Welcome to the log of my journey to the 2018 Boston Marathon with Team Brookline! If you’d like to start at the “beginning” of my training, and learn more about Team Brookline, scroll to the bottom of this article and make your way up it. The top update will always be the latest update.

For a complete gallery, click here.

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Monday, April 16th, 2018 – PM

And just like that: I reached my fundraising goal for Team Brookline! I want to thank all my family, friends, former teachers, coaches, and colleagues who supported me throughout my journey.

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Even with the torrential downpours & the whipping winds, nothing could wipe the smile off my face. I never wished for the race to be over quicker; I literally soaked in every mile.

The journey to the finish line I will always remember. I trained with such an amazing team, Team Brookline. I feel proud that I could fundraise (and hit my goal!) for such worthy and deserving causes, and then be supported on Marathon Monday by an entire city. My coach, team manager, family, friends and boyfriend were the best cheerleaders and motivators the whole time. I couldn’t have done it without all their love and dedication.
When I hit Mile 25, I was filled with emotions. I kept thinking, “Holy shit Mikayla, you’re 1.2 miles from accomplishing your dream. This is IT!” This epic day is one I will never forget.

 

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

I’ve watched the Boston Marathon since I was young. It’s always been my dream to run in it. Witnessing it cross through my campus as a student at BU fueled my passion even more.
Today, we remember those who died or were injured five years ago in the bombings. Although unbelievably tragic, it proved how dedicated and unified this city is. This race will always represent true city pride, strength and perseverance.
Tomorrow, not only am I accomplishing my dream, but I’m representing one of the eight towns the Boston Marathon runs through. I’m feeling Boston Strong more than ever.

 

Friday, April 13th, 2018 – PM

Today was certainly not an unlucky day for me. I’ve already had wild success at the Expo, had my photo taken near the finish line. Now I’m meeting my boyfriend for the Team Brookline celebration pasta dinner at the Teen Center, one of the five beneficiaries of Team Brookline. Just a year ago I sat in those same seats, completely inspired and blown away by the Team Brookline runners. I was so impressed by how much money they raised for the five beneficiaries, and how passionate they were for the town of Brookline. And on top of it, they were going to run a marathon. I thought: How can I be a part of this team? I work in Brookline, does that count? Now, I sat in the audience as a proud member of the team. I was able to give a few words from NETA Cares, and I shared how honored I was to not only be a sponsor, but a runner of Team Brookline too. I heard many speeches, including motivating ones from our coach and team manager. It was a wonderful way to send the team off, and especially to be surrounded by friends and family.

 

Friday, April 13th, 2018 – Afternoon

I had an exciting way of rounding out my marathon experience: I was asked to be interviewed by Arun Rath of WGBH on my experience on cannabis and running. Essentially, if runners were to ask me what products might work for them, what would I suggest? Topicals work great for me because they provide an almost instant soothing reaction. I use these after long runs on my calves, knees, back and hips. As you can imagine, running certainly does a number on your body. Another noncombustible method I’d suggest is a tincture or capsules, or even infused edibles. They can have a slower onset, but generally last for 4-6 hours and keep the body relaxed. For runners who like more traditional consuming therapies, I’d also recommend a vaporizer, such as our high-potency, ultra pure APEX cartridges or RUBI capsules.

I was able to meet with a WGBH photographer this afternoon and have my photo taken. We took a few shots near the finish line, and others of me running along the Esplanade.

You can read the article here.

 

Friday, April 13th, 2018 – AM

Today is the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo in the Seaport District. I have to attend at least once this weekend to pick up my bib for the marathon. I love the Seaport District! Plus there’s lots of parking. And for a big event in Boston, parking is important. But I digress.

What a morning! I’ve never been to a fitness expo before, and this certainly was a great introduction. I picked up my bib with little wait time and was able to browse all the vendors before it got too busy. I may have spent most of my paycheck, but hey, it’s my first Boston Marathon. I think I deserve it!

