On Monday, the 122nd Boston Marathon was ran in hurricane-like conditions.
The 2018 Women’s Marathon winning time was 17 min slower (40 seconds per mile) than the previous year.
23 Elites Dropped out.
But.. 95% of the people who started Boston 2018 finished the race.
This stat speaks volumes about the running community. Runners are some of the most resilient, persevering, un-wavering, committed people I have ever met. I am beyond inspired by the determination of everyone who ran on Monday.
Here is my Race Recap:
6 days before the race, I got a call from our daycare that Chase (our son) was sick. Turned out to be a double ear infection. He wouldn’t eat. He was throwing up. I couldn’t fathem taking him to Boston in this state. I woke up on Wednesday very feeling sick myself. I could not stomach any food… But I didn’t have enough time to worry about myself. I had to take care of Chase.
It was a whirlwind of a week. I barely slept. I didn’t carbo-load. I didn’t hydrate. I didn’t have time to even think while I packed for our last min flight.
Things already were not going my way, so I was not surprised when I saw the weather forecast.
40MPH winds, temps in the 30s, dowpour rain, flood warnings.
I was so scared to run in those conditions.
I was also scared I would pace myself stupidly. I had one goal- RUN SMART. My dream goal was to negative split the Boston Marathon (Running the second half faster than first half). I did not believe that was a possibility given my history with positive splitting marathons. I run Boston the same way every year. 7 min positive split. It’s painful. It sucks. I was determined to not follow that pattern again this year.
Mile 1- 8:32
“slow. controlled. smooth”, “don’t screw this up Victoria”, “You need to go out slow”, “Let everyone pass you”.
Mile 2- 8:28
Everyone was blowing by me left and right. My qualifying time was 3:26. That means everyone in my wave had ran 26.2 miles @ 7:45 pace or faster within the last 1.5 years. I felt like the slowest person in my wave.
Mile 3- 8:28
I started to realize I was running alone. Everyone in my wave was ahead of me. I looked behind me.. I could only see a dozen people. There were zero spectators.
Mile 4- 8:58
Fear set in as the rain picked up. What am I doing out here? I am running alone in 30mph winds. I felt so lonely. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be there. Fear took over my body and mind. I took a short bathroom break here to recuperate my mind! I remember in the porto-potty reminding myself to breath.. “it’s just a long run”, “it’s just a long run”
Mile 5- 8:39
I questioned if I would finish this race. I started feeling sick to my stomach. Nausea. I almost started crying. I felt so alone. I was running alone during the Boston Marathon in the pouring rain almost getting blown away. “What the hell are you doing out here??”. The negative thoughts were insane. I tried to listen to the lone whisper, “Victoria, you are OKAY!! This is just another long run. You can do this!! Slow down if you want. It’s just about finishing! Be smart!”
Mile 6- 8:24
The first crowds. It was up lifting. I needed to hear those cheers. I still felt awful, but at least I was not alone. I was not scared anymore.
Mile 7- 8:17
I was starting to catch back up to people who passed me the first 7 miles. I wasn’t running alone anymore! It made me feel a lot better to not be alone. The fear in the pit of my stomach was slowly fading away.
Mile 8- 8:36
I took my first Gel here. This is the first time the course turns uphill. I realized I was feeling strong for the first time in the race. I looked around at the badasses around me. I felt so inspired by these other runners. We were doing this. We were out here in a freaking hurricane. We were going to run the Boston Marathon today!!
Mile 9- 8:23
I felt like I was getting in a groove here. The crowds were great. There were tons of runners around me. I felt excited. I felt badass running in the rain
Mile 10- 8:16
I started to force myself to chill out the pace. I knew I was pushing too hard too early. My game plan became, “find a big guy to run behind and draft off of”. I found a guy and just stuck myself behind him
Mile 11- 8:25
I was feeling really good. Still running behind the same guy. Using him as a shield from the wind.
Mile 12- 8:42
I found a new person to draft off. The wind was insane. The course turns uphill here. I was feeling AMAZING and really wanted to pick up the pace, but I reminded myself I was 14 mile left to go and to play it smart just draft off this guy. I reminded myself the slower pace now would make me feel better in Newton up the hills.
