If I had one sentence to describe the Boston marathon it would be ... Boston is Big. Every detail of this race is magnified.
I am beyond grateful to have had the experience of running the Boston Marathon. I am beyond grateful to have friends and family to support and celebrate the experience with. Bringing young children to big cities and crowded venues
and not loosing them or anything else is no small feat. I'm sure Isaac won't remember the time he spent strapped into an umbrella stroller staring at knee caps and skipping naps but Annika will. I don't mean she will remember being strapped into an umbrella stroller and skipping naps. I believe Annika's understanding of this experience will blossom over time. I hope as she grows up it will affect her view of who I was as a person and as her mother. She will recognize I balanced prioritizing long runs and dinner, speed work and snacks. She may one day understand that I set goals that meant nothing to anybody other than myself. I prioritized training time for these goals with no guarantee that I would achieve them and no reward other than personal satisfaction. Speaking of rewards there may have been some negotiations regarding the laundry and who would do it if certain times were met. I am so thankful to Tim and my mother in law Cindy. She flew cross country to support me and help manage Annika and Isaac. They could not have had this experience without both of them.
This was the 50th anniversary of Kathryn Switzer running the marathon
and getting pushed off the course for being female Kathryn Switzer said her end goal was "that women would one day be able to take for granted participating in sports". Based on Annika's perception I'd say she accomplished her goal. When Annika heard Kathryn's story she was completely confused as to why women wouldn't be allowed to running a marathon. She commented that it made no sense "woman can run long distances better than men". Children are products of their environments and do repeat the things they hear at home but still I think Kathryn accomplished what she set out to do.
As far as the actual race went ...It was amazing experience to embrace the crowd, the city, the history, my family, but it was an incredibly hard day for me athletically. Everything about Boston is a little different then other races. I read about those differences and tried to be mentally prepared for them. I tried to accommodate. I think they all sort of add up. Top it off with a 75 degree day and Boston's topography and it was a lot to contend with. I was honest in my last blog. I wanted to PR. I thought I had a little more to give than in Green Bay, but I knew the course would ask for more. I didn't think it was highly probable but hell who goes to a race and says gee "I want to run the Boston marathon and not do my best?" I also think most contenders at Boston are pretty mature about racing and know that it might take unicorns and rainbows to actually PR on that course.
Truth be told I did see a unicorn and I do know somebody who PR'd . It just wasn't me. I hung in and gave it everything I had to finish the best I could. In the end I'm ok with my finish. In fact there are many parts I'm proud of. On paper it looks like a repeat of my execution in LA of 2013
which I was incredibly disappointed with. I ran the second half of the race 18 minutes slower than the first half at Boston, but this time it wasn't ego or impatience. I tried to take it easy and hold back in the beginning but it is down hill for a long time and my quads just cramped after a while. Eccentric contraction!!!! I think going out slower would have helped for sure. It's easier said than done. Especially when the 5,000 other people in your wave are running downhill too fast too. It was 75 degrees when we started. We had been sitting/standing at the start for a few hours in the sun before our 10:50 start time. Everybody around me seemed pretty friendly and chill on the bus ride, but in the corral I think we all felt a little stressed by the heat. I wanted to get moving before it got any hotter. I let a lot of people go and tried to really harness my energy but also kept fighting the urge to keep moving forward to find open space for my feet and more air movement.
My quads started to cramp pretty early. I did a really good job taking measures to stay hydrated and cool boy drinking at all the aid stations and dousing myself . I knew my quads were going to be trouble but I tried focusing on the possibility that maybe I could squeak out a finish before they really locked up. I saw my family around mile 17 on a hill climb. Tim lifted Annika over the barrier and let her run to me as I as was coming up the hill. I hugged her and carried her back to him. It was the highlight of my day.
My family says I looked great there. Truth be told it was around mile 16-17 when running downhill started feeling really discombobulated. Descending felt like pedaling a bike downhill with the wrong gearing. It just wasn't right. I actually preferred running up the hills at that point. I almost told them to expect that my pace would be slowing. Catastrophic failure was the wording I was thinking but didn't want to say out loud. There were enough people walking I figured they knew it was a possibility. My quad cramping continued and felt like I had the stride of Frankenstein instead of my usual gait. I would have preferred to feel like I was floating on air and running 8 minute miles but that would have been the unicorn, rainbows, and 50 degrees scenario. In real life I was actually so thankful to still be running a 9:44 pace. I takes me 20 minutes to walk a mile and that is on legs that aren't cramping. I did a lot of praying and a lot of digging really deep and kept slugging forward. The crowds were fantastic. As we rounded the corner to Boylston street I tried to spot my family. I tried to take it all in. To be honest I took in as much as somebody working extremely hard can take. Some runners went zipping by me towards the finish. I continued to give everything I had
with no increase in speed until I crossed the line. Nothing was a give me until I was over that line. I crossed the line 3hr 38 minutes. It's not too shabby considering how long I felt like I was struggling not to walk. It felt so much longer. I was just so happy to be finished and to find my family.
I think to do really well at Boston it would take somebody like me a few attempts. I did requalify for next year but I think I will pass. It's a pretty big journey for my family and we have many places to travel and sports to play and different venues to enjoy.
Thanks Tim for supporting me and rolling with everything!