#36 – Avenue of the Giants – What went wrong…

Oh Hi! Welcome back to my blog! It’s been so long. Covid really did a number. And now after all this time, I have something to write about…

After 16 long Covid months and 3 postponements, the Avenue of the Giants marathon was finally here! I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to perform because it had been so long since I ran a full (almost 2 years!), but also my training was just okay. It wasn’t anything amazing. I was happy to run with some other running friends during this training period, which is definitely helpful in getting through the long runs, but I knew my body wasn’t what it was like last year pre-Covid and while training for this race during the Spring of 2020. I also had to juggle training around my crazy work schedule and swap days and my 20 mile run that should have been at the 3 week from the race mark ended up being 4 weeks out.

I ended up traveling solo up north to Humboldt County and went the afternoon/evening before. Found an Airbnb just about 20 minutes or so from the start of the race. I settled in for the night after driving in a good amount of rain on the way up. I ate some pizza that I cooked before I left home, I had a smoothie from the town store in Phillipsville, and hydrated well during the week and that day. I laid out all my running gear and was ready to go as best as possible. I ended up falling asleep kind of early, but I think that’s just because I drove four hours and was just done for the day. Oh, and my period randomly started. How lovely. Wasn’t expecting this and this can also not be so helpful during races.

I got up bright and early Sunday morning and drove through the rain on the 101. It was a little scary being so dark and slick. When I arrived, everything was going pretty smoothly until I asked a couple next to me in the parking lot if they knew if there was a gear check. She mentioned she hadn’t run this race in years and had forgotten. Then she mentioned something about the email we got with our bib number and I stopped in my tracks. What? What email? I didn’t get one.

So as luck would have it, as I arrived to the table to get my bib, they didn’t have me on the list. Oh man! Had to talk to the RD and sure enough, for some reason they had pushed me to the 2022 list rather than this race. Easy mistake with all the postponements and everything else going on. She was very accommodating and helped me get on the roster for that morning. Got my bib, goodies and finished getting prepped for the race. Ate my Kind bar, banana, drank some Nuun, and utilized the porta potties with no lines.


Race start was 7:45. Less than 200 people at the start. It was misty, wet and humid so I knew this was going to be interesting for myself knowing I don’t do so well in humidity. Most people wore their masks at the start line, which I appreciated, and as the gun went off and we spread out masks came off. All good.

It took my legs a few miles or so to feel warmed up. They actually kind of felt a bit heavy, but after mile 4 I started to feel good. I had my music and just tried to settle in. I had no time goal in mind, so I just settled with the fact that there was no PR or BQ for me in this race and was completely okay with that. It wasn’t even a thought really.

The course was amazingly beautiful with all the lush greenery and tall trees. Well spaced out water and Gatorade tables and some porta potties spread out as well. Volunteers were kind and helpful.thumbnail_49ED7328-0C6F-4A40-944B-7893D948D7E6

As I got to about mile 9 my music stopped. I realized the condensation from the humidity was getting into my phone through my armband. Oh well, no music. I kind of trudged along but I  was just feeling ok. At one point, I felt that my back was completely soaked. You could see other people with completely wet shirts and shorts.

No amazing bursts of energy and no real amazing running feelings. Then around mile 18, after I had already taken a few walk breaks for a few seconds, my right knee started to feel funky on the side. Nothing major but something was off. I kept running but as the miles went on, the feeling was getting worse. I started doing intervals of walking a few seconds or so, then running. But the distance between these was getting smaller and smaller. I ended up having to use the restroom around mile 20 and it was after that, that my knee was getting tighter and tighter. I could walk but once I started running again, my knee just felt like s$&t. The last couple miles were brutal. I could barely run but would still get the intervals in. I literally was saying out loud “you can do it you can do it you can do it” over and over. “Just get to the finish line.” My watch also lost gps signal the last few miles. So everything was going wrong. No music, no phone, no watch, and my body was falling apart. The absolute worst. And no spectators. That was difficult too.


Earlier in the race when I was feeling way better


It’s funny how when you run a marathon you still think “ok, amy, you can get in by 4 hours. It will be fine.” Then it moves to “ok, amy, you can get in by 4:15…no big deal.” Then you see that you are about to hit the 4.5 hr mark and you still say “amy, dude! It doesn’t even matter. You ARE going to cross the finish line (even though you considered finishing only half but then said NO! to yourself) however the hell you get there! Even if you crawl on your hands and knees!”


The last couple miles when I was barely holding on


So my official time was 4:31:22. One of my worst times. But I finished. I gave myself a few seconds to tear up over the agony and what felt like an incredibly unsatisfactory performance. I don’t know why my knee did that since I haven’t had any knee issues in like 10 years. It’s a major IT band flare up. Like super inflamed IT band.


A guy asked me how it was while I was collecting my food goodies at the end. I was disappointed in myself and I replied “It was shitty.” I don’t think he knew what to say to that, poor guy.

I hobbled to my car to change, eat and hydrate. Ate an entire orange so fast, with juice running down my face and arms, but it tasted so amazing. And then got in my car to drive 4+ hours home. That did not help my knee at all but thankfully I had some ice packs in my cooler so I would put them on my knee while I was driving. On the drive, I ate pizza and grapes that I brought and some Doritos they gave at the end of the race. I also drank coconut water and a pressed lemon juice/dragonfruit beverage to hydrate. I knew I needed to get calories in me fairly quickly so I didn’t feel like crap on the drive home.

I checked the official results the next day, to make sure my bib made it in, and weirdly I placed 3rd in my age group. It’s not really saying much cuz that was out of 9 but, hey, whatever. 25/62 gender placement and 86/160 total runners. Not too bad considering I was a wreck. (Insert gigantic laugh) But imagine if I had been in my normal tip top shape…I saw the results for the top 10 women and I possibly would have placed in there. I wondered if this race had happened in May 2020 if I would have had a way better outcome. Honestly, I know I would have. No doubt.

So now I’m nursing my right knee. I need to do some work to get it back in shape. It’s only Tuesday (wrote this yesterday, but published today) and the inflammation has gone down quite a bit but it’s definitely still irritated and I need to take care of it. Lots of icing and stretching and I’ll continue with the stretching for weeks. I have a race in Dec so I just want to make sure I will be healed for that.

I’m glad I finally did this race but there are a few things I would have done differently. Maybe stayed a couple nights up there. Wished I had a friend or two with me. We can’t control the elements but I wished my body had felt better and my training was more solid. I probably shouldn’t have helped my friend weed her yard, because my body was a little sore from that and I had a knot in my right buttock and I think this is what may have caused the knee issue. But it’s ok. It can’t always be perfect. As a few of us runners say “Marathons are hard”. I am still happy it’s number 36 marathon to check off!

