You know you’re a crazy runner when…

  • You go on a vacation and get in a few short runs on the beach in hot and humid temps, even though you probably don’t need to
  • You buy another pair of running shorts because they are on super sale, even though you have PLENTY already
  • You buy new Oiselle leggings at the beginning of summer because “Why not? I’ll need them in the winter!”
  • Your last several apparel purchases have all been running related
  • You go to get a cool 40th anniversary Fleet Feet hat and end up with two more pairs of running shoes because they were $20 each (duh!)
  • You log every mile you run for every pair of running shoes you rotate through in the notes section of your phone
  • You buy pickle juice shots because you can always use something else new and interesting to help hydrate
  • You take feet selfies of your running shoes after your runs (#shoeselfie)
  • You add lots of hashtags to your IG posts so other runners will find your posts (#this, #that…)
  • You enter drawings for free marathons trips, like Uganda and Nepal, because why not?
  • You buy another trucker hat (not pictured below), because it’s a cool Timex Factory Team hat, even though you really don’t look that great in trucker hats

trucker hats are kind of big on me

 **If you’re reading this, you’re probably a crazy runner too! **

I finally have a plan!

My last post explained that I didn’t have a plan and it was driving me insane. I was literally going insane. Well, good news, I have a plan! I guess things all fall in line the way they are supposed to. I just didn’t think it would take so long.

After not getting into the New York Marathon (again!), I considered fundraising for Team in Training. I found out, though, that they were all sold out and had no spots left. Just my luck! I also found out the fundraising minimum was higher than I thought, so it was just as well that it didn’t work out. So, I got a little agitated and kind of freaked. Yeah…this sounds like weird behavior.

Very quickly, the Iceland Marathon came back around as an idea. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time now but kind of scrapped it for this year’s plan since my 40th birthday is coming up in September and we were pretty set on going to Bali to celebrate. But after all the NY Marathon stuff, I decided that maybe Iceland might be what I needed. So, Clint got on board (he actually suggested it again) and I registered for the race just a couple weeks ago!

I decided that the Iceland Marathon WILL BE my 40th birthday celebration! Isn’t that a little weird and crazy?! I don’t care. I know it’s what will make me happy. Traveling and running to celebrate the next decade in my life….sounds great to me!!

So, today starts my next 18 week journey of training. 18 weeks of building this body up to running 26.2 miles again. I’m really excited! I’m really excited I have a plan finally and I’m really excited about seeing Iceland and running through the country in August!

I’ll try and keep you posted on other great running related stuff very soon (I’ve been slacking as of late). I do have a lot of cool stuff going on. Hope you are all having fun out there – Spring has Sprung!

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis



What’s the plan?

Yeah, that’s what I have been asking myself this whole month. That’s what so many other people keep asking me as well! Every January, you start with a clean slate and look at the year ahead and plan adventures, mini vacations, races and more. But, I have yet to plan anything and it’s been very strange for me. Honestly, it’s been driving me bonkers. I am a planner so not having a plan is hard for me.

I have been trying to be calm about it and be okay with not having a plan for a change, but I am feeling the need to at least get some races on the calendar. I feel like, when I have a plan, then I have a goal or something to look forward to and something to work towards.

I recently was accepted into #TeamSRA which was really exciting! I was part of Sacramento Running Association’s Ambassador team (called the AmbasSRAdors) last year and applied again for this year. They decided to split it into two teams and I will be part of this newly created one. So, this helped in my motivation of continuing my passion of running! It’s exciting to be a part of a team of runners who feel the same and love being a part of the Sacramento running community.

I also applied for the New York City Marathon lottery last week. I have lost count on how many years I’ve done this, but I am sure it’s at least 5. Hopefully, I will be chosen this year! It would be a nice 40th birthday celebration to run this!

As far as other races, I have no idea yet what I will do (other than the CIM which I run every December). I have an idea for a international race, but I’ll let you know down the road if/when it comes to fruition.

So, until then, I will just keep running my short runs, keep thinking about where I want to spend my money, what races sound fun this year, and what will keep me motivated. What races are you running this year?? Anything fun and interesting or anything you want to suggest??

