May 30, 2013

Time for some R&R!

Other than my third toenail that is trying to fall off, this week has been full of good stuff like resting, recovering and eating! I only had a three day work week so it was perfect! I am not sure what is wrong with me but I have been more than hungry for the past few days! I have been kind of giving in and eating a little too much.
All of the soreness that I had in my quads was gone when I woke up yesterday morning. I was kind of surprised since my first two marathons left me sore for close to a week. I think that the soreness may have gone away much quicker this time because I have been foam rolling every single day. That thing really works! I think that I might try to run an easy paced 6 on Sunday but we will see what happens.
I have a 10K coming up on June 8th so I need to get a couple of short runs in before then so  that I don't die out there. The start of the race is about 2.5 miles from my house so I might even jog over to the start. My friend Megan will also be in town to run the 5K so I will finally get to meet this sweet girl! I keep telling her that she needs to move back to California so she doesn't have to keep flying in from Georgia to run these 5K's! I don't have any big plans for this 10K but I have not ran one in a while so it will be interesting to see what I can pull off.
In other news, my puppies will be turning a year old on Sunday so I am planning to buy them a peanut butter doggy cake and we will be having a little birthday celebration.

What are your plans for the weekend? Any races on the schedule?

May 29, 2013

5/26/13: Mountains 2 Beach Marathon (Part Two)

As most of you already know, I wanted to break 4 hours so badly this time around. I was nervous, scared and felt like I was running my very first marathon because it had been so long. I was frustrated with the distance and stayed away from it for a while. I did not want to take it on again until I was physically and mentally prepared and improved my times in some shorter distances. I needed to be ready before I would attempt it again. I backed out of the Surf City Marathon this past February and ran the half because I knew I was not ready.
A few months ago I decided to run the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon but only gave myself about 12 weeks to train for it due to the date of the race. I came up with a 12 week training plan and stuck with it. I blogged about my weekly training and held myself accountable. I ran all my long runs and I ran some of them with 110% effort to track my progress and endurance. I was lacking a lot of confidence and needed to convince myself that I still had a chance to move closer to my ultimate goal of running the Boston Marathon. This was it, I was going for that sub-four! I threw my goal out there and the pressure was on. In fact the pressure was overwhelming for the past week that I wanted to back out so many times and just run the half marathon. I am glad I didn't!

I knew that I had to run this marathon differently. I knew all of my weaknesses from my past two marathons and if I did not change those things then I knew the result would be another 4:05 or maybe even worse. I know that we cannot control every aspect of a race since some things are simply out of our control like the weather and our health on race day. I knew that if I worked on the things that I was in control of then everything else would fall into place. What did I do differently that worked for me?
1. I trusted my training. After three, strong long runs of hitting a consistent 8:35-8:40 pace (without dying) I knew it was possible to run faster than a 9:22 pace (4:05 finish). If I could do it on a training run why could I not execute it during a race? The next big question question was how confident was I going to be on race day without blowing it?

2. I fought HARD through those last 6.2 miles. That is when the race starts! The plan was to listen to my music but I didn't do that. I ended up doing something totally different. I talked out loud to myself like a crazy woman and refused to let myself throw this race away! I told myself that the wall did not exist! I told myself that I was not going to throw this race away and have to come back to this blog with my tail between my legs! I kept my thoughts all positive and convinced myself that "I can do this!" It worked for me and I found strength during those tough moments. I am sure the other runners around me were looking at me like I was crazy but I didn't care. I was on a mission to break four hours! 

3. I broke the race up differently in my head based on the course elevation. Miles 1-3, Miles 4-5, Miles 6-10, Miles 11-21 and Miles 22-26.2. Mile 20 was not included in the final breakdown. I used Mile 22 instead since Mile 2o which is where I hit the non-existent wall in my last two marathons. Mile 2o did not exist in this race!

