-aged bros standing with 30 gallon athletic coolers of water on their shoulders so runners could have a drink or refill their bottles. There were women on Pine Street dressed in crazy tutus and wigs with spray bottles to help cool runners down. There were live bands playing, cowbells clanging, signs waving, and high fives for days.

Every time I took an orange slice or a handful of ice from a spectator, I smiled and said something along the lines of, “Thank you, you’re amazing.” And every.single.person said, “No, YOU’RE amazing! Keep going!” These people gave up their Sunday and stood out in the blistering heat to do something completely selfless and kind, and I can’t thank them enough.

I NEVER would have made it as far as I did on Sunday without the exceptional people of the city of Burlington. I had always heard that spectator support for Vermont City Marathon was off the charts, and I know now with every fiber of my being that it’s so true. This city loves its marathon and loves its runners, and I am SO FIERCELY PROUD to live here.

So Burlington–thank you. Thank you so much for being incredible, and making what could have been an entirely miserable day at least somewhat positive. And you can bet that from now on, if I’m not taking part in marathon weekend as a runner, I will be out there spectating, with water, ice, and a kind word, because I know first-hand how much it means.

Have you ever been completely blown away by spectator support at a race?

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Manic Monday – 05/30/16

Manic

Vermont City Marathon Training Week 19
What Was Planned vs What Happened

Monday 05/23/16: Rest | Rest
After a quick dinner at home, I went to a bra fitting party with a bunch of girlfriends. It was super fun, and I was still home and in bed by 10:30.

Tuesday 05/24/16: 40 Minute Easy Run4 Miles @ 10:28 Pace
It was pretty warm out, which was uncomfortable, but I just tried to look at it as a good preview of race day. It’s supposed to be quite hot and humid. Yuck! After the run I stretched out really well, then foam rolled and did some hip exercises.

Wednesday 05/25/16: Hot YogaHot Yoga
Other than overdoing it a bit on some quad stuff, it was a good class.

Thursday 05/26/16: 50 Minute Progression Run40 Min Progression Run
I was short on time because I had to run on my lunch break, so I only did 40 minutes. I had great negative splits and felt pretty good.

Friday 05/27/16: RestRest
I had a ladies’ night out with some friends, and then was home and in bed by 10:30.

Saturday 05/28/16: 2 Miles Easy + Yoga2 Miles + 45 Min Yoga
This was my final run with Athleta, and then they sponsored a 45 minute Yoga for Runners class when we got back to the store. It was fun meeting a bunch of VCM runners and getting a good stretch. Then I basically sat on my butt, carb-loading and binge-watching Gilmore Girls for the rest of the day.

Sunday 05/29/16: Vermont City Marathon | Vermont City Marathon DNF
Those of you who follow me on social media know by now that VCM was cancelled due to black flag conditions at the 4 hour mark. I was at mile 19 and knew I couldn’t finish without water stations, so I bussed it back to the start. Obviously I’ve got a lot of conflicted feelings going on, but you’ll have to wait for my recap for that mess.

Have you ever had a race cancelled while you were still out on the course?

Friday Free-For-All – 04/29/16

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This week’s Friday Free-For-All post has a theme: STRESS!!!

Insult to injury. Literally. I hurt my left quad and right foot during my attempted 18-miler on Monday, and then I got sick this week. Maybe a sinus infection, maybe just a really bad cold, but either way, headache, major congestion, mild fever, and crappy sleep. I haven’t run at all since Monday, but I think I’m gonna attempt a gentle 5k today. My fever is gone, and although I’m super congested, I’m feeling better than I have the last couple of days. This week has just been kind of a crap fest. I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to do my 20-miler with Athleta and RunVermont on Sunday, but I think that if worse comes to worst, I’ll just go for it and use some run/walk intervals to get me through it. That’s not how I’ve been training up until now, but I REALLY would rather do my 20 in a group setting than try to do it on my own later.