**Note: I wrote this in January and forgot to (didn’t want to) publish it.**


With the year coming to a close, we all tend to look back on the year; what we’ve been through and what we’ve accomplished. My year started off a little shaky and stressful but quickly turned into one amazing and epic year full of great adventures and a lot was crossed off my bucket list.

Clint and I bought a house together (crazy!), I ran a marathon in Tokyo, Japan(!), ran the Boston Marathon a second time (such a great time!), then ran the Boston to Big Sur Challenge six days later (I’m one of those crazies)…then started training for an ultra…then ran the Athens and Istanbul Marathons within a week of each other, and finished off with running the California International Marathon for the 8th year in a row. That was six marathons this year! Ummmm, crazy!

I met new running friends this year, became a USATF official, worked as an expo coordinator for the CIM (that local, hometown marathon of ours), and also helped coach the Runnin’ For Rhett organization’s half marathon training program in the fall. Yeah…a lot of running stuff. But as I get older, I realize more and more that passion is the key to happiness. Do the things you really love!

Aside from running, I got to hot air balloon twice(!) and see the Grand Canyon finally. BIG checks off the good ‘ol bucket list.

I wish for you all to do the things you love so you can find your happiness. I hope your 2016 is as great as my 2015 was. I really don’t know how I will ever be able to top it, but I do know there’s still lots out there for me to learn, discover and see in the world. I have plenty of other countries on my list of where I hope to run all over the world. I’m hoping to get more in next year. Peace!


Tokyo, Boston, Big Sur, Athens, Istanbul and CIM #2015bestsix



#8 CIM: My hometown – 2015

This year’s CIM brought no expectations. I had just run two marathons back-to-back three weeks prior (Athens & Istanbul) and had long work days leading up to the race so I had no idea how my body was going to feel running my last 26.2 of the year. I was feeling positive though so I knew no matter what I was going to have fun. This is my hometown race and I get to see my friends cheering on the sidelines, fellow runners on the course, and I know the course like the back of my hand. This is something I miss when I run out of the country.

I did my usual routine and prepped all my running gear the night before. I ate my pizza immediately after I got home from work about 7:30pm. I ate the same pre-race breakfast, except forgot to eat some banana. I even hydrated a ton the day before while I was working because the Nuun rep suggested I bring a water bottle and fill up on their free electrolytes all day at the expo. I was so glad he had suggested that!

When we got to the start, Jen and I met up with her friend LaDawn and my friend Scott, who was running his first marathon. We got into the pack and took off at 7! Jen was feeling good and was going a little faster than I wanted to run, but I stuck with her for about 4.5 miles then I dropped back to run with Scott. I had told him I’d help him get to the finish line under 4 hours, which usually isn’t that hard for me to do. We were running a steady pace that felt very comfortable but around mile 13 my quads started to feel pretty heavy. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to keep this pace the rest of the way. So about mile 14.5 or so I told Scott to go ahead and try and keep up with my friend Brian. Brian just passed us and was slightly in front of the 3:55 pacer so I knew he could bring Scott home so he could reach his goal. I felt bad I had to drop back but I had to be smart and I knew my legs weren’t going to be able to take a harder beating of going faster. It just wasn’t going to happen.


You feel better when you’re having fun!

After Scott left me, I saw Deirdre Fitzpatrick from KCRA running and I said Hi to her. Then about mile 16 I thought it would be fun to take a pic of myself at the mile marker and posted to Instagram. At this point I totally didn’t care about my time and was just going to have fun. Not too long after, a fellow SRA ambassador, Leo, came up and we started running together (I ran with him earlier, as well, around mile 10). We were pretty much in the same boat and just wanted to have fun and finish, no matter how that happened. Around mile 18, I think, I was so hungry so I grabbed a handful of a brownie bite, orange slice, red licorice, and ate one of my chia surge gels. I have only been hungry during a race once before and that was in Paris, so this was weird.