4. I did not go out aggressively and I stayed focused! I was patient with the pace! I started out slowly and picked it up when the time was right. I also promised myself that I would not push myself to the point where I knew that the race was going to go south. Patience was key and I followed through with it. If I wasn't feeling strong, then the plan was to back off and just run the race and finish without dying in the end even if the result was not a 3:59:59 finish. Everything has to align and when it's not happening, us runners know it.

5. I found that comfortable pace and stuck with it. I wanted that comfortable pace to be 9:00 but I had previously mentioned that an 8:35-8:40 pace seemed to be feeling a little easier during my training runs and the same held true on race day. The "easier pace" felt comfortable but I played it smart and I backed it off even though I felt strong. An 8:35 pace was not in the plans nor had I planned or trained to run an 8:35 pace for 26.2 miles!  It was not worth the chance on this day so there was no temptation to start setting unrealistic goals at the last minute.

How I ran this marathon Mile by Mile:

Miles 1-3 (8:50, 8:48, 8:48)
At first I decided to line up behind the 3:55 pacer (a little too fast for me but figured I would back off when it I needed to) since the next fastest pacer was 4:10 (not within my goal time.) I asked the pacer what his pacing strategy was and he said he was going to be running an even pace. I studied the course and knew that two miles were uphill and I wasn't sure if I wanted to run an even pace to allow for some slack on those two miles. The second wave of runners started two minutes after the first and the 3:55 pacer took off pretty quickly. The start was a bit crowded so I ended up falling pretty far behind the pacer. The pacer's group was quite large in the beginning. I could see them ahead of me but decided that I did not want to burn too much energy trying to catch them. I knew the pacer was going out way too fast so I decided to just run my own race and not let the pacer determine my race for me. I settled into an 8:50ish pace which seemed to be very comfortable with minimal effort so I stayed with it until Mile 4.

Miles 4-5 (9:01, 8:56) Gradual Uphill Climb
These two miles were the only miles that were slightly uphill so I took them easy. They were not bad but I knew that I needed to ease off for a bit to save my energy. I think my pace fell into a 10 minute pace at some point but towards the end of each mile I was able to make up for the time and finish closer to 9 minute miles.

Miles 6-10 (8:42, 8:40, 8:47, 8:46, 8:45)
These miles were when the gradual downhill started so I went picked it back up to an 8:50ish pace and it still felt good. I was not babysitting the Garmin so there were times when I may have gone a little fast but not by much. When I realized I was off pace, I brought it back down. I told myself that if I still felt strong the time would come to pick up the pace. I actually passed the 3:55 pacer right about Mile 7 and I never saw the group again. The original pacer was a man and at Mile 7 it was a woman so I am not sure what happened to the first guy.