NYC Marathon – 6th (and final) World Marathon Major!

Well, I finally did the NYC Marathon!! This has been a long time coming so it was exciting to finally be in NY and to get my bib number knowing it was going to actually happen. I felt like it was never going to happen, so being in the city made it real and I was a little nervous. My training had been really, really good leading up to this. My long runs were fast, I mixed hills in, and felt awesome. This race was a dream for so long. I was in the Big Apple!

I arrived on Halloween evening, went to see the Village parade that night, and then went to expothe expo first thing on Friday morning. Everyone else thought to get there at the same time too but once they opened at 10am it flowed pretty well. Other than it being fast through the bib and T-shirt area, I wasn’t that impressed with the expo. For such a large race, it was small and didn’t see much that I cared about. So I was in and out pretty quickly. I did say hello to the folks at the Abbott WMM booth and found out I was the only one from expo 1Sacramento, that they knew of so far, that would receive a 6 Star Medal so that was neat.

I was invited by Abbott WMM to participate in the Opening Ceremonies on Friday later in the afternoon. There were supposed to be 50 of us representing Abbott WMM, but it was very disorganized getting things situated at the start of this event (not by Abbott but by the NYRR and volunteers) and was very chaotic and only about 10-15 of us found each other. To be honest, the Opening Ceremonies wasn’t all that great. Maybe because we were one of the first groups to walk out and then we had to opening ceremonystand for a long time waiting for all the countries to come through and it was quite a long time standing there in the cold. Also, the security wouldn’t let us out of the corralled area to leave. I think next time, I would not participate and would rather watch.

I tried not to do a ton of walking but it’s hard not to. It’s such a walkable and vibrant city. I had dinner with Alison and her husband Rob on Friday night and it was great to catch up with them. I also did the compression boots at Nike two days in a row before the race (and then again on Marathon Monday). The day before the race I didn’t get out of bed til like 10am which was really nice. I almost never get to do that at home, so I was relaxed and stress free before the race. Met up with Brittany and her mom at the Nike store. Then I had some delicious NY pizza and salad to carb up the night before.

The morning of the race, a group of us from the hotel (I stayed at The Belvedere Hotel near Times Square) walked to the NY Library area where the buses were. It was quite the process. We left the hotel at 5:40am and didn’t get to the athlete village til about 8:40am. I was glad to not be on a ferry and be cold and also it allowed for less time sitting in the cold at the start. The Village had quite a bit going on. Dunkin Donuts had coffee, donuts and the coveted beanie, which we put in my gear check bag so we could keep them. There was hot cocoa and tea, bananas, Honey Stinger waffles, bagels. Lots of porta potties and the three different colored corrals with their own restrooms as well. Lots of security also. I met Jeewon, from Arizona, in the bus line and we chatted on the bus, and had been hanging out with Stephanie from the UK as well, so we all stuck together until our waves left.start of race 1

As each wave started a real canon went off and when I heard the first one I practically pooped my pants. They even announced and warned you it was coming but I don’t think anything can prepare you for that sound. It made my heart hurt. My body shook and I got nervous. It took me back to the videos of the Boston Bombing and made me think “what if’s”. It was scary each time. I can honestly say I didn’t like that part.

When it was my wave’s turn, we walked up onto the Verrazano bridge. While we were waiting to start, they got us pumped up and the DJ played some pretty fun music and we basically had a start of race 2dance party up there. It was pretty fun! When the canon went off and it was go time, we ran across the top of the bridge and it was an amazing site of so many people! Like…SO MANY! The helicopter flew low to film us and we all waved. It was a long run across but those two miles went by fast. And then I lost my favorite running gloves right after the bridge. My 30th anniversary CIM gloves fell out from my waistband. I was sad but kept going. And then we got to see soooooo many spectators along the course the entire way! It was incredible.

I felt really good and fast for quite a while. I never was able to get to a pacer before the start, so I just did it solo. At some point I put my headphones on so I could focus. I knew I was going faster than I wanted to so I needed to change my pace. It’s always funny how you can have an amazing training season and then your race can go to shit. It didn’t really get that bad but I surely thought I would finish faster, but honestly, it’s totally ok.

So it was around mile 14-15, going across the Queensboro bridge, that things changed for me. It got tough there and that bridge gave me a few booty kicks. I guess I’m a dummy and didn’t realize bridges gradually go up and over, and not straight across. Haha! But it seemed a lot of runners struggled here as well. And then not too long after that around mile 17 or so was when the gps went out on my watch. I had a feeling this could happen with the buildings and the masses of people. And it never came back on and I just didn’t want to mess with it, so I ran the rest of the race not knowing what my lame pace was. It was kind of bad and good at the same time. It allowed me to try not to think about my pace and just focus on getting to the finish and soak in what I could. But it’s also annoying not knowing your pace and if you can perhaps push yourself harder. Either way, getting my 6 star medal was my priority no matter how I finished. Even if I crawled.

But the crowds and spectators are what keep you going. SO. MANY. And so many great signs along the course. Except for the one at mile 5 that said “You’re almost there!”…the guy next to me wanted to punch that person out because it made no sense. Lol! Aid stations were a plenty and flowed pretty well except for at one, a guy in front of me kind of abruptly stopped and I hit his shoe (heel) with mine and he turned around and got mad at me. It was a simple mistake. And I said “Sorry man, there’s 50,000 people on the course. Get over it.” And he freaked out on me so I just kept running.

One sign that I remember most was the one that said  “#Lastdamnbridge”. I honestly thought that lady was screwing with us. I found out later she’s out there every year. I hadn’t been counting the bridges and I couldn’t remember where we were at that point and I had a conversation in my head about whether she was lying and screwing us over and messing with our heads. Marathon thoughts for ya. Hahaha!!

The last few miles were a little tough. The crowds were awesome but my quads were taking a beating. Luckily so many spectators see your name on your bib or shirt and they just yell your name to keep you going. I remember an older male runner saw the sign on my back (it said “Cheer me on, I’m going for my 6th Star TODAY”) and gave me a pat on my back to help push me and give me some encouragement. It was really nice of him in that moment and I appreciated it. Right before we turned into Central Park, I remember the strong smell of urine. Like, SO STRONG. I don’t know why. I have no idea if there were porta potties close by or what, but it was awful.

