Boston Marathon Featured Runner-Nicolas Deault

I am excited to feature a different runner each day as we count down to Boston.  I love that each runner is unique, coming into Boston with a diverse background and goals.  Their journeys all lead to the same place.  You can read about my journey, Reflection and Countdown to the Boston Marathon.NicolasDeault_NYC2015

I’m excited to introduce our featured runner today, Nicolas Deault.
Nicolas took a slightly different approach and answered the questions in one response. His journey is very relatable. I really enjoyed reading the journey from our new runner friend, up north, aye.

Name: Nicolas Deault, Montreal, Canada

Twitter:@dohsky

Check out Nicolas’ Blog- http://www.barelyinsane.com

Let’s starts from the beginning of my journey with a short recap, shall we? Back in 2013, I got off the couch and started running. I signed up for an obstacle race 8 months away and a half marathon 4 months later.  Was it the results of a mid-life crisis or the idea of running after new upcoming kids, who know?  I quickly discovered how the years had negatively affected my body and how alive I felt after each training run.  I struggled in the obstacle race and completed the half marathon using each and every parcel of energy I had.  For the whole week, as tired as I was, I still felt invincible.  I was willing to take any challenge, no questions asked.  Bring ‘em on!  I guess now everyone understands that I was hooked.  I signed up for more local races, trail races, snow races, and the same half marathon the next year. I really liked all the races and the training runs.  Then, one morning, I received an email that the company where I work, Abbott, is sponsoring the major six and they are holding a draw to give race waiver.  I did put my name in for New York (2015) as it is one of the closest to home.  My name came out; my training had to get in a higher gear. I really pushed myself and I ran the Five Borough Marathon, the big apple, New York as my very first marathon. Came back to Montreal, the next day – side note, it is a very bad idea to go 6 hours in a car the day after a 26.2 miles race.  I was at my desk, working on Tuesday, aching but proud.  Three days later, on Friday; my name came out for Boston (2016).  At this point I’d like to mention that I totally felt lucky, blessed and mostly, very excited.  I kept on training despite health hiccups and Canadian winter.  I was ready and able for the great race on Patriot’s day.  Picture this, within 6 months, I graduated to a full marathoner and ran both New York and the most famous, Boston.  Since then, I conquered Montreal Rock’nRoll marathon and other local races.  In the 2017 draw, I was once again invited to Massachusetts.  Can I really refuse?  Of course not!

So 2017 will be my second Boston.  Last year, I’ve performed very well.  I clocked a personal best of 4:36 and I was able to run the whole course, I never needed a walking break.  To run the most famous marathon in Americas twice in two years is a blessing.  This year, I know the course a bit, I know the feeling of its crowd, I am ready to enjoy every miles.  The prestige and fame that comes with the experience of running this legendary course is huge.  Even non marathonner knows about the Boston mythical race. Some even heard about the infamous Heartbreak Hill.  In short, this is the Superbowl, the Stanley cup, the World Series of running.  Being a contender, being part of this great dance is a once in a lifetime experience; and I’ll be going for a second round.

Of course, I don’t expect to be as nervous as last year where I forgot my headband at the hotel, and didn’t put sunscreen on my calves.  I suffered minor sunburn that I realized later in the hot tub, the water felt really hot.  Up to 25 days before Patriot’s day, I only had one illness that kept me from training.  With 3 marathon’s training history, I was able to list how many miles to run each week, how long should be the long runs and up to now, I’m sticking to my plan.  I began the official training on the second week of January, which is a bit later than I’d had like but I was able to catch up on expected mileage.  I’ve ran mostly on the treadmill at the gym but spring is just around the corner and I’ll be able to run mostly outside from now on.  My longest long runs are planned, I’ll be able to fulfill them in the upcoming weeks and perform a great race.  Consistency is key and I was disciplined enough to execute most of my training.  Of course, the plan changed, the schedule was adjusted to fit with family life but overall, it challenged me and I grew.

For most of the endurance events, I tend to define 3 goals; on April 17th, I want to complete the event, I want to PR below last year’s 4:36 and if everything goes well, I’d like to be below 4:15. If I succeed in one of the 3, it will be a mild success, 2 would be good and 3 would be fantastic.  The thing is, on race day, anything can happen, whether or not you’ve had the best preperation.  The hazards on a 4 hours ride are numerous and some just happen. This is a sensitive topic as I wouldn’t want to jinx myself.  So yeah, everything’s gonna be all right.