Miles 11-21 (8:35, 8:34, 8:37, 8:37, 8:39, 8:37, 8:34, 8:33, 8:36, 8:36,8:29)
It was at this point in the race that I decided to pick up the pace. I was feeling really good. I was not tired at all and everything seemed to be right. I hit all of these miles under 8:40 and was still feeling good. I promised myself that if I started to feel tired that I would back off. I did not want to die in the end. In fact I refused to let it happen again. I got a little anxious at Mile 19 because I knew my worst enemy (Mile 20/The Wall) was coming. I saw my friend Mariam right before Mile 20 and talking to her was a great distraction. It was perfect timing!
At Mile 21, another one of my friends was waiting for me and she ran with me for a bit until we passed the point where you had to view the finish line. I never saw it because she distracted me. I also saw my other half at Mile 21 and I think he was a  bit surprised that I made it to this point so soon. This is the text he sent to me right before the race started at 6:00 am. He always believes in me but still thinks that running marathons is kind of crazy! 
Miles 22 to the Finish (8:40, 8:43, 8:51, 9:02, 8:51, and 8:09 for the final .29)
Miles 23 and 24 were the toughest due to the out and back to get back onto the bike path to head to the finish! The shade was gone, it was starting to warm up a little bit and watching the other runners head to the finish was not helping. My pace started to drop and I wanted to give up but I fought through it. That uncomfortable feeling started to really kick in at Mile 25. I never hit the wall but I started to feel my energy decreasing which is probably normal at this stage in the race. I was not going to walk so I scolded myself out loud and rode it to the finish. It was not easy but I had come too far to throw it all away. I refused. My legs were tired. I wanted to walk with the others who were walking. I wanted to stop for a quick break. I wanted any excuse to stop but once I spotted that finish line those thoughts left my mind. I knew I was going to come in under fours. I didn't know by how much but I knew that if I kept running I had a very good chance. My ability to calculate splits becomes impossible after Mile 20! I didn't want to babysit the Garmin but instead I emptied the tank for whatever it was worth and then saw the clock at the finish and it read 3:51:29.
I thought that was my time and I was excited! Once I stopped my Garmin and saw 3:49:10, I was confused and I thought my watch was off but then I remembered that the second wave started about two minutes after the gun. I was in shock. How did this happen? Who was I out there today? Is this really happening to me? Yes, it was an incredible day but it was never easy!
I left everything I had out on that course! I gave it 110%! I did not give up this time! Anything is possible when you are patient, when you listen to your body and you run a smart race. I have never ran a race like this before and it made such a difference. I am now only 4 minutes away from a BQ but I don't want to get overly confident. I know that every race will not be as great as this one so I will continue to be patient and chip away at my marathon time until I get that BQ. What's next? I don't really know. I am still living in this moment! I don't want it to go away just yet. 

For anyone who is looking to improve their marathon time, you can do it! I am not a great or fast runner. I do not run high mileage. I do not have any natural talent to run like so many of you do. All you have to do is set your mind to it, be patient, commit to the training and make every mile count. Step out of your comfort zone and push yourself during your training to see what you are capable of. What worked for me may not work for everyone but I just wanted to share what made a difference for me. I found that a lot of it is mental! If you can think it, you can do it! If you tell yourself that you can't, then you probably won't!
This week will be my break from running to let my body rest and properly recover. I will start to slowly get back into it again when I am 100%. I am actually looking forward to taking a small break so I can come back rested and motivated to keep reaching for my goals! I know that I have lots more work to do but I will not give up!

Thank you so, so much to everyone who supported me for the past 12 weeks. During those tough times out on the course, I thought about all of the words of encouragement and advice that everyone sent to me. Your words carried me through so many tough moments!

May 28, 2013

5/26/13: Mountains 2 Beach Marathon Recap (Part One)

Marathon #3-DONE! I seriously forgot what 26.2 miles feels like! I don't think this distance will ever be something that gets easier for me but with proper execution and patience it can be a better experience. I was feeling a bit more confident after three consecutive long runs that went better than expected but never really felt 100% ready!  I had a lot of doubts and I was extremely nervous up until the day before race day. I am going to break this recap into two posts since I have so much to say about the race itself and then the details of how I ran it.
The expo was held at Ventura High School and is a pretty small event. There were very few vendors present so most people were just in and out of there picking up their race bibs. Parking was adequate and bib pick up was very easy and organized. The race also offers bib pick up the morning of the race at the Start which is a huge plus for those who do not want to spend the money on a hotel room.
This is a small race and the marathon is capped at 1500 marathon participants which I love!. The half marathon starts in a different location but eventually merges with the marathon but you don't even notice it. I believe this was the third year that this race was held and it is growing by the year. It is well organized but lacks a lot of things the fancy extras that the bigger races offer. I don't need all of the fancy stuff since that just means higher registration fees. There was some security but anybody could jump onto the course to run with someone and nobody would have said anything. I liked it that way since some people need that extra support during those tough miles. I did not see a lot of photographers on the course and medical tents were spread out along the course. Water stops were adequate but I brought my own water along with me and refilled my bottle as needed. I loved the course and the race in general. I would love to add this race to my Race Schedule for 2014.