Going into the finish area was a huge relief, after feeling slightly bummed about my time. I saw the amazing finish arch and all the people and the flags and was so excited to be finally finishing. It’s pretty spectacular going through that last area to the finish. After you cross and get your finisher medal, which is not immediately after you cross, then you get your space blanket and just have to keep walking forever to get your poncho or gear check bag. I was told that the poncho option was better because you get it first but I opted for the gear check so I could bring clothes to change into right away since I didn’t have family or friends with me to bring this stuff to me. But the poncho area was just as long to get to as well. And while it does have fleece inside I was still ok with not getting it. If you really want the poncho, they do have an option to buy it for $40 at the expo, so you could have your gear check bag and stuff the fleece in for later.

thumbnail_B9389AE2-3E89-4912-B7FF-7A24CF295CDDBut before I continued on to gear check, I had to get my World Marathon Major medal since I FINALLY completed my sixth major at this race! This was the most exciting part of the race for me as I’ve been dreaming about this for so long. The team with Abbott congratulated me, gave me my medal, took pictures, and then asked me to step aside for a minute to do an interview with another female runner who just finished at the same time. We were two of about 160 runners who received our medal that day. Only about 6,500 people in the world have gotten this medal so far and I am one of about 1,500 Americans.

thumbnail_A49E38D2-2D63-4AF5-8E34-D09C55BBEC39I was overwhelmed with happiness at the end of this race. It wasn’t just that it had been 10 years working toward this goal, but it was also in New York City, on my own home turf, so it felt even more special. Not a lot of people on the street know what the World Marathon Majors are, but many runners did and congratulated me at the end of the race. It was nice to feel so special for the day.

finish dinnerAfter the race, and after I sat down and put on my clean, warm clothes, I walked to the Patagonia store not far from the finish to meet Rob, Alison’s husband, to wait for her to finish. As I arrived, there was a finish dinner 2table right in the front of the store with donuts and apple cider and I just stood there and looked at it. I’m sure I was drooling. I asked what they were for and if I could have one, and the guy working there said “of course!” Oh my, they were so good!! After Alison finished, we had a beer at a bar, and then we walked to Motorino for pizza and also had the most delicious sparkling red. It was a great night after the race! And if you know me, I don’t go to bed anytime soon after a race, so I went back to my hotel, showered and went out to a bar around the corner with my hotel roomie, Sue, and her other running buddies that ran with the NYPD. She ended up buying me several glasses of champagne. Oy! At around midnight, I think, I made my way back to the room and passed out after eating some popcorn and goldfish crackers.

six star finishersThe next day I had to meet with the group of six star finishers for a picture near the Tavern on the Green in Central Park. While I was walking through the city to Central Park and back, so many other runners were out wearing their New York City Marathon medal and saw that I was wearing this six star medal and congratulated me. A couple from Slovenia stopped me and were soooo excited to see it and asked me a bunch of questions. They told me that New York City was their first major and treated me like a celebrity, which was very cute, and then the gal wanted a photo with me with my medal. It’s so cool to see so many people around the world and people who dream of running the 6 majors as well.

medalsSo there you have it! I finally ran the NYC Marathon and it was a really fantastic weekend! My time wasn’t too bad, 3:51, but wasn’t what I was necessarily hoping for. But still, I am not dwelling on it because getting my 6 start medal was the most amazing part of the weekend. After 10 years, it was a long time to wait to see this happen, but I guess the universe wanted it to happen this way. I have met some really great runners and people along the way. I think that’s one of my favorite parts of “running to see the world”…meeting folks from all over the world with common interests and passions.These people have also become some of my greatest cheerleaders and friends.

The biggest question I get now is: What’s next?? People already asked me this after other adventures I have been on, but it’s somehow different. Part of me is sad this “challenge” is over; part of me is relieved. Part of me is excited for the next chapter; part of me has no idea what I am going to do. And that’s a strange feeling. By no means am I going to stop running marathons or stop running them all over the world. I have races in mind and other countries I want to see. My ultimate goal would be to run in every country on this planet, but that is a very long term goal. For now, maybe I’ll finish out the last two continents: Australia and Antarctica. I have no races set for 2020 so we will just see in time what happens. I don’t really have anything profound to leave with you other than just follow your dreams. I honestly didn’t think this “dream” would take this long, but perseverance and dedication finally made it happen.  So…dreams do come true!


#bostontobigben – London Marathon 2019

LM 2019 2So it’s taken like 9 years to get into the London Marathon. This has been a long time coming! Many of you know the frustration I’ve had with getting rejected every year. I even got rejected trying to get in through a charity a couple years ago. They had over 14,000 people apply and I didn’t get in. I remember thinking if I can’t even get in through a charity how in the heck will this ever happen. And then it did!

The story behind how I got in is a little complicated. I can talk about it now but will have to leave out a few details (like the tour group name). In Nov 2018, I got my rejection email again. I wasn’t surprised. Then a runner friend invited me to join a World Marathon Major Facebook group. A few weeks later someone posted that a travel group had openings available to book through them to get into this marathon. I literally dropped everything I was doing and drove home and booked it! I was so excited! It was affordable and it was finally my chance. A couple days later someone posted that the packages were sold out and now there was a waitlist for their spots but also that verbiage was changed on the website for this travel group and the packages were only for specific residents, definitely not Americans. This verbiage wasn’t there initially. Several of us in this group started talking amongst ourselves and wondered what was going to happen. It’s a newer travel group and they failed to do a few things before posting their spots.

We then got a few emails from the travel group asking some questions. This company realized they made a huge mistake and it could get them in trouble with the London Marathon. Luckily after a couple months of back and forth, everything seemed to be ok and I booked my flight. It wasn’t until February that I finally got word directly from the London Marathon that I was in their list of entries and that’s when I knew everything was ok and I could breathe.

After just coming off the Boston Marathon, I only ran a few times to make sure my legs remembered running and to loosen them up a bit, rather than just stopping all together like I normally would after a marathon. But also, I knew this could be tough for my body with a race 13 days later. Back to back races aren’t always that easy. For some people it seems to be a piece of cake, but I knew it was going to be a toss up for me.

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Expo time!

After arriving to Gatwick Airport early, I used my prepaid premium passport control pass to get through and I’m so glad I bought that pass again! There were probably 300 people in line to get through passport control and I got to go in a special line and was the only one, so it took me less than 5 mins. I took the train and tube straight to the expo to get my bib and everything I needed. The expo is not in the center of London so it was an hour away. It’s a nice expo and many vendors. It’s also in a gigantic exhibition hall with restaurants, so if you’re hungry after staying a while, you’re in luck.

