Monday, January 22, 2018

The Verve Pipe at Ardmore Music Hall on January 18, 2018

I've loved running to music by The Verve Pipe for over 20 years so I'm grateful I had the opportunity to finally see them in concert at Ardmore Music Hall.

Even though I really wanted to attend the show, I was hesitant to buy my ticket in advance since I'm usually in bed by 8pm so I can get up at 4am to run.

I'm so glad I decided to attend at the last minute. The concert exceeded my expectations.

The covers of  "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" and "The Chain" were amazing. It was also good to hear a couple favorites from my running playlist: "Villains" and "Photograph" (brief video clips below).

I'm also glad I decided to stick around after the show to meet the band. They were all so kind and appreciative of their fans.

An extra special thanks to Brian Vander Ark for taking a photo with flat Leah. ;-)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon (If at first I don't BQ, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try again)

On November 20, 2016, one year ago today, I finished my 7th Philadelphia Marathon in 3:46:13 and finally qualified for the Boston Marathon (BQ) after 11 failed attempts since 2013.

It's been a year and I still haven't been able to gather my thoughts in any cohesive order. I've never been good at writing except when Twitter was still 140 characters or less. ;-)

As I watched Shalane Flanagan's joy at accomplishing her goal to win the 2017 New York City Marathon, I remembered the joy I felt when I accomplished my goal to BQ.

There were so many meaningful moments on the road leading to my BQ. I will try my best to put those moments into words and will continue to add to this post as I gather my thoughts.

I have to start somewhere, so here it it goes...

I started running in 1994 to impress my boyfriend at the time. He broke my heart just before my 1st half marathon but my love for running continued to grow and I finished my 1st marathon - the Marine Corps Marathon - in 1995.

I finshed my 2nd marathon - the San Francisco Marathon - in 1998. I decided to register the day before the marathon with no training. Needless to say it wasn't one of my best decisions but I finished without injuring myself. ;-)

I don't remember much about my 3rd marathon - my 1st Philadelphia Marathon with Leah in 2008. I don't even remember when or why we decided to do it. I do remember that it was brutally cold. Leah and I ran together most of the time but at one point Leah was in pain and she told me I could go ahead. I don't remember finishing or how I felt afterward.

We ran the the Walt Disney World Marathon together for the 1st time in 2009. We were so focused on trying to finish that we only stopped for a couple character photos. ;-)

When we decided to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon together, we wanted to have a sister-sister team so I came up with the name "Twins Run in Our Family." At that point, Leah was already a self-described race addict and I described myself as the "go with the flow" runner.

When Leah qualified for her 1st Boston Marathon, I was so proud of her for working so hard to reach her goal. At that time, I didn't think I was capable of qualifying for Boston, so it wasn't even something I considered attempting.

When I went to Boston to cheer Leah at the 2013 Boston Marathon, I was so excited for her. Yet, at the same time, when I walked around the Expo and the streets of Boston I started to feel a little bit of sadness that I wasn't one of the runners.

Before Leah began the marathon, I thought about trying to qualify. I also thought that I didn't want the pressure of trying to run fast because I simply enjoyed being able to run.

As I watched the television coverage, I was so inspired to see Joan Benoit Samuleson finish and then talk about how she runs marathons to tell a story. Tears came to my eyes when I saw her joy at accomplishing her goal and telling her story.

I was excited when I saw the text alerts that Leah and my other running friends had finished. When Leah walked in the door, I told her to stop and go back so I could take a photo. Months later, after reviewing the date stamp on the photo, I realized that I took the photo just as the bombs exploded.

I then started to walk to Starbucks to get Leah a white mocha. Our hotel was next to the family meeting area. I noticed runners and family members celebrating but then I saw this woman crying hysterically and thought that was odd. I tweeted about going to Starbucks and then received a reply to be careful because there had been 2 explosions. At that point, I still had no idea what was going on just a few blocks away. When I got back to the hotel, I realized that something horrible had happened. I remember telling Leah there were 2 explosions and then we started to watch the news in horror.

It was so chaotic - we had no idea what had happened or why - and everything was on lock down. I was worried that something else was going to happen and that I wouldn't be able to get home. It all seemed so surreal. We had been celebrating just moments before and everything changed in an instant. Even though we were not directly affected by the tragedy, my heart was breaking for everyone affected by the bombings.

When I returned home, I couldn't stop reading and watching everything I could about what happened.

A few weeks later, I traveled to DC to run the Nike Women's Half. I was nervous but it was comforting to be there with my two mother runner friends. We even had the chance to run with Shalane Flannagan and Joan Benoit Samuelson.

After the tragedy, I knew I had to try to qualify for Boston so that Leah and I could run together in memory of those who died and in honor of those who survived.

