Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Boston Marathon, 5 days away!

The 2011 Boston Marathon is just 5 days away! Good luck to all the Run Your Potential runners including my coach, John Loftus! I ran the Boston Marathon last year, and I dug up my race recap to my running coach:

What an experience! Smooth travels over there. From Chicago to Boston the flight attendant even asked for a show of hands of who was planning on participating in the Boston Marathon and 70% of the flight had their hands in the air (if you couldn't tell by their conversations, running apparel etc.) 
Ate well on Sunday, stayed off my feet as much as I could, ran on the treadmill. Got a little sleep (nerves/excitement) but had plenty of rest on Sat night, so it evened out.
Smooth sailing to the Start line. Talked to some great women on the bus about running, racing etc. I was reminded 'Well, Boston isn't a PR course, it's hilly, so be careful'. But I already knew that. It rewards patient runners, second half is hilly, save up. Use the ups on the first half, and the downs on the second. 
I had just enough 'waiting' time at the start - laid out some towels by myself ( I didn't want to feel compelled to run with the women I had met thus far, I wanted to run on my own). listened to some music, stretched, and mostly just took in all the other runners and their unique methods of last minute preparation at that point. Prior to the race I had a bowl of Oatmeal, and half a Fiber One bar. I drank plenty of water and hit the bathroom. Before I knew it, I landed in my corral, and START. (So - no complaints on getting to, and waiting at, the start line, actually couldn't have had it any better!) I felt as prepared as I could have been.
The first few miles went very fast. I didn't want to look at my watch, or my pace bracelet as I didn't want to get distracted by its results to early on. I hit the split button at every mile, without looking at the mile times.  I felt like I was going at a great pace, but I also felt like I was saving some for the second half. 
Eventually, when I passed the half marathon mark, I glanced at my overall time and saw I was right on (1:44). (But I also knew I had 13 more miles to go, it was going to be tough to maintain). 
I couldn't wait for Mile 16, where I knew my boyfriend would be. In fact I ran a speedier (than Miles 13, and Mile 14)  mile in anticipation for it.  I saw him, we hugged and he told me to keep going. Speaking of going, I had to hit the restroom. I waited for an easy access porta potty (no line) and think I only lost about 43 seconds here. 
At that point, knowing it was just me to the finish, I had half a Caffe Latte Gu pack handed to me by a volunteer, drank some gatorade and some water, then just cruised. The uphills, including heartbreak, weren't as tough as the consistent downhills. 
At Mile 25 I was exhausted and the 26th Mile felt like 2 miles, even with the finish line in sight. I was digging deep, but just couldn't find the energy. 
My finish time was 3:41:53. I was a little discouraged - I had wanted to at least beat my PR of 3:38. I suppose I felt with increased training and preparation, I had earned it, but I also remembered this was, indeed my second fastest time, and that is pretty neat. 

I think 3:30 had been too lofty of a goal as I think I realized the week going into it, looking through all the split times knowing I would have had to be running every mile at my best, back to back. And I knew with it being a marathon I needed to save some for the second half. 
I want to run the OC Marathon under less pressure surrounding a 'finish time', and more freely. Yet, I want to arrive their strong and prepared nonetheless.
During every marathon, I am reminded of the distance. That was my 11th, and I am still humbled by the challenge of it. 

When I returned home, I ran the OC Marathon just 10 days later and beat my Boston Marathon time. I finished in 3:39, qualifying for Boston yet again. I was very, very pleased as this was an ever reminder that anything is possible. You can go against the grain and be successful, you just have to want it. 

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