What I Wore Running the Marathon

2016 Boston Marathon Race Recap

I got some questions about what I wore when I ran the marathon so I figured I throw up a quick post with the details. Heads up–most of the links in this post are affiliate.

TWAV Singlet

Nike High Impact Sports Bra | Nothing fancy, but I love this thing because it pancakes your boobs so tightly to your body, nothing even has the remote chance of jiggling (I can not handle boob bounce when I work out!).

Lululemon Speed Track Short | I bought these the weekend of the marathon and LOVE them. They’re high-waisted with a thick, comfortable waistband and are long enough to stay in place without riding up and giving you a perma-wedgie. I hate having to constantly pull down my shorts when I’m running and I didn’t have to do that once on marathon day. Highly recommend! They have ruched pockets on the sides which are kinda weird for everyday wear (not too flattering), but proved really practical for race day. I kept a couple gel packs in each!

Under Armour Play Up Shorts | Usually I’m all for as few waistbands as possible, but the team singlet wasn’t very long so I knew I’d feel more comfortable with a loose pair of shorts over my Lululemons. This UA pair is super lightweight with a looser waistband so I didn’t even notice they were on.

Nike Free Distance | People actually laugh in my face when I say I run distance in Nike Frees. It’s usually a laugh followed by “Ouch.” Hate on haters. Frees SAVED my achilles tendonitis a few years ago and I haven’t found another running sneaker that’s worked for me as well since. The new(ish) distance version of the Free line is awesome.

Flipbelt | I bought one of these at the Marathon Expo after hearing Heather talk about hers. Since I already had two pairs of shorts on, it was a little overkill to have a third object around my waist, but it ended up being surprisingly comfortable and I was thankful for the extra storage space.

Not pictured:

Quay Sunglasses (old but similar look here) | I felt like a total bro wearing reflective sunglasses, but the lightweight rubber material of the frame is perfect for running (even though that’s definitely not what they’re intended for).

Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Handheld Water BottleThis was another pre-race purchase. I don’t normally like to hold something while I run (for training runs I’d leave a water bottle by a bench along the Charles River and just sip out of it every time I looped by), but with the weather forecast looking so warm, I thought it better safe than sorry. I was happy to have it so that I didn’t have to deal with the chaos of water stations as often.

Thorlo CoolMax Padded SocksI love these socks–especially the added pads to the balls of the feet and heels. Because I run in a lightweight sneakers with less cushion than other more supportive styles, I appreciate any extra padding I can get.

What are your race day go-to’s?

Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend.

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Boston Marathon 2016 Race Recap

2016 Boston Marathon Race Recap

I don’t know how to properly convey through typed words how thankful I am for all of you. The gratitude I feel. The fullness in my heart that hasn’t let up since yesterday morning. The response to my last blog left me speechless. When the post went live at 8AM, I’d raised $5,531 for MABVI. Just two short hours later when I finished teaching my morning classes and opened up my computer, I had received 15 new donations. FIFTEEN. What??? I couldn’t believe it. By 5PM, because of YOUR support, I’d raised $7,500. I hit my goal! We hit my goal. You hit my goal. Amazing. Absofuckinglutely amazing. Just typing that is bringing on the burning sensation in the back of my nasal passage that signals the tears are on deck.

Thank you for your generosity. You’ve made my heart so full. I am utterly humbled by your support. <3

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Marathon Monday

Have I dragged this out long enough or what?! Race recap time! Then I’ll STFU about Boston for, like, at least a couple weeks. 😉

My alarm went off at 4:45AM. I had to catch Team With A Vision’s chartered bus at 6AM out to Hopkinton, and wanted to make sure I had time for my new 10-minute daily morning meditation habit. It was pretty pointless though–you try stopping your mind from thinking the morning of your first ever marathon! I sat cross-legged on my kitchen floor with my headphones in “meditating” (good lord I’m turning into my mother) and then started getting dressed for the big day. I had laid out my outfit the night before and packed the bag I’d bring with me, so it was a pretty quick process.

Although it was going to be a warm day, it was still chilly at that hour of the morning, so I threw on some old leggings and a stained sweatshirt over top. TWAV had systems in place to get any belongings back to you, but just in case I wore outer layers I didn’t care about losing.

Last things to do before leaving the house included a swig of apple cider vinegar (disgusting I know, but lots of health benefits so I do it daily-ish), drinking a big 16-oz glass of water, double checking I had everything I’d need packed in my bag, triple checking, waking out the door, realizing I forgot something, repeating a few times, throwing unnecessary shit in my bag “just in case” and then finally leaving the apartment around 5:30AM.

