I am playing a little catch up here, but I needed to write about my first ever Boston Marathon 2015.
In early Jan I had ran a new PR of 3:19 (from my previous 3:26 ran 6 months prior) during the Goofy challenge. I was estatic with that time after running a 1:41 half marathon the day before. Going into this race I had only ran 2x 17 miles and 1 19 miler, so I was pretty suprised how well I held up. This helped me set a goal for Boston of 3:09. I had written a post-it not and put it on my desk at work to remind me every day.
Going into the race, I had trained harder than any marathon. I was running 80-90 miles a week. Jason and I actually bought a treadmill for our home costing about 3,000. We were hardcore. We ran 3 x 20+ milers. Running 16-18 every weekend from Jan-April. We were so dedicated and dilagent about getting our workouts done and not racing too much. We did run 1 half marathon which I hit a 4 min PR of 1:29:02 with a cold. During training- I went through a job search. In late Feb things got serious with the job search. I was skipping my lunch workouts and afternoon workouts for interviews. Sure, I was still running everyday but running a 3:09 got lost in the hussle. I started a new job 4 weeks out from Boston. I was not able to focus as well on my running. My running schedule went from lunch runs and 3:30 runs to 5:30am runs 1x a day. I was struggling to pace myself. I was unable to do workouts. I lost a lot of confidence when I ran a half marathon 2 weeks out for “fun” on our trip to AZ, and I ran a 1:35. Despite winning the race, I was crushed. There was no way I could hold that pace during the Boston marathon.
I felt awesome in the taper. I remember hitting awesome paces. I actually PRed in the 5k with a 18:36 8 days out from Boston winning the Goldy’s 5k. That was a huge confidence boost, but I was still being realistic about my Boston goals. I thought a 3:14 would be a good goal.
About a week before Boston- the forcast did not look good. We were getting concerned for the rain forcasted, but so many things can change with 7 days out.
The rain stayed on the forecast. We boarded the plane and landed in Boston on Saturday afternoon. We paid $40 to get 5 miles from the air port to our hotel in downtown Boston. No body said this trip would be cheap. We were excited to see our hotel room because we heard it was a great hotel. We stayed at the Park Plaza with the rest of the LifeTime Run MN group. The rooms were a big let down. Extremely small and no fridge. The rooms were 1900s style and in need of renovation. We headed to the Boston 1 mile race on Boylston. It was a great atmosphere. We went to the expo to get swag. We went to a pub/bar to get a bite to eat then we met up with our from Shad.
It was basically walking/running around Boston and visiting the finish line 1938747x for the next 36 hours to get super jacked up.
Here we are at the finish
Here I am running with a 2 2:45 marathoners on a shake out run(mistake)
Me, Jason & Shad at the finish line reppin our Boston Gear
Jason and I even Spotted Shaleen Flanagan doing strides on Boylston. It was awesome. She was tiny and super fast.
We got our bibs. I was placed in the second coral (white bibs) meaning I had to start about 30 min after all the super fast peeps (red bib). This would be a major bummer. As we obsessively checked the hour by our weather forecast on Sunday, we realized that the race would start dry, but by 1:30 it would be brutal 40 mph winds and rain in 40 degrees in Boston. Great for people starting at 10:30 hoping to finish in under 3 hours.. Terrible for me who was starting after 11 hoping to run a 3:15… at about 2:30 into the race, I will have 45 min left (or 6 miles) which would be the hardest miles for me already.
I tried not to think about it as I watched the Boston RedSocks game on Sunday
It was hard to enjoy the game because I was so nervous. Waking up on Monday (marathon day), I was super nervous. I just felt like it was going to be a bad race day. There was a ton of security and waiting around. Jason and Shad got to leave super early to get to start, but I was left waiting alone. I met a guy on the bus who had a 3:11 PR who walked with me to the start. On the way there he told me a story about his neighbor’s daughter who was a “very talented runner- always winning races” and she DNFed at Boston. He told me his goal was sub 3:30 he was going to take it easy in hopes not to DNF. I heard a lot of people say it was impossible to PR. Perhaps I was being too ambitious with my goal. I decided to just run off feel, and I will see what my body is capable of.
I have never been surrounded by so many people on a run. That was the first thing I noticed. The second thing- the hills. Mile 1 was a huge downhill followed by an uphill followed by a downhill. People were running out of control. The pace was varying from 8:00 up hill to 7:10s downhill. It was like you were on a rollercoster- up and down and up and down down down. It was nothing like we have here in MN. I was not concerned as I felt great, but I was curious to know how it would effect me later in the race as I had not trained on terrain like this. I remember saying to someone “whoa- they were not kidding about the downhill”.. An older man said to me “you better slow down if you want to finish this thing”. I was scared. At mile 5 one of my IG followers blew past me wishing me luck. I was sad that I was going so slow. I felt like going any fast would have taken too much effort. I settled into a groove after mile 6. It was downpouring at that time, and I hate the rain. I was slowly getting faster. I was averaging about 7:35 then I picked up the pace from the 10k-half marathon to about 7:10. I felt really good- the rain was refreshing, but it did suck to be poured on for so long. Going through wesley, I thought for sure I was going to crush my PR.
