Boston Bound My Story

Boston Bound, Part 7

I couldn’t believe it was finally happening. After taking it easy for a month or so after my last race in Akron, I started training for Boston and made my plan very similar to how I qualified. I felt confident in this plan, but through this training cycle I would have to take on some added stress by planning my wedding from across the country (which would take place five days after Boston in Ohio).

The building phase of my plan went pretty well without any hiccups. However, for what was supposed to be my first 22-miler of the cycle, I only did 10 – at a pretty slow pace. I called my fiancé to come pick me up. Mentally I just couldn’t – I felt so burnt out from work, training, wedding, etc. Trying not to get discouraged, I planned to stick to the schedule the following week. I did, and was fine for the next few weeks, but then I skipped a long run altogether. I couldn’t get focused.

Realizing that I began to stress so much about sleeping and waking up in time to be finished with my run before I needed to be at work, I decided to try to do my long runs on Friday nights instead of Saturday mornings. It went okay for a few weeks, but it wasn’t really working out for me. So then I just switched my long runs to Friday mornings (had a later work start) and made Saturdays a 5-mile recovery day. I liked this, and it helped me stress less and get back on track. Since I didn’t run on Thursdays, I also had fresher legs for my long runs.

Even though I only did 26 miles once in training, I felt good because I had eight 20-24 milers in there as well. Body sense – my body felt good and not over-worked. Overall, it was my “chillest” training cycle, probably due to my mind being busy stressing about wedding details instead of running. My last six weeks of training went like this: 18, 22, 20, 20, 18, RACE!

I had a red eye booked to leave San Diego the Friday before race day. I got one final easy 5-miler in that morning and ready or not, Boston bound. I tried to sleep on the flight, but I’m not one of those blessed souls who can pass out anywhere. There were definitely other runners headed for the marathon on this flight and I even met an elderly couple who were going simply to watch.

After a family friend picked me up from the airport Saturday morning, my mom, aunt, and cousin met me there that afternoon. My family drove from Ohio and was my ride back for the wedding.

Our friend took us all to the convention center where I had to pick up my bib. The expo was packed, as you would think, but also a bit confusing. Since I don’t really like expos that much in general, we didn’t stay long – I had what I needed. Disappointed that the participants did not get a jacket, but a long-sleeve t-shirt instead, I looked around at the jackets to purchase. $110 for a jacket that anyone could buy? Not a chance. I passed, if only on principle.

I was able to relax a little bit after I had all that I needed for the race. Sunday was wet and cold, but still lovely. We got to ring the old church bells after attending the morning service at a local historic church, then headed to a Panera’s for lunch. The weather forecast continued to look pretty awesome (for me). I run my best in cool humidity.

Race morning we were in a bit of a rush to get me to the buses. One of the trolleys was down and causing havoc on the area’s public transportation system, so we had to get a cab. After we got to the square, I promptly got on my bus and relaxed. It was a 35-40 minute drive to the race start and the rain started coming. I was NOT prepared for the pre-race wait.

I had a light jacket and pants over top of my race outfit, but that wasn’t nearly enough. We had a little bit of a walk when we got off the bus to where the tents, porta-pottys, and snacks were, so I got pretty wet. Because it was also 45 (ish) degrees, I got in line for a heat retention wrap (I refuse to call them blankets), not that I had a whole lot of heat to retain. I headed over to huddle under the tents, unaware of what I was supposed to be doing. It was clear who the newbies were as seasoned Bostoners brought yoga mats, actual blankets, camping chairs, thermoses, and their own snacks. I had almost two hours to wait until my corral was to shuffle to the start line. Finding a spot in the muddle, I just stood and listened/observed while I sipped on some coffee and ate a bagel.

A lot of people were here in groups. There was one woman near me in particular that caught my attention. She was wearing large, hoop earrings with her make up all done. I noticed she had a bib on so she was racing I guess…. then I overhead a woman nearby casually ask her friends, “So how far are you going today?” Everything stopped in my head – WHAT?!?! I was trying to process what I had just heard. “Yeah, I don’t know we’ll see, maybe half way…” The sound of voices fizzled out as I was still searching for a complete thought. ….. Okay, here it is: “You mean you made it to the Boston Marathon and you’re going to let a little rain stop you from finishing?! Are you crazy?!” It blew my mind. I stepped away from that group to keep from hearing the rest of the conversation. That was the moment that made me fully understand why Boston wasn’t going to be enough for me. I would be back, but not before I addressed other running goals.

Time for corral 7 to head to the start line! I had already put my jacket under my race shirt, but I was still debating on whether or not to take off my pants. I made one last pee and then ended up leaving the pants at the start. Here we go!

I was happy to be moving and getting blood flowing. By mile 2, I had already taken off my jacket – so glad I ditched the pants! This felt good. This cold, moist air was exactly what my body wanted. The rainfall was patchy, unlike the number of runners around me. This was nuts – I had never been in a race with so many people. I kept going at whatever pace I was at and felt I had put forth little effort by the half. I sped up a little bit. My mind was racing with thoughts of cold, run, yay, wedding, Boston, fun, feeling fiiiine, cold, etc. The number of people around me didn’t decrease at all. I kept pushing and by the time ‘heartbreak hill” was over I was like “What hill?”

Oh darn. I had to pee. I didn’t want to stop, but I knew the consequences of not stopping would be far worse. I searched for the next porta-potty and darted toward it. Sorry! I definitely made a runner or two angry for the cut off, but it was inevitable at that point.

After relieving myself, I slightly increased pace and sailed through the last several miles. I sprinted across the finish line knowing I had PR-ed, but unsure of what my actual time was. Upon retrieving my phone, I got my time of 3:18:55 – PR-ed by ten minutes! I was pretty satisfied with that. I had a good race, felt great, FINALLY ran Boston, and was ready to go get married.

“Our Communion” – David Crowder Band

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