The traffic was horrible getting to Ventura! We quickly checked into our hotel and then headed to dinner. My dinner consisted of pasta from California Pizza Kitchen which has always been good to me so I figured it was safe. I did skip dessert since it was probably not the best idea. After dinner we walked to the finish line which was really close to our hotel and right near the ocean.
The marathon was a point to point race so the runners were shuttled from Downtown Ventura up to the start in Ojai. The shuttle pick up was a 15 minute walk from our hotel which was really nice and convenient. My shuttle time was at 4:00 a.m. which meant a 3:00 am wake up time! I am so glad that I took the 4:00 am shuttle because those who took the 5:00 am shuttle had a serious wait to use the potty. When we first arrived at the Start, which was at a high school in Ojai, it was a dark parking lot with minimal lighting! There were tons of runners there hanging out but nothing was setup yet and it was pretty much runners and porta potties! I had a lot of time to think, eat my breakfast, hydrate and stretch while waiting for the race to start.

The porta potty lines were really long by 5:30 am!! I usually wait to go right before the start of the race but due to the long lines, I had to relieve myself in the bushes. The long lines also resulted in a 10 minute start time delay. This was the first time that I ever used the bushes but I had to! Sorry..I know that is probably a BIG no no!
The weather was perfect so I knew I had a good chance to beat the warmer temperatures if I finished as close to four hours as possible. The finish was by the beach so I hoped that it would be cooler when I approached the finish.
The race had two corrals at the start: those who planned to finish under 3:45 and then "everyone else."  I lined up with the "everyone else" group and then found the pacer that I felt comfortable with.
The course starts out with a 10K loop which takes you around and back to the start. After the first 6.2 miles you head onto a paved bike trail for the majority of the race. The bike trail is shaded for most of the race and since it was not a huge race it never felt crowded. The course lacks big crowd support and entertainment for the most part but I did see people waiting along the course for their friends and family to pass. They even took the time to say encouraging words and to cheer on the other runners. I pretty much zone out when I run so I never really appreciate the crowd support or entertainment anyway. Shame on me, I know! The runners spot the ocean around Mile 21 but have to pass the Finish Line which can be mentally tough. I know it was for me even though I knew it was going to happen so I was prepared for it. My family and friends were right there waiting for me to distract me so I never actually saw it. I think the hardest part of the course is the out and back from Miles 22-24 since the runners can see all of the runners heading back to the finish. After those tough miles you head back onto the bike path right along the ocean for the final 2.2 miles to the finish. Isn't the Finish Line incredibly beautiful?
Although the course is downhill for the most part, you cannot see the drop nor can you feel it. I had no pain in my knees or quads during the race which I was a little worried about. You know the elevation drop is happening because you can feel yourself moving quicker with less effort. I highly recommend this race to anybody who is looking to BQ or PR! It is a fast course!

Next... Part Two: "How I ran this race and what I did differently to finally get that sub four finish!"

May 27, 2013

The Day I Finally Broke Four Hours!

I am still pinching myself this morning because I am disbelief that I finally broke four hours in the marathon. 3:49:10! I had no idea that this race would result in a 16 minutes and 6 second PR! I had no idea what my time was until I was crossing that Finish Line! I did a lot of things different this time around which resulted in a much better race. I will share those things in my race recap. I have a little bit of soreness in my quads which is the least amount of pain that I have ever felt from a marathon. 
I followed everything in my race plan that I had for this marathon with the exception of one. I did not turn on my music because I didn't feel like fumbling around to find my iPhone and earphones. Thank you for all of the encouragement that you sent me and most of all for believing in me when I doubted myself! Full Race Recap to come...

May 24, 2013

What Is My Race Plan?

Believe it or not, I run my best without a race plan. Yes, I have a goal and I know the average pace I need to achieve it. I will just focus on the average pace. My first marathon was my best because I didn’t really have big plans. I had a number in my mind that I wanted to beat and I was pretty sure I could do it based on my training. I trusted my training and I had faith in myself. I just wanted to finish!  I did not push myself too hard and managed to run a 4:05.