I stayed with a friend in the Battersea area of London Friday night and then made my way to the hotel that was part of the package. It was the Melia White House Hotel and it was quite nice. It was actually kind of nice to stay in a hotel (rather than an airbnb like I normally do) with free breakfast and other amenities for us runners. When I checked in I was the only one in my room of two beds. I didn’t pay extra to be a single so wasn’t sure if someone else would show up.

LM pizzaSaturday I had a laid back day and didn’t do too much walking to save my legs. I had time in the afternoon after going to the Queen Mary’s Gardens so I got all my gear ready for the race. I then met up with some friends for Italian food and had pizza and salad for dinner. My fave before a race. When I got back to my hotel I learned I had a roommate. Lana, from Russia, arrived and was staying in my room. Super sweet girl and was happy to have met her. We shared stories about how we got this package and our marathon journeys.

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Lana, Angela and me at the start

The morning of the race, I had breakfast early at our hotel. This was another race starting later in the morning so I had to eat twice. Then met up with Martin, Angela, Gina and Lana to take the bus to the start. We arrived three hours before our start time, so we had plenty of time to wander around, use the porta potties, even use the FEMALE urinals. Yes, that’s right! The lines were so long to the regular loos, that we decided to use the female urinals and that was interesting. You grab a cardboard contraption that you situate under your lady bits to pee into a urinal. Oh my, it wasn’t easy and honestly, I would rather just squat on the ground, which I did see many ladies doing instead.

It was a little windy and chilly but a tank, shorts and arm warmers were just fine once we set off at 10:22. It was exciting but there are so many people! I mean, this race is so congested from start to finish. I felt very good for half the race. My pace was awesome and I was trying to stay consistent. My split for the first half was 1:50. Everything felt fast and easy and everyone around me seemed to be running the same pace for the most part. The roads are narrow and it’s just packed full of people so if you come upon slower runners it’s hard to get around people without the fear of tripping or having to slow down. Maybe zig zagging around people took away some of my energy. I don’t know. I can’t really tell you why I struggled the rest of the race. Maybe it’s because I ran a race 13 days prior. My body didn’t seem tired going into this but the last half it sure was telling me I was a dummy. I wasn’t in pain, just the legs were tired, but not heavy. My shoulders and arms were tight. I felt like I was holding my arms higher than where they should be. I had to walk at times. It was dreadful. My watch lost gps signal around mile 13 or so and never came back on so I turned my watch off. I then depended on the km and mile markers to help me through. The miles felt long. I thought my time was going to be just awful. At one point a clock said 5 hours as I passed and I thought “WTF, how can that be??” And that really threw me off. I already knew my time was going to be terrible, but 5 hours?? About two miles to the end some spectators were holding out beers and I told them it was tempting as I ran by and then I turned around and took a swig! They loved it! They filmed me and took pictures. I actually felt great after too! I finally felt like I had energy again and ran the rest of the way. I got a little thrown off when they had signs saying 800 meters left, 600, 400…I don’t know how many feet that is but it felt long and hated those signs! The finish winds around a park and you pass Buckingham Palace. It becomes really wide also. And there were British flags flown and a huge red arch. It was fantastic!

I wrote my name on my bib after people said we should. The spectators yell, yell, yell. And they all yell your name along the way. These spectators were the loudest ever. Louder than Boston! So, so many people along the course. Sometimes they were well into the course area which made me nervous.

I drank water and Lucozade at every station. However it was a drag because it wasn’t on each side of the course so sometimes I had to dart over from one side of the course to get to the tables. And then the next aid station would be on the opposite side. They used bottled waters and electrolytes and it was such a waste. You only take a swig so there were so many full bottles of liquid everywhere. Plus, a lot of runners don’t seem to know what the etiquette is as far as getting the bottles out of the way of runners feet. It was so dangerous with bottles rolling around and people kicking them. Mile 23 we got to try the sustainable seaweed wrapped Lucozade filled pods. When they handed it to me it burst in my hand before I could get it all in my mouth, but it was interesting. And I like the idea of not using bottles.

The course is filled with charity runners. There are so many groups of spectators along the course with huge balloon arches and tables set up cheering all these charity runners the entire way. I have never seen so many charity runners in a race. They were not corralled toward the back like Boston or other races. To be honest, the way they do the waves and zones is very confusing to me. There are 3 groups: red, blue and green. We all started in different areas and each color group had several zones. A few miles in, we all merged together. It just seemed like a clusterfuck. I didn’t get it. I was told by someone that people often lie about their estimated time and put a faster time so they get in a different corral and can get away from all the charity and slower runners. Had I known this, I would have done this as well. There were also many runners in costume trying to beat different records, including Guinness World records as well.

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You can see how packed it is. This is later in the 2nd half and still so many runners around.

My time was terrible again (for me). I felt so good the first half and then just hated most of the second half. But a lot of runners I talked to had similar experiences. Many runners also lost gps signal too. I think it’s the buildings and so many people around that caused that. My right calf had a funny tight spot in it that I didn’t talk about because I didn’t want to jinx anything. I think I tweaked it when I mowed my lawn last week before leaving. Thank god it didn’t hurt during the race or cause cramps but I could feel the spot. I didn’t listen to my music for about half the race. I just wanted to hear the noise of the crowd and the music. But then I got annoyed that my body was hating this, so I needed the music to get through. I actually remember the songs and it helped. I saw several people being carted off by EMT’s and there was even a spot near the end where they had part of the course blocked surrounding a person getting CPR. That was a little disconcerting. But I heard the person was ok.

I wouldn’t say this race is very scenic. You do pass Cutty Sark, go across the Tower Bridge, which was super cool…but you mostly wind in and out of towns and business buildings. Lots of twists and turns. There were areas of the race you go through dark tunnels or just very narrow areas where you all have to squish together to get through or slow down. That seemed dangerous and strange to me. At least at the end you pass the London Eye, the Abbey and Buckingham Palace.

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Cutty Sark


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The amazing Tower Bridge

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Buckingham Palace near the finish line

After I collected my finish line goodies (you pick up your medal, then shirt, and post marathon food in a bag) and gear check bag I rested for a few on the curb and chatted with another runner that just finished. He had a similar experience as I did. He then asked if I wanted some pain meds. Haha! I don’t usually do that but why not. I wasn’t in pain but I’m sure it would help the soreness and uncomfortable-ness that comes with having just run 26.2 miles. I walked through Trafalger Square and went to Amira’s hotel that wasn’t far from the finish. When I arrived the whole lobby cheered for me and gave me a treat. It was so nice! Everywhere you went after, people would say “Well done!” (in an English accent of course) and asked “How did you get on?”

