I decided to take on the San Diego Rock ‘N’ Roll marathon again in June to qualify for Boston 2015. This time I was ready to switch things up and wrote out a brand new training plan that had my peak long run at 30 miles, adding an extra month to the cycle. I felt hopeful about this “new and improved” plan.
At the beginning of my pre-plan training, I got really sick with the flu. Dropping to 103 on my already slight 5’5” frame, I lost 8 pounds – along with whatever had been holding me back from Boston. Coming back from the sickness, I was PR-ing (breaking personal records) like crazy on my runs. Of course as I began to train harder and enter into the “meat” of my training plan, I slowly gained the weight back. But I could tell I was much stronger overall than I had been.
After I sailed through the first part of my building phase (miles 10-18), I started to have a little trouble mentally with my long runs. I would be in the middle of an out and back but have to stop in the middle – sometimes after only 11 or so miles. I was mentally burnt out and couldn’t fathom finishing the run. I’d call my boyfriend to come pick me up. It was frustrating and humiliating, but each week I continued to try my best to stick to the plan. I got through 24 miles and then 26, but when it came time to go for 28 I couldn’t. I stopped at 15. The next week I ran 26 and then tried for 30 the following, but again stopped at 15. In the end, the last six weeks of training went 26-15-26-15-26-15-RACE! for my long runs. My mid-week runs were pretty steady between 5-8 miles. Despite my failure to complete the training as planned, I had peace that I was well-prepared. My best training times weren’t Boston qualifying, but they were closer than ever before and I knew it was going to work out.
It had been a long six months of running, but race day was finally here. This was going to be it. I was carbed up, psyched up, well hydrated, and ready to run. I ate a banana with peanut butter, packed my Honey Stinger supplies in my fuel belt, and was anxiously waiting when my boyfriend arrived to drop me off at the starting line. The usual propaganda took place and I found my 3:30 pace group. My body felt great; my mind felt great.
The gun went off like it always does, runners cheered as they began their feat like they always do, but for me that starting moment was totally different than any previous race. I didn’t have a “conquer the world” surety (like Cleveland), but I had a confident surety, knowing that I was strong enough to qualify.
My plan was to stick with my pace group most of the way and I did. Around mile 3, I spotted a gentleman in front of me with the group that was wearing an Akron Marathon t-shirt. “Hey Akron Marathon!” I obnoxiously shouted. He turned around to see me coming along side of him. We started talking, and he explained that he was from Akron as well but was just in town for family and the race. We chatted for the next 10 or so miles and then the disparity of the dreaded wall phase of the race (miles 16-19) came upon us and we stopped chatting. He started slipping away with about half of the group. The rest of us pressed on up and over “the” hill. I still felt good, even though I missed my company. Mile 20 came and I started to get butterflies. “It’s happening! I’m gonna make it!” I thought to myself.
Hitting mile 23, I began to speed up and front line my pace group. At 24, I didn’t care anymore and started to break away. Nearing the finish line knowing 3:30 was behind me, I sprinted across with the biggest smile on my face – 3:28. Boston! I was seven minutes under the qualifying standard, so it was pretty safe to say I was in (just because you qualify, doesn’t automatically get you a ticket in). I was so happy, so satisfied. I walked around trying to locate my boyfriend and a ride home. After meeting up with him, he ordered me what I thought I really wanted – a Pizza Hut extra-cheese, stuffed-crust pizza. Worst. Decision. Ever.
The registration for Boston 2015 didn’t open until that September. I made sure I marked my calendar for my window to register, but also started making my next training plan for the 2014 Akron Marathon in the fall – a race I wasn’t going to miss.
David Crowder Band – “Oh Great God, Give Us Rest”