Being here with thousands of other runners was such a rush. I was constantly being asked where I was from – I spoke with lots of people that traveled from out of state (or out of country) for the marathon. It was such a unifying feeling, being here altogether for the big race. The butterflies started to kick in while I was walking around collecting my Boston themed gear. With just two days to go until the marathon, I was trying to absorb every moment possible. This weekend was going to be one I’d always remember.

 

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

The Boston Marathon team is out getting the finish line ready! @bostonmarathon

 

Monday, April 9th, 2018

ONE WEEK AWAY! Let the carb-loading begin! I’ve purchased my bagels, my salads, my proteins, everything I need to fuel myself before the big day. Hoping for no thunderstorms… Bring on the rain, just please no storms.

 

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

And this marks the final long run with Team Brookline for the season. We ran a fun, easy 8-miles, where family and friends joined us for part (or all) of the run. My boyfriend joined me for 4-miles. Not to make this post about him, but he has truly been the best support team during all of this. When I was training for the Fenway Park Marathon, he rode a bike 20-miles during my final “long-long” run. This time around, he ran with me. I’m so thankful for his love and support.

 

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

The final Team Brookline meeting of the season! What a bittersweet night this was — we are all so excited to run in the Boston Marathon, but will miss the fun times we had during our long runs together. Tonight, we covered plans for the marathon itself and how to mentally prepare for Monday. We were advised to not incessantly check the weather (although I know I will!) We were also given our official Team Brookline running tank!

 

 

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

2 WEEKS TO GO! I cannot believe we’re so close to Marathon Monday. In anticipation of the big day, I went over to my favorite nail salon, Beauty Nails, to get my nails race-day ready. I’m still blown away by how awesome they turned out. All done free-hand, which is amazing to me. I may not win the marathon, but I know my nails definitely take home the gold.

 

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

Let the tapering begin! We “only” ran 13 miles today. It’s so funny to think that 13 miles is now so short, compared to how much we have run (and will run). We basically have run 13 miles (at least) every weekend since the beginning of training. We ran through Kenmore, up to Hereford St. We’re saving that final turn for Monday!

Because we conquered it, I rewarded myself with donuts from Union Square!

 

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

AKA: The All Charity 21 Run. What an exciting day this was! All of the charity teams in Boston bus out to the start line in Hopkinton and “practice” running the marathon. Generally, teams will run between 20-22 miles as the last final long run of the season. Team Brookline conquered 21.5 miles, ending just after Heartbreak Hill. Let me tell you, Heartbreak Hill definitely lives up to its name after running 19 miles prior. But with lots of cheering faces and water stops, I know I will be ready to face it on Marathon Monday. Plus, I had a NETA Cares crew at Mile 16 to help motivate me to the finish. I’m so pleased with my mile splits – all-in-all, I feel ready for the marathon. I go to bed each night knowing that I’m a day closer to April 16th. Each night that passes, I become more and more like a little kid before Christmas.

On top of everything, we got snack packs from our team manager after the long run with all the essentials: peanut butter, an apple, water, and some candy. THE BEST!

 

Friday, March 16th, 2018

ONE MONTH UNTIL THE BOSTON MARATHON! I have never been more excited. For the Fenway Marathon, I was filled with jitters and overwhelming nerves. This time around, I feel much more prepared and ready to take on the marathon, especially after training with Team Brookline. Our coach has a wonderful training program that really has gotten us ready for Marathon Monday. We have run Heartbreak Hill almost every weekend, and have taken a few trips out along the marathon route to practice running it. He helps us with the mental training too — giving us tips on how to visualize ourselves crushing 20-mile runs, how to use some nerves to motivate us even more, etc. Our team manager has been the absolute best support, too! She is there every early Saturday morning with a smile and lots of water/Gatorade. She sends us weekly emails so we’re on top of our fundraising, aware of team meetings and group runs, and motivated to run each week. This has just been such an amazing experience, and I’m glad I trained with such a dedicated and awesome team!

