Marathon Packing

Friday I asked all the Boston Marathon runners if they have started packing yet.

Marathon Packing

When traveling long distances for a race you have to plan ahead. Fortunately, Boston is not in the sticks and the Boston Marathon Expo will have anything you need for the race. If you forget something (except your shoes!), no worries.

Advice on marathon packing

Thinking about your marathon can be nerve-wracking. It’s always difficult to know if you have prepared enough for the race. The conditions on race day are often a guess. Many runners have a check list for marathon packing and usually pack their gear several times. Part of this may be nerves and part may be the need to control something that is under your control.

If you are travelling, you may want to wear your running shoes while you travel. That way you know that you brought them. It’s also a good idea to put your running clothes and food items in your carry on. Just in case your luggage gets lost.

At a major marathon like the Boston Marathon you can buy anything that you forget or that the airline looses. However, it’s not a good idea to run in brand new clothes on marathon day. A smaller race, such as the Bay State Marathon, will have a smaller expo with fewer vendors. If you need to buy a complete running outfit you may not have many choices. This is just too much stress to put on yourself.

How I do it

This photo was taken the day before the Bay State Marathon in October, 2013. I was driving to this marathon. You can see my shoes in the bag on the left, the bag on the right has all of my nutritional items. I had clothes for a warm October run and items for a frigid autumn run.

My philosophy is – you can never over pack for a race. Not for a marathon anyway. I start collecting my items a few days before the race. I usually have some food items on hand. Starting early gives me time to head to the running store and get any last-minute items that I need. The last thing you want is to be up late the night before your marathon doing laundry. Start early and try to relax.

Running kit, marathon packing
Packed fours times, probably one more will do! infographic on what runners pack when they travel to a race.

  • What are your must have items for a race?
  • Do you have any unique foods that you like pre-race or during a race?
  • How soon before your race do you start packing?


Run well my friends! See you in Boston!

10 Days and Counting!

I took this screen shot from the BAA’s site on April 10th.

BAA, marathon, boston marathon


Is anyone else getting nervous? I’ve run Boston five times and eleven marathons all together, and I still get nervous thinking about Marathon Monday.

With 10 days to go, there isn’t much left to do. I have one more long run this Sunday and then I’m in taper mode. I’ve been washing my hands so often to avoid getting sick that my hands are dried out. Between washing and doing a brake job on my car, my hands are a mess.

My advice to new runners

Don’t try to make up miles now. The taper is coming; go with it. Nothing you do now will enhance your finish time. Now is the time to be careful and don’t do anything stupid. Drink some beers, watch some TV. Do not buy new shoes or do a new workout routine. You are in a new state of mind. When you look back on this you will understand how altered you were in the days before The Marathon. Just try to enjoy it and don’t do anything stupid. Okay?

Now, be honest. How many times have you packed? Have you started looking at the long-range weather forecast? If this is your first marathon or first Boston don’t feel like you are crazy. This is a big deal and you have every right to be pre-occupied for the next 10 days.

My advice to new runners

Pack and pack and repack. It may help with the nerves. It is amazing the things you forget when you go to a race. Get as much of your stuff together this weekend as possible. If you are travelling, double-check everything two days before you zip your suite case closed. The Expo has everything and anything you would need for a race. But make sure the shoes and clothes you will wear on Marathon Monday are in your bag. You don’t need to break in a Cliff bar, but new shoes could ruin your race.

I feel like I am laser focused right now. I’m being careful. Last Tuesday night was the last time I will run in the dark until after the marathon. I’m locked on target. I know what I need to do. Training is essentially over. My primary focus for the next 10 days is staying healthy.

On the Glide Path

I feel like I have a permanent runners high: A serenity. I’ve done this before. I know what I need to do. Everything outside of The Marathon is a peripheral issue. It’s not that I don’t care about anything else. It’s just that I don’t care about anything else. I have a goal. 1 goal.

I often compare marathons to the Normandy Invasion. They take a lot of planning and work and they are not easy. It’s a big freakin deal. If you are a first time marathoner or Boston Marathon runner, lock and load my friend. You are in for the event of your life. Soak it in. Savor every moment. Boston can change your life.

Don’t do anything stupid for the next 10 days. Okay?

Runners get like this sometimes. Obsessed. No one wants to talk to us because all we want to talk about is The Race. It’s not just running that we bore our co-workers with. It’s down to a single event. God bless them.

Run well my friends! See you in Boston!


© anagelin 2014

Tuesday Night Club Run

Club Run

It has now been two days since my 18.84 mile SLR.

I think the Tumeric – Elixir of Life, SuperJuice*, has been helping with marathon training recovery.

I have not run more than a half marathon since October. Two weeks ago I ran a Half and Sunday I went up to 18.84 miles. That’s a big increase in only a week.

natural medicine, alternative medicine

A single data point does not allow for any conclusions. But my legs felt great during tonight’s Club Run.

I was able to run some really good splits. Usually my legs would be killing me a few days after making such a large increase in miles. I didn’t do any extraordinary stretching in the past 48 hours, just my usual routine.