I made my 1st attempt in Chicago, my 2nd in Philadelphia and my 3rd in Charlottesville.

I was grateful to return to Boston in 2014 so I could be on the sidelines cheering Leah and all the other runners. While I was disappointed that I had yet to qualify, I was determined that I would keep trying until I succeeded.

At some point, I hope to write in more detail about my 11 attempts to qualify. There were so many emotions and meaningful moments that I experienced.

As I prepared for my 11th attempt at the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon, my last chance to qualify for the 2017 Boston Marathon, I felt positive. I knew the weather was going to make the race difficult but I was still hopeful that I could accomplish my goal because of all the training I had done in the heat. I ran conservatively and felt pretty good up until the last few miles. I knew at one point that 3:55 was out of reach but I was hopeful to at least finish around 4 hours. As I watched a more experienced runner suffer in the heat, barely able to walk, I knew that I had to give it all I had to finish. I finished knowing that I had tried my very best.

While I was disappointed, I tried my best not to be too hard on myself but it was difficult not to feel like I let down Leah and all those who had been rooting for me to BQ. I decided that I still wanted to run Boston with Leah and would try to be a charity runner. It's always been important to me to run for something more than just myself, so it felt got to be able to run for charity. I still hoped that I would qualify before Boston so that I could run the race knowing that I was a qualifier for 2018. But, I also knew that if I failed again, I was determined to qualify at Boston.

I began to ask myself, is this worth all the stress and anxiety and disappointment. I even asked Meb if there ever comes a time when I should consider that my goal was unattainable and he said "Never give up." He then shared a story about meeting a runner before the 2013 Boston Marathon who tried to qualify for years and finally did it.

Even though I had moments of disappointment, I was so very grateful for all the support I've received for Team Lemon. I received donations from people I only met through social media. It was comforting to know that somehow my persistence and determination inspired people to support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Every mile I ran, I thought of all the families I know, including my own, that have been affected by cancer. So many families have lost loved ones to cancer and many runners I know also run in memory of their loved ones who died or in honor of those who have survived. I don't take any step for granted. Each mile is a gift.

While I wanted to achieve my BQ goal, it has always been more important to me to run for a reason and support charities I care about. I kept thinking that I would run my very best but I would not let myself be disappointed if I failed to achieve my BQ goal, I knew I put everything I had into training and I was grateful that I could help raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research.

I will continue to add to this post as I gather my thoughts. In the meantime, here are some random thoughts I wrote down last year after the Philadelphia Marathon ...

Tough girls tough it out
Run your own race
Don't blow it
Starting off slow
Looking down
Team Lemon dinner
Why I run
Don't let me down
Mother runners
Our doubts are traitors
Red shorts
Obama quote
Childhood cancer
Weather watching
Running community
Expo sightings
Running playlist
Leonard Cohen
Plastic Ants
Afghan Whigs
What's the point
Photo opps
Flat Leah
Vegan sign
Each mile is a gift
Negative split
Never give up

Monday, November 13, 2017

Philadelphia Marathon

Last year, I finished my 7th Philadelphia Marathon since 2008 and succeeded at my 12th attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon (BQ) since 2013. I am grateful that my Philly Marathon streak ended with a good time for a good cause. Fighting childhood cancer one mile at a time with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation's Team Lemon.

2011 - 4:40:59

2012 - 4:00:57

2013 - 4:04:04

2014 - 3:47:42

2015 - 4:01:22

2016 - 3:46:13 (BQ & PR)

Will you run, cheer, or volunteer on Sunday?

May the miles ahead be good to all running!

Thanks to all the volunteers and spectators!

ICYMI... Lists of race recaps:

2016 Philadelphia Marathon, Half Marathon & Rothman 8K Race Recaps

2015 Philadelphia Marathon, Half Marathon & Rothman 8K Race Recaps

2014 Philadelphia Marathon, Half Marathon & Rothman 8K Race Recaps

2013 Philadelphia Marathon, Half Marathon & Rothman 8K Race Recaps

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Leah's 8th Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

I just applied to be a Race Ambassador for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run (CUCB).

When I searched the race results, I realized that the first time I ran the race was in 2008 which means the 2018 CUCB will be the 10th anniversary of my first time running the race. Wow!

When I think about all the miles I've logged, injuries I've endured, and fun I've had training and racing over the past ten years it's hard for me to remember my life before becoming a runner (sort of like recalling life before having children!).

I'm regretful that I don't have a CUCB streak and it's not because I didn't get in the lottery.

When I ran the best race of any distance in my entire life at the 2012 CUCB, I made a conscious decision to not return in 2013, 2014, or 2015. I knew I would never run a race as fast or as satisfying on that course again and I wanted to end on a high note.

