Photographs by Alex Howell

Day 146

Added on by Alex Howell.

13.2 miles today. The big half marathon is finally here. All those weeks of training, sore legs, tiredness, 292 miles of training, all for this.

First, it was so nice to have the race be in East Boston/Revere. With my new job change happening so close to the race, I’ve been working insane hours and so I was a bit tired. Not having to drive far made a huge difference. I got home from work around 10 pm, drank a few glasses of water, and went straight to bed. I was pretty dang tired, and actually got a good amount of sleep considering I was pretty amped for the race. I woke up around 6 am, got some coffee into me to kickstart the system, did my requisite two visits to the bathroom, and we hit the road.

Getting to Suffolk Downs was fairly easy, with a little bit of traffic around the entrance. It’s such a huge, weird property, but there was plenty of parking and picking up my bib and shirt was painless (the shirt is great). I warmed up a bit, got my ankles ready to go, and Melissa and I took a picture in front of the horse starting gates which were set up near the race start (a nice touch).

Us and the starting gates

The race started at 8:15, so we began to lineup at 7:50 or so. Lots of nervous energy. The race people did their usual thanking of the sponsors and volunteers, someone sang the national anthem (beautifully), and the mayor of Revere said some quick words. Then we were off.

In hindsight, I went out perhaps a bit too fast, but that’s to be expected for the beginning of a race. I did commit myself to steady 9 minute miles, and for the most part I succeeded. The race started out primarily in East Boston, and we ran through Orient Heights to the loop that I always do around Belle Isle Marsh and headed out to Revere Beach. This was by far the easiest part of the run course-wise, but also the most monotonous – a lot of looping around Revere Beach before we headed back to Suffolk Downs. The race did an amazing job with aid stations and the making of the course. Everything made sense, aid stations were everywhere with both Gatorade and water, and all the volunteers were great. There were also random local bands all over the course, with some great State Police bagpipers at Belle Isle and two fantastically cheesy bands at Revere Beach and the finish line. Weather was also perfect, sunny and a little breezy with temps around 65ºF.

I was very consistent until mile 11.5, where I started to falter a bit. At that point it was the farthest I had ever run, and while I tried mentally to not let that get to me, I think it did affect things a bit. My legs also started to get tired and tight, and I had to stop and give them a stretch twice from this point on.

The most amazing part was around Beachmont, when I was feeling pretty low, Melissa magically appeared and began to pace me until the finish line. This was such a help, and it made me fall in love with her all over again. We went steady until cheesy band #2, and from there I booked it to the finish line. Final time: 2:02, for an average of 9:15 per mile. Right where I wanted and expected to be.

This was by far the most challenging run I’ve ever done, and the most satisfying. It’s amazing to think where I was just 4.5 months ago. It’s also the best I’ve felt in a long time – I was euphoric, and if I didn’t know any better I would have guessed I was tipsy.

9/14/14

Day 143

Added on by Alex Howell.

No run – taking it easy until Sunday.

Day 142

Added on by Alex Howell.

Now officially in taper mode until Sunday. Legs are tight from yesterday, but not too crazy.

Today is also my first day at Bondir Concord. I'm very excited, but also a bit nervous.

Day 141

Added on by Alex Howell.

11.3 miles today. I really wanted at least 12 (and was hoping for 13), but 11 isn’t too shabby. The really good news is I felt pretty damn great until mile 9, and then fatigue really set in and I felt lousy.

This is my last run until the race. I feel pretty ready. I can definitely get that last 1.8 miles on race day.

9/9/14

Day 140

Added on by Alex Howell.

No run. I’m off to Concord to do some stuff there.

Day 139

Added on by Alex Howell.

No run. Too tired from the previous run and a bit of hard partying from my last night at West Bridge.

Day 138

Added on by Alex Howell.

6.12 miles and .73 miles today on perhaps the hottest day of the summer. In hindsight, I’m not sure why I chose to go run around the Charles River Esplanade on a hot yet beautiful Saturday, but I did. Super crowded and also hosting a crazy American Heart Association walk, so I was constantly dodging gaggles of women slow walking and hundreds of other joggers. Oh well.

Run-wise this was a very tough one, just because of how hot it was. The heat just completely zaps my energy. I slogged through and got to a little over 6 miles, but had to stop because I was starting to feel queasy. After some water and some power walking, I went pretty hard back to the car (mostly to avoid getting a ticket) and then headed back to the house. This one was ridiculous, but I simply need the miles.

9/6/14 Part 1

9/6/14 Part 2

Day 135

Added on by Alex Howell.

6.07 miles today. Couldn’t stay away from the GBFSP. I went out this time alone and with a better idea of where to go and how far I wanted to go. If I’m honest with myself I should be doing a lot more road running (the big half marathon is about two weeks away), but trail running is just so much more fun.

Other than getting turned around once and doing a second loop around a corn field, I managed to find my way through some great trails and back to the car. It was another hot day, but I was out earlier and was able to stay within the more forest-like areas, so I didn’t feel it as much.

9/3/14

Day 133

Added on by Alex Howell.

4.08 miles today. Had Labor Day off to spend with Melissa, so we went out to a new area nearby my new job in Concord. Had a lovely drive out to Carlisle, and started to explore the Great Brook Farm State Park. Truly gorgeous land with wonderful not too technical trails. Melissa and the Pisca went for a walk as I ran – it was very warm and sunny but with the overhead tree cover things were okay. I got lost a few times (the trails are very poorly marked), but managed to get in 4 miles before I started to overheat. Awesome run, I will definitely be back many times.

9/1/14

Day 132

Added on by Alex Howell.

No run, but definitely going out tomorrow.

Day 130

Added on by Alex Howell.

Really itching for a run, but simply no time.

Day 127

Added on by Alex Howell.

No run today. Due to work stuff and my imminent job change I don’t think I’ll be getting much running in this week.