As most runners, I’ll lay all my gear the night before on the bed, making a list, checking it twice.  I’ll most likely wear my UnderArmour compression shirt and my red headband to keep my hair away from my face.  Obviously, my Garmin 220 will be on my wrist.  At this point, there is nothing that you can train for, the focus will be only on not forgetting anything, don’t sabotage that day by a simple mistake.  To me, the toughest part of the challenge is behind; the months of gruelling training, all the miles in the gym, all the stretching and the wierd walking the days after the long runs are done.  The race isn’t easy, but it is simple.  When you’ve prepared correctly, your body knows the task ahead, your brain foresee and understand the struggle you’ll go through and you’ll embrace, whole heartedly everything that come your way that day.

It will come as no surprise to you, the reader, that The Boston Marathon is my favorite event.  I love running marathon and if you grant me a few more lines, I’d like to give you why I like it so much.  A marathon, is a no bullshit race.  Of course there are the cheaters and some who are physically naturally gifted but there isn’t anybody that can just get up one day and run a Marathon.  You can fake a half, you can “wing it”, but not a marathon. The required training builds your character, tests your discipline, and asks you, every time, “Do you really want it?”.  The race drains all the energy you have, demands to reach your limits, forces you to dig deep, body and soul.  You give all you have.  It’s a commitment to training and the completion of the course is a true achievement.  When you can perform, on the same road where legends ran before you, from Hopkinton to Boston, you are signing your name in history’s big book.

I realize that some may find that my motivation is rather selfish but let me assure you, it gives as much to others than I get for myself.  Of course, the medal and my name in the finishers list; that part is for me.  Having my daughter hug me hard, and long, while I was still sweaty, seeing the pride in her eyes that her dad was a marathoner, that is a powerful moment. Talking with co-workers who saw you rise to the occasion and hear them say; maybe I can try a 5k. That is inspiration.  When I share my ordinary story to friends and planting the seed of challenging themselves and becoming greater than they already are; those are amazing fragments of life.

In a few weeks, I’ll be running the Boston marathon like it was my last time. I doubt I’ll ever BQ and I can’t really rely endlessly on luck so I’ll take it all in, enjoy every moments, share some high-fives, some fist-bumps, smile for the cameras and the crowd, be thankful that people are cheering, say thank you to the volonteers and hopefully won’t meet the medical tents.

Finally, I’ll take to opportunity to give credit where credit is due.  Thank you to my girlfriend who lets me spend so many hours at the gym, or outside running. Thanks to my daughter for the encouragement and support. Thanks to Abbott, my employer for the waiver.  And also, to the twitter running community for the support and kind words.  For those who would like to connect, I’m on twitter @dohsky and I have a blog where I share my moments of training and life itself. http://www.barelyinsane.com

 

NicolasDeault01Check back tomorrow for our next featured runner!  You can wish Nicolas good luck and send him some positive words of encouragement for the big day, in the comment section below.

Thank you so much for reading! Please like, share and subscribe!

Boston Marathon Featured Runner Q&A- Rob Farrell

I am excited to feature a different runner each day as we count down to Boston.  I love that each runner is unique, coming into Boston with a diverse background and goals.  Their journeys all lead to the same place.  You can read about my journey, Reflection and Countdown to the Boston Marathon.

I’m excited to introduce our featured runner today, Rob Farrell.  I really enjoyed getting to know about this runner from “across the pond.” I found him to be extremely genuine and very relatable for many of my running friends.IMG_6957

Name: Rob Farrell from Portishead, near Bristol, England, UK

  1. Can you first, give us your Boston Marathon “story”

This will be my first and only Boston Marathon (bar national lottery wins!) and my 4th marathon. I started running in 2010, due to a distinct lack of fitness during my mid life, completing my first half marathon that year. Three years later I managed a painful 3:28 at the Shakespeare Marathon.

With the words “never again” barely out of my mouth I put my name in to the ballot for London, partially hoping I wouldn’t get in! However, I was lucky enough to get a place and targeted a sub 3:15 to obtain a London Good For Age qualifying time.

At the time Boston was more of a dream than a vision, although the idea of running it was beginning to form. I had a perfect race in London (April 2015), bagging a 3:14:48, a massive 12 seconds inside my target but, at the age of 44, not good enough for a squeaker’s place in Boston.