Nuria’s husband and their adorable pooch


Drinking about half a Guinness

I saw Nuria (from Buffalo Chips and my Boston 365 group) and her husband and took a picture with them, then saw Katie and her crew from Team in Training, I fist pumped to a few bands as I ran by, then I came upon my friend Manny who was walking around the 21 mile marker. He was having a hard time, so I stuck with him. Then I saw Leo again and he joined us. It just became a party! As we were crossing the bridge, Tiffany, another SRA ambassador, joined us for a bit and we all chatted about our struggles, but none of us were negative or feeling let down. We were all smiling! We just sucked it up and made the most of it.  We had to keep stopping to tend to Manny’s inner quad that kept knotting up. We rolled it out periodically with a small water bottle and he stretched on the railings. At this point we were in East Sac and this is where I get a little excited each year. My friends and Clint are always waiting at Bonn Lair at 37th and J with beers for runners and I get so pumped when I see them. It gives me some energy to get to the finish. We stopped this year and drank some Guinness as they videotaped the madness. They were calling it #guinnessmile which makes me laugh! We now have an official hashtag for this stop on the CIM course. Manny downed the beer; I couldn’t finish it. But it was fun to see them for a few and then we took off. We turned onto Alhambra, saw my friend Katy and took pics with her. We were getting so close but it was still tough.


Me and Manny – we’re smiling!

As we approached the finish, Manny was still having a tough time with his quad, but I made sure he was okay and then I took off to the finish line. I was really happy to finish, although I never doubted I would make it, I just knew it was going to take a while. My time didn’t matter at all, having finished three marathons in a month (dumb! don’t do this!). If you really want to know, it was officially my worst marathon time. BUT! I was smiling the entire way, I LOVED how many friends I saw along the course and on the course, I got to chat with new SRA amabassador friends that I met this year, I ate lots of food on the course, I drank more beer at Bonn Lair this year than I ever had in the past (PR!), and I’m just happy to continue my tradition of running the CIM each year. This is the only race I run every year. It makes me happy to continue my streak.

It really was one of my favorite races that I’ve completed. Time is definitely not everything. While I love running abroad and seeing new countries, there is nothing like running in your hometown and having so  many people supporting and cheering you on. I don’t get this when I run international races. I’m alone, can’t understand what people are saying as they chat to their friends while they’re running, it can sometimes get boring, and I have to stay super motivated. But, all of these experiences, whether abroad or in town, are what making marathoning (is this a word?) so magical for me. Every race is different and that’s what makes it an adventure and experience for me. These are the best experiences!


Manny, Katy, me and Michelle in front of Limelight

My friend Scott and I chatted the next day after the race and he mentioned that he didn’t get to have as much fun as I did because he was so focused on his goal. I told him that’s what happens…you kind of have blinders on and don’t see what’s around you or get to laugh, smile and enjoy what’s going on. That’s why I mix up my races so I can have both experiences.

Cheers to all my fellow runner friends! You are all amazing! Keep chasing your dreams!




Athens Marathon ’15

Intro –

After I ran the Boston to Big Sur Challenge back in April I really didn’t think I’d run back-to-back marathons again. It definitely wasn’t easy and wasn’t something that I was keen on doing again. However, when the opportunity came to go to Greece for a “racecation” I was doing research and discovered that the Istanbul Marathon was the following weekend. This race was already on my bucket list so I HAD to do it if we were going to be traveling that far and had already talked about going to Turkey. So, here I was again, faced with back-to-back marathons, but I wasn’t stressed about it at all. I knew I wasn’t going to be running them for time or super fast, so I was pretty confident I’d be ok.

Athens Marathon


Carb loading with a gyro and greek salad

After having a super late carb up meal around 12:30am after Clint arrived in Athens and only two hours of sleep, I left a sleeping Clint to walk to the metro to get to the buses leaving for the city of Marathonas. The buses loaded up at the Parliament building in Syntagma Square and it was dark. I chatted with a Parisian and another American from the Bay Area on the bus, which made time pass quickly. The sun was rising and it was beautiful when we arrived. I dropped off my gear bag and headed for a porta pottie. In the meantime, runners were warming up on the track at the field we were at. I watched them go round and round. It was like watching a treadmill with lots of people. It just kept going and going. Not long after, we got in our corrals and we were asked to raise our right hands and a special pledge was read out load, although I couldn’t understand what they were saying. As it turned to 9am, the balloons were released and the corrals were off!

photo 1 (5)It was very exciting starting the race and running through Marathonas. I saw these very cool historical kilometer signs along the route designating the marathon course. Not long after we started I noticed spectators in the town passing out small branches of olive leaves to the runners as we passed by. An old woman handed one to me and I quickly figured out how I was going to hold it the entire race, hoping it would give me energy to finish. Many runners tucked them into their hydration belts or hats. I managed to slide mine behind my cell phone armband.