Our bus took off from the Park Plaza Hotel around 6AM and we began the drive out to Hopkinton. On the bus I ate a Blueberry Muffin Larabar because I literally can’t go a day without one and continued to sip on water. I kept having these oh-shit moments where I’d look out the bus window, see a highway sign for Ashland or some other vaguely recognizable town name I knew to be eons away from the city and think aaaand I’m running home. Instead of getting nervous though, for some reason these moments of clarity just made me laugh. I’m running home from Hopkinton. I don’t even like driving home from Hopkinton. LOLLOLLOL.

The Wait

One of the challenges of Boston is the start time–especially for charity runners, who don’t start until 11:15AM. During my long training runs, I’d wake up and then immediately head out for the run. With the marathon though, you wake up at the crack of dawn to bus out to the start line and then you have four hours to sit around and just sort of marinate in your nerves. You need to take this into consideration not just with layering your outfit, but with timing what and when you eat.

TWAV gets to use a small, two-story house (The Vision Center) to wait in before the race. Considering the other runners hang out on the grass or the buses for hours, we might as well have been prepping in the Bellagio. I mean we had a real toilet. Yes, one that flushes and everything. Talk about spoiled.

At the Vision Center, I ate half a bagel toasted with almond butter and banana slices at around 8AM and drank a small coffee. I’ve never done meth, but reflecting on the scene in Breaking Bad where Tuco snorts it and then starts twitching and saying “Tight, tight, tight” repeatedly and then kills a guy with his bare hands, I’d say there might have been a touch of meth in the coffee.

I used the bathroom no less than six times, and then around 10:15AM ate the other half of my bagel with almond butter and banana. All things considered, the wait passed by quickly and before I knew it, it was time to lube up my toes (I smear Vaseline on them to prevent chaffing), lace up and walk over to the starting line.

The Race

Warning: This might be a bit of a boring race recap because I honestly felt great the whole time. I had no big obstacles to overcome aside from some mild armpit chaffing. I had energy to spare, no aches and pains, no injuries along the way. I think the Universe was probably like, This girl is an emotional train wreck, no way in hell she can handle a physically challenging race–let’s throw her an easy one. Hahaaa … but seriously.

It’s funny how, before the race even starts, your brain divides the course up into arbitrary sections. (Mine does anyway?) For me, it wasn’t so much the big distance markers (10K, half marathon, etc.), it was based more on where I knew friends and family would be and familiar landmarks. Instead of doing a mile-by-mile breakdown, I’m going to split the race recap the way my mind did.

Start Line to 4K Mark (My Parents!)

2016 Boston Marathon Race RecapSimon has run Boston before and I’m so thankful for that. There is no way my race would have gone as well as it did for me if Simon wasn’t there because I would have absolutely made the exact mistake he warned against. With all the excitement, I would have practically sprinted this first portion of the race. It’s downhill; your legs are fresh; there’s this badass tailgate of bikers at a burger bar blasting music near the start of the race (please invite me next year, I want to be in your crew); you’re running the Boston motherfucking Marathon. Holy stimulation overload.

The first few miles of the race were hot. No breeze, no shade, and although the forecast predicted a 60-degree day, it had to have been in the 70s at the start. It didn’t bother me though. Honestly, nothing really bothered me the entire race–I was a woman possessed.

My parents were waiting for me around the 4K marker, and I gave them each a quick hug before continuing on my way.

4K Mark to Btone Wellesley (Half Marathon Mark)

This is a long stretch to group together (over 10 miles), but to me it represented the part of the course I wasn’t familiar with–the part that wasn’t “home”. I’d done one training run starting in Framingham, but other than that, I’ve never spent much time in that area of MA. So as soon as I left my parents, my mind shifted its focus to the next familiar sight I’d see: Btone Wellesley.

Because I was so focused on Wellesley, Natick seemed to stretch on forever. The upside was that a breeze had picked up, and while we weren’t necessarily more shaded, the sun felt a lot less intense than it had at the start of the race. The brutal heat was behind us. Still, staying hydrated was important Monday, and that’s yet another reason I am so thankful to have done the race as a team with Simon and Heather. I wouldn’t have drank enough water along the course because it wouldn’t have occurred to me to drink more than I did during cold winter training runs. We got something to drink at just about every water station and I think that’s a huge reason I felt so great during and after the race. 2016 Boston Marathon Race Recap

An hour in, I ate my first Cafe Mocha Hüma gel. This is my favorite flavor, but after the jet fuel meth coffee I drank before the race, I wanted to make sure I didn’t overdo it with the caffeine. Throughout the race, I ate four total gels, one at the hour, 2-hour, 3-hour and then 4-hour mark. I alternated between Cafe Mocha and the Strawberry flavors.

When we finally hit Wellesley, I wasn’t sure if anyone I knew would be outside the studio, but I was SO HAPPY to see Jody and Jamie out front of Btone! It’s crazy how much of an impact seeing a familiar face can make on morale during a race.