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Delicious free burger after the race!

We also got free food! This is the only race that I know of where many restaurants will give you free food and drinks after the race. We went to a burger place called the Meat Market in the Covent Garden area that my friend Ian suggested and they gave us free burgers! It was so good! Then we had beers at the pubs. It was a lot of fun!

After several hours out, I made my way home after getting some chips, guac and salsa, and a tasty local bottled beer from a Chipotle (yes, I guess they have these!). When I finally arrived back at my hotel, the bar was giving us runners free glasses of Prosecco. That was awesome too!

LM selfieI was one of only 1,433 Americans running, while 39,621 were from the UK. They let several more Americans in this year which was nice, but it’s always very difficult for people outside of the UK to get in.

There’s this high that comes along with marathon running. Even when you have bad races. As soon as I crossed the finish line I forgot about the struggle and the feeling of being defeated. I was just happy I finally got to do this race, even if my time sucked. And really, I had to put that into perspective. So many runners would kill for my time, just like I would kill for someone else’s. And going into this, I knew there were some disadvantages – running a second race in 13 days and running in a race of 42,000 people. OK, so maybe the few glasses of wine I had with my friends Friday night may have contributed. Or possibly jet lag, even though I never felt tired. It could be anything. I will never know for sure.

What I loved about this trip was that I got to see so many people. A lot of times when I travel alone to races I don’t know anyone. I got to see two friends from Sacramento that I haven’t seen in several years, that both live in London now. I got to see two runners Jennifer and Amira that I met in Boston. And I met several new runner friends that had purchased the same package through the tour group. It all made it a very special and awesome trip.

Running marathons is still a challenge and something I love, even when my race times don’t turn up. There’s a special community here of people that look out for each other, want the best for you, want to see you succeed, know what it feels like, and are joyous in your accomplishments. It’s about being inspired and staying focused and motivated, whatever your motivations are. It’s about passion.

Now I can say I have completed 5 of 6 stars and I’m just a little closer to completing my World Marathon Major challenge. It’s been many years in the making and, New York, I’m coming for you! xoxoLM medals

Boston Marathon #3 (2019)


It wasn’t my best, it wasn’t my worst. But I’m satisfied. And happy.

I knew going into this, the weather was out of my control and I was pretty chill and relaxed about it all for the most part. It had been changing so much for weeks and days and hours leading up to the race. I ate pizza the night before, prepped all my gear, ate more carbs before I went to bed. I hydrated all Sunday and drank fluids during the morning before the race. I felt good.


My new friend Amira from the UK and me on the bus to Hopkinton

Marathon Monday morning – It’s always an interesting way of doing things when the race doesn’t start til almost 11am. I have to eat twice. I had hot oatmeal with like 18g of protein and a scrambled egg when I got up. Then brought my kind bars, banana, pretzels and electrolytes with me for the wait time on the bus and at the start. It was thundering, lightening and pouring so hard. I had throw away layers and extra shoes and socks that I could could wear until I was ready to run. I wanted to stay as dry as possible.

After using the porta potties a couple times I was ready to go. Our wave was set for 10:50am and I could feel the humidity. The first few miles I felt amazing and was trying not to go super fast (although I saw that maybe I was going a little faster than I should have for this course). I felt good. I drank both Gatorade and water at every aid station to stay hydrated. By mile 8 I knew things were going to change. Mile 11, I took a selfie and sent it to Katy. I really wanted to send her a poop face as I was starting to feel the humidity and knew this was getting harder. That’s also when I saw it was 75% humidity. Oh boy!thumbnail_06BCE9EA-F1C2-470E-B8BE-59F878A4A54D

I knew I didn’t care about my time necessarily but this became a challenge for sure. I walked a lot. That almost never happens. But I couldn’t help it. I was hot and sweaty and wet. My body already runs warm when I run so this wasn’t good for me. I’ve never found a way (yet) to get past this mentally. It wasn’t as bad as my race in Trinidad & Tobago but it was surely not easy.

Spectators had bags of ice and were handing out cups of ice cubes or you could just grab into their bags. The spectators were also giving extra water cups than what was being given at the aid stations. They had wet paper towels for us to wipe our faces and necks. Of course people were also handing out beer and that was tempting. I grabbed Swedish Fish from a guy that had a large Costco size bag and I told him thank you and that “it’s my favorite candy”! I grabbed a small package of Haribos, but after I finally opened them and popped them in my mouth I spit them out. Just didn’t taste good at the moment. A fireman had a hydrant open spraying water for us…that felt cold and amazing. I hit several signs for “power” and fist bumped the Hulk. I also stopped for a few seconds to pet an adorable dog in a cute older ladies sweatshirt that she was wearing. I think the pup was named Chantel.

Most of the time I was trying to high five as many kids as I could along the route. They really are what keep you going. The spectators along this entire course cheer so loud and really push you to stay motivated with their energy. Even if they are drunk and wild, they know the importance of this race and it means so much to everyone. I know for a while my face probably didn’t look so happy. But I was just trying to stay focused and get to the finish. It was tough out there for most people. I saw several EMTs bring out stretchers to carry runners out. And know of some people who collapsed with heat stroke.

In the last miles while it was still sunny and warm I moved to the right to be in the shade. The temp seemed to be pretty hot then. Somewhere between mile 23 and 24 I noticed my watch lost GPS signal and it never came back. At that point I didn’t really care or want to know what my awful time was. The crowds were getting louder and louder and as I saw the Citgo sign I knew we were close.

Then it started pouring!! Some runners put on their ponchos. That seemed like too much effort to me. The rain felt so good. It cooled things down a bit. And I just wanted to get this over with and run to the finish.

I remember thinking about the bombing as we were almost finished. Wondering if it could happen again. I think that was when I saw the overpass that we go under and it’s painted blue with the words Boston Strong on it. You have a lot of time to think about many things during a marathon. And then I saw a girl wavering while she was walking in the middle of everyone. I asked if she was ok and she said no, so I yelled to the policeman on the side to get her medical attention. And then I just kept running. I was feeling excited and happy that I was about to turn on Hereford…and then the left on Boylston. And there it was. The finish line ahead. Oh man, I got pumped up and started sprinting. The crowds were so loud! I had the biggest smile on my face. I looked over and somehow spotted Katy on the side! Literally looked over and spotted her in the yellow Marathon Tours freebie poncho we got at the expo. That was awesome! And I just ran it in.

thumbnail_A2F2D5AB-BA60-46A3-8734-37E06E3B1BD3As I crossed the finish line, I was so relieved. A gal named Jennifer came up to me as we thumbnail_IMG_1293were walking to get our blankets and said she was right with me a good portion of the race and had a terrible time also. Turns out she’s going to London as well! We got our medals, pics, gear bags and I found a relatively dry spot on a store front on Newbury to stay dry and change.