It seems sad and silly now that I denied myself the opportunity to enjoy one of the best races in the country just because I was afraid I'd feel like a loser for being slower than my 2012 performance.

In 2016 I finally gained some perspective and decided to return to my favorite race in DC. Yes, my finishing time was 7 minutes slower, but I was even happier than when I ran a PR because I appreciated my experience running the race.

Each mile is a gift and I don't want to let low self-esteem, fear, or doubts keep me from running or racing again.

I'm determined to document my training for this race on this blog regardless of whether I am chosen as a Race Ambassador because I have lots of tips, stories, and insight to share!

I've been volunteering for the Charlottesville Track Club for almost as long as I've been running and I've gained a lot of experience from managing our local ten miler training program to directing a marathon that I created. I'm excited to motivate others to find the joy in running (and racing!).

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Are You Happy? - Leah's 2017 Chicago Marathon Race Recap

"Are you happy?" A friend texted me the day after the Chicago Marathon asking if I was happy with my race. I know that my time of 4:17:23 is my worst performance on this course by ten minutes (and is one of my ten slowest marathons overall), but I enjoyed my experience so much more this year than in the past and I’m grateful for having a relatively pain-free long run in a beautiful city with amazing crowd support.

Before the race I told everyone that this would be my 30th and final marathon ever. After two very disappointing races in the past year and a painful injury in April that sidelined me for 7 weeks, I had lost my love and motivation to train for the marathon. Five years have passed since my PR and the last time I achieved a time goal was when I qualified for Boston for the 4th time at the 2015 Chicago Marathon. The 2017 Boston Marathon would have been one of the most miserable races of my life if I didn’t have my twin sister by my side for the entire 26.2 miles. I don’t think I would have made it to that finish line without her.

Luckily I had already signed up for Chicago before that race or I probably would have ended my marathon career in Boston. If I did “retire” from the marathon, I could honestly say I had a good run (pun intended!). I achieved my goal of qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon, not just once, but four times. My first marathon was 5:17:03 and I eventually took over and hour and 40 minutes off that time to run a PR of 3:36:35. Not too bad! I had a lot of disappointments and painful races, but I kept trying … running at least 1 and up to 5 marathons a year since 2007.

When I finished my first Chicago Marathon in 2011, I was hysterically crying after the race in the hospitality tent. My training had gone so well, yet I finished well off my BQ goal. The following year when I ran my PR of 3:36:35 I barely enjoyed it because I was so disappointed that I hadn’t hit my goal of sub 3:35. Little did I know then that it would be my best time by far and only the second time I’d ever run under 3:40. I wish I would have appreciated that achievement and let myself experience the pure joy of running a great race without letting my perfectionist self find the flaws in my performance.

My training this year was not ideal. After taking 7 weeks off with no running, I slowly came back in June. Even though I ran two 20 mile runs this cycle, I almost never ran anything under 10-11 minute pace unless it was a race and I only ran a few of those. So I’m pretty happy I ran the first half of the race in 2:02 because that’s the longest distance I’ve run anywhere near a 9:20 minute pace since April and it felt comfortable. The last 8-10 miles I slowed down quite a bit, but I made the decision to just keep running at a manageable pace without pushing myself and accepted that I’d have a huge positive split (I’ve only ever run two negative split marathons.).

I don’t know if I’ll ever qualify for Boston again, but I’m fine with that now. I used to think what’s the point of continuing to run marathons if I can’t hit my competitive goals. I felt so embarrassed, sad, and frustrated (and, to be honest, like a huge LOSER!) and I just wanted to end on a high note. I didn’t have a sub 4 hour marathon or a BQ this year, but I finished the race excited about training again and that’s a victory!

Highlights of the race:

* Running with Team Lemon to support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer (ALSF) in memory of my brother-in-law Michael & grandma (GG). Thanks to everyone who's made a donation to ALSF. My twin sister Malinda and I joined Team Lemon in March 2012. Together we've have raised $3,756 in memory of Michael and GG.

* Meeting Paula Radcliffe for the 2nd time (1st time was 2012 Chicago Marathon weekend) and having her hold Flat Malinda for a photograph!

* Talking to a Norwegian runner at my table who convinced me to go ask Paula for that photo. I enjoyed telling her all about my Coach and the running community in Charlottesville.

* Getting stopped by an identical twin on the way to one last bathroom break before the race. He noticed my TWINS RUN in our family shirt. We showed each other photos of our twins. J Sadly that shirt got tossed around the ten mile mark.

* Running into a couple of Irish runners who I had taken a group picture for the day before near the Field Museum. What are the odds of that!?! I got some hysterical selfies of the three of us. I hope they find the photos I posted on social media!

