That was rough. And this might be my longest post ever, but I have so many thoughts, so let’s start.
We woke up at 5:25 am, I took a shower and got ready, and we were out the door at 6:10. We walked over to Boston Commons, about a 10-minute walk from where we were staying. I had two bagels, Gatorade, and water at the hotel, and we set out to meet my coach and another friend. We dropped our gear bags off (a dry shirt and shoes to have when I finished) and then went to the busses. I left my phone with Andrew because I didn’t want to carry anything extra during the race.
I sat in front of the bus to avoid car sickness, and it worked. In 2022 I sat towards the back and felt sick the entire time.
Boston allows you to bring a clear bag that they give you on the bus and to the start, so I had one with a poncho to sit on the grass with, headphones, and gels (I brought all of my own because I get nervous about missing them during the race), gloves and a banana (ate that at 8:30 and a caffeine gel at 9:55). I also carried my Vaproflys and wore old shoes until the race started.
It was very foggy in Hopkinton, and it didn’t start raining until we reached the starting line. I met a new friend who told me he would help me get a 2:4X. I love having someone to work with, and it just seemed like everything would come together. I was also cold at the start, which was my perfect race condition.
I kept having this feeling that it was going to be the perfect day. I wasn’t running on snow, I had Andrew there supporting me after an amazing weekend together, and I had some great training runs leading up to this race. I thought my hamstring was 100% after taking a few days off. It was going to be my day. I just knew it!
I started with my friend and felt amazing for the first 3 miles, and then my hamstring reminded me that it was struggling. Ugggg, it was way too early to be feeling something like that. I lost my friend about then because I decided to play it more conservatively for my hamstring to survive.
The friend I was running with is a PT, so he told me to take shorter steps, which helped my hamstring out a bit. I’ll be going in to see him next week to analyze my gait and help me figure out why my hamstrings seem to be the first to go and what to do to strengthen everything and prevent that.
The rain felt pretty amazing. It wasn’t raining the whole time, but when it was, it felt refreshing. There were a few points where I noticed the headwind, but overall it wasn’t too crazy. I missed the tailwind that we had in 2022 though ha.
I didn’t realize my necklace was on backward the whole time until I saw Andrew’s pictures.
I kept telling myself that feelings change drastically in the marathon. I was just needing to warm up, and before I knew it, I was going to feel good again, and my hamstring would behave. But, sadly, something else got worse as I went on… I had to stop for the bathroom twice (this was a first for me!) because my gut was so off. I wanted to stop at every porta-potty I saw because of my gut, but luckily, I only had to twice.
My gut never improved, but my hamstring didn’t get any worse, so I was happy about that. It’s crazy how in 2022, I kept thinking about how the hills just felt so doable and not that big, and then this year, they felt like they were never-ending. They felt like monstrous hills yesterday. I’m positive that some plates shifted, and new hills were created over the last year.
The miles clicked by with each one slowing down. Paces that usually felt ‘easy’ during training just weren’t happening in the second half of the race. I stayed on top of my fueling with a gel every 4 miles, drank from my bottle for the first 9 miles, and then took water or Gatorade from each aid station.
Those final miles were so hard. I was trying every mental trick up my sleeves, but paying attention to my paces turned to just focusing on getting to the finish line. I went from wanting a sub 2:50 to wanting a course pr to wanting a sub 3 to just hoping to finish. It’s so hard to watch the thing you dreamed about for months slip away, but it happened, and that’s just part of the gamble that happens when we sign up to do this.
I wanted to quit so many times yesterday (and I would have if my hamstring had been getting worse), but I kept reminding myself that I’ve made it through harder things in life 100% of the time. If I could make it through those things, I could make it through yesterday.
Ali was at the finish line waiting for me and gave me a 2-minute hug—> The tightest squeeze that was precisely what I needed at that moment. I love this woman so much.
I felt like I was back in 2015 again as I was wandering around the streets after the race. I was soaking wet, shivering, hurting, and feeling a bit delusional. I picked up my bag and then walked over to Boston Commons to me and Andrew’s meeting spot.
When I saw Andrew, I started crying. I was having thoughts on my walk like, “Maybe I’m too old for my goals. Maybe I did too much last year, and my body is paying for it this year. Should I stop setting big goals because it is embarrassing to come up short repeatedly? Was training through the winter that we had worth it for this?”
But then I remembered that I could have believed similar thoughts when I was going for my goal of my first sub-3 marathon. I had EIGHT years of coming up short of that goal. What if I had quit trying during those years because I believed those negative thoughts? I would never have hit it.
I’m not going to listen to those thoughts this time either.
My best running days are ahead of me, and I won’t stop believing that!
It was such a good feeling to get inside and warm again.