The weather was a lot warmer than I thought it was going to be. I had heard the hills were going to be tough but I hadn’t expected warm conditions. And coming off of being hungover the day before, I had a feeling the warm weather would affect me. I wasn’t concerned with my overall time so I tried to keep a slower pace, but I still struggled during part of it. It was pretty warm and humid, and my body doesn’t do well in these kind of elements.

photo 5

This was a gradual hill…

I was told there would be hills, but didn’t think much of it. I’ve done Heartbreak Hill a few times, but these hills were tough. Long, gradual hills (they call them “gentle long hills”) for most of the middle of the race. The last 6 miles were downhill so I just had to get through the damn hills. I saw a lot of people walking and pulling off with cramps and even witnessed a girl projectile vomit. I felt bad for her and asked if she needed help. She said no as she threw up again…and again. I offered to get a medic which was nearby but she refused help.

The water stations were great and there were plenty, but I dislike when races give full water bottles. It’s such a waste. They also had lots of electrolytes and fruit along the way. Toward the end they even had cups of Coca Cola. I was so happy to have a cup of that sugary goodness. The bubbles were great as well.

There were periods of the course that had lots and lots of spectators yelling “Bravo! Bravo!” but there were definitely stretches with no spectators at all. I did my best to high five as many kids as I could as I ran by. There were quite a few security or police posted along the way as well. As we reached the end and started our way into the center of the city of Athens, the crowds got larger and larger. I looked around hoping to see an American flag or maybe even see Clint, even though I told him to be at the end. We had to designate a meetup spot since we couldn’t communicate by phone. As the crowds got larger and louder, I got more excited to run into the 1896 Panathenaikos Stadium.

photo 4 (2)The last mile was exciting! As I entered the stadium, I pulled out my phone and took video of the last moments. It was unreal. The stadium was so big and there were so many people in the stands. It was loud and amazing. I really don’t know how to describe it. I just looked around at everything trying to take it in.

The unfortunate thing was the volunteers or security, don’t really remember which, wouldn’t let us stop and take pics after we finished. They were just trying to get us through the lines and move us along. I snuck a few pics anyway and then made my way through the long lines to the gear check area, where I told Clint to meet me. Poor guy had waited an hour for me. But I was really glad to see him and he had made me an olive branch crown, which was so sweet. After I got my bearings and relaxed, I made him walk back into the stadium to see it. I wanted him to see how grand and amazing it was. This was history here and he needed to go in there.

IMG_0399We spent a little bit of time in the stands and watched some runners finish. It was so cool, but I knew I wanted to see the stadium empty of all these people at some point in our trip. After getting a few selfies, we walked to the Plaka area and had lunch and relaxed. It was so cool to see all the runners walking around in the area with their medals around their necks. Locals would ask if I ran the full marathon and were impressed. An employee at a boutique we stopped in asked me how I liked the race and I said it was amazing, especially running into the stadium, and then I started to choke up. She knew how special this race was.

This year’s race broke the record of having more than 43,000 total participants and came from 100 countries. 16,000 came to run the classic course (marathon only). Not only is this course the original course, but also the same course used in the 2004 Olympics.

Some of the cool things included in the registration fee: a 5-day transportation pass that could be used for any public transportation during my stay (which was so helpful!),  a cool messenger bag only for the out of town participants, a great Adidas participant shirt, a bad ass finisher medal, and the glory of following the footsteps of Pheidippides on this historic course. It’s a bucket list item for sure if you love running marathons. It wasn’t easy, but when is running a marathon ever easy??


Istanbul Marathon ’15

After running the Athens Marathon, I just did a lot of walking all over Greece and Turkey, so my legs felt really good. I never felt super sore. And I never really thought about the next marathon I was going to run until it was time to go to the expo.