I have two more bottles of SuperJuice* that I plan on drinking after my next two long runs. I have a 5K on Saturday and the club has a 20 mile Sunday Long Run. I may do the short route on Sunday. We’ll see.

But, I will drink the SuperJuice on Sunday and see how I feel on Tuesday.

*SuperJuice is my own creative description of this beverage. This description was not provided by or endorsed by TumericALIVE. I claim dibs on this one.

Live well my friends!


BAA announcement

The BAA held the first of three “Runners Clinics” Monday night in Boston.

boston marathon,security
Boston Marathon 2014

This was the first time I’ve attended a BAA clinic. Getting into and navigating Boston is too much of a hassle. With my knee injury I hoped to get some expert advice. In the back of my mind I’m still thinking bad things.

As I stepped onto Boylston Street the icy cold wind hit me in the face. I pulled the stylish hood on my parka over my head and closed it around my neck. My frozen hands fumbled for directions on my phone.

On a side street I found the hotel and went in. A set of stairs curved to the second floor lobby area outside of the meeting room. PowerBar, Gatorade, Poland Spring and Stoneyfield Yogurt had free stuff. Not samples, full sized bottles, bars and cups. If I had a bag I could have loaded up.

I went in and took my seat amongst about 100 other Boston Marathon runners. The room eventually held 150 or so runners. The theme of the evening was “Flexibility”.

The BAA’s big announcement

BAA Executive Director, Thomas Grilk made the introductory presentation. He said that while the BAA and The Marathon appreciates and will pay respect to the suffering from last year’s events, the 2014 Boston Marathon will be about the 2014 Boston Marathon. This will not be a memorial. Please don’t send Tom nasty grams if you disagree. I am not quoting him exactly here, but this is basically what he said.

The big announcement from him was that the BAA will NOT be transporting runner’s bags back to Boston. All bags will be collected on the Boston Common and will be retrieved on The Common. There was no reaction from the room. I was a little shocked and instantly started running scenarios and solving problems. No one said a word.

Running kit, running shoes
Packed fours times, probably one more will do!

I thought that the BAA would give us clear bags and maybe make them smaller. I think Hartford gave out clear bags this year. For a runner, the logistics of sitting in Hopkinton for hours without all of my pre-race stuff is challenging.

I’ll bring a throw away shirt and wear a trash bag, but I wont be wearing a nice running jacket. What if it rains and I want to change into my race shoes and socks at the last minute?


It turned out that 75% of the people in the room had never run Boston before and 25% had never run a marathon. Newbies, as they were referred to several times. I don’t think these people grasped what a logistical hassle the BAA had just handed them.

A marathon is a major logistical operation for organizers and runners. I often refer to marathons as the Normandy Invasion. It takes a lot of planning and flexibility and a lot can go “not according to plan”. You need that bag full of stuff in order to be prepared for the unexpected.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a major issue? How will you manage your race day logistics in Boston?

The Training Clinic

After Tom’s presentation they played a short video of the 2013 lead pack. I thought the audio had to many sounds that sounded like a blast or explosion. It was meant to be dramatic but each crescendo shot right through me.

I was anticipating the worse. I sat there with clenched jaw and a tear in my eye hoping they would end the video with the lead pack crossing the line when all was still well in our world. Mercifully, they did.

They discussed being flexible with your schedule. It’s inevitable that you are going to get sick, possibly sustain an injury. Then there is life in general that always gets in the way of a great training plan. They basically said roll with it. It happens to everyone, it’s no big deal.

In the case of illness or injury they said you may have to adjust your goal. That spoke directly to my situation. I’m just hoping to get to the starting line and somehow make it to Boylston Street. A Boston PR is not likely at this point.

Then they discussed physical flexibility and demonstrated simple stretches that will hit most runners problem spots. I found this information to be very helpful.

I’m still coming to terms with the BAA announcement. They must have been shocked that there was no uproar from the crowd. I think we were either stunned or did not realize how this was going to impact us on race day.

What do you think of their announcement?

Run well my friends!


What can words say…

At this point I do not know how many were killed or injured in Boston, or why. I hesitate to put name to the act that tarnished a noble and pure act of humanity.

I have been away from all news sources all day. About quarter past three I received a text that a bomb had gone off at the finish line at the 2013 Boston Marathon. At that point most of the people that I knew who were running the race were at or near the end of the race.

I did not know how close they were or what their fate was. As of 10:50PM EST I still have not heard from one friend, but he has two daughters and a wife to be concerned with.

I heard rumours in the crowd that a young child had been killed. I have since heard that several people may have been killed and hundreds injured, some severally. I hesitate to turn on the TV and hear left and right go off the deep end on this. We don’t even know that “this” is.

What started as a day of expectations and individual accomplishment has turned into a day of community mourning. Great expectations have turned into great sadness. Our hearts are broken in Boston. Not for the races not finished, but for the lives not completed. Not for the dreams of runners unfulfilled, but for the run of dreams of the innocent never to be commenced.

I traded text messages all day trying to find out if my friends were okay and what was going on. It all seemed too familiar. Lots of rumours and speculation, but no hard facts. I hesitate to turn on CNN or BBC and hear them speculate and hash over the same few facts for hours. My cell phone battery wore down to 3% and my own battery is not much better.