* Having PokemonGo Plus to help spin PokeStops and catch Pokemon with a press of a button. Wow, do I wish I had that last year!

* The guy with a bowl of sour patch kids. I said, “I love you!” as I grabbed a handful and he replied, “I love you more!” :)

* Hearing “Leah” and looking over to see the husband of Charlottesville running friend (she ended up running a huge PR of 3:30!)

* Getting a laugh from some spectators when I stopped to re-apply lipstick before Chinatown and then again with a mile to go (that time I dropped the lipstick and had to turn around to pick it up. Doh!)

* The Motivational Signs! Thanks to the Facebook group “Chicago Runners Unite” for having a post and comments that reminded me of my faves!

- “Remember, you won the lottery”

- Run like a millennial, run from commitment!!

- This Sign is BLUE. You’re Delirious!” (on orange paper)

- Plain white poster board that said "motivational sign " in black sharpie.

- I do Netflix marathons!

- A guy with HUGE pink sign with gold glitter that said “My First Marathon Sign. Yay Me!”

- Photo of a dog and said "are you all chasing a squirrel?"

- Guy holding baby and a sign that said "hurry up mom! I'm hungry!"

* After the race running into someone who follows Twins Run on Facebook and having a nice conversation and getting a selfie with her. :)

* Getting a photo of the male winner, Galen Rupp, with Flat Malinda.

* Sightseeing with my kids before and after the race. I don't think anyone should ever complain about the cost of race photos when I spent a small fortune on only 4 green screen novelty pictures with my kids at the tourist spots. #WorthEveryPenny #MyKidsWontPoseForPhotosWithMomUnlessForcedByStrangers

* Being able to check-in to my hotel at 8:30am and head to the expo alone while my kids relaxed in the room. Got my bib and shirt in about 10 minutes. Spent longer on the bus getting back from the expo then I did at the expo (which saved me lots of $$!)

Worst parts of the race:

* Struggling for 15 minutes to connect my Bluetooth headphones and then having texting issues before the race. I ended up calling my daughter a couple times while I was running to make sure she and her brother were OK.

* Squatting to pee under a bridge ... not one of my finest moments. I felt guilty, but really had no choice! :(

* Getting passed by a man in a dinosaur costume around mile 25.

* When my PokemonGo Plus came loose from the wrist strap early on in the race and I had to carefully hold it down in my hand so it wouldn’t fall out (which it did towards the end of the race and I had to turn around and hope no one stepped on it or on me when I reached down to grab it!).

* The battery in Bluetooth headphones dying exactly at 20 miles. SERIOUSLY?!?! The last 6 miles are always the hardest! Luckily the crowds were so loud and encouraging.

* Losing my shoe with an expensive custom orthotic somewhere in the Balboa Hospitality Tent or during short walk back to my hotel room. Although I was amused when I submitted a lost & found request and got an email back that linked to a “What Now?” webpage that started off with “Losing something sucks.”

* The blisters on my right foot … My big toenail hurt so badly I went to MedExpress at 7pm on Monday night to have them drain it because I wasn’t confident in my ability to stick a safety pin under my nail despite hearing stories of friends who successfully performed self-surgery. ;-) After waiting two hours I was told there was nothing to drain and given an antibiotic prescription. THIS IS WHY WE HAVE SUPERBUGS PEOPLE! After frantically calling every podiatrist within walking distance, I finally got an appointment at 10:30am. “Do you want me to pop it off?” she asked after an examination. “Uh, can we try to drain it first.” Even she didn’t think there was anything to drain, but I know my toes and I was right. She poked it with a needle and immediately there was fluid flowing. I only wish I would have taken a video of the procedure to share with the dr and nurse who didn’t even try to alleviate my pain (I had told both of them that “I’m dying, it hurts so bad, you have to do something!”). I also have a blister on the sole of my foot that the podiatrist tried to shave some skin off to help, but that didn’t do anything. I’m contemplating the safety pin.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Meaningful Moments and Music: The Afghan Whigs at Union Transfer on September 12, 2017

So many meaningful moments and bittersweet memories over the past few days.

On Saturday, I ran the Undy Run in memory of Joe and Dave Rosser to support the Colon Cancer Alliance.

On Tuesday, thanks to my dear friend Anne, we spent the evening with The Afghan Whigs at Union Transfer.

On Friday, I registered for the 2018 Boston Marathon as a time qualifier.

Just over 5 years ago I connected with Anne through our love of The Afghan Whigs. We soon discovered that we were also mother runners.

I was so inspired when Anne reached her goal to run the 2016 Boston Marathon. Her love and support kept me going as I kept trying to reach my BQ goal.