We arrived into Istanbul on Friday afternoon. We had arranged with our airbandb host to meet a private driver at the airport and paid a little extra to have him drive us to the expo on the way into town. I had noticed that the expo was much closer to the airport than to where we were staying so it worked out much better to have him take us there first thing. We told the driver we would be quick and we ran in, grabbed my bib, my shirt and gear bag, and then found a person who spoke English to ask about the buses to get to the start. A lot of people in Turkey do not speak English, so thank goodness there was someone who could help out.

Clint also saw a wall of names and told me to look for my name. We also ran through the expo vendors looking for a kt tape vendor with no luck. I needed a small piece to cover where I had chafed under my sports bra at the Athens Marathon. Oh well, I’ll figure something out.

IMG_0973On race morning, we weren’t sure if Clint could go on the buses with us to the other side of the Bosphorus Bridge, but I wanted him to at least go with me to the bus pickup area to see me off. He was leaving the country the same morning and wouldn’t be around to see me finish so I needed him to be with me for part of it.

The bus pickup area was right next to the Hagia Sophia, which was quite beautiful at that time of morning. As we boarded the buses, I kissed Clint goodbye. I kinda teared up knowing I wasn’t going to see him for a couple days and he wouldn’t be at the finish to greet me, which was the first time I would be by myself after a race.

IMG_0981When we reached the other side of the bridge, we had a lot of time to wait until start time. It was a little windy and cool, but I knew it was going to get warmer. It was also another 9am start time for the marathon. I got rid of my gear bag right way, got in a porta pottie line, and just got in my corral. A lot of people crammed in this narrow area and were pushing and shoving, which was super annoying. I thought it was really interesting they let food vendors in this area. They roamed around the crowds of runners and had Turkish breads, bananas, water, tea and coffee. I’ve never seen anything like this.

I didn’t see any Americans in the corrals, or at least in the area I was in. But I did see a lot of excited and smelly Europeans. As we started the race, you could see the enormous bridge in front of us. It was quite an incredible site and as we ran over it so many people stopped to take pictures or selfies. It was probably the best part of the race.

IMG_0998Around mile 3 or so, I saw a man with an SF Giants hat. I asked if he was from the U.S. But he wasn’t. I think he was Italian but was very nice and wished me luck. I saw another lady wearing a tech shirt from a race in Pennsylvania so I asked if she was from the U.S. She was Polish, living in New Jersey, but in Turkey for work and just randomly decided to do the marathon. I think around Mile 8 I kinda just started running next to a guy that was running the same pace. We didn’t say anything to each other but just kept running together for like 5 miles. It was kind of nice to run with someone. Then he asked what my time goal was and I said I didn’t have one. He assumed I did because I was looking at my watch so he thought he’d keep me company. Turned out he was an Iraqi and British citizen and kind of lives all over. It was his first road race. He had done a couple marathons in the desert so this was different for him. He also said that his friend who was running just the 15k wanted to go out for drinks the night before and they ended up drinking too much, so he was having a hard time. Right after we had this conversation he said he was dropping back and I never saw him again. So much for my pacer.

A long portion of the race (about 20k of it) is just a straight out and back and was just boring and not that exciting. Barely any spectators and no music. It was kind of tough. But as I got closer to the finish, I just tried to hold on even though my legs were getting tired. The last mile was uphill. Lame! But as we entered the area of the finish line, the crowds were large and loud. That definitely helped me get through the end.

