It’s all downhill from here.

Okay folks.  I did it.  Yesterday was the long run.  22 miles.  Today I feel absolutely fantastic!  No aches.  No pains.  Nothing.  Now, it’s taper time.  Yahoo!  Every runner’s favorite period during training.  Well, at least it’s mine.

I ran with a couple of wonderful teammates yesterday, Nicole and Rachel.  Back in January I ran with them as I started to ramp up on my mileage and pace.  When I returned back to training after my injury (after a 5 week respite), I hooked up with Nicole and Rachel at the Arc and long runs.  Maybe it was serendipitous that we ended back training together.  It’s been great getting to know them better and they don’t mind my really boring stories during out runs.  I don’t know if we’ll run the marathon together but I hope to head to wave 3, corral 9 with them.  I should mention we ran the first half with another teammate, Candice.  She was out for a few weeks with shingles and looked great.  She did 20 miles and ran the first 10 miles with us.  She didn’t seem to miss a beat while she was sidelined.

As I mentioned, this is the longest training run of the year.  Lots of teams running for a charity band together and organize a trek out to Hopkinton.  Thousands of runners take buses out to the start line and run the course back to Heartbreak Hill.  We at the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC) start from Boston College and do an out-and-back.  I think this is a more difficult run as we have to climb out of Newton Lower Falls into Wellesley, which is a real bitch of a hill.  Seriously, it’s tough. From Hopkinton, there is a gradual elevation loss.  The DFMC run loses elevation, then gains it, then loses it before the Newton hills.  At the 11 mile turn-around we’re at pretty much the actual mileage of the course (about 1/10 mile off), so we’re still hitting hitting the hills at the same time if we’d run from the start line.

Mother Nature blessed us with nice weather. It was warm and dry.  We didn’t have any wind until the last few miles which was a blessing.  That cooled things down a bit. I wore my Teaching Cancer to Cry arm warmers for the entire run and they kept me comfortable.  It was my inaugural run with them and I like them a lot.  I don’t know if I gave a description of the arm warmers, but they were made right in New York City.  They are by Search and State and the quality is really nice.  They’re made for cycling but work well for running.

Anyway, overall a perfect day for the longest training run of the year.  Lots of friendly runners and super support volunteers.  Big thumbs up to the local law enforcement who were out on the course in full force making it safe.

A few pictures for your viewing pleasure.  First, inside the Flynn Athletic Complex at Boston College:


This porta-potty has been really beneficial during a lot of long runs!  I found it amusing as I came upon it yesterday that the dog was patiently waiting with the leash snaking into the structure:


There were many DFMC aid stations throughout the course.  Always lots of colorful selections.  Sweet and salty ones too.  I didn’t get a photo of them but this table also had Peeps.  I passed!


The DFMC cones placed to indicate the 11 mile turnaround were actually 2/10 mile too soon.  I have a Garmin GPS and usually rely on that as it’s pretty darn accurate.  The cones are usually fine so I don’t know why there was this mix-up.  Here’s the 11 mile turnaround:


Going back through Wellesley I had my running partners strike a pose with me.  I couldn’t help but think of the Cabaret lyrics “2 ladies and I’m zee only one, ya!”  Rachel and Nicole obliged with the theater hands:


At about mile 20 was a support stop and the Johnny Kelley statue.  The mother of this cutie asked if she wanted me to take her off the statue and I said “Heck no!”


I should mention that at this stop, the MR8 team (Run For Martin Richard) was right next to ours.  Martin Richard, 8, was killed by the second explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon and his sister Jane lost her left leg.  It was wonderful to see little Jane working the booth without the aid of crutches on her prosthetic.  Very nice.

The Heartbreak Hill Running Store has this gorilla out at every long run.  They snap a photo and you can tag yourself up on Facebook.  I’m striking a pose showing off the arm warmers:




Here’s the route (go here for the Garmin):

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 6.49.56 PM

And here’s how I replaced some of the approximately 22 calories I burned off during the run:


It seems more real now that I have the 22 miles behind me. I suppose getting the Welcome packet a few days ago contributed to that feeling…

IMG_6389_2Oh, and a brief recap from my Thursday run.  I ran a tad faster than I probably should have.  It probably ended up helping me for the long run though.  I ran alone, which I don’t prefer, but had a good run nonetheless.

Heading out to the hills:


Heading back past Boston College:




Here’s the route (go here for the Garmin):

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 7.01.18 PM

And up, the reward:


If you’d like to donate, select the wicked laaaahge DONATE! link at the top of the page to navigate to my DFMC 2014 Fundraising Page.


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