Ben’s employment situation. I haven’t talked about this much on the blog, but it’s weighing heavily on my mind this week. Ben is an educator, and unfortunately, job stability isn’t always a thing when you’re a teacher. Ben and another teacher were hired at the same time last year to cover two full-time positions for teachers that were away on leave. One of those teachers has decided not to come back, and one still has a year of leave left, meaning that there is now one permanent full-time position available. Due to budget cuts, the other temporary position covering leave is now only a part-time position, and we don’t know the actual extent of the position and pay. Ben and the other teacher both interviewed yesterday for both positions, and we just don’t know how the chips are going to fall. The other teacher has more experience and a Master’s degree, but Ben is better at classroom management and has better people skills. They may decide they want to pay more for the other person’s experience, or they may decide they want to save money by hiring Ben. It’s really scary not knowing whether or not he’ll will have a job next year. He has applied for a few other positions at other schools, but hasn’t gotten any interviews, which is super discouraging. Taking a pay cut by accepting the part-time position at his current school, or not getting a job at all would mean that we’d need to do a serious lifestyle overhaul, and delay a lot of stuff like home buying and starting a family even further. The uncertainty is putting a lot of strain on us right now, and it sucks not being able to plan long term because we just don’t know what next year will look like. Thankfully, it sounds like we should know either way by Monday at the latest, so at least it’s not going to drag on for weeks.

Shoes. I’m still feeling stress about my damn shoe issue. I can’t say for sure that my leg and foot issues on Monday were due to the shoes rather than just stress or attempting too much mileage after a week of almost no running, but I’m a little nervous about attempting 20 miles in the Mirages on Sunday. I’ve been doing lots of research, and even used this great shoe finder app on Runner’s World (Shoes Like Mine) to find some options. I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods on Wednesday night and tried a bunch of the recommended options, but totally struck out. Every shoe I tried just didn’t have enough room for my toes. It seems like most toe boxes sort of angle down toward the front of the foot, but my toes angle UP, so it’s hard to find a shoe with enough room. I’m trying not to panic, and I still have some options for other places to go, but it sort of feels like zero hour here, and I’m anxious.

ONE MONTH. Vermont City Marathon is exactly one month away. In some ways, it feels like I’ve been waiting forever and I can’t believe it’s finally time, and in other ways, it doesn’t seem like enough time has passed, and I’m under-trained and oh my god how am I ever going to do this?? I think if I can just get through this 20-miler on Sunday, I’ll feel a lot better about things. I seriously can’t believe it’s almost taper time. I honestly don’t even feel like I “deserve” a taper because I haven’t really been training all that much these last few weeks. It’s so weird. All I can say is, thank God for Coach Suz. I’d be a mess right now without her. OK, more of a mess than I already am…

Who else is feeling stressed out this week? I need a massage… Or a drink…

Friday Free-For-All – 04/15/16

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Spring Break, baby! As of 4:30 this afternoon, Ben and I will officially be on vacation. We will be taking off on an East Coast Friends and Family road trip. We’ve planned stops in New Jersey, DC, and North Carolina, and we couldn’t be more excited. The timing works out perfectly that we’ll actually be arriving in NJ for a friend’s birthday, and the longest stretch of driving we’ll have to do in any given day is 6 hours. I’ll try to schedule some posts to go up while I’m gone, but I’ll mostly be away from computers.

I’m teaming up with Athleta and Vermont City Marathon to host a few training runs in the weeks leading up to VCM. As you already know, I’m running and promoting VCM on behalf of BibRave, but I was contacted by Athleta because they are working with the “New to 26.2” first-time marathon training program that VCM is offering. Each Saturday a group will be meeting at Athleta for a 4-6 mile training run, and I get to be one of the “leaders.” I’m excited because a) I LOVE Athleta, b) I’ve really been missing group runs these last few months, and c) it’s a perfect cross-promotion opportunity. I’d like to say right out that if it weren’t for the fact that my friend Chris is the general manager of my local Athleta, this probably wouldn’t be happening, but I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth!

I FINALLY got my Saucony Mirage 5s this weekend. I have run in them a couple of times so far, and while they are definitely a bit different than the 4s, I think they’re going to work out just fine. Hallelujah! Now to stock up on them before they completely disappear so that I don’t have to deal with this shoe drama again for a loooong time…

Remember that I’m raising money for the Vermont Respite House by running the Jiggety Jog 5k. I’m trying to raise $1000 by the event on May 7. Wanna help me get there? Click this link to make a secure online donation: http://bit.ly/1MuGMhM

Anyone else on spring break this week? Any fun plans?