Btone to The Turn onto Comm Ave

With Btone behind me, the next thing I focused on was turning off Rt 16 and onto Commonwealth Ave. I swear Comm Ave runs through the entire state of Masschusetts so this isn’t saying much, but I live on Commonwealth and it always felt like a bit of a home-stretch moment when I’d turn onto it during training runs.

It was during this section that the back-of-the-armpit chaffing started. My only “issue” during the race, it was greatly relieved by some heaven-sent guy along the course handing out popsicle sticks with globs of Vaseline on the ends. You’re a true American hero, sir.

The Start of Comm to BC

Although it’d been going on for miles, it wasn’t until this point in the race that Simon finally let on about how much pain he was in. Over a month ago, Simon suffered a pretty bad IT band injury. Inclines only aggravated it, so when we reached the infamous Newton hills, we walked up, running the stretches in between. With the heat, it seemed a lot of runners were using a similar strategy.

BC to Kenmore Square

2016 Boston Marathon Race RecapWe’re getting there! We’re getting there! This is when the excitement started to build for me. We continued to tackle the course with a mix of running and walking

Kenmore Square to the Finish Line

I knew I’d start getting emotional when I wrote this part of the race and yup. All the feels.

The crowd thickens as you near the city–the cheering intensifying, the volume increasing, the energy level rising. I’m home now–not just in the city, but in my neighborhood. I start to look out for familiar faces in the crowd. I can’t stop smiling. Well, I think I’m smiling, anyway. Based on the race day pictures, my face was actually doing something along these lines:

That’s ok though! Your top lip and bottom row of teeth are both highly overrated when you’re nearing the finish line!

We near the Mass Ave underpass and we’re running by my apartment. A “Boston Strong” sign hangs overhead. People drape themselves over the metal gates lining the course. We pick up the pace as we make a right onto Hereford Street. The crowds! We’re almost there! The cheers! I can’t believe I’m actually doing this! It doesn’t seem real.

And then that left onto Boylston Street.

THAT LEFT ONTO BOYLSTON. The months of training in the cold winter weather are worth it if only for that moment. It’s that incredible. For the last stretch of the race along Boylston, you are Mick Jagger walking onto the stage. You are the 2004 Red Sox in game 7 against the Yankees. You are Kate Middleton when she does anything. You feel so loved, so proud, so elated.

The crowds are so thick you can’t even see their end; the cheers erupt in this sort of funnel of wonderful, endless noise; and you fully understand why Boston is such a revered, beloved race. And then it sinks in that you are a part of that.

Final time: 4:45:08

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I grew up in Massachusetts, so from the time I was a little kid, Marathon Monday has always been a special day. I actually didn’t even realize that Patriot’s Day is only celebrated here until I went to college in North Carolina and we–*gasps in horror*–had to GO TO CLASS on Marathon Monday. Since graduating, Boston has been my home, and as fun as day drinking with my friends in Back Bay is each year (it’s the best), I’ve always wanted to be the one running. Even just once, to cross it off the bucket list. I can’t thank Team With A Vision enough for giving me this opportunity. And I can’t thank Simon and Heather enough for making race day such an amazing experience for me. To Simon, it was an honor to both guide you and in many other ways throughout the race be guided by you and your breadth of running knowledge and experience.

The Post-Race Celebrations

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I was greeted at the finish line by my cousin and uncle, and then shortly thereafter, Joe, his mom and aunt. We went out to eat at Cafeteria where I ordered the hummus sandwich with fries, but weirdly enough I didn’t have much of an appetite and couldn’t finish even half of it. But I did drink the best beer of my life. No exaggeration, beer has never tasted better. IMG_1913Even better than the taste of beer though was walking into Cafeteria and seeing horrifying cardboard cutouts of my deranged face all over the bar. My friend Steph had these hilarious things made, proving that she is both the best and the worst (haha). After eating, I showered and then we headed out to a friend’s party for a little bit. And for the first time in my life, I got more attention than Joe in a social setting. It was a big day for me, guys. Big, big day.

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So…

Would I run another marathon? Hell yes. I will run another marathon. Any recommendations??

Would I run again as a guide? Hell yes. I loved the experience.

Would I run again as a charity runner? Yes but … give me a couple years (haha). My attitude for fundraising has been completely transformed for the better because of this experience, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a stressful and time-consuming undertaking. Raising $7,500 is like taking on a part-time job! In addition to the time commitment of training. In addition to my full-time job running the blog. In addition to my part-time job teaching group fitness. It’s a lot, but in a few years, sure, I’d be willing to do it again.

That being said, even if I’m not the one fundraising, I want to help future charity runners reach their goals. If you’re a local reader and get a charity bib next year, seriously reach out to me. Let’s organize an event–I’m happy to teach a fitness class or help with the fundraising in any way I can!