My second marathon was a little different, I wore one of those pace bands to keep me on track and I stared at my Garmin the entire time. My goal was to run a sub four marathon. Once the 4-hour pace group passed me I was a nervous wreck trying to calculate the pace I needed to run to get me to the finish in under 4 hours. That was a big mess and it was way too much for someone who hit the wall, was dying a slow death and in lots of pain! The result was yet another 4:05!

My plan for Marathon #3 is really simple. I have tried to take all of the positive aspects of my training and the experiences from my past two marathons to come up with a plan that might result in a more positive experience.

1. Don’t go out too fast! I am guilty of this in pretty much every race I run but I am going to try my hardest to resist the urge because I know the consequences.

2. Settle into a pace that is comfortable and back off if I know that it won’t last 26.2 miles. If it is not my day to run a sub four marathon than I will accept it and do my best to get as close to it as possible. If the weather is not going to allow for a great race then I will adjust my goals accordingly. I don’t want to push myself to run a tough race if there isn’t going to be a PR involved. We all know when the conditions are perfect for that PR.

3. Don’t stare at the Garmin the entire time! During my training, I was able to run my longest runs at a decent pace only because I was not babysitting my Garmin. I would glance at it occasionally and realize that I was running at a 8:30-8:40 pace when it felt more like a 9:00-9:15 pace. I know that controlling my pace in the early stages is key but I also want to run by feel and if my pace feels comfortable I will stick with it.

4. Stay hydrated and GU every 5 miles just as I did during my training. As much as I would love to not wear my hydration belt, I am going to since I need my water when I need it and not when there is a water stop.

5. Miles 20-26.2 are the worst for me so I am going to try something new. I will turn on my music these last 6.2 miles. Hopefully I remember to turn it on since I am not a big fan of listening to music when running a marathon. In my opinion, you miss out on the course entertainment and crowd support when you have music in your ears. From what I have heard, the marathon I am running lacks course support and entertainment for a large part of the course so it may do me some good. I will also pass by the Finish Line when I reach Mile 21, which will be mentally tough for me. I will need the distraction to pull me through these final miles.

Sunday cannot come fast enough. I am nervous yet incredibly excited all at the same time. Thank you to everyone who has given me great advice and encouragement to run the best race that I possibly can. Thank you for believing in me more than I believe in myself....

May 21, 2013

Let the Stalking Begin

Yes, I have been stalking the weather since last Friday when the 10-day forecast came out. I have been stalking it daily and there has not been much change. It looks like it is going to be in the low 50's at the 6:00 a.m. start time and close to 70 degrees around my anticipated finish time. Not too bad even though I was hoping for mid 40's to 50 at the start.
This week has been nothing but nerves trying to mentally prepare for this race. I have been packing my race bag a little at a time so that I don't forget anything. I plan on running two short and easy paced runs this week and then it's showtime! Thank you to everyone who has sent me positive comments about my race. Those are the words that I will remember when I feel like giving up in those last 6.2 miles!

How do you mentally prepare yourself for a marathon? 
The physical work has been done but the mental aspect seems to be the toughest for me!

May 20, 2013

Marathon Training: Week 11 and It's Race Week!

Week 11 was a super low mileage week where I tried to keep my runs at a decent pace. The temperatures were still in the mid 80's so I am glad that it was an easy week. This week will be even easier with two really short and easy paced runs.

Week 11 consisted of the following:

Run 1: 7 Miles@8:44 on the TM

Run 2: 10 Miles @8:29

Run 3: 5 Miles@8:46

Total Miles: 22

Race week is finally here! For some reason I am more nervous than excited about this race than any other race that I have ever ran. Is it because I haven’t ran a marathon in over a year or simply because it’s a marathon? 26.2 Miles is no joke! I have a love/hate relationship with the marathon but I have to conquer this distance to continue my journey to get to Boston someday.