Something I thought about during the race was this type of unfavorable circumstance would have been better run if with a buddy. I think having someone you know and runs the same pace (or maybe not the same pace, but close?) would help with motivation and the push during a hard race. When you are solo, you have to stay strong and focused and not let the bad thoughts enter your brain and take over. I think its even harder mentally. At least a buddy is right there with you and you can talk to each other and keep motivating each other when times get rough.That’s why I had to listen to the crowds and let them drown out my music so I could let them carry me to the finish.

thumbnail_IMG_1282Katy and I then wandered to get food and found a Japanese place and I got a lovely bowl of udon and some sushi. It was delicious! And of course, we continued to celebrate the rest of the night as every Boston Marathoner should.



I know I should never say never, but I went into this race knowing that it’s probably my last Boston. I don’t need to go back. I don’t need to do this race several times. 3 is more than I ever dreamed of and I am ecstatic that I’ve been able to achieve this 3 times! The standards are getting harder and harder and I don’t have that determination to keep trying to BQ all the time or PR at all my races. It doesn’t mean I’ll give up and run slow races, it just means I don’t want the pressure anymore. So many people want to go to Boston, so I hope they can qualify and I’m glad to give up my spot for them. It’s the best race, hands down, and I feel so lucky that I have 3 magical unicorns in my home!

I listen to a special playlist for every 26.2 I run. I put the music together carefully so I have songs that pump me up during different parts of the race, especially the end. During this race, I don’t remember most of the songs I listened to because I was concentrating on the heat and the cheering and other things around me. Only one song do I remember and I am going to leave the lyrics here for you. I remember hearing the words coming through and getting choked up.

** “Rise Up” – Andra Day **

You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry-go-round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
Move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountainsAnd I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For youWhen the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet
Move mountains
Bring it to its feet
Move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For youAll we need all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
And we will rise
We will rise
We’ll rise
We’ll rise

I’ll rise up
Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I will rise a thousand times again
And we’ll rise up
High like the waves
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up
And we’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you


2019 Boston Marathon




Highlights of CIM #11 (2018)

It’s taken me a few days to write up something. Always have to go to work the next day and get back to normal life stuff. But my legs are feeling better, which is good. Here are few tidbits rather than a lengthy story about the race -

-Perfect weather
-Wore my Timex gear for the last time
-A gal gave me half her banana after she overheard me telling Jen that I forgot to buy a banana the night before
-Saw a few signs about Trump but remember this one: “If Trump can run, so can you!”
-I grabbed a piece of red licorice around mile 21 cuz it sounded good and started chewing on a bit but about 1/8th of a mile later spit it out. Blech! Lol!
-Don’t remember listening to some songs on my playlist because I was in the “zone”
-Had chafing in an area that had never happened before…so I may not wear that pair of underwear again.
-Saw a lot of runners wearing those flashy Nike Zoom Vaporfly shoes. I hope they all BQ’d!
-A nice man helped hold me up while I was putting a bandaid on my foot. He even helped tie my shoes for me!
-Seeing Jen around 34th and J and having her run with me for a bit cheering me on
-At 15th and L, seeing a man dressed as Jesus with a sign that said “The End Is Near”…kind of eerie but fitting

It may sound cliche, but the miles just flew by. It did feel like I flew to the finish. Sometimes the day goes by so fast you want to do it all over again because there’s just something about the energy of all the people in your hometown cheering you and so many others on. Seeing people you know on the course, helping at aid stations, or just spectating is the best! I guess this is why I do it every year!

#runcim – California International Marathon, Sacramento, CA

What’s next?

**originally started on 4/18/18**

I wrote in my journal everyday while trekking to Everest Base Camp like I did when I went to Kilimanjaro. Actually it was the same journal, continued. And I thought about a lot. But I haven’t figured out yet how I want to put this all on paper, or out there in cyberspace (my blog).

It seems as of late my traveling has brought me to life changing experiences. I haven’t figured out why yet. Maybe I was being held back from these before for a reason. Maybe the universe was waiting til toxicity left my life to bring about these opportunities to teach me more lessons. Whatever it is, it’s making it harder for me to settle back into my life at home. I don’t want to come back home, well, other than to see my dogs. And my friends and family, of course.

There are these shifts that traveling can leave. Or maybe it’s a transformation. I’m not trying to escape my life because honestly I have a good life. I have work where I earn a decent paycheck, a roof over my head, a yard where I can sit in the warm sun each afternoon, my dogs greet me with unconditional love each day, my friends lovingly support me. It’s really pretty good!

Each trip gives me so much more than the last. Maybe it won’t always be like this, but I’ll take it for now. There’s 193 countries and I’ve barely scratched the surface at 23 checked off. But it’s not just checking them off the list or whether it’s a bucket list item. Because I don’t really have bucket list items anymore. Everything is all out there for me to find and see and do.

I find that the more I travel, the more I want to continue to learn more about what’s out there and crave more adventure. No, I’m not an adrenaline junkie, as someone once called me. I just thirst for more. I have even found traveling alone to be freeing and wonderful. I was never afraid to go by myself before, but now I’m in a position without a partner and it’s happened naturally and it’s been amazing.

I’ve been asked a lot about how I can afford this lifestyle or what do I do for for work or am I sponsored. It makes me laugh. I don’t spend my money on frivolous things. My money goes to running and traveling (more towards traveling). It’s my priority and what I love. I actually don’t make the $90-100K like I used to when I worked in sales. I make a fraction of that. But it’s what’s important to me and no matter what’s going on in my life, travel will always be a priority.

My aunt gave me a book many years ago before she passed away. It’s called “1,000 Places To See Before You Die” by Patricia Schultz. She also bought me my Canon Rebel XTI SLR digital camera. I guess she knew many years ago where my life was going to go and what would end up being my hobbies.

Lately, people keep asking me “what’s next?” and honestly, I don’t know. I just find things that seem interesting and adventurous (without being too risky) and I do them. I just make it happen. If it’s in my budget (my budget traveler’s budget), then I just go. It’s easy.