IMG_1008The finish area is in between the Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque area in Sultanahmet Square. After passing the finish line, they gave us bags of food and drinks and I immediately drank the orange juice they had given us. It was delicious! We had to filter through the small area and get through the crowd of spectators on the other side of the fencing. I just kept walking straight for my gear bag because I just wanted to take my shoes off and sit down. After I relaxed for a bit and changed my shirt, I finally gathered myself and walked to the nearest metro station only to find it was closed because of the race. Crap! So I had to walk to the bus station, which wasn’t close. I tried to suck it up and continued on through all the tourists and runners in my way. I was getting cranky and needed food. Thank god there was a protein bar in the goodie bag that we got at the finish line. Once I reached the bus station I noticed locals sitting at the stations so I went to the 99 bus stop and sat down. I waited and waited and I was kind of wondering what was taking so long. I asked the guy next to me if they always take so long and I thought he said yes, so I just waited. Then after like 45 minutes, I was over it. They clearly weren’t coming. IMG_1013So, I started walking in the direction of where my neighborhood was and thought maybe I should catch a cab. I asked like 4 taxis and they all turned me down. I was so annoyed. But then I figured out that I think they turned me down because it wasn’t worth their time or money to take me because it wasn’t far. It wasn’t far to them but it was far to me. But what they didn’t know was I didn’t care and would have paid them more to take me because I didn’t want to walk anymore! I was hungry and tired. So, 2 hours after I finished the race, I finally made it to my neighborhood and walked straight into a restaurant with my running clothes on and got something to eat. The guy probably thought I was crazy coming in with all my gear, wearing running clothes, saying I was starving. Oh man! It was good though! By the way, I also got strange looks on the street because I was still wearing my running shorts and I don’t think they are used to females wearing shorts, especially something that short.

IMG_1029After my delicious meal, I walked to our flat and showered, relaxed and ended up falling asleep and taking a 4 hour nap! I’ve never done that after a race, but I think all the walking after the race got to me. Plus, the bed was super comfy and warm. When I woke up I knew I didn’t want to waste my last evening in Istanbul doing nothing in my room, so I rallied and took a cab to Taksim Square and had a beer and dinner. It was like 11pm at this point, but it was pretty lively in the square. After a bit of walking around, I went back to the flat and snuggled back up in bed.

The best part of this race was the Bosphorus Bridge and being able to say I ran from Asia to Europe. This is the only race that crosses two continents and I think that’s really cool! I think this race has about 15,000 and the cutoff time is 5.5 hours, so no dawdlers allowed here. One thing I noticed that was not good was they didn’t have electrolytes at any water stations. Nothing! They did have some gu’s, bananas and apples though. And they used the small water bottles instead of the larger ones, which was less waste. There were not as many spectators at this race though. Pretty slim. But overall, it was a great experience and the sites at the beginning and end were great!IMG_1017

Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge

Holy smokes! First, I didn’t know if I was going to get in. I was on a waitlist for several weeks. Second, after I got in, I wasn’t sure I should do it. Third, I did it!

Here are just some things I experienced during my second marathon in 6 days -

-High-fived Bart Yasso at the Start
-Saw a guy running in a cotton Misfits shirt (kinda awesome!)
-Cows grazing
-Lots of picture stops (beautiful scenery!)
-Orange slices were like heaven in my mouth
-Lot of great music
-Gorgeous views
-When will this hill end??
-Another hill?
-Beautiful sandy beaches
-Hello wind!
-The most amazing strawberries
-Are we there yet?
-I’m so glad I am done!
-Well, I did it! And I now know why they call that a “challenge”.

After the race, we got our medals and our awesome finisher jacket. We also got a special tent with free food and beer and our families could join us as well. That’s it folks! That wraps up 5 marathons in 6 months. It’s time to rest and recover for a bit!

Boston Marathon 2015

How did it sneak up on me so quickly? April crept up on us and it was time to start packing for the Boston Marathon. It had been 494 days since I qualified and now it was time to fly to Boston!

The week leading up to the marathon I had a beerfest to organize and manage. I had to wrap up the event and take care of returning equipment and calculate number of participants and figure out expenses. I had to get a check sent out to our beneficiary. So, I was pretty busy in those days before leaving. But, I still managed to have relaxing runs and all I could think about was being on the Boston Marathon course. There’s just something about it that can bring me to tears.

As I boarded my flight from Phoenix to Boston, I saw fellow runners. Some wearing Boston marathon jackets or sweatshirts or other items that signified they were on their way to Boston to run this great race. I ended up talking to a gal in line who was heading back to Boston where she lives. She was so excited for me to run the race on Monday and said they, meaning the city of Boston, had already started putting up signs like “Boston Strong” and other meaningful items to get ready for this amazing weekend. Turns out the bombing happened right in front of her office. She said she has kept close tabs on the trial of the bomber and how emotional it’s been. I couldn’t helped but get choked up. She also told the boarding agent that I was running the marathon after I was asked to assist in the Exit row, which was pretty funny. She made it sound like I was a superhero and if anything happened I could help everyone with my magical superhero powers. As we boarded the plane she wished me luck.