Now for all of the tangents:
*It’s a good day to have a bad day if Kipchoge also had a bad day, ha.
*I LOVED having my hair in braids for the race (my first time!). It kept every hair out of my face, which was much appreciated. Andrew, however, did not love them because he said it made it so much harder for him to find me. He said he can usually tell it’s me from far away by the way my ponytail swings, so maybe I’ll do braids for small races where it’s easy to spot me and ponytails for big races;)
*Even without the hamstring and gut issues, I don’t think I would have gotten my goal of 2:49 yesterday… I felt so off overall.
*It was my 2nd fastest Boston time, so I will go ahead and celebrate that.
*I loved my outfit so much. Nothing chafed (IN THE RAIN), and it felt so comfortable the whole way. Outdoor Voices isn’t typically a brand I would think about running a marathon in, but wow, their shorts and tops work great for the marathon.
*My splits (DO NOT PACE A MARATHON SIMILAR TO THIS ONE haha)–> 6:20, 6:17, 6:19, 6:17, 6:31, 6:27, 6:29, 6:36, 6:38, 6:40, 6:47, 6:35, 6:47, 6:50, 7:05, 6:37, 7:15, 7:21, 7:01, 7:15, 7:47, 7:01, 7:50, 7:05, 7:13, 7:33, 7:38 pace for the last .45. I just kept my watch running during the bathroom breaks. I went out fast, but I thought I was prepared for those types of paces!
*I’m unsure if the new Vaporfly is better than the 2s. It was too wet to be able to tell, but I can’t wait to try them on a dry day. I finished the race blister free with happy feet, which is a great sign.
*I put one headphone in for a few miles and then took them out again for the end of the race. I needed a distraction, and it was helpful.
*Training this year was rough in Utah. Many workouts were skipped or changed, and I think if I had to do this training cycle again, I would have hit the treadmill more on those days to still get in the paces I needed. With Andrew’s new job, I think I’ll probably be on the treadmill a bit more!
*It’s a good thing I love the training so much when races don’t go how I want them to. I love the miles and my group so much. Also, these training cycles build on each other. So, even if the race doesn’t produce the desired results, the work doesn’t disappear and will show up for the next training cycle.
*I missed training on the trails because of the snow this year. Trails do so much for me mentally and physically, and I missed having them as part of my training block.
*Another thing I thought a lot about when I was struggling was that I am not going to be able to do this forever. Someday, I will miss the hurt I experience in the marathon. I’m going to miss pushing myself to these limits, so I am going to embrace it.
*We learn so much about ourselves in these races. It’s crazy to pay money to get a peek into who we are at the core, but I will keep paying money to do it.
*On the downhill, I kept repeating, ‘Nose over toes’ to myself to avoid sitting back into my stride. It helped me to remember to let gravity help me down the hill.
*I can’t wait to get back on the Peloton again. I need to figure out how to get that back into my weekly routine.
*At the Athlete’s Village, I saw a man carrying a box of Lucky Charms and munching on them as he walked around. It made me happy.
*I have never had to stop to use the restroom during a marathon until yesterday (my 16th marathon). I had to stop twice (and not just… oh, that would be nice to use the bathroom, it was like EMERGENCY I must stop now) to use one, and I need to figure out what in the world went wrong. I ate basically the same as the previous year of Boston, and I had zero issues then! I should have taken an Imodium before the race. Edited: Lauren reminded me I was on an antibiotic last week, so maybe that caused GI problems??
*Time for a week off of exercise and however long I need for my hamstring to be 100% again.
*I thought a lot about running calm leading up to the race. I feel my best and most loose when I run calm, and I want to do that this year. So anytime I had thoughts leading up to the race that caused my body to tighten up anywhere, I would redirect them to thoughts that made my body relax. It seems simple, but it took me 37 years to recognize what thoughts made my body tense.
*The crowds and volunteers at Boston are my favorites. The cheers I got from internet friends made my heart so happy. Something about looking into the eyes of the amazing spectators along the way made the whole experience so worth it… the long runs on fresh snow, the 80-mile weeks, and the speedwork that hurt so bad. The connections made between different runners along the way (a guy put out his fist for a fist pump as he passed me, and I swear he transferred some energy to me with that) and seeing the amazing volunteers and spectators out in the rain and cold trying to help people they don’t even know… It’s beautiful and so very worth the 1000 miles I put in this year leading up to Boston. I’m so thankful for how running brings us all together.
*I’ll learn to someday not get on a 5-hour flight right after the marathon… that hurt.
Anyone else that raced over the last few days… How did it go for you?
If you were following anyone yesterday, how did they do?!
Ever had GI issues during a big race???? What caused it for you?
Have a focus for your running this year?