I've been running to the music of The Afghan Whigs since the days of the cassette Walkman and finished my 1st marathon in 1995.

Twenty-one years later I qualified to run the 2018 Boston Marathon (my 12th attempt since 2013) while raising awareness & funds for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer in memory of Michael & GG.

Thanks again to Greg, John, Patrick, Jon, Rick & Dave for the music that keeps me running.

As soon as I learned I'd have a chance for a photo opp, I knew I had to put the flat twins on sticks. ;-)

Greg is holding me and John is holding Leah.

Greg's reaction when I showed him the flat twins was awesome.

I would've left happy with these priceless photos of the flat twins with the band but they insisted I get in on a group photo.

I wasn't feeling particularly photogenic but I'm grateful they persisted even if I think I look like a deer in headlights.  ;-)

Pre-concert selfie with Anne and our signed VIP posters.

Mother runners who rock the front row.


Thanks to Joe del Tufo for this concert review and photos:

The Afghan Whigs mesmerize at Union Transfer


Arabian Heights
Light as a Feather
Honky’s Ladder
Toy Automatic
Can Rova / Last Goodbye (Jeff Buckley cover)
What Jail Is Like
Going to Town (Slight Return)
Demon In Profile
It Kills
John the Baptist
Somethin’ Hot
I Wanna Be Your Lover (Prince cover)
Amphetamines & Coffee
Into the Floor


Parked Outside
Summer’s Kiss
Faded (with intro: How Deep Is Your Love - Bee Gees cover)

P.S. This is why I love YouTube ...

Dear Prudence at the VIP Soundcheck

Going to Town at the VIP Soundcheck

Birdland / Arabian Heights




Light as a Feather

Honky’s Ladder


Toy Automatic

Can Rova / Last Goodbye (Jeff Buckley cover)

What Jail Is Like
Going to Town (Slight Return)
Demon In Profile

It Kills

John the Baptist

Somethin’ Hot
I Wanna Be Your Lover (Prince cover)
Amphetamines & Coffee
Into the Floor


Parked Outside
Summer’s Kiss

Faded (with intro: How Deep Is Your Love - Bee Gees cover)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Leah Runs 2017 Chicago Marathon to Support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer

Leah & Malinda are identical twins and marathon moms. They deemed themselves "Twins Run in Our Family" to share there experiences about running together to support causes they care about.

Michael, Leah's brother-in-law, was diagnosed with leukemia as a child. Michael kept fighting cancer with his inspiring Irish spirit so it was very bittersweet when he died on St. Patrick's Day 2003.

The twins' grandmother, affectionately know as GG, was diagnosed with cancer on Friday, July 13, 2012 and died on Monday, July 16, 2012.

Leah and Malinda joined Team Lemon in March 2012. Together they have raised $3,131 in memory of Michael and GG.

Leah is grateful for the opportunity to run the 2017 Chicago Marathon (her 30th marathon since 2007) to support childhood cancer research.

No donation is too small to fight childhood cancer with Team Lemon.

Donate $2 or more online:

Or, text "LEMONADE E93394" to "85944" to donate $10 by phone

Thanks so much for your support and generosity.

Fighting childhood cancer, one mile at a time!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Make It Your Moment: Malinda Ann's 1st Boston Marathon

“It’s through storytelling that I motivate myself. I try to come up with a story that will motivate me to get out there and attempt a goal"
- Joan Benoit Samuelson

"So many moments make up a marathon. All uniquely personal, but when looked at together they truly embody what it means to #BeBoston." - John Hancock Extra Mile

“You're alive in the moment, and the moment is truly all anyone has.”
- Greg Dulli

I've started writing this post dozens of times...

Tears come to my eyes whenever I think of all the people who helped me on my long road to Boston.

The moments that made up my marathon story were so meaningful to me that it's been difficult for me to put the experience into words.

As I begin to write my story, I want to express my deepest gratitude for all the support I received before, during and after my 1st Boston Marathon.

I will continue to add to this post as I gather my thoughts. I hope that my story will inspire others in the way that so many stories have inspired me.

In the meantime, my 4 sources for memorable moments on Marathon Monday:

1) Running with Dana-Farber

I was so grateful for the opportunity to be a charity runner.

Running for a reason greater than myself made my experience much more meaningful.

Since 2012, Leah and I have been running with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer in memory of Leah's brother-in-law, Michael and our grandmother, Aileen, known affectionately as "GG" by my daughter.

Since so many of our family and friends have been and continue to be affected by cancer, joining the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge was the perfect choice for me.

It was inspiring to see so many #RunDFMC charity runners and spectators along the course.

I'm so very grateful for the 45 friends and followers who generously donated to Dana-Farber. I matched all the donations that I received to double the impact of your generosity.