After watching a beautiful short video a Canadian filmmaker and climber put together of Everest Base Camp, the film ended with this: “Find a way of life you love and have the courage to live it.” This is how I want to live my life and I encourage you to do the same.

Marrakech Marathon ’18

I picked this race on a whim after I came across it searching for something else (I can’t even remember what it was that I was searching for). It was never on my “bucket list” but I love a new place to visit. And run a marathon. So I registered and found an inexpensive flight very quickly and everything was booked.

My last training run was the Tuesday before the race. I never got up to 16 miles like I had planned in the few weeks prior to leaving. I had a weird work schedule and I was busy the couple weeks before leaving. But I had just run my fastest marathon about a month and a half prior at the CIM, so I just said I’d not stress about it all and have fun. No goals – just run and enjoy.

8263B5D4-D4C0-4078-B6FE-83EFBED996A5I went to the “expo” on Friday and picked up my bib and shirt. They told me where the start of the race was so on Saturday I walked over to find it so I wouldn’t be lost on race morning. The expo didn’t have much. I wouldn’t even call it an expo. Just the booths to pick up bibs and get information and a couple mint tea vendors to get free tea while you were hanging out. There was music and, maybe, a couple vendors. But that was it.


Vendor at the start of the race selling breakfast items

Since arriving in Marrakech, I had been drinking mint tea everyday, beers each night and almost no water. So I was totally ready for a race. Haha! I jest. I also didn’t eat pizza the night before. I had Moroccan food for breakfast and lunch, then beer, and hot chocolate and fries for a late night snack. Fantastic carb loading! I also didn’t go to bed til like 1am. Basically everything wrong before a race.

It was pretty chilly in the 30′s when the race started. I layered up more than I normally do because they told me there wasn’t a gear check and I wasn’t sure how long it would be before I’d find my friend Johnna at the end. So I wore a long sleeve over my short sleeve and arm warmers but took off the outer layer a few miles in and tied it around my waste. I also wore my gloves for a few miles as well. However, I did wear shorts even though it’s not customary for women to wear short clothing items in this country. But I am used to wearing shorts for races, so I just went with it.


It was a little chilly on race morning

The start of the race came quickly and I ran fast and comfortable. Probably too fast but I felt great. I talked to an American that lives in Zurich and talked to a couple of British fellows who have run quite a few marathons. The one guy said he’s run like 320 and 200 of them have been in the States. A local man and I ran together for a large portion of the race. We never spoke to each other, but just ran the same pace for a long time. Toward the end maybe around mile 22, I passed him and gave him a smile and pat on the back as he drifted behind me.

The race is extremely flat, which is nice. It’s fast. There was a slight incline starting around the 20 or 21 mile but it wasn’t really a hill or anything. You also run through all sorts of areas of Marrakech. Even the ritzy area with nice hotels. We saw camels, palm trees, orange trees, olive trees, sheep, donkeys, industrial areas, residential areas, malls, and everything in between.


Delicious dates!

Aid stations were about every 3 miles and most just had water, but later in the miles they would have mandarins and dates. Oh so good! None had electrolytes so you would either have to carry your own or just use the fruits for sugar. It didn’t seem like I was sweating a lot, so I was ok without electrolytes. I just ate my shot bloks every 4 miles, and that worked well.

Police had intersections stopped and would let us run through, although some cars and scooters would sneak through. I almost got hit once because drivers in Marrakech are impatient. Doh!

I didn’t use a restroom at the beginning of the race, partially because I had already gone at IMG_3149my hostel, but also because I didn’t see any at the start. So, of course, I had to go to the bathroom during the race (which is not normal for me) and only saw two porta potties at mile 13 but decided not to stop for some reason. Then I realized after that I really needed to go and the miles passed by with no restrooms. So around mile 18, I finally stopped at a really nice hotel and asked the security guard at the gate if there was a “toilette” (they speak French). He pointed to the guard station and let me go there. The fun part was it was a hole in the ground with a bucket and faucet to clean it when you were finished. I probably spent 4-5 mins in there. Most of the time was spent filling the bucket to clean the toilet. But at that point I desperately knew I should use a restroom and not care that it was a hole in the ground, or else I’d poop my pants while I was running and I know that wouldn’t go over very well.

I was surprised at how many spectators there were along the course including so many IMG_3222kids. I thought I may get weird looks since I was wearing shorts, but I didn’t. I decided to stop and give some kids ‘Live A Great Story’ stickers and they were so happy. I only had two on me and wished I had packed more in my fuel pouch. I also saw belly dancers and tourists who cheered us on.


I didn’t see very many female runners. But many runners were from all over the world and I just love it. Listening to different languages being spoken while we are running is so cool to me. I talked to a Polish man, German man, British, Italian, American and, of course, Moroccan, and I know there were plenty from other countries.

I thought the race was pretty well organized. Lots of aid stations with plenty of water and IMG_3226food items. Police were out along the course to help make sure traffic was stopped when we crossed main intersections. There were blue arrows painted on the pavement to follow the route. We got tshirts and medals. And it wasn’t that expensive either. Keep in mind there is a 5.5 hour cutoff though.

My final time was 3:51 on my watch (I haven’t even looked up my official time). I can’t complain at all. I had a lot of fun and had a smile on my face the entire time. I made several quick stops to say hi to kids and take pictures so I guess I could have had a faster time if I hadn’t made those stops, but it wasn’t about time for me. I easily could have qualified for Boston again if I didn’t stop to use the restroom. But my motivation was just to not sweat it and enjoy the experience. Races in other countries are to enjoy and see other parts of the world. To see the people, the culture, chat up other runners, live in the moment, and live my story.


My 28th marathon

CIM #10 – 10th Anniversary

Going into my 10th CIM, I was mostly excited that it was my 10 year anniversary of running marathons and my 10th consecutive CIM and I’d get my loyalty pin. And it was my 27th marathon! I was happy and in a good place.

A week or so before, I found out my friend Jen deferred so I would be running by myself, so I just opted to join a pace group. I just wasn’t sure which one. This was really the only dilemma.

IMG_0602My training had been just fine. Nothing special really. I had started 3-4 weeks late because I climbed Kilimanjaro in August. But that delay didn’t really bother me. I just started my training runs later in the schedule and caught up. I had been doing hill repeats each Friday with Jen over the summer but then after she went back to school we couldn’t get those back into the routine. That didn’t bother me either. I tried to get in some intervals and stair workouts every now and then. To be honest, my 20 mile run was convoluted and not the best because I didn’t do my normal straight out and back run on the trail. So I had no idea how my race would turn out.

