What a difference a year makes…
I’ve had a hard time getting this post started. I think it’s because so much happened in such a short period of time and I’m pretty sure my words won’t be able to capture or express the 2014 Boston Marathon experience. Over 30K runners lined up at Hopkinton Park, crossed the start line and ran 26.2 miles to Boylston Street and crossed the finish line. That means there are over 30k different stories of victory being told, and I’m sure they all share the theme of gratitude. I started the race a little bit sad, knowing that no other race would ever be this special again…
So here I go, let me recap the experience in chronological order — there is no way I can get it all in here, but I’ll give you all the good stuff 😉
Saturday: Travel Plus Pre Race Parties
Jimmy and I were on a direct flight from San Diego to Boston that left bright and early Saturday morning. We flew with my friends Sheri and Jodi. This was Sheri’s first Boston Marathon and 3rd marathon overall. Jodi is her best friend, also a marathon runner, who came along to cheer and support. Also traveling with us was Natalie from Orange County, who was flying from LA the same morning and met is in Boston. This was her 6th marathon and also first Boston. So that was our core crew for the weekend. Three runners and two race caddies. I wonder if Jimmy and Jodi will ever really know just how much I appreciated them being there. I wonder if all people who travel, wake up, manage traffic and get to a course to cheer know how much they mean to the runners?
We landed 45 min early, navigated to our crappy hotel in Arlington and headed straight downtown for the Lulu Lemon Ambassador dinner party. Nope — I’m not an Ambassador, but Sheri and Natalie both are, and Lulu was gracious enough to host us all. We also met Sheri’s parents there, heard a motivational speaker, stuffed down some pasta and a ton of blue and orange M&Ms.
After dinner we crossed the street and went to Towne where Adidas and The Competitor Group were hosting another pre-race party. We get invited to this because of my high school friend Mike who is a bigwig at Adidas. We went to this party last year as well and it’s seriously a good one. We mixed and mingled and then headed home for some well earned sleep.
Sunday: Jog, Expo, Fuel and Rest
Sunday I slept in as late as I could, and I think it was still only 8:30. I went for my standard pre-marathon 3 mile run plus 10×100 strides. It was not a good sign. I was running slow, like 9:30 and my right knee was really acting up, especially during the strides. But the weather was great, my lungs felt good and it’s always a good idea to help acclimate to a new city.
I ended up buying a little knee strap at the CVS just as a precaution. Sheri just happens to be an amazing run coach, and she showed me how to use a lacrosse ball to release tension and ease the pain. I’m not sure if it was the strap or the ball, but I had zero knee issues race day — PFEW! I stuffed down a HUGE breakfast of muffins, eggs, yogurt — it’s really amazing the shear volume of food I put down. Then we headed for the expo…
At the expo we picked up or our bibs and a few final necessities for the race. I always have to get my Vanilla Power Gel and I decided some bright orange arm warmers were in order as well. The expo was a zoo, but we got in and out and headed for lunch. Sheri’s friend Dave met us as well as one of Jodi’s friends from high school. We meandered around downtown for several hours, played tourist and then headed for dinner.
We had our final pre-race meal at Post 390 at around 5:30. I was so tired at this point, I almost started crying. I ordered the salmon, it was amazing. Then I talked Natalie’s friend into driving us to the start line in the morning. We hadn’t really figured out how were were going to get there until this point. All the race materials “strongly suggest” you take the busses from Boston Common to the start, which we did last year. This year, we were staying in Arlington so getting there was much more complicated. We were going to have to take a bus and two trains just to get to the bus that would take an hour to get is to the start…ug. It was seriously stressing me out and adding 2 hours of transportation time to our race morning. The drop off at the start was a HUGE relief and help race day.
After dinner we headed back to our hotel, I prepped my zillion bits of race gear, did a bit of work and passed the F out. I have never slept so hard the night before a marathon, ever.
Monday: Marathon and Post Race Party
Race day was here! I woke up confused from my night of heavy sleep. We had so much time in the morning it was weird. I ate half a banana and some oatmeal and FINALLY had my first cup of coffee in over 3 weeks. I was so happy! We drove to the start, got dropped off, then took the last shuttle up to Athletes Village.
Natalie and Sheri had to split as soon as we got there because they started at 10:25. I meandered around, made some friends, ate a power bar, drank more coffee, took some pics and headed to my corral. As far as race mornings go — this was IDEAL!