The rain had let up, and I felt amazing! I passed the girl who passed me at mile 5. I felt like I was passing a lot of people. My confidence skyrocked. I was holding 7:15-7:10 through mile 16. When we got to the newton hills, I felt totally ready. I slowed down the pace and kept it in control up the hills and used the downhills. The first 3 hills were pretty do-able. My average pace was 7:25-7:35. I felt good through mile 20. Then heartbreak. I knew it would suck. It sucked going up. I watched my pace fall to 9:15. I was slightly worried when I saw that kind of pace. People were walking. The rain had started again. I could hear people yelling “it’s all downhill from here”. I was happy to hear that because I am a killer downhill runner. I thought “bring it on”.. I was waiting to get my breath back after the top of the hill. I was waiting for my legs to stop pulsing from the agony of heartbreak hill. I was waiting for that “recovery”, but it never happened. I was falling apart. I still felt like I was running up a hill, but I was in fact, going down a hill. I could feel every step radiating pain through my body like never before. It didn’t help when I looked down at my watch 1 mile after heartbreak hill, and I still saw 8:40 pace. I was crushed. I tried to hang on to the tiniest bit of hope that I could still PR. I had such a buffer that I thought a PR would be doable. I was still on pace for a 3:13 through mile 21, so I would have to really blow up to not PR.
That is what happened. At mile 23 my vision went black. The only light I was seeing was light at the end of a tunnel. I was freezing at this point from the sleet and 40 MPH winds. It was 38 degrees, sleeting with 40 MPH winds, and I was wearing a soaking wet tank top and arm warmers. My brain was clearly not working properly, and I went into survival mode. My first thoughts prompted me to remove my soaking wet arm warmers because they were “making me colder”. completely false. I removed one. I almost starting crying because it almost amplified my problem.
My next thought was- I need to get warm immediately- what should I do. My initial thought was “I need to drop out of this race”. Literally I was searching to find a place with warmth to drop out. There was nothing. My rational part of the brain told me that at mile 24 my best bet to getting warm permantly was to finish the race. I knew this would be the fastest way back to my hotel (.2 miles from the finish). I knew this was my fastest way to warmth. I don’t know how I managed the last 2 miles. I really have no idea. When I turned onto boylton, and I could see the finish, I tried to speed up. I looked down at my watch and saw 10:30 pace. It was literally like a slow motion movie. I watched my PR 3:19:20 tick down on the clock. I was seconds away from meeting/beating my PR but my body could not move. I broke down. I was crushed as I crossed the finish like in 3:20:44. I felt nothing but regret. I felt shame. I felt anger.
How could I let a PR pass me by so easily? I had only not PRed at one other marathon.. But then I accepted it. 3:20 is a great time. I should not be so hard on myself. I was finished, and I could finally make my way back to the hotel.
Seconds after this picture was taken, I got my heat blanket, and I headed to the hotel. My husbands words were ringing in my ears… “just keep going straight then turn right and you will get to our hotel”. I am normally terrible at directions, but if you add a marathon brain to that- I will be like a blind person. I noticed a fork in the road where I could go right. I remember asking voluteers “where is plaza?”. My tounge was numb from the cold. I couldn’t speak. I was trying to type the “park plaza” into my phone, but I was shaking so bad that I could not type anything. I asked them to type it but all I could manage to say was “park plaza” when I handed them my phone. I felt like an alien. They told me I should go to the med tent, but I walked away. Seconds later Jason spotted me, and he gave me a hug and directed me to the hotel.
He was all showered and walking fine. I was soaking wet, and I just started freaking out and crying. I told him I had hypothermia and how it wasn’t “fair”. I asked what his time was. He expressed how terrible the race went for him. He said he ran a 2:49 which is only 3 min off his PR. I thought he had a much better performance than I did. I remember in the shower. I sat in the tub part and was blurting out random things like “sooooo amzaing” and “like WTF- WHAT A JOKE”. The conditions for me were un-real. Hands down the hardest marathon I had done.
Shad was a 2:50 – PR is 2:41
Jason was 2:49- PR is 2:46
Me 3:20 PR is 3:19
I had a slew of people tracking me, so my phone had a million new notifications. I was heart broken to have to go home. We had 1 hour to get in a cab. We got a few drinks at the airport and relived the day.
I don’t recommend taking a flight home the same day as a marathon. It was awful. lol. It was fun that other people on the plane were also runners. We wore our medals and jackets in the airport and actually met a guy who was from MN who got 2nd in 1970-something with a 2:11 marathon. He was awesome.
I was sad when I got home. It was like months and months of training for a big let down. How could I not have beaten a time that I ran the day after a 1:41 half marathon? I guess that was my biggest problem.
I decided 36 hours later that I was going to avenge my goal. I knew I could run a sub 3:15. I needed to prove to myself that I could. I signed up for Grandma’s marathon on June 22nd. It gave me 2 months to recover, train, and taper. I knew I could probably fail. But I needed to try.
Spolier Alert. I ran a 3:14:12 at Gmas 🙂
Stay tuned 😀