Together we we went the distance to conquer cancer. We raised $5,050 and 100% of every $1 donated will support cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

2) Music & Musicians

Music by Plastic Ants, The Afghan Whigs & Greg Dulli kept me moving during my marathon training - especially during my long treadmill runs.

While I often listen to music while running, I chose to run without music for most of the marathon so I could fully appreciate the sounds and sights along the road from Hopkinton to Boston.

"Tough Girls (Got To Tough It Out)" was my #Train2BQ (x 12) theme song. This was also one of the songs that motivated Leah during her painful run and kept us running together to the finish line.

I've been running to music by The Afghan Whigs and Greg Dulli for over 23 years. Receiving these messages of support from The Afghan Whigs & Greg Dulli meant so much to me.

3) Spectator Support

The spectator support from Hopkinton to Boston is awesome.

Thanks to Wellesley's Munger Hall for our Scream Tunnel signs.

I made certain to show my support to all spectators cheering along the road to Boston.

I shouted "THANK YOU!" until I was hoarse and high-fived as many spectators as physically possible.

Tears welled up in my eyes many times as I remembered the spectators killed and injured on April 15, 2013. I continue to think of everyone whose lives were forever changed on that tragic day.

I've tried many times to express my thoughts about my experience in Boston on April 15 but I still can't find the words.

Thanks again to Mark Remy for writing "Standing Ovation" - I've read this dozens of times over the years and it still brings tears to my eyes.

4) Family, Friends & Followers

Many thanks to our family who helped us reach this milestone.

Many thanks to my twin, Leah, for running together with me.

Many thanks to our friends who supported us on our journeys.

Many thanks to my friend Elissa for her continuous support and inspiration. So grateful to Elissa for setting-up "Malinda runs 2017 Boston Marathon!" Facebook event and encouraging others to donate.

Many thanks to my friend Anne for her continuous support and inspiration. Anne ran her 1st Boston last year and wrote an emotional post about her experience that motivated me to keep trying to BQ.

Many thanks to our running friends from Charlottesville for making us laugh at the post-marathon dinner hosted by Heidi.

Many thanks to Mark Remy (Dumb Runner) for The World's Dumbest Coverage of the World's Best Marathon® and for writing about his experience as a blind guide.

Many thanks to our followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for your virtual support.

To be continued ... 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2017 Boston Marathon - 90+ Runner, Volunteer and Spectator Recaps

The Boston Marathon has thousands of stories to inspire you. If you were a runner, volunteer or spectator and wrote a recap, please share your link in the comments (posted after approval) and we'll add your link to our list of recaps.

90+ Boston Marathon Recaps (listed alphabetically by blog or website)

Boston Marathon Recap – 2017

#257: 2017 BOSTON MARATHON RECAP - Another Mother Runner

My Boston Build-up as Told on Instagram - Esther Atkins on AthleteBiz

O&P student completes third Boston Marathon - Baylor College of Medicine

The Boston Marathon Story - By Jill Geer on AthleteBiz

To Boston with Love (Part 2) - The Bed Rest Book Club

To Boston with Love (Part 2) - The Bed Rest Book Club

Boston Maathon Recap - Bite My Words

Double the Fun: My Boston Marathon Adventure - Blind Beer Runner

The Greatest Reward: Meeting Brafton at the Finish Line - Brafton

Krys Zybowski Of Avon Finishes Third In Handcycle Division Of Boston Marathon

“Prove It” by @Bromka

80-year-old Calgary runner logs another fine Boston Marathon finish - Calgary Herald

Left on Hereford, Right on Boylston - Carolyn Elizabeth Mueller

Meet the Canadian who ran the Boston Marathon 8 months pregnant - Chatelaine

Boston Marathon Recap - Jordan Rose

Boston Marathon Recap - Sammy Creath

Boston Marathon Recap - Chris Weimar

Boston Marathon Recap - Dave K Jaer

The World's Dumbest Coverage of the World's Best Marathon® - Dumb Runner

Boston Marathon: Oakland Twp. runner gets better with age - Detroit Free Press

2017 Boston Marathon!!!!! - Girl Goes Running

Boston Not Yet Worth - Girl Running Crazy

‘Totally surreal experience’: Edmonton woman with rare disorder runs Boston Marathon. 