I have been recapping my training for the past eleven weeks to keep myself accountable and to track my progress.  I ran a total of 323 miles (which includes 9 miles I will run this week) in the past 11 weeks which included two 20 milers and one 22 miler. I opted for a 12-week training period at the last minute to avoid training through the summer for a winter marathon. I am hoping this shorter training cycle does not result in an upsetting race since I normally train for 16 weeks. I never follow any specific training plan since I have problems sticking to them due to my busy schedule. I usually look at a few different plans and create one that works for me. 
I felt pretty strong on my long runs but know that I still need lots of work to make them feel much easier. I had a lumbar strain in my lower back which forced me to miss a planned 20 miler in Week 3 but other than that I had no major setbacks. In Week 7, I ran the So. Cal Ragnar Relay so I rested up and kept the miles low since my body is not used to running 3 times in a 24-hour period. I didn't want to risk an injury so I lost some mileage in Week 7 as well but I think I played it safe.

So having said this, it is time for me to trust my training and start preparing myself mentally for this challenge. I haven’t figured out my race strategy quite yet. I tend not do this since it completely throws my race off if I get derailed and can’t meet the goal. The only numbers that are sticking in my head right now are 9:09, which is the average pace needed to run this marathon in under 4 hours (3:59:59)!

May 16, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. My son failed his eye test at school so we took him to get his eyes checked and found out that he has really bad astigmatism in one eye. Apparently his right eye is doing all of the work so he has to wear glasses full time now. He is not very excited about it and today will be his first day wearing his glasses to school. I hope it goes well. If one person makes fun of him I know that he will refuse to wear his glasses. Kids can be cruel and he has ran into quite a few of them who are not so nice at times.
2. It is officially taper time and I am so nervous about my upcoming race. The ten day forecast will be available tomorrow and I am really concerned about the heat that we have been having here in So Cal. As of now it is looking like the temperatures are rising which may result in adjusting my goals for the race. Bummer! I do not run well in the heat...
3. On Father's Day I will be participating in the commencement ceremony for earning my Master's Degree. I actually finished all of my classes some time ago but since the ceremonies are held once a year, I had to wait all this time. I am not sure why they planned it on Father's Day but I am excited that my Dad will be coming and we will be able to spend the day together after the ceremonies. 

May 13, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

I had a great Mother's Day. I took the day off from running and spend the entire day with my family. We went to Lucille's BBQ for lunch and then we went to see The Great Gatsby. We enjoyed the movie but I think I am partial to the original movie. Robert Redford cannot be replaced as Jay Gatsby in my opinion.
My Grandma and my son.

My daughter and my son were very thoughtful and gave me some super nice gifts. They know me too well. They both wrote me some super nice cards that made me feel like I am doing my best to be a good mother to them. 
My daughter knows me too well!
Notes from my son...
Apparently I am a Super Mom these days!
How was your Mother's Day? Did you do anything special?

Marathon Training: Week 10 (Taper Time)

This week was a tough one because of the hot weather here in Southern California. When I say hot I am talking 90-104 degrees which can really mess with your running schedule. Not to mention that it was also Mother's Day this weekend so I had to juggle things around this week to squeeze my workouts in.

I did not have a bad week even though I missed one run. My long run is the most important run for my training. I know that I cannot miss it so this week was all about getting that last long run in.  

Here is a recap of Week 10:

Run #1: 5 Miles@9:02. I was actually sore from walking the half marathon last week so I decided that I was going to rest until the pain was completely gone in my rear end! It was not worth pushing myself and taking a chance at this point in my training. I am getting a little smarter in my old age!

Run #2: DID NOT HAPPEN! It was too hot outside and I was lacking energy. Do you want to hear anymore excuses?
Run #322 Miles @8:40. The pace might look decent for 22 miles but it was actually not such a great idea. The temperature was predicted to be at 93 degrees and I was afraid of getting caught it in the heat. I pushed myself way too hard to hurry and finish but ended up being completely out of gas at the end. It was warm out there and if it had been race day, it would not have been pretty because I don't think I could have gone much further! I was glad that I got it done but not so happy with the way it was executed. My calves are a little sore but I have been icing them and foam rolling and that is helping.