 

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

I said I would post some of the gear that I use to help me during my training. See the images below:

  • Pro Compression Socks: These are incredibly helpful, especially during my long runs. They help to take some of the pressure from hammering down on the pavement off my knees, hips, and back. It doesn’t hurt that they have lots of cool patterns and designs.
  • Garmin Forerunner 235: I LOVE this watch! I was using an Apple iWatch during my training for the Fenway Marathon, and it would barely last the full duration of my 15-mile runs. It certainly wasn’t going to last a full marathon — and it didn’t. (This isn’t to start an Apple vs. the others debate. But if you want a solid watch to last long runs, the Garmin watch is the way to go.) This watch stays powered not only during the entire time of my long run, but several days after too! It also has so many awesome features — like breaking down my run mile-by-mile, my heart rate (mile-by-mile), my elevation gained and lost, my race-day predictions, and more. It’s almost like a mini-analytical lesson after each run, totally taking my running to a scientific level.
  • Espresso Goo Pack: I mentioned this before, but I seriously swear by these! You can tell based on my mile time when I take the espresso Goo pack too – I definitely get faster. About halfway during my run is when I usually eat one. It tastes just like delicious espresso pudding. I don’t usually drink coffee or espresso before my run, so this is a nice compromise.
  • Saucony sneakers: The most important part of running: the SHOES. This was quite a process to determine the “best” shoes for my foot/running technique. I went to Marathon Sports in Shrewsbury and was able to receive the help I needed. Usually, I train in Asics sneakers – they have great gel technology in the sole of the shoe which helps absorb the shock from running. But this time, I found my usual Asics weren’t quite giving me the support I needed. It can be a scary time for a runner to switch from a shoe they’ve grown to know and love (and that works!). However, the staff at Marathon Sports was able to watch how my foot moved as I walked/run and matched me to the perfect shoe. I tried several types: Brooks, another Asics, New Balance, and finally, Saucony. They are comfortable, breathable, and supportive when I run. All-in-all, a wonderful shoe for my training, and most importantly, for race day.

 

 

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

Another 20-miler down! It sounds crazy, but these long runs are actually getting to be really easy. We ran from Ashland, MA, through the marathon route, and ended at BC (after Heartbreak Hill). It was a great prep run for the marathon — we will certainly be ready for Marathon Monday! And… my time continues to get faster and faster. I’ve learned to keep my solid pace when I start and increase the speed as I go along. It also helps having a mocha espresso Goo pack halfway through.

This time, I took an ice bath after my long run. This is definitely necessary – as Runner’s World describes, it “constricts blood vessels and decreases metabolic activity, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. Once the skin is no longer in contact with the cold source, the underlying tissues warm up, causing a return of faster blood flow, which helps return the byproducts of cellular breakdown to the lymph system for efficient recycling by the body.”  Basically, it helps with muscle inflammation and removes any bad debris leftover in your muscles.

 

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

The first long run of March! We tapered down for this run; we could run between 13-15 miles. Thinking I wanted to push myself, I went for 15. Boy…should have stuck with 13! I learned a lot of very valuable lessons this run:

1) Don’t run faster than your limits or you will burn out. I usually keep a pace between 9:15-9:30. I was running closer to 8:45-8:50 that morning. I could only hold that pace for 6-7 miles, then I had to slow down.

2) Don’t run longer than you have to. This was simply because I pushed too hard in the beginning. I could have handled the full 15 easily, but because I burnt out, those last few miles were tough.

3) Don’t skip out on your usual routines. Because minor aches and pains sometimes happen when running long miles, I usually take some Ibuprofen before my long runs. Today, I forgot, and thought about it on my ride in. I feel like that threw my mental game off.