I had already signed up for the inaugural, local and, so far, the only, Bristol + Bath Marathon, taking place in late October 2015. Things began to fall in to place as I realized this was within the qualifying period for Boston 2017, that I would enter the next age category and that the 2017 race would take place bang in the middle of my two sons’ Easter school holidays. I needed to beat 3:25 with some change and, although it was a hilly second half of the course, I ran 3:20:36. A timely annual bonus from work and I was going to Boston (as part of a family holiday)!

  1. What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?

For me it is about personal achievement and feeling proud of something I have worked hard for, off my own back. A lot of people have earned a marathon finisher’s medal but not many have earned a BQ, never mind a Boston finish. For me, this is the victory lap of marathons.

  1. What do you look forward to most about running Boston Marathon?

Getting to the start line uninjured! Also pinching myself on the way round to take in the fact I am running  that iconic course. And, of course,  picking up that medal, the culmination of four marathon training cycles and 7 years of dedicated running.

  1. How will you define success, on race day?

It has to be a PR. I’d love to say I will take it steady, take in all the sights and sounds and remember every moment but I know I will try to run the quickest race I can. Sub 3:15 will guarantee entry in to London for the next 2 – 3 years, a fast course with great crowds, so that’s the target

  1. Do you have a favorite piece of clothing or tech that you always use for training or racing?

I love my Garmin (currently a 620) and never run without it. I always run with my phone on my arm for music (fast sessions) or podcast (slow runs) and use Monster iSport Victory earphones as they survive virtually all British weather. My job is to manage a 24/7 manufacturing plant so sometimes I take work calls on the run! Other than the GPS watch, phone and music I’m basically at one with nature!

I rarely buy clothing and wear all the tech-tees collected from races, although I did buy a Boston Marathon Qualifier Adidas tee (via my sister-in-law in California due to no international shipping!) to wear during training – I don’t see many of them around in the UK!

  1. How has your training gone, leading up to Boston Marathon? Any advice?

Training has gone really well considering I barely ran in 2016 due to achilles problems. I started walk/jogging in August and slowly ramped up to begin a 16 week plan, the same one I used for my last two marathons. One significant change for me was to take a day off a few times when not feeling good. I know this sounds obvious but I am rather obsessive about sticking to training plans and it took a lot of willpower not to run. I’d like to think this has helped me avoid injury. If the sensible, non running side of your brain suggests you shouldn’t run, follow its advice!

  1. What part of the marathon do you find most challenging?

Nerves! I worry a lot in the days and hours leading up to the start. I worry about all the usual stuff; getting injured or ill, what I will eat before, how I will sleep, GI issues! I know it will hurt during the race as I always push myself and I fear the disappointment of failing to reach my goal. Other than that, I love it!

  1. What has been your favorite race (any distance) up until this point?

It would have to be the London Marathon, an amazing atmosphere and a great course. The only race where the cumulative cheers of the crowd have made me, a generally cynical guy, feel genuinely emotional. Especially considering the crowd was mostly full of people who are miserable and rude the rest of the year! I look forward to experiencing the well renowned American support in Boston

  1. Do you have a pre-race routine, ritual or good luck charms?

No weird or wonderful rituals or good luck charms. I just put aside my favorite bits of kit for race day. No music during any race, that’s just for training

  1. What inspires you as a runner?

I usually train rather than just run, I run when I race. I run for the effects, the results; emotional, physical, mental. I’d like to inspire my sons to get out and run but I only seem to get their eyes to roll so far!

  1. Anything else you want to share or would like Runcanvas to promote?

My eldest son is Autistic, a charity I often run for is the National Autistic Society. However, this race is just for me, I’m giving my family and friends a break from asking for money

My Twitter account is @runningfaz for the occasional running tweet

Good luck to my fellow BQers!

Check back tomorrow for our next featured runner!  You can wish Rob good luck and send him some positive words of encouragement for the big day, in the comment section below.

Thank you so much for reading! Please like, share and subscribe!

 

Boston Marathon Featured Runner Q&A- Stephanie Michaelis

Boston Marathon Featured Runner Q&A- Stephanie Michaelis

I am excited to feature a different runner each day as we count down to Boston.  I love that each runner is unique, coming into Boston with a diverse background and goals.  Their journeys all lead to the same place.  You can read about my journey, Reflection and Countdown to the Boston Marathon.