Total Miles: 27 

Now it is time to taper! It is going to be another tough week since the temperatures are going to continue into the 90's and my gym is closed for renovation. There is another gym that is close to me but it is not a very nice facility so I am not too excited about going there. My longest run this week will be 10 miles and then it's race week! I am nervous as ever and I am still convincing myself that those last 6.2 miles are when the race really starts!

May 10, 2013

5/5/13: OC Half Marathon

This makes half marathon #12 for me. This race brings me back to 2012 since it is the first race I ran coming back from my hamstring injury. It just so happened that my good friend Caroline is dealing with an injury this year so I decided to give her some support out on the course. I knew what this race meant to her. I knew she was determined to finish it. I knew she needed to finish this race so she could begin to deal with her injury. I knew I needed to be there with her to help her since her family was not going to be there as they always are.  This was her race. It was not mine.

Caroline invited me to stay at a local hotel with her since the race had a start time of 6:15 a.m. We went to the expo on Saturday afternoon and then had dinner at a local mall. We went back to our room and talked, drank tea, ate some snacks, laughed and then decided to call it a night around 11 p.m knowing that we needed to wake up at 4 a.m. to catch the 5:05 a.m. shuttle to the start. 

We hopped on the shuttle in the morning and arrived at the start with little time to spare.
We immediately made our way to the porta potties. The lines were really long and almost all of the them were out of toilet paper. By the time we got up there they were out of seat covers too since those became the toilet paper! People were not happy! I happened to have some napkins with me so I got lucky plus I squat and never ever sit!
We made our way into corral 5 and waited for our turn to start.It was 61 degrees and windy at the start but the weather turned out to be just perfect. The sun never came out the entire time we were out on the course.

Caroline did not want me to stay with her and she tried to get rid of me multiple times but I knew she needed me and I wasn't about to leave her on the course alone. I finally scolded her and told her to stop looking at me and focus on her race. She was threatening to run and telling me that I was going to have a horrible time on and all sorts of crazy stuff but I just ignored her and distracted her by doing things like this.
I think she finally stopped trying to get rid of me at mile 12 since none of her threats were working! I just could not find the heart to leave her and I knew that the right decision was to stay with her and make sure she made it to the finish line. This was decided earlier in the week when I ran my half marathon on the treadmill the Friday prior to the race. That was an experience!
I enjoyed this race because I had the opportunity to appreciate the course and to see things that I would not normally notice or pay attention to. I was able to "stop and smell the roses," and sometimes you just need to do that. I noticed how beautiful the course was, the amazing homes along the course, children waving from their windows, all of the mile marker signs, all of the cute pets that were hanging out with their humans that were supporting the runners, acting silly for the photographers and I even noticed a home that still had their Christmas tree up! I never do these things because I zone out and just focus on finishing. 
The time passed very quickly even though we were walking/jogging the course. It was over before I knew it and I left Caroline around the 13 mile mark to run to the finish. I finished in 2:57:58 with a happy heart. I did not care about my time. I wanted to see Caroline finish her race and I know she wanted a finish line photo. She finished with her hand over her heart for Boston and she didn't vomit or have dry heaves! Sorry Caroline..I had to say that.
Her husband was not there to take her photos so I was her substitute photographer but with my iPhone. We hugged each other at the finish and had a little moment before we headed over to pick up her Beach Cities Challenge medal. I think she was happy and I was happy for her. This picture pretty much sums up the way we were feeling out on the course.

I can also tell you that walking a half marathon might sound easy but it is not. I was sore in places that I have never been sore before! I am now one race away from getting my Beach Cities Challenge medal! The last race in the series is the Long Beach Half Marathon which I will run in October. I can't wait to get my hands on that medal.