Boston Marathon - Run

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Boston, Massachusetts
United States
Boston Athletic Association
67F / 19C
Total Time = 3h 18m 2s
Overall Rank = 5932/36000
Age Group = 18-39
Age Group Rank = 621/6979
Pre-race routine:

I am a lucky girl. My mom, sister, brother in law and his wife and two of my friends were in town for the race! We had a great time. This could be an entire RR. Especially the post race shenanigans.

Did I mention that I didn't drink beer for the month and a half before the marathon? (Exception being my birthday) WTF was I thinking?????
Event warmup:

Coffee and oatmeal then hustled to the Common to meet my friend/teammate to ride the bus to the village together. It was so great having company!!!

once we got to the village the lines were so long for the porta that we both basically took turns until it was time to head to the coral.

They called my coral but I was still in line for the porta. I was in the first coral and really had to hurry. One lady invited me cut in front of her but a bunch of others caused a big stink EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE IN THE NEXT WAVE (not even coral, WAVE) So, I had to wait. And wait. And wait. Finally another really nice girl called me over to let me in front.

I had to literally run all the way from the village to the coral and just barely snuck in as the gun went off.
  • 3h 18m 2s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 34s  min/mile

Well, I always talk about the possibility of this happening and it finally did. Some uncontrollable things happen on race day and you just have to jt roll with the punches and adjust "the plan." I've talked about this, I've run the scenarios through my head over and over but facing the real thing sucks. It just sucks.

I had a sneaking suspicion of my illness but was in 100% denial. When my throat swelled up and I couldn't sleep any one of the 3 nights I was in Boston before race day I figured it was just the stuffy room...or maybe the pollen. Then when I did my shakeout run the day before and was a sweaty wreck (you know, like when you run when you have a fever?) I thought, oh maybe it's just a little warm here... the sun is out after all! Then my mom came into town, felt my head and announced, "Honey, you have a fever and are burning up!" I am not the kind of person who really gets super sick. Sure a cold here and there but not sick sick. I didn't even know what to do. I contacted my cousin who is a pharmacist to see what would be appropriate to take, knowing I had to run 26.2 miles the next morning. There wasn't a ton I could do. My mom told me, "No sense stressing it, honey. What will be will be and stress will only make it worse."

I know, maybe more than most, there are a wide variety of things you can't control on race day and this was one of them. I had to face the question I have dreaded myself:

What do you do when you are sick on race day?

5K: Patience...
10K: FML
30K: FML!!! I'm HOT!
Final: Beer!

First 5K: Very slow (or, before my perspective changed) Last year I had to start in a "slower" coral but had no issues sliding through the crowd but this year it was a major traffic jam. The plan was to stay nice and relaxed and not waste any energy surging around people and just let the gaps open naturally. That didn't really happen, so the first 5K was way off pace. I will say though, I think a big win here was really being patient. I would execute exactly the same way if I had to do it again. No sense wasting energy here.

The 10K: Right after the 5K the crowds opened up a little (as did the road) and I was able to ratchet down the pace and get much closer to my goal marathon pace. I was behind on my 10K time because of the slow first 5K. I was able to tick off the miles how I wanted to but by the time I got to the 10K I knew it was not only unsustainable, but that I was going to have to do something drastically different or I would not finish this race. I was feeling at 10K what I would only consider acceptable at the 25 mile mark. I thought I could outrun this whole sick thing but, nope. This was real. Yikes! I did, however, compose myself and did my now signature BAA move: the heel click.

Half Marathon: I was still mentally letting go of the race I wanted. Ironically I have been working on the concept of expectations (and not having any) and goals. My friend's dad is a psychologist and talks often of expectations. He developed this list of definitions and two of them I have been focusing on are:

Expectations: My fantasy of how things "should" be other than dealing with how they are. Virtually always toxic. (See Goals)

Goals: An activity that is definable, doable, and done.(Measurable) The source of motivation.

Anyway I had lots of time to think of these two definitions and how it all fits into my life, running and otherwise :) Finally, I settled into a pace I thought might be sustainable but allowing myself flexibility to adjust as needed. I wanted to quit more than I have ever wanted to quit anything. Water stations had HEAVY traffic and I thought I might have been melting. I tried to dump a little water on my head and drink at every station. The Wellesley girls were out in full force. Reading their signs made me laugh and I got lots of blown kisses. I love this part of the marathon. Running in this strange sickness induced daze was really strange. My legs didn't hurt or anything but my heartrate felt really high and everything just felt really difficult. Have you ever climbed a flight of stairs when you had a fever? It was like that, the whole time.