Stephanie is one of my training buddies and teammates for the KC Running Company race team. When I was getting back into running, Stephanie was one of my first and most consistent training partners. She isn’t kidding about being a mileage junkie. I would never have been able to develop my mileage base with out her.  Thank you so much Steph!

img_2778
Stephanie and I after KC Marathon 2015, she was a huge part of helping me getting in the needed mileage for my 1st marathon

Check out Stephanies Q&A

Name: Stepanie Michaelis

  1. Can you first, give us your Boston Marathon “story”

My story: I am a time qualifier, preparing to run my second Boston. My best time so far came in Chicago 2015 (3:20:12).  I ran 3 additional BQs in 2016, including a 3:25:40 in Boston last year.  The experience was equal parts the most painful, exhausting, exhilarating, and thrilling experience of my running adventures to date.  I have gone from a first marathon finish time of 4:24 in OKC in 2013 to that 3:20 in Chicago 2015.  This will be marathon number 15 for me, and I never dreamt that I would ever run one, let alone 15, with 3 more to go this year.

2.  What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?

This race will always be my “Super Bowl”, and one that I will participate in as long as I am capable of qualifying. This means to me that I am among the best runners in the world that are capable of achieving set qualifying standards, and that I have earned the privilege of toeing the line in Hopkinton with thousands of others that have met those same stringent standards.  I’m not gifted with super speed, will never go to the Olympics, will never win a decent sized marathon.  I will, however, qualify for Boston, and that’s achievement enough for this girl!

3. What do you look forward to most about running Boston Marathon?

One of the best parts of running Boston is the camaraderie that comes from having 30,000 people experience the most famous marathon out there. People who don’t run have heard of the Boston Marathon, and with that running comes a sort of prestige that you can’t get from other races.  The race is everything from a PR course to a victory lap to a huge charity fundraiser, all rolled into one.  The level of excitement that surrounds the city on race weekend is unbelievable.

4. How will you define success, on race day?

Success for me on race day has changed a bit in the last 2 weeks. I have tweaked my training, added speedwork (which I have never done previously), practiced running downhill to prevent the immense quad fatigue I dealt with last year.  I also pushed my glute to the point of pain, and have been battling that for the last week and a half, trying not to panic.  At 2.5 weeks out (as I type this), right now I’m hoping for a decent finish.  That’s a drastic change from the goal I had my eye on, and it has me stressed out to the point of tears.  I’m working with an ART doctor and a chiropractor of kinesiology to rehab and repair the damage I have inflicted.  Ask me again closer to the race; I hope I can be more optimistic about my goals.

5. Do you have a favorite piece of clothing or tech that you always use for training or racing?

My favorite piece of race clothing has to be my CW-X revolution tights. They are super lightweight, and provide support and compression to my muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints.  I have several pair of tights from CW-X, and consider them an amazing investment.  I wear them after a race as well, to help with recovery. 

6. How has your training gone, leading up to Boston Marathon? Any advice?

My training has been much better this cycle than any other previous (discounting the current problem). I was pleasantly surprised by the ease that the speedwork came to me, and the longer training runs I was able to participate in really boosted my confidence.  I have always been a “run all the miles” girl, with my weekly average between 65-75 for the last year.  That I was able to maintain that level of mileage and add in the speed really helped out the confidence level.

7. What part of the marathon do you find most challenging?

The part of the race that is most challenging for me is usually between miles 16-20. Over half done, but not quite close enough to consider the rest of the race “my regular morning run”.  Once I can tell myself “just a 10k left” means I’m finally on the downhill slide and the end is closer than I think.  This is also where the ubiquitous “wall” comes into play.  Avoiding the body revolt and crash is always an interesting challenge.

8.  What has been your favorite race (any distance) up until this point?

My favorite race to this point is a toss up between Chicago 2015 (I had the most complete, seamless race yet) and Boston last year, because, well…. Boston. I do love Chicago, with the course winding through the city and all of the amazing crowd support.  I will be going back there for the 3rd year in a row this fall, it’s really one of my favorite courses to date.

9.  Do you have a pre-race routine, ritual or good luck charms?

I don’t really have much of a prerace ritual, although I am picky about what I eat. I prefer light and simple, like grilled chicken sandwiches and pasta with red sauce.  I don’t try anything new leading up to the race; the last thing I need is to have a stomach issue while trying to concentrate on pace and putting one foot in front of the other.  