Boston Marathon - Hannah Spicher
Guiding the Way: On the Streets and in Life

What It's Like to Run the Boston Marathon - Iffley Road

What Running Boston Marathon Did to My Health - Inside Tracker

Make it Your Moment - JH Extra Mile

Long-time Spectator, First-time Runner: Karen McGill’s Journey to Boylston - JH Extra Mile

Doug Laufer Boston Marathon - KOAN News Radio

La Jolla-based company helps legally blind runner finish Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon Recap - Laura J Kline

Boston Marathon 2017 Recap - Legally Liz

Week of Boston - Little Runner Girl

Boston Part II: Weekend Activities - Little Runner Girl

Boston Part III: The Big Day - Little Runner Girl

Boston Part IV: Post Marathon - Little Runner Girl

Boston Marathon 2017 Race Recap - The Lone Runner

Boston Marathon Review - Long Run Life

For Team Middlemiss of Dracut, marathon 'was such a special moment' - Lowell Sun

Boston Marathon - Hot, Hilly, Amazing :) - Magic of Running

My First Running of the Boston Marathon - Marathon and Spring

Eye Contact! - Mary Rasmusen Coaching

Thoughts from Team MTF about their Boston Marathon experience - Massage Therapy Foundation

Spectating the 2017 Boston Marathon - Mastering Running

The Boston Marathon - Megan O'Brien

5 Things I Learned Running a Marathon With a Blind Friend - Men's Health (Mark Remy)

BOSTON MARATHON RECAP - 3:16:21 - Michigan Marathoner

Blake Russell, Marathon Mom: Lessons learned from Boston - Monterey Herald

Sixty Newbury Students Volunteer at Boston Marathon - Newbury College

Boston Champ Juggles Marathons, 5 Kids, Kenyan Farm - NPR

Boston Marathon 2017 Race Recap - Organic Runner Mom

Running Boston: A dream with a finish line - Positively Brie

Boston Marathon Recap - Rhode Runner

Fits Race Recaps - 121st Boston Marathon - The Right Fits

The Boston Marathon Part 1 - The Road Less Run

The Boston Marathon Part 2 - The Road Less Run

Boston Marathon - Rocks on a Fence Post

What We Loved About the 2017 Boston Marathon - Run Blog Run

Weekly Recap - April 17 - Recovering from Boston Marathon - Run Canvas

Boston Marathon Featured Runners Follow-Up - Run Canvas

Boston Marathon Recap & Course Description - Run Eat Repeat


13 Reasons Not to Run the Boston Marathon - Runner with Reiselust

Left on Boyston - A Runner's Sole

Endless Pain, Five Seizures, and 26.2 Miles of Never Giving Up - Runner's World

The fun story behind the man who ran a 2:35 Boston Marathon in plaid - Running Magazine

The Boston Marathon Recap - Running Boston and Beyond

Boston Marathon 2017 Recap - Running Fabulously

The Run of Champions: A Recap of the Boston Marathon ’17 - Running with Faith

2017 Boston Marathon Recap - Running in T Shirt

Boston Marathon 2017 Race Recap - Running Wife

Boston Marathon Team Recap - Rogue Racers

Recap Boston Marathon 2017 - Sara Bozich

Race Recap - The Boston Marathon - Simple Fit Life Colorado

Boston Marathon Race Recap - Sugar Runs

Racing with Diabetes at the 2017 Boston Marathon - Team Novo Nordisk

2017 Boston Marathon Recap - Team Shenanigans

Boston Marathon Week Part 1 - Terry Runs

From Boston with Love - Tracksmith

Twins Run Boston 2017 - Leah's Race Recap - Twins Run In Our Family

Make it Your Moment - Malinda's 1st Boston Marathon - Twins Run In Our Family

Twins Ran Boston Marathon to Support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute - Twins Run in Our Family

Boston Marathon 2017 - QBS Companies

Watch “How Does it Feel? 2017 Boston Marathon” - Vimeo by Abbott World Marathon Majors

2017 Boston Marathon with Achilles International - Wife Mother Runner

Boston Marathon - Women's Running

Video Shares Runner’s Experience Finishing The Boston Marathon - Women's Running

2017 Boston Marathon Recap - YouTube

Racing the Elites in Boston - Zensah

Monday, April 24, 2017

Twins Run Boston 2017 - Leah's Race Recap

No words can express how grateful I am to my identical twin sister for sticking by my side for one of my most difficult marathons ever. Despite one bad thing after another sabotaging the race I had trained months for, I was determined to spend most of the Boston Marathon not wallowing in how badly I was feeling (both physically and emotionally), but being appreciative for the support of my sister because without her the entire experience would have been so much worse and not nearly as special and memorable.

My biggest post-race regret is wondering if I’d adjusted my goal before the starting line, could we both have actually enjoyed the time from Hopkington to Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline, and Boston? Was it ever possible for me to have a relaxed, celebratory, long run to Boylston Street? Or was I doomed to experience extreme discomfort and struggle to finish no matter what?