With all of that said, I still finished the run! Not every long run is going to be this wonderful, enjoyable run. But each run does make you stronger! Until next time…

 

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

Today was a big day: 20 miles.  I haven’t run this long since my training for the Fenway Marathon last fall. I was really anxious going into the run, and really didn’t hit my stride until about 10 miles into it, but we crushed it! It was so helpful to see some familiar, smiling faces at the water stop. My fellow NETA Cares volunteers were there, supplied with water, Gatorade, snacks, and words of encouragement. I’ll admit, I lingered there a little longer than I should have, but it was such a great break from the 20-mile run. And, although I may have let my anxiety get the best of me before my run, it certainly didn’t slow me down. I knocked 6 seconds off my mile pace from last week. All-in-all, I was a very excited marathoner.

 

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

I just noticed that my gym’s wall design looks very similar to NETA’s packaging! Coincidence? I think not! Today, I ran a quick 3 miles to warm up (kept a pace of 8:50 which is very exciting), and hammered out some arms and abs. The common misconception with running is that you just need to train your legs. But what carries you at mile 19 when you’re starting to feel your legs get tired? Your arms! You best believe you’ll see me pumping through the finish line. And, core strength is always necessary in any sporting event. Next post, I’ll fill you all in on some of the gear I trust and use. Because again, it takes more than just one nice pair of sneakers to get you through a marathon!

 

Also – I have to give a quick shot out to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, featured on my tank. I literally wouldn’t be here today without the care of their staff – they tremendously helped my mother during my birth and made my life possible. I was honored and so proud to run as part of their team last year in the BAA 10k. It also helps that their tanks are super awesome!

 

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

Today was the longest run of the year – 18 whole miles. Wow! We’re really starting to get close to 26.2. I find myself day dreaming while I run, imagining myself crossing the finish line on Boylston St. Nothing is more motivating than that! Plus it helps having a mostly Kanye West-generated playlist while I run. Each run I’m finding myself getting faster and feeling stronger. Only 8.2 more miles to go!

 

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

I’m back from vacation! I escaped to southern Florida for my birthday. More running updates to come soon!

 

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

16 miles done today! We started our run out of Boston Sports Club in Wellesley. This gave us great practice on the actual Boston Marathon route (and of course we ran Heartbreak Hill halfway through). I didn’t realize there could be so many hills and long inclines in one course, but it will only make us all stronger!

 

Monday, January 29th, 2018

I’ve been watching Tom vs. Time on Facebook… that man is dedicated to playing football! It inspired me to reflect on my own injury prevention methods/therapies and see where I could improve. So, I tried Cryotherapy for the first time at the Frost and Float Spa. Cryotherapy is defined in the dictionary as “the therapeutic use of cold.” In the shortest of terms, cryotherapy is the use of a brief and intense exposure to cold that triggers the body’s natural healing process. Basically, I stepped inside a tube that sprayed -185 degree liquid nitrogen all over my body for 3 minutes. What an experience! Overall, my body felt great afterwards. I’ll definitely be back after another long run.

 

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

We tapered our long run down to 12 miles today. However, because I’m really great with directions, I missed the turn and put on an extra 0.67 miles.

 

Saturday, January 14th, 2018

The longest run of the season so far: 14 miles. Even though it was only an extra mile, my body could definitely feel it. Now I know that I’m “used to” 13 miles, but will need to train my endurance to keep up the same pace for the remaining miles.

 

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

And on the 13th, we ran 13! It’s crazy to think my practice run is a full half marathon. It will only continue to get easier and easier, faster and faster. We’re also at the point of training that we can include Heartbreak Hill into our routes. Now, I’ll run Heartbreak Hill almost every Saturday until the marathon. Bring it on!!

 

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Tonight we had a Team Brookline meeting and listened to a nutritionalist. It really opened my eyes to the amount of food I should eat every day and how often. She gave great tips of what kinds of foods to chose — even shared how to eat while running. I also signed my paperwork to officially “enter” the Boston Marathon. My heart raced with excitement!

 

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

Our long run today was cancelled due to the frigid temperatures and the snow. Looks like I’ll stick to the treadmill today! However, it’s 100 DAYS UNTIL MARATHON MONDAY!