10.  What inspires you as a runner?

I have never been a standout in anything. I played soccer growing up, but I wasn’t even close to the kid that stood out. I didn’t play high school sports, I played co-ed soccer as an adult.  Running somehow just clicked for me, and it has turned into something that I’m actually decent at.  It makes my day when someone asks for my advice or opinion, or recognizes me (or my dachshund Norman) from the running community.  I love the network of friends that I have made through this; they are truly a varied and amazing group.  I will never regret the experiences that running has provided for me; I love being a normal person that happens to run pretty well and has had some pretty awesome experiences as a result. 

img_2788
Stephanie after her first race as a KC Running Company team member

Check back tomorrow for our next featured runners! You can wish Stephanie good luck and send some awesome words of wisdom in the comment section below.

Thank you so much for reading, please like, share and subscribe!

 

Boston Marathon Featured Runner Q&A Hedwig van Bree

IMG-20170320-WA0038 (1)

I am excited to feature a different runner each day as we count down to Boston.  I love that each runner is unique, coming into Boston with a diverse background and goals.  Their journeys all lead to the same place.  You can read about my journey, Reflection and Countdown to the Boston Marathon.

Hedwig van Bree is another running blogger.  The neat thing is, her blog is in Dutch.  You can check it out in English by using google translator.

Check out her blog! runhedwigrun.com

Twitter- @runhedwigrun

Instagram- @runhedwigrun

*Twitter and Instagram accounts are in English

Name: Hedwig van Bree

  1. Can you first, give us your Boston Marathon “story”

After 1 ran my second marathon (April 2016, Rotterdam Marathon, The Netherlands) someone told me with that time (3.27.23) I would qualify for Boston. I was surprised : I didn’t even know there are marathons for non-profs one needs to qualify for. This will be my first Boston marathon. After Rotterdam I had a very busy time because of moving houses so I couldn’t train the way I wanted…. I ran the Berlin marathon in almost the same time as Rotterdam (3.27. 28) so it feels I qualified twice 😉

  1. What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?

It means so much to me now I know it’s a very special marathon. A lot of people have it on their ‘running-bucket-list’ and I ‘just’ qualified without being aware of how special that is. I read a lot about this race and after what happened in 2013 (when I just started running for 4 months) it makes me feel very humble I have the opportunity to participate in this extra special marathon.

  1. What do you look forward to most about running Boston Marathon?

To find out how hard running heartbrake hill is

  1. How will you define success, on race day?

First of all by enjoying the race even when I realize I can’t break my PB because I would really love to do that in Boston. However: I do realize this is not a ‘normal’ marathon so when I find out it’s too hard I will continue running but focus even more on the public, atmosphere and course

  1. Do you have a favorite piece of clothing or tech that you always use for training or racing?

I used to wear my RunHedwigRun.com shirt (my blog’s name) but since I became an Asics Frontrunner NL member I will wear one of those shirts: a tank top when it’s good weather and shorts… that’s what I prefer

  1. How has your training gone, leading up to Boston Marathon? Any advice?

It went really well but I am a bit insecure because I did train a bit different than before. My trainer ‘made’ me run lots of very low pace long runs… I almost feel like I can’t run fast any more 😉 This is why my advice is: stick to your plan also when you sometimes feel you need to do something else… Trust your schedule / trainer!

  1. What part of the marathon do you find most challenging?

The last 10 kms (6 miles?)

  1. What has been your favorite race (any distance) up until this point?

My first marathon ever: the NYC marathon which I ran in November 2015

9. Do you have a pre-race routine, ritual or good luck charms?

I always take 2 small items with me that belong to my 7 years old son an d 4 years old daughter; they are with me in my flip belt

10. What inspires you as a runner?Schermafbeelding 2017-03-20 om 23.03.02 (1)

Other runners; especially ordinary people who do extraordinary things (like my friend who is a mother of two and who ran a pb of 3.11.29 in Valencia!)

Check back tomorrow for our next featured runner!  You can wish Hedwig van Bree good luck and send her some positive words of encouragement for the big day, in the comment section below.  Don’t forget to check out her running blog and follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Thank you so much for reading! Please like, share and subscribe!

Fundraising 101: Tips from a not so professional fundraising runner

I am very excited that we now have the opportunity to feature guest blogger Nicole from All the miles blog on Runcanvas.