30K: My family was at the 17 mile mark and I was using them as my motivation. They hauled their asses out here to watch me run of a course where spectators literally died doing the same thing last year. How effing selfish of me to think about quitting. I tried my best to let go of my disappointment (and EXPECTATIONS) and cherish the moment. The freedom to just run. To soak in the HUGE crowds (1 million people) who were cheering their guts out. How lucky am I? And who cares if I feel a little under the weather. I'm going to finish this fucking marathon, if not for myself, for all of them. I ran past my family and my heart just swelled. I love these people. Not long after I passed them I hit the hills. Of ALL the places on the course, this is where I felt at home. I slowed my pace, shortened my stride and just motored up the hills. I didn't look very far ahead of me and just focused on being in the moment. From mile 18 to 19, then 19 to 20. When I hit 20 I knew I was going to finish this bad boy. It was the first time I felt confident in that. Finally mile 21 came and it was downhill. Freedom.

The Finish: The crowds, my god the crowds. They deserve a RR all of their own. I was blown away last year at the sheer numbers but this year was unreal. They were so motivating and so kind! I could go on and on. One woman (I can't remember where exactly) was holding a sign that said, "Meb won! ...Really, he did!" or something like that. I saw it and flipped the eff out. I was so, so, so excited! Everyone around me was flipping out, too. It was an awesome moment. Probably my favorite of the entire 26.2. It was stinkin' hot by now. I think that even if I were feeling 100% I would have had to adjust my goals a little. It was probably close to 70 by the end which might not sound like much to you but as a Seattleite who trained through the winter in shorts, this may as well have been the gates of hell. I saw that Citgo sign and gave it the middle finger. Then I laughed at my terrible attitude and pulled myself back to positivity. I started high fiving and engaging the crowd. I got chills, I smiled, I was finishing this race!

Taking the left onto Boylston is an indescribable feeling. It is SO LOUD. I threw my hands up, rallying the cheers and trotted my way to the finish. I was so happy to be done.

I don't think I looked great through the finish area and they attempted to get me to go to the med tent a few times. I told them I would be fine and just wanted to find my family.

What would you do differently?:

Drink beer leading up to the marathon. I am sure that was the root of all my problems ;)

Nah, this is the crappiest part. I don't know. I was unable to run this to the best of my ability and therefore I don't have any of the feedback and adjustments I would normally have. It really makes me sad. I have to believe the fitness was there as I ran a PR HM, untapered as well as some other PRs along the way.

I was also really happy with the execution of the first 5K, the nutrition and for the most part, the hydration (it was just plain hot for me though.) I mean, honestly, the entire training block went really well. I felt prepared when I got to the start line. My body felt really healthy, no niggles even. I just failed to perform.

I don't mean for this to be a downer of a RR or just a bitch-fest. I really am proud of myself for finishing this thing. More proud that I am probably letting on. I'm just discontent.

But I am discontent enough to be rather hungry. Hungry for more. Hungry for a personal win. Whatever shape that takes.
Post race
Warm down:

BEER! So much beer and one of the most hilarious nights of my life.

At one point in the early afternoon I, intoxicated, stole a pickle from someone's plate a Cheers. And that was just the beginning ...

I got to eat a ton of great food in Boston and NY including dim sum, lots of Ramen a token Lobster Roll and also did Sam Adams again, checked out the Brooklyn Brewery and had a ton of other wonderful frosty beverages. If I had to pick an MVP beer I would have to go with the Sam Adams 26.2. Mainly because it's low alcohol content (and drinkability) allowed my lightweight/sick ass not make TOO much of a fool of myself.

I also got to meet two BTers MJ (hehe) and Brad! It was an absolute pleasure.

Because I didn't get to run this to my potential my legs felt pretty damn good afterwards. Sitting on (and getting off) the toilet? Check! Going down stairs unassisted? Check!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not drinking beer for a month and a half.

Not get sick ... probably some other things but I don't really know how to evaluate that given I couldn't run how I wanted.

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Last updated: 2014-02-27 12:00 AM
03:18:02 | 26.2 miles | 07m 34s  min/mile
Age Group: 621/6979
Overall: 5932/36000
Performance: Bad
Course: Down down down, up up up, down.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]