Being in Boston is just so magical. It really is! I’ve said that before and I mean it. The energy of the people, the energy of what’s going on all weekend, and being around all those amazing athletes from all over the world is just so awesome.

We stopped in a small dog boutique near our hostel and ended up chatting with the owner for a while. She was really happy for me and thanked me for coming all the way from California. She said that a lot of people are afraid to come back. I told her I wasn’t afraid at all and was very happy to be there. We had a great conversation with her and it made our trip to Boston even more special. We love talking to the locals and hearing their stories.

Marathon Monday came very quickly…and the weather went from sunny and beautiful to rainy and cold. But, there’s not much you can do about the elements so we had to just suck it up and do the best we could. As I got on the bus with my friend Jen, I knew this was it. I was heading to the start of my second Boston Marathon. How did this happen? It was so surreal!

We waited in the Athlete’s Village for our turn to line up behind the start line. It was pretty cold but we huddled up under a large tent after using the port o’ johns (as they call them there). As 10:50am approached it literally started raining as the gun went off. And we were off! It was speedy and so cool! I didn’t wear my headphones this time so I could hear everything along the course. I heard screaming, chanting, a lot of “Go Jen!” and “Boston loves Jen!” because Jen wore a shirt that said “Jen Heavy black heart️ Boston”, I high-fived so many spectators, and just enjoyed as much of it as I could. Since I was wearing my Timex shirt several people said “Go Timex!” or “It takes a licking but keeps on ticking” and even an older runner ran by me and showed me his Timex watch that he’s had for 30 years.

So many spectators lined the sides of the street, even in the rain. Spectators had beers, water, licorice, oranges, and Swedish fish, which I took a few cuz I love those little candies. The spectators are what it’s all about. These amazing people from town to town have such a great time cheering all us runners on and getting us to the finish line. The Wellesley girls were “wicked” loud! We could hear them wayyyy before we ran by them. Jen even got a kiss from a British fellow (I think it was a guy). Those girls did not stop screaming! It was pretty insane!

I had a moment between miles 15-16 where I felt a bit of fatigue come on, but I was able to snap out of it. The “hills” came about mile 17 and I just busted through those! I literally chewed ‘em up and spit ‘em out! They actually gave me a ton of energy and adrenalin.

Soon, we saw the Citgo sign and I knew we were getting close. Then I saw the Prudential Tower and knew this was it! As I turned onto Hereford, I was pretty darn excited and popped in another Shot Blok and started sprinting. I looked for Jen and said “Let’s go!!” I saw Boylston ahead and started to tear up. It was then time to turn left down to the finish. I just couldn’t slow down. I looked around trying to find Clint and Katy but couldn’t spot them. I then just focused on the finish line and heard my name called and it was just such a special moment. The whole day was so extraordinary. I felt so lucky to be there again. I also felt so lucky to run with Jen who is just an inspiring and fast runner.

I do have to say, I had a moment while running down Boylston where I thought about the bombings. I looked left to the spot where the first bombing happened. I couldn’t help but not think of that moment in time two years ago. I finished this race for this wonderful city. And even though I wanted to thank everyone along the course for helping me, the volunteers all thanked ME for running! Every single volunteer was genuine and so sincere and they all appreciated what every runner did on Monday. We weren’t afraid to be there.

In 2008, I had no idea what the Boston Marathon was. I qualified a year later and went to my first Boston Marathon in 2011. I was so happy with that accomplishment and never thought about going back because I was satisfied and loved the experience. I qualified at the 2013 California International Marathon because Clint’s cancer battle gave me the motivation to get to Boston again. To be able to go back this year was just more than I could have ever dreamed of. Having Clint and Katy there, to run with Jen, and to know so many people from my training group and other runners from Sacramento made it so memorable. This was my 19th marathon at the 119th Boston Marathon.

I don’t know what the future holds and if I’ll go back, but I know without a doubt that this race was so incredibly special and I’ll never forget it. I came back to chase those unicorns and now have two hanging in my house. It’s just such a great feeling and almost indescribable.

Thank you to everyone for all your support and love!