If you had asked me a year ago if I would run another marathon, let alone raise money while getting ready to train for a marathon, I would have told you that you were a crazy person. Then January rolled around and I not only decided to raise money in support of Team for Kids, but I also decided I would be fundraising to run the 2017 New York City Marathon alongside my best friend.

Why be a running fundraiser? 

– To support a cause you strongly believe in

-To help bring awareness to an issue that people may not think about on a daily basis

– To give meaning to your miles! Running is such an individual sport, it’s so incredibly empowering to have a “reason” to lace up and run.

Ok, so you want to raise money for a charity and run a race. Now what?

The first step is to think about why you’re fundraising. Find a cause that you strongly believe in and think about why you feel it’s important. Then find out how to get involved in said charity.

Set a fundraising goal and pick a goal race. A lot of times, the goal is determined by the charity. For example, Team for Kids sets fundraising goals for the marathon distance at $2620. A lot of people choose to make the goal bigger than required, and I think that’s a wonderful idea if you have a great way to spread the word!

Make a plan. This is arguably the most nerve-wracking part of the fundraising process because you’re literally at $0 raised and the task seems daunting. But think about who you want to ask and create your message (i.e. why you’re fundraising, who you’re fundraising for, and your goal race). Then donate to yourself.

Ask, Ask, Ask. Set out and start asking all of those people you listed out. I’ve used mainly email and social media, but also good old fashioned snail mail. Ask as many people as you can think of!

Don’t be afraid of “no”. In reaching out to people, you’re bound to have someone say, “thanks but no thanks”. It’s hard to hear “no” and not take it personally, particularly from a close friend or family member. But it will happen and I’ve learned that it’s important to not let “no” impact the rest of your fundraising efforts.

63e8df053d7468a64d098f82f8b1525b

Follow up. For me, this is the hardest part. I don’t like to be a pest but the saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” exists for a reason. People have busy lives and just because they aren’t donating doesn’t meant they don’t want to…just that maybe it’s slipped their mind. Worst case scenario? They say, “thanks but no thanks”.

dear-congress

Get creative. Once you’ve exhausted all of your friends and family with social media posts and emails and mailings it’s time to get creative. I’ve only been fundraising for a couple of months so I am by no means the end all be all of fundraising tips. But the one thing I do know: people like to have something to show for their donation. Think of fun ways to engage people and they will be much more interested in your cause!

Just a couple of good tips:

– T-shirt sales (via Bonfire, etc)

– Fundraising gifts (something homemade or personalized)

– Charity auction (I’m doing one of these on my blog sometime soon so stay tuned!)

– Restaurant night

-Wine tasting party

-Trunk sale with a local vendor

Branch outside of your comfort zone. Like I mentioned above, I will be having a charity auction on my blog in the coming weeks. And boy, that was SCARY to get started. Emailing shops and people and companies to ask for donations is quite intimidating. But I think it’s important to make your cause known and do those scary things to help raise awareness and support for whatever you strongly believe in!

Always remember why you’re fundraising. It’s easy to lose sight of the end goal during fundraising. It’s a time consuming and sometimes stressful endeavor and I’ve found myself frustrating about progress, etc more times than I’d like to admit. Write down your goal/who you’re fundraising for/why you chose to support your charity. And remind yourself of that reason every time you feel down and out about progress.

Make it part of your life. If you’re having people donate, you need to walk the walk. Donate to yourself, donate to others, and keep fundraising at the forefront of your mind.

download

I’ve learned that it takes A LOT to be successful at fundraising. It’s more work than I possibly could have imagined. But, to be honest, that is NOT a bad thing because it just reaffirms the WHY of fundraising.

♥ Nicole

You can follow my training and fundraising journey on my blog!


MemberSlideImageAbout the Author

Nicole is a pediatric audiologist by day and a long distance runner by morning. And evening. And anytime really. Her favorite things in the world are caffeine (coffee and tea for life), reading, science, dessert, and hanging out with my cats and husband. She was born and raised in New England but is happy to now call Atlanta her home!

Nicole ran her first marathon on October 10, 2015 in 4 hour and 55 minutes. She was instantly hooked. Her running goal has gone from finishing a marathon to fundraising for a major marathon. Nicole’s next race: the New York City Marathon in November 2017. After that? Who knows.  

Be sure to check out her blog!