Mile 13- 8:19
I couldn’t draft anymore. I felt like a wild stallion running free in the rain. The Wellsey college girls were screaming. It was the best I have ever felt at Boston halfway. Then I realized it’s the best I have ever felt during a marathon, ever.
Half Way- 1:51:53
I mentally took note- I would need to run a 3:43:45 or faster to negative split this race. I had never negative split a marathon before. It seemed out of reach still.
Mile 14- 8:10
“WARM UP IS OVER”. I could hear my coaches words in my head. I felt like I was in a groove. I was trying hard to stay controlled and slow down because I knew the hills were coming at mile 17, and I needed to save my energy.
Mile 15- 8:26
Found a group to run with. I tried to give my body a break and really refocus before hitting the hills. For the first time ever, I felt ready for the Newton hills.
Mile 16- 7:52
This was it. The downhill before Newton. This is the fastest mile on the Boston Course. I felt like a bird. Everything was smooth. I have never felt like this during mile 16.
Mile 17- 8:39
Welcome to Newton. This is traditionally the part of the course were I can kiss my race goodbye. That overpass heading to Newton is SO long. It felt hard this year. The wind was blowing so hard. Runner’s were literally getting blown around on the overpass. Ponchos whipping in the wind. It was crazy. Somehow we were all still moving.
Mile 18- 8:28
I spent this mile focusing on recovery from that big hill. I realized I had less than 8.2 miles to go. It was a huge mental boost.
Mile 19- 8:06
The phrase, “The race begins at mile 20” went off in my head. I started crying. I never thought I would be able to speed up during Newton like this. I never thought I would feel like this. I felt so greatful that things were clicking.
Mile 20- 8:15
I knew heartbreak hill was coming up. I was ready for it. Despite wearing a rain jacket, my clothes were SOAKED. I was a little nervous if I did ‘blow up’ or have to stop running for some reason that I would have to take a DNF if I got hypothermia. The fear was real.
Mile 21- 8:51
Is this heartbreak? When you have been running for 3 hours in the rain, your mind starts to lose it’s sharpness. I could not remember if this was heartbreak hill. I could not see a sign that said it. “this must not be it”. I remember cresting the hill and someone screamed, “YOU DID IT!!!! ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE”. I couldn’t believe I forgot where heartbreak hill was. I was very confused by this point of the race. I couldn’t see or think clearly.
Mile 22- 8:02
“The faster you run, the sooner you will be done”. I was freezing. I was miserable. Runners were shaking. Runners were doing everything they could to put one foot in front of the other. We were all using each other to get to that finish line.
Mile 23- 8:01
I kept thinking, “just get this over with. I want to be at that finish line NOW”. I was happy to see the mile click 8:01 because I felt I was crawling. The wind was picking up. It was the worst conditions I’ve ever ran in. I was drenched. I couldn’t see anything.
Mile 24- 8:16
I could feel the wheels falling off. I didn’t want to be out here anymore. I wanted to cry. I wanted this whole thing to be over. I just wanted a hot shower. Please let these next 2 miles go by fast.
Mile 25- 8:35
One mile to go sign. I kept waiting for it. Where is it?! It seemed like the longest mile ever. I was so confused to where I was. The rain and wind made it impossible to see anything.
Mile 26- 8:51
I started to recognize the area and like a wave crashing on me, I felt a flood of emotions. “This is it. You did it. 5 months postpartum. In a hurricane. You negative split the Boston Effin marathon!!”. I started crying so hard. I was so emotional and hyperventalting while running. It could not believe that I was tough enough to make it to that point that day. With everything stacked up against me. I felt like I beat all the odds. I felt like in that moment, everything was worth it. All the sleepless nights. All the pain. All the days I doubted my abilities. It was all washed away and replaced with the feeling of sweet victory.
Last .4 Miles 8:15 pace
When I was running down Bolyston Street, I savored every moment. I never, ever in my life thought I could negative split the Boston Marathon. Let alone at 5 months postpartum. I will always remember that moment.
3:42:02 Finish Time 8:28 per mile
First Half- 1:51:53 (8:33 per mile)
Second Half- 1:50:09 (8:23 per mile)
This was my first marathon as a mom and my first negative split. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Being a mom teaches you patients. It teaches you to throw your ego out the window. It also reminds you how tough you are. Conditions don’t have to be ideal. You just have to have grit. Runners are the grittest people I know. If you ran this weekend, I have the utmost respect for you. Sane people would not even go outside in that weather, and we ran 26.2 miles in it.