I started the race with the best smile and mood I’d had in weeks! You can train all you want, but what happens race day is still a crap shoot and anything can happen over the course of 26.2 miles. All my long runs had been in the 9:30 pace so when I came out of the gate at 8:40, I was happy as could be. I wanted to run a 3:40 and qualify for Boston in Boston. That’s an 8:24 pace. I’m always a negative splitter, so in a perfect world, I would go out at 8:35 for the first 17 and then make it up Heartbreak Hill and then finish sub 8…and that almost happened. ha!
I held 8:40 pretty consistently and when I got to the top of Heartbreak Hill at mile 21, there was a part of me that thought maybe I could bust out some 7:35s and still make 3:40. I put all I had into the next mile. It came out at 7:57, so I knew I didn’t have a shot. But I kept running as fast as I could because the sooner I got to the finish line, the sooner I could stop running.
It’s funny because in a lot of ways, I had the same race I had last year, almost to a tee. This was not easier and it did not hurt less. My feet split open — the left one at mile 22 and the right at 24. When I say split — it means a blister broke and it literally feels like someone is stabbing your food with a knife…every-single-time your foot hits the pavement. It’s excruciating and that is when you remember “Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever.” I had stomach issues and everything hurt. Mile 24-26, where the crowd is the thickest felt like an eternity. And when I saw the 1K to go sign over the bridge I wanted to cry…how could I still have 1K left to run?
Despite the pain — I was still smiling and if I’d had the energy I’d have cried this year too. But not out of frustration or hurt, just joy and appreciation.
I crossed the finish line in with a final time of 3:46:26 to last year’s 3:45:18. Isn’t that crazy?
Just about the same time and painful experience but this year I was so happy! Why? I don’t know, but that is when you realize how much perspective matters. I didn’t qualify for Boston in Boston again — but you know what? I’m more determined now for 2015 than ever! And all in all, I really didn’t do too poorly…this is the F-ing Boston Marathon! It is the premier running event with only the best of the best athletes and somehow I still finished with the top half of runners and the 1/3 of women. Hot dang!
|In Gender||4759/14356 (Female)|
|In Division||3051/6979 (F18-39 Age Group)|
My race aside, it was a historical day for Boston and all the runners. I got this email from the BAA this morning:
Thank you for participating in the 2014 Boston Marathon. At this year’s event, you came together to run as one, and we thank you for your participation in the world’s oldest and most prestigious annual marathon.
A total of 31,931 runners and 53 wheelchair participants finished the race. Meb Keflezighi, of San Diego, CA, finished in 2:08:37, becoming the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983. Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo became a three-time champion and set a new course record, running 2:18:57.
Way to go Meb! And did you know he’s 39? That is so inspiring because sometimes I wonder if my fastest years are behind me. I feel pretty special that I got to be a part of this comeback and I got to do it with these great ladies!
After the race, we said goodbye to Sheri and Jodi, they were flying home that night. And I don’t know how we did it, but we rallied! Jimmy, Natalie and I pulled it together, went out and got down! I’ve never partied the night of a marathon — and we did!
Tuesday: Lobster Sandwich and Travel
We woke up Tuesday morning stiff and hungover, but still happy as could be. Chowed down big hotel breakfast and went back to bed until we had to checkout at noon. We walked 2.5 miles, which took over an hour (ha ha) to Alive and Kicking Lobsters so Jimmy could get his favorite Lobster Sandwich ever. We found it last year, and seriously didn’t stop talking about it all year long. And for good reason — it’s seriously best thing in the world!
After lunch, we headed to the airport and jumped on a jet plane to head back home to San Diego. And that’s about the whole story!
What’s Next For Me?
Well, I’m on a mission to qualify for Boston in Boston. But I need to qualify again before I can do that. Registration will open up in mid September, so I need a BQ before then and there are pretty slim pickings. I could pull it together pretty quick and run the San Diego Rock and Roll the first weekend in June. This is not a bad idea because the logistics are pretty awesome, I can literally walk to the start and the finish from my house. But I’ve run it 3 times before and I really want to run new courses. My other options are the Ventura Marathon in early September or the Santa Rosa Marathon in late August. Ventura is close by and someone on the plane recommend it, but in Santa Rosa, they give all the runners a free bottle of wine – ha! Decisions, decisions..it will be one of those three. I’ll need to think on it a bit…
Want to run a marathon with me?
My friends think I’m crazy for making my next race plan so quickly. But that’s just the way I roll. Running is part of my life and I move onto the next one. I’m going to try this training plan* next time around — this gal looks pretty similar to me and she seems pretty confident in her system. Let me also extend the half marathon invitation because all three races also have a half course…
Why don’t you get the plan* and let me know what race you would rather run and let’s do this!
Subscribe to Blog via Email