PHHHEWWWW. These marathon update blog posts have been no joke. I’ve asked you guys to do so much reading lately. So. Much. Reading. Tomorrow how about I post pretty pictures of a sandwich and call it a day? Sounds like a damn good plan to me. 😉

Did you run Boston on Monday? How’d the race go for you?

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Race Recap (+Playlist): Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women

tufts-health-plan-10k-women-recapYesterday I ran the Tufts Health Plan 10K celebrating women, and hot damn was it a better way to spend October 12th than by honoring that a**hole Columbus!

Jokes aside, I had so much fun and crossing the finish line just reaffirmed for me that I did the right thing in applying to run the Boston Marathon for a charity team. I’ll keep you guys posted on that, but I just found out that my application got through to the second round, so I’m once step closer to getting accepted! But back to yesterday’s race …

My (Lack of) Preparedness for the Race

My original plan was to prepare by running three times a week—a shorter run, a longer run and some speed work in the form of a Barry’s Bootcamp class. For a while that was going well and I was really enjoying regularly running again! Welp. That changed.

Three weeks ago, I tweaked my knee, and although it was nothing serious, I had to stay off it for a week. Right when I was ready to resume running, a family emergency took Joe and I to New Jersey where working out was honestly the last thing on my mind. So yesterday’s race was the first time I’ve ran in three weeks.

Let’s make the situation worse. Against my better judgment, when I got back to Boston on Saturday, I was CRAVING a good workout, and did Btone classes both days leading up to the race. As anyone who’s taken a couple weeks off the megaformer and then returned will know, I was SO SORE on race day morning. Whoopsies. If you follow me on Snapchat (nicoleperr), you probably got the hint that I was unprepared (ha!) … snapchat-tufts-health-plank-10k

I contemplated backing out of the race at least ten times, but ultimately knew that I could finish (even if it was super slow), and am so happy I went through with it in the end!

Race Day

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Post-race with Sarah & Rachel

The race started and ended by the Boston Common so there were a bunch of tents and a stage area set up in the park. With a later start time of noon, there was ample time for runners and their families to walk around the park and Public Garden and hang out beforehand. The weather was gorgeous, but a little too hot for running. The majority of the course wasn’t in the shade and oh man–the sun killed me. With my circulation issues though, I would take the heat over the cold ANY day.

Tufts Health Plan graciously gave me and a few other local bloggers a free bib to run the race, and with that came access to their employee tent. After the race, I headed there to hang out and munch on a veggie wrap and a BOMB chocolate chip cookie. I always do the squeeze test before committing to a cookie (if you’re not soft, get the f outta here), and these were the perfect consistency. I’m not sure why I feel this a necessary detail to include in a race recap, but let’s just go with it.IMG_3648

The Race Course + Results

tufts-10k-recapThe course was basically a tour of my neighborhood, which was so convenient! I walked to the start line and walked home afterwards. The home stretch even took us right by my apartment. Another great thing given my lack of training was how flat the course was. There was one hill, but it was such a gradual incline that I barely noticed it. thp10kthp10k-recap

This was actually the first time I wore a watch during a race (I know, I know–welcome to 2015, Nicole), and it made the experience so much better! I used the Timex One GPS+ that I reviewed last month, and it helped so much with pacing and motivation. The watch also syncs to RunKeeper (which I just started using–I used to use the Nike Running app) so you can send your stats directly to the app. I forgot to stop the watch when I crossed the finish line (whoops) so the numbers are a little different from my official results, but here are my unofficial split times if you’re interested:

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I felt awesome the first four miles. The fifth mile started to feel tough, and then the last mile+ was a big struggle for me. Those split times don’t exactly reflect that, but I really had to tap into my mental game to will myself through mile 6.

Official Results: Finished in 54:30 with an average 8:47 pace.

I went into it telling myself I just wanted to finish the race, but secretly hoped to come in under an hour. I know I could have run faster if I’d prepared, but I am pumped with 54:30.

My 10k Playlist for the Race

The morning of the race, I threw some of my current favorite songs into a playlist. I’m obsessed with Young Love (feat. Koko LaRoo) – Felix Cartal so that jam got repeated a few times. 🙂 I’ve included the original playlist I made on Spotify as well as the same songs (with the exception of a few I couldn’t find) in an iTune playlist if that’s what you use.


sale-alert-shopbopThis has nothing to do with the THP 10K, but I had to share the news that the Shopbop friends & family sale just started. You can take 25% off your order with code INTHEFAM25. Their activewear boutique is amazing but pricey, so this is the perfect occasion to actually buy something instead of admiring from afar (at least that’s what I’m telling myself …). Happy shopping!

Have you ran the THP 10k for Women before?

What’s your fastest 10k time?

Have you ever gone into a race without preparing?

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