In October 2016 I ran the TC Marathon. It had been a very rough year for my running. The heat caused me some very miserable races all year. I felt defeated from the marathon, but I wanted to give it one last chance.
In September 2016, it appeared things were turning around when I won the Marquette Half Marathon and set a new PR of 1:28:10 (6:44 per mile). It was my first PR in 15 months. It was the confidence I needed going into TC Marathon.
TC Marathon 2016 broke me. By mile 17, I was throwing up on the course while running. I crossed the finish line with a BQ time, but I was ready to forget about it. I felt defeated. I was ready for a LONG break from marathoning. I didn’t want to even hear the word marathon
Pregnancy & Childbirth
In March 2017, I found out I was pregnant! Running became 100x harder overnight. I was NOT one of those women who ran marathons pregnant although I wish I could have been. Pregnancy was VERY difficult for me. I suffered with extreme all day sickness, fatigue, etc. I tried to stay active. It was incredibly difficult to find the energy and motivation every day. I don’t often talk about how difficult it was, but I struggled big-time.
When Boston registation rolled around in September, I was in my 3rd trimester. I decided to sign up. I wanted so badly to get back into my old running shape. I was very naive as to what I was signing up for. Yes, I had ran 16 marathons… but I had no idea what running a marathon at 5 months postpartum would entail.
About 2 weeks later, I went on my last run of pregnancy. It was 2 miles with my dog. My dog tugged on the leash which pulled my pelvis/back out of place. I could not bare weight on my left leg. I had never been so scared in my life. I used crutches for the next 3 weeks and went to PT almost daily. It was a fight to get back to walking before the baby arrived.
November 9th 8:29pm Chase arrived! I had been in early labor with inconsistent contractions for 2 days. I remember being in so much pain during those 2 days. I was horrified for what ‘real labor’ felt like. When the contractions FINALLY started coming every 5 min. Within 3 hours of being at the hospital, it was time to push. I had no pain medications. Everyone told me pushing was the easy part. BOY WERE THEY WRONG. I spent the next 3 hours pushing without any type of pain medication. I was exhausted. I thought I was going to die. However, we made it!
For those who have never given birth before, the first few times you get up and walk, it feels like you got in a very bad car crash. I could not believe what my body felt like. I remember thinking, “why the hell did you sign up for a marathon in 5 months?!”.
Childbirth leaves you in pain for a LONG LONG time. It doesn’t matter if you were an athlete before. It doesn’t matter if you want to be active. You WILL be sidelined.
About 1 month postpartum, I went on my first run. It was the most awkward, uncomfortable thing I had ever done.
There were a lot of tears the next 3 months.
Would I ever feel normal again? Would I ever be able to enjoy running again? Would I ever feel strong again?
It was an uphill battle.
Return to Training
I started running again about 1 month postpartum. This left me 4 months to build up and run 26.2 miles.
Here is what my training looked like
4 Weeks Postpartum- started doing pelvic floor and core rehab exercises every day.
5 Weeks Postpartum- 3.5 mile long run. Ran every other day about 1-2 miles.
6 Weeks Postpartum- 5 mile long run. Ran every other day about 2 miles.
7 Weeks Postpartum- 7 mile long run. Ran every other day about 3 miles.
8 Weeks postpartum- Started running 5-6 days a week
9 Weeks postpartum- 10 mile long run. Running 3-5 miles
10 Weeks postpartum- 12 mile long run. Running 35 miles per week.
11 Weeks postpartum- 14 mile long run. Running 40 miles per week.
12 Weeks postpartum- Still building mileage back!
13 Weeks postpartum- 16 mile long run. Running 45 miles per week.
14 Weeks postpartum- Building back base mileage!
15 Weeks postpartum- 18 mile long run. Running 50 miles per week.
16 Weeks postpartum- Building back base mileage!
17 Weeks postpartum- First RACE! 5 miles 6:40 pace
18 Weeks postpartum- 21 mile long run. Running 50 miles per week.
19 Weeks postpartum- 18 mile long run. Running 50 miles per week
20 Weeks postpartum- TAPER!
21 Weeks postpartum- THE BOSTON MARATHON