Boston Marathon Featured Runner Q&A- Ben Chan

I am excited to feature a different runner each day as we count down to Boston.  I love that each runner is unique, coming into Boston with a diverse background and goals.  Their journeys all lead to the same place.  You can read about my journey, Reflection and Countdown to the Boston Marathon.

Ben is an awesome training buddy of mine, I can always count on him to join in for some extra miles or a speed workout. Ben has had a wonderful journey and has earned his spot in Boston through an incredible amount of dedication and consistency.   Thank you so much for pushing me through so many runs and workouts!

2016 vs 2012 (1)
Ben completing his first 5k on the right and a more current picture of him racing in his KCTC Max Jersey on the left

Here is the Q &A for Ben…

  1. Can you first, give us your Boston Marathon “story”

This is will be my first time running the Boston Marathon where I was able to meet the time cutoff and I qualified at the Phoenix marathon in 2016. For the 2016 Boston Marathon I was able to meet the time requirements but I missed the cut off of 2 minutes 28 seconds.

A little background on me, in April 2011 some friends convinced me to sign up for a 5k and at that time I was not a runner, athletic, I didn’t play sports in high school or college and the only sports related thing I did was weight lifting. For that race I had 2 goals which were to run the whole distance without walking and to finish in under 28 minutes both of which I was able to squeak by and accomplish both goals. Several years later I started running with the Kansas City Track Club and the start of the early morning long runs began along with them convincing me to sign up for not 1 but 2 half marathons a few months out. My goals have changed since my first race and now I’ll be attempting to run under 2:50 at Boston but I still have my bib from my first race and it’s something that I plan to keep for some time.

  1. What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?

Running the the Boston Marathon means that I am able to reap the rewards of all of the training that I did leading up to the race. Not all of the training went smoothly, there were definitely some great workouts, some that I cut short and some aches and pains that had me worried. And with the way all my friends rave about Boston, I can’t pass up a chance to see what all the hype is about.

  1. What do you look forward to most about running Boston Marathon?

The thing that I look forward to the most is crossing the finish line and being able to celebrate and bask in the accomplishment with my friends. Fingers crossed that everyone nails their goals!

  1. How will you define success, on race day?

My definition of a successful race is being able to say that I ran to the best of my abilities at the time. However that does not mean that I don’t have a time goal in mind but that is weather dependent.

  1. Do you have a favorite piece of clothing or tech that you always use for training or racing?

Absolutely! I’ll wear my lightest pair of shorts and my favorite pair of racing flats! I have used the racing flats in several goal races from 5ks to marathons and in a training runs but have since saved them for goal races.

  1. How has your training gone, leading up to Boston Marathon? Any advice?

For the most part training has gone pretty well and has been consistent so far. During Spring of 2016 I was injured and took a month or two of reduced running and switched to cycling to help maintain fitness. I decided to start ramping up my weekly mileage in December to get ready for Boston knowing that if any ache or pain were to flare up I would have ample time to reduce my mileage for a short time and hope the ache/pain would subside. I have been maintaining higher mileage for the past several months and nailing most of the speed work but my goal still makes me nervous.

My advice for training for any marathon and running in general is be consistent. There is not a single workout that will guarantee a great race but if you train consistently you’ll minimize the chances of an unfavorable race. That being said, logging a lot of miles will do wonders for a marathon.

  1. What part of the marathon do you find most challenging?

The hardest part of racing a marathon is the very beginning of the race where you have to be very cognizant of your pace or you’ll be feeling it later in the race. With all the adrenaline, excitement and amped up people around, it’s very easy to take off too fast when you hear the gun go off and it’ll feel really easy, but shouldn’t the first few miles of a marathon feel easy anyways?

  1. What has been your favorite race (any distance) up until this point?

My favorite race so far is Grandma’s marathon in Duluth, MN. It feels a little cliche since that was the first marathon that I raced and the first race that I traveled for but so much went right and on top of a great race, it was a great vacation! It was amazing to see how the town rallied around a race that ran literally through their downtown area and the amount of spectators that lined the point to point race. On top of that I was able to maintain my goal pace through most of the race and the post race activities with friends was a blast!

  1. Do you have a pre-race routine, ritual or good luck charms?

Of Course! My pre-race ritual consists of laying out my race clothes, shoes and pinning my bib to my shorts the night before. The morning of the race I’ll get up freakishly early and have a cup of coffee and a few pieces of toast or a Pop-tart. Shoe laces will be double knotted and I’ll check my drop bag to verify a change of clothes and flip-flops have been packed.