Even though I was struggling for miles and miles, it gave me a boost to see how excited my twin was to be there ... hi-five'ing hundreds of fans, smiling as they called out "GO TWINS RUN!" "LOVE THE SPARKLE SKIRTS!"

I competed in three races before Boston that predicted I was in shape for a 3:42-3:51 marathon (two ten milers in 1:21 and 1:20 and an 8K in 38:53). So I felt relatively confident that under the right conditions I could run my A goal of 3:52, especially since I had previously run Boston in 3:53 in 2013 and 3:52 in 2014. Not only did I have those race performances to boost my confidence, but for the first time in leading up to the Boston Marathon, I had run five long runs of 20 miles or more on the roads, the longest being 24 miles. My final long run was my strongest and fastest and I truly believed I was ready to move past my disappointing performances in Boston 2015 and Chicago 2016 when I ran 4:08 and 4:07. It seemed like an eternity since the last time I achieved my goal in a marathon - Chicago 2015 when I ran 3:49:56 to BQ for 2017, but I was hopeful I could finally break my bad streak of "failures".

The first thing that derailed me on race day was a blister on the top of my right big toe. I can’t believe how something so small can hurt so much, and I’ve never had a blister develop so soon into a race. I was trying to adjust my gait to not exasperate the pain, but it was of no use.

 After 5K I knew a time goal was out the window, but our pace didn’t really start to tank until after 13 miles, that’s when I realized it was going to be a long, painful day. I was near tears confiding to my sister, “I can’t believe I trained so hard for this and it was all for NOTHING!.” Unfortunately, it wasn't just the blister that I had to endure.

As the miles went on my piriformis was seriously hurting me (and I had endured three dry needling sessions a week prior to the race hoping to calm down the area), I got some serious chafing under my right arm and I felt really hungry early on despite eating more prior to the race than I ever had before and taking gatorade at nearly every stop. I had no energy and felt tired by mile 14 and it just kept getting worse every mile thereafter. I was running 11-12 minute pace and wasn't even stopping for a walk break. This was the first time I actually "ran" through the Newton Hills without stopping for a lengthy walk break.

I shared my race photos with a co-worker who asked if I always run with my hair down. Not usually! That’s a clear sign of me giving up on time and hoping for some decent race photos. That’s also why I always run a marathon with lipstick in my pocket. I started reapplying as I was slogging up Heartbreak Hill and a spectator laughed, “Look at her! She’s running and putting on lipstick!” I did so one more time at mile 25 in the portapotty with the added benefit of having a mirror.

I’m so grateful for the amazing spectators who bring plenty of food for the runners, especially along the Newton Hills. When I saw Sour Patch Kids listed as an option on a poster board filled with types of snacks, I doubled back and asked for a bag, screaming “thank you so much! I love you!”

Soon after that I grabbed a bag of pretzels and nearly broke down in tears when I saw a message was written on the plastic bag, “I BELIEVE IN YOU!” That was the only photo I took along the course – a picture of that bag in front of my sister running ahead of me. My husband thinks that kind of motivational stuff is corny, but I NEEDED that so much at that point of the course. Those random acts of kindness is what makes Boston Marathon Spectators the best in the world. I hope I have the opportunity to be a be part of that amazing cheer squad next year.

Random thoughts -

Before the race a group of guys were offering cans of beer. I stopped for a novelty photo of me pretending to grab one. One guy yelled, 'No taking pictures if you're not going to drink it!" Wondering if maybe I should have taking that can. :)

Early on when Malinda started to complain about it being hot before stopping herself, I said with a chuckle, “The sun is giving me energy!” Yeah, right. 😊

A picture is worth a 1000 words and everyone sees something different. One of my fave pictures from the race got these different reactions from two of my friends:

- “Malinda looks all happy and shit and you look near death.”

- “Looking good! A true jock.”

Never grab a shot of alcohol if you think you might spill it on yourself. I must have run almost 6 miles smelling like beer and that was not pleasant. ☹

Nothing is more exciting than running into someone from your hometown. I saw another Charlottesville runner early on in the race and we both agreed it was a day to give up on a time goal. With less than a mile to go, a very speedy Linda Scandore, passed us and said hi on her way to a 10th place Age Group finish and another BQ, surpassing her goal time. WOW!

Power songs that I played over and over –  “Tough Girls (Got to Tough it Out) by Plastic Ants, “Alright” by Aaron Sprinkle, and “In this Together” by Apoptygma Berzerk

Many thanks to our family, friends, runners and others who donated to Malinda's Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge fundraising page.

It's not too late to help Malinda reach fundraising goal by Wednesday, May 17. If you can donate $5 by May 17, we'll match your gift to double the impact of your generosity. No donation is too small and 100% of every $1 supports cancer research.

Thanks so much for your support!