I had a pre-race massage on Friday and I volunteered at the CIM expo at the info booth and had fun chatting with runners. I had to work an event the day before for KIND and ran into some runners near the expo as well and that’s always a good time. The evening before the race I just hung out at home watching two of my favorite musicals back to back, made my playlist, laid everything out, had my pizza and stayed warm with my dogs. I had planned on sleeping in my bed but fell asleep on the couch, which probably wasn’t the best idea.

I also read a blog on Oiselle’s website by runner Devon Yanko. The title said not to open til race day but I knew I wouldn’t have time so I read it the night before. It really struck me and I held on to it during race day. Here’s the full post: http://www.oiselle.com/blog/do-not-open-until-race-day-cim-marathon

I had some conversations with runner friends before the race about pre-race nerves and training and it made me feel good to be able to give some advice after all these years of running. I know for myself, other runner friends have given me advice and there are a few things I always keep in mind and I’m thankful for what advice they’ve given me.

As the gun went off I was really happy and so excited about the day. I actually got choked up a few times in the early miles. I think sometimes I just realize how amazing this is…all these awesome runners and athletes who have worked their butts off and have every bit of their heart into this. It’s never easy and you have no idea how it’s all going to play out. It was chilly but the day was so beautiful…in so many ways.

I stayed with the 3:42 pace group. I was actually running a bit faster but would back off and try to be a little conservative to not exhaust myself. I don’t really remember when I pulled away from that group but it was still early in the race. I realized for miles that I never saw the 3:37 or 3:42 pacers. I was somewhere in between for the majority of the race.

Around mile 9 or so I felt my right sock seam rubbing and creating what could turn into a big blister. I would use my toes while I was running to adjust the sock a bit but it wasn’t really doing the job. So around mile 10.75 I pulled over and took my shoe off and adjusted it. So much better! I knew I was risking a few things by doing this: 1) being able to get my legs moving again and into the right pace once I stopped, 2) adding on time by stopping. But I also risked getting a fat blister and not being able to run if it got really bad.

After that stop everything was smooth. I listened to my music, danced in my head, I wanted to dance on the streets, I saw friends that helped me continue, and I just kept going. I can’t really explain what happened, but even though I knew things could change at any time, I just was in such a great zone that I didn’t really stray from running hard and consistent. I know I had a smile on my face. I also remembered the blog I had read the night before and told myself “Be Brave.” The word “brave” had come up a few times recently in my life and it must have been a good sign for me.

FullSizeRender 1As it got to the last several miles, I realized that I was going to BQ no problem. I knew that I didn’t even have to worry about a small cushion. My quads were working hard and were getting sore, but nothing excruciating. I drank from every water station except one, which was near the end because I didn’t want to lose momentum. I ate all my shot bloks at their scheduled times. I even took an orange slice from a spectator. Everything was going very smoothly.

As I approached the East Sac miles I knew Jen and some other friends would be out there and it’s just so exciting and filled with so much energy during this area. It always lifts my spirits! I just kept going knowing there was going to be an awesome ending to a great morning. As I approached the finish, I saw my friend Brian. He is my first running partner and the person who got me into running marathons. I wouldn’t be here without him. It made me smile to see him out there.

FullSizeRender 3Right as I was turning the first corner to get to the finish, a spectator ran in front of me and another runner. I told her to get out the way. It was probably rude of me, but I thought it was incredibly stupid of her to run across the course while runners were finishing. As I rounded the last corner to the finish line, I saw the clock and couldn’t believe it. I can cry right now thinking about it. I did start crying as I crossed. I was so shocked and so beyond happy. I never thought I would PR. I knew a BQ was possible, but to beat my fastest time was never in my thought process before this. I was on cloud nine!

The only thing left to say is that the journey of running marathons is one that not many people get to experience. I think us runners know what we all go through…the tough trainings, the ups and downs of what happens during races, the amazing feelings of accomplishing your goals or beating your goals, the times when you feel defeated, the comparing yourself to other runners, the way we are so hard on ourselves. We are all very strong individuals and determined. No matter what, we get back up and move forward.

This race and day will mean so much to me for a long time. I am really looking forward to going back to Boston. I don’t know if I could ever duplicate this race again, but it was as close to perfect, for me, as I could have gotten. Now, a race is never perfect, but I’ll take it. It showed me that my body and mind are capable of so much. Even during difficult times, you can move forward and you can accomplish so much. This race was me taking a chance and being brave. I leave you with this – Fucking follow your bliss!




Things I learned before and after Kilimanjaro

I started writing a post early in July before I left for my trip. It’s still in a draft. Then I started writing what I learned while preparing for Kilimanjaro. Then I wrote in a journal during my trip. Then I decided I could write up a few different posts about my experience. But I will start with this one and we will see if I can get the others written out.

What I learned in eight weeks preparing for Kilimanjaro:

1. It’s lots of work.
2. There’s so much to buy if you aren’t a seasoned hiker.
3. But you can buy stuff on the cheap (99 cent store is great for small items like toiletries and other misc stuff like microfiber towels and hats).
4. Buy good shoes (I’m familiar with this already).
5. Like running, there’s always stuff to prepare the night before a hike.
6. The poles are amazing to hike with (thanks Jen!).
7. Wear sunscreen…and bug spray. Lots of it.
8. Bring lots of water.
9. You are going to get hella dirty and sweaty but that’s part of the fun.
10. REI will become your BFF.
11. This is unlike anything else I’ve done or trained for but the hikes this summer have been amazing. I remember a couple years ago I posted how I should be spending more time out in nature like this, and BAM, this is what I was able to do this summer.
12. It’s been a lot of fun.

What I learned on my trip to Kilimanjaro:

1. It’s beautiful
2. It’s amazing
3. I’m so lucky
4. Good shoes matter
5. It’s very similar to a marathon, there’s no sprinting in this.
6. The poles are amazing to hike with (thanks Jen!) and they are not for old people, like a friend told me.
7. Wear sunscreen…lots of it (but somehow my face pealed off like 5 layers).
8. Drink a shit ton of water.
9. You are going to get hella dirty and sweaty but that’s part of the fun.
10. Your porters and guides and crew and teammates are your BFF’s and they are just so awesome.
11. This is unlike anything else I’ve done or trained for but it’s been amazing incredible!
12. It’s been a lot of fun, one hell of an experience, something I needed for my recovery, and I’m soooo glad I got the opportunity to do it. I may even climb another mountain in the future…

amy kili

Mt Kilimanjaro in the background…