I am exhausted and words cannot convey the deep sadness I feel. Something pure and true has been tarnished on this Patriots day. But Patriots we remain and runners we are.

We will take this piece of tarnished Boston silver and polish it new and run our race again next year.

After I post this “innocent” and mostly unknowing post, I will reluctantly start to gather the facts and let the pain grow deeper in my heavy heart.

Here is the statement from the BAA:

Statement from the Boston Athletic Association
Monday, April 15, 2013
8:00 p.m. ET

The Boston Athletic Association extends its deepest sympathies to all those who were affected in any way by today’s events.

Today is a sad day for the City of Boston, for the running community, and for all those who were here to enjoy the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. What was intended to be a day of joy and celebration quickly became a day in which running a marathon was of little importance.

We can confirm that all of the remaining runners who were out on the course when the tragic events unfolded have been returned to a community meeting area.

At this time, runners’ bags in Boston which remain unclaimed may be picked up by runners presenting their bib number or proof of race participation on Berkeley Street, between St. James and Boylston. There are no bags at 101 Arlington Street.

At this time, we are cooperating with the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and all federal law enforcement officials.

We would like to thank the countless people from around the world who have reached out to support us today.

Please go to the B.A.A. Facebook page — — for information.
We post new information as we are able.

Running Year in Review

2012 was a challenging and rewarding year for my running. A brief recap of my running adventures through October, 2012.

My 2012 Running Year in Review

This has been a busy month and a busy year for me. I’ve run sixteen races this year and four races within the past 30 days.

The biggest challenge of the year was running the BAA Half Marathon and the ING Hartford Marathon within six days of each other. When I registered for the two races months ago I thought this would be a fun and interesting challenge. I’ve run several marathons before but having a half-marathon within six days of the marathon would add a new twist.

I thought the closeness of the races would be my biggest challenge and then I got hurt. For six weeks I had to cut way back on my training and did mostly stretching and strength training as prescribed by my physical therapist.

twin lights
Finishing strong for a new Half Marathon PR 1:47:29

The last race I ran before my injury was The Twin Lights Half Marathon on May 12th. I surprised myself and set a new PR. When I did that I really felt like I was on the right track with my training and I would be able to PR in Hartford and maybe qualify for Boston. Then due to work and sickness I basically stopped training for three weeks and then came back to fast, and got hurt.

I started going to physical therapy about once a week and did all of my exercises as prescribed. I kept running shorter distances, usually no more than 3 miles at a time. My PT was okay with this level of running.

Earlier in the year I had signed up for the BAA Distance Medley. The day before the Boston Marathon I ran their 5K and then on June 24th I ran the BAA 10K. My leg never really hurt while I was running the 10K. There aren’t any hills on this course and I took it very easy just to be safe

In July I ran the VERT Sasquatch 2.4 mile trail race just to try out trail running and for the great party afterwards. I took it very slow again. On August 5th I did the Maine Lobster Fest 10K in Rockland Maine. There were hills and it was hot for this race. I took it easy and survived that one.

On September 8th, I ran a leg of the Lake Winni Relay, 10.8 miles, at an 8:44 pace. This was the fastest and farthest I had run since May. My legs felt strong during the race and I did not have any unusual pain afterwards. This race really helped build my confidence back and told me that I was back on track.

On September 16th I ran The Lone Gull 10K and set a PR. On September 29th I ran the Granara-Skerry 5K and set another PR. I felt confident again and ran these races as hard as I could. After Lake Winnie I wanted to see what I was capable of and how far my rehab had progressed. These races confirmed my progress and further boosted my confidence. I felt like I was ready for my challenge.

At the BAA Half Marathon on October 7th I did not set a PR, but I think I could have. I lined up late and got stuck in a huge crowd where I could not move. When there was room to run I threw everything I had into the race. At the end of the race I felt good about the race and I was pretty sure I had not aggravated my injury. That was key. If I had pulled the piriformis again I would not have had time to recover before my marathon.

The days between the BAA Half and ING Marathon I ran 4 miles Tuesday night and 5K on Thursday. I went to the gym and stretched three days and that was about it. My taper week was also a recovery week. Like most runners would, I spent that time pretty much obsessed with my upcoming marathon.

I tried to manage all of the details for race day, but as anyone who read my race re-cap, several items got out my control. If you would like to read about my stressful marathon check out this link.

I made some mistakes and learned some lessons. That’s all part of the journey. All of the details are available on my re-cap as referenced above. I’m no racing or organization expert but I’m always working on my process. I feel that the three keys to successful racing are

  • Getting the miles in
  • Physical conditioning/cross training/strength training
  • Developing and fine tuning your race routine

I’ll go into my thinking on this on another post. A lot of other runners have written some great articles on this topic.

At this point in time I have pretty much run my schedule for the year It just feels so odd not having anything to train for. I’m going to have to work on my motivation to keep up with my training, to stay motivated. That is the current challenge that I face.

How do you stay motivated when you do not have a race on your schedule?

Run well my friends!