 

Friday, December 15th, 2017

I ran 9 miles tonight, the first time I’ve ever run outside at nighttime. I do not recommend…

 

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

I missed the first official Team Brookline Saturday long run due to a work event. So this marks my first official long run with the team. I found some others that keep a great pace – I plan to stick with them to improve my splits. 8 miles down, 18.2 to go!

 

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

I went to our first Team Brookline season kickoff meeting. I got to talk with some of my teammates and get to know them better. We also learn lots of fun ways to fund raise.

 

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

I’ve been officially accepted to be a part of Team Brookline’s 2018 Boston Marathon team! Let the countdown until Marathon Monday begin!

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Meet Mikayla

 

Mikayla Bell is New England Treatment Access’ (NETA) Community Relations Manager. She is also the administrator for its philanthropic branch, NETA Cares. In 2017, NETA sponsored Team Brookline, Brookline’s Boston Marathon team, and in 2018, they wanted to make a bigger impact. Mikayla has a bib on Team Brookline’s team this year. We’re going to follow along her journey to Boylston Street.

Mikayla has always been a runner, with her beginnings as a mile racer in middle school. She competed in the 1000-yard dash and the mile in high school, coming within just three seconds of the school record. During her years at Boston University, she continued to run for fun and for health reasons. Since then, she has completed a Spartan trifecta, a handful of 5ks (26:45), three 10ks (58:00), one half marathon (1:59), and the inaugural Fenway Park Marathon in September, 2017 (5:30).

Outside of running endless amounts of miles for fun, Mikayla enjoys going on hikes with her boyfriend, riding her stand up paddle board, binge-watching The Office with her 20-lb. Maine Coon kitty, and hanging out with her family.

We are excited to watch and cheer on Mikayla as she trains for the big day. We’ll post updates and announcements every now and then – be sure to check back for more!

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Why Team Brookline:

Team Brookline, the Town of Brookline’s official Boston Marathon team, is a committed group of adult runners who train together for the Boston Marathon while raising funds for five partner charities that play an integral role in strengthening and enriching our community: The Brookline Center for Community Mental Health, Brookline Education Foundation, Brookline Library Foundation, Brookline Symphony Orchestra, and Brookline Teen Center.

Team Brookline supports Community Mental Health. 

Mental Health affects 1 in 4 people in the United States. Isn’t that crazy?! 1 in 4. It’s about time that more people are starting to recognize mental health and take action to help those impacted. As someone with anxiety, I feel that it is my turn to help the cause.

Team Brookline supports the Education Foundation.

Sometimes we take education for granted. We assume we’ll go to grade school, continue to middle school. For many of us, graduate to high school, college and beyond. But for some people, education is a blessing; something for “their children that they wished they had”. I’ve always been incredibly proud of the schools I’ve attended, and know how important it is to support local schools.

Team Brookline supports the Library Foundation.

I’ve never been a “big reader” – I know people that are and I’ve always been envious. To sit down, fully engross yourself in a great read? Not always my thing. But as I get older, I think about the experiences my library gave to me as a young girl. How it always left me in awe and wonder; how it boosted my creativty and young mind.

Team Brookline supports the Symphony Orchestra.

A wise man of the name Bob Marley once said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Music can transform your mood in ways you never thought of. Music can impact generations to come – both positively and negatively. Music can be used as an incredible too to express yourself and the world around you. As time goes on, music will always be here to stay.

Team Brookline supports the Teen Center.

The future is in the youth of America. As the years progress, technology expands, scientific data grows, the way our world operates changes. It’s important to equip the young minds with the proper tools so they can shape the world the way it should be. They need outlets to create, explore, make mistakes, learn, develop, play for the most well-round experience.

I support Team Brookline.

All the reasons above are why I support Team Brookline. It all ties together. All of these unbelievable organizations are here to better the world around us, starting in Brookline. With your help, we can truly make Brookline (and beyond) a better place.

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Check out Team Brookline’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TeamBrookline/

Check out Team Brookline’s website: http://www.teambrookline.org/