  1. What inspires you as a runner?

Currently the thing that motivates me the most is my run streak which is closing in on 4 years of running at least 1 mile each day. It originally started when I noticed that running more often lead to faster race times and it started as only a few days at a time, then a week, then months and has snowballed into years. One perk about running so much is it allows me to indulge in treats without feeling guilty. Now for the insanely early long runs, it is the people that I run with and the camaraderie that keeps me coming back for more.

img_2773
Ben is an awesome training partner, our strengths are the other persons weakness.  In the above picture Ben paced me for the first 16 miles of my Boston qualifier

Ben would love to send A big thank you to the Kansas City Track Club, Kansas City Running Company and RUNbelievable because without them I don’t know if I would have picked up long distance running. They have been beyond welcoming, really helpful to bounce ideas around, picking their brains and most importantly they make you feel like family.

 

Check back tomorrow for our next featured runner!  You can wish Ben good luck and send some awesome words of wisdom in the comment section below!

Be sure to like, comment and subscribe!

 

2017 week 13 recap-> 3 weeks until Boston Marathon

Finishing up my final long run and getting my biggest workouts behind me as me feeling like this….

final count down

I also kind of feel like this….

rookie of the year
“oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!”

I am really excited, it’s so close I can taste it.  For the most part, the hay is in the barn. Not a whole lot of fitness can be gained at this point.  Focus shifts to maintenance and recovery.  So that I can, hopefully,  perform at my best on race day.  Beginning to really narrow down my goals and think about pacing strategies. 

I had a goal in mind, and began to wonder if I could push that a bit.  I was certain my coach dreamswas going to tell me my goal was too aggressive, or at least it was risky.  I think I kind of got the opposite, he agreed with my goal time and thought that I could possible go under that time a tad.  I got similar reaction from 1-2 other running friends.  It’s pretty nice to have others believe in you, but I’m not sure I am really ready to believe it myself.  It’s scary.  It’s a good thing thought, I think your goals should scare you a bit.

 

Here is my weekly Recap

Monday-7.01 miles at 8:04 pace, total time 56:32

               Easy run, I got some of the early miles in with my track kiddos and then finished up the second half of my run through the neighborhood.  I thought my legs might still feel a tad tired from Saturdays progressive run, but luckily they did not.

 

Tuesday- Track workout, prescribed 2 mile warmup+ 4 x 1.5 miles @ 5:55 to 6:00 pace(2 minutes recover) +2 mile cooldownimg_2820

I felt good this workout, I was nervous going into it.  When I saw it loaded, I was pretty certain coach was trying to kill me.  Luckily it was that perfect balance.  I was pushed, but comfortable.  I was tired, but my running was smooth and so was my breathing.  I finished confident I could complete 1-2 more reps.

 

Wednesday-7 miles at 7:55 pace, total time 55:30

Easy/recovery run.  I ran most of this run through the grass as my track kiddos played their favorite game “infected.”  I am really lucky to have such an enthusiastic bunch this year, it makes coaching fun. I finished off my run through the neighborhood again.

 

Thursday- Workout, prescribed 2 mile warmup + 3 sets of (600m, 600m, 400m) at 5:40 pace (no faster)  45 sec rests.3 minutes rest between sets. + 2 mile cooldown jog.

Squeezed in another workout this week, I wasn’t sure if my legs would be dead going into it.  I don’t this they were.  Higher intensity than Tuesdays, but super short.  It almost felt like we had skipped part of the workout or misread it when we were done.

Friday-4.52 miles at 8:13 pace, total time 37:07

Easy run today, I had 5 on the schedule and got 4.5 done with the track kiddos.  It was a long work week and I let myself skip the last half mile of the run so I could head home.

Saturday- 22 miles at 7:31 pace, total time 2:45:39

This was it, the big one! The weather was pretty decent and I met a friend at a trail that I don’t run very often so it was a nice change in scenery.  The biggest challenge of this run, was boredom the last couple of miles. It’s all down-hill from here.

Sunday- Scheduled Rest Day

Its hurry up and wait time, luckily to ease my pre-race jitters, my students start state testing (MAP testing) this week.  I’m not sure what I am more stressed about.  img_2805

Thank  you so much for reading! Please comment, like and subscribe!