OK- I know I took my time with this- but I needed a few days to get my thoughts together.
Saturday we hosted a crowd to color eggs and EAT! I did more than my fair share of carb-loading
The day before the marathon was spent with family, hanging out and napping- reading the newspaper in the sun- and doing face masks. What did I eat pre-race? A low-dairy mac n cheese (made with pasta water and Cabot cheddar shake- no butter/no milk), a hot dog (with a bun), sweet pickled jalapenos- and a dessert of angel food cake with some strawberries and a little whip!
Sunday night I felt really allergy-ish. I had a scratchy throat- but I was trying desperately not to overthink it. We all went to bed a little after 9 PM- and set the alarm for 5.
I actually slept the night before. In fact, I was strangely not nervous at all. The best way I could describe the way that I was feeling was a little detached; I did not take this as a good sign. I once had a coach tell me that if you weren’t nervous about a marathon that there is something wrong- and I believe it! The marathon is a BEAST no matter how well trained you are!
The drive to Hopkinton was seamless- except for when we turned around a 1/2 a mile from the house to get my garmin (!)- but we arrived traffic-free at 7 AM and I hopped right on a bus at the South Street parking lot. Security for runners was easy- we were gone over with metal detecting wands and any items that were not in clear bags were turned away. Since I had stuffed all of my gels, headphones, dollars, and drivers license into my awesome lululemon bra top (with built in pockets!!)- no need to worry about a bag for me!.
The athlete’s village never felt crowded- so I commenced the runners ritual of porta-pottying, working on my tan (ha!), drinking some coffee- and meeting up with Tracy, who I had met at the Boston Prep 16 miler earlier this year.
Things I am glad I did in the village-
1. Liberally apply sunscreen.
2. Continue to hydrate
3. Get all of my pooping done (sorry for the TMI- but this is a good thing!!)
And then we were off to the start! I ditched my arm warmers in the corrals- I was already feeling the warmth of the sun. Tracy and I decided to at least start together- she was not anticipating a strong race (she has been focused on cross training- and is SO strong and SO encouraging- that I told her she was NUTS)- but we didn’t end up separating until about 16 miles in.
The first 7 miles were amazing. I wasn’t too hot- the crowd support was AWESOME- and I had people to be on the lookout for! My college friend Leila was stationed at mile 5, and my friends Kristen, Val, and Kevin were at mile 7.
Around mile 9 the heat and full sun began to become an issue. My mouth was dry- and occasionally my head would feel particularly hot- almost like I was getting sick. I started walking through the water stops at this point- dumping water on my head and taking the 10 second breaks that I needed. The intense heat lasted into the Newton hills- the Boston course has almost no shade! From miles 9-16 I was literally going from water stop to water stop, just doing my best to stay hydrated- and I noticed that I was turning WHITE with salt. For the first time I wished that I had trained with salt tabs or that my body tolerated gatorade- I was losing electrolytes, fast!
Miles 7-15 (the splits above) were spent mostly wishing for Boston to come faster! I saw Kristen, Val, and Kevin again at mile 14- and it was MUCH NEEDED!
I have to be honest- around mile 14 serious doubt crept in. I began to really feel all of the “things”- the heat, my butt pain that had been nagging me… and it was right around this time I also started to have trouble breathing. My chest felt really tight- and it made me nervous. (Which probably made it tighter)- so I took it down a notch. What made me sad about my breathing trouble was that my legs still felt GREAT-
Tracy and I got separated at mile 16- totally my fault. She ducked in for a potty break and I left her. I am a terrible friend! But, I felt like I needed to keep on trucking. I may not have been as negative for the remaining miles if I had stayed with her, in retrospect.
Miles 15-23 are listed above- as you can see the Newton hills really killed me. If you aren’t breathing properly, getting up and over a hill is tough work. The 9:13 mile is Heartbreak- I also took a really quick hug break with my Mom, Mike and sister Emily! I had A LOT of negative thoughts and doubts during these miles- basically I had a hard time thinking any positive thoughts- and the crowd (which should have helped)- almost made me withdraw even more. I was so in my own head I was barely enjoying myself. I regret this BIG time and I feel like if I was able to get myself back on a positive track I would have not only run faster, but I may have gotten through my breathing issue.
The last 3 miles were interminable. I truly didn’t get my head back on straight until I passed the mile 25 sign- and that’s when I began to get emotional. For many runners, mile 25 is where they were stopped last year- and to run past it I felt a bit of what I think they were feeling- triumph. I didn’t manage to speed up much- because in all honesty at mile 23 my quads had begun to SCREAM.
Thank goodness I got my head back in the game- because before I knew it we were taking the right onto Hereford- left onto Boylston- and that, for me, was the best moment of the race. Last year- that was when I thought- Oh boy- I am going to FINISH the Boston Marathon- and didn’t get to- and this year- here I was- and it was as if the line would never come. Not in a bad way- but in a slow-motion, savor the moment kind of way.
I am glad that I had this elongated finish- I RELISHED in it. When I crossed the line, I had finally accomplished something that many runners place on their bucket list- the super bowl of running- the BOSTON MARATHON.
I felt every emotion during this race. I felt strong, good, buoyed by the crowds; I felt weak and withdrawn and filled with doubt and negativity- and finally- I felt victorious.
Overall time: 3:38:40, average pace 8:20.
The analysis: If I had been able to stop the pity party, I think that I would have been able to finish 3-4 minutes faster. Nothing would have helped the heat or my breathing- but I think that my negativity was a major factor. Running my goal time of 3:25 was out as soon as I realized out freaking hot it was.
I also feel like this is a distance that I am relatively inexperienced at racing- with this race and all of its emotion and pressure under my belt, I feel ready for a fast course- a PR course.
What’s next? Stay tuned- I am finishing up planning my spring season and can’t wait to make some PR attempts!
(PS- I am definitely buying the photos- I think some of them came out AWESOME!).