last friday night i had this text conversation a friend... "youre gonna have your bib in hand at this time next week" (holy shit) "youre gonna go to packet pickup at the boston marathon and theyre gonna have one for you" (crazy) "when you go to the expo, youre not gonna be a runner who thinks its the cool place to be and thinks 'someday'... youre gonna be one of those people who are actually running the race. there will be people there who have 3:45 PRs who will look at you and see you with your stuff and think 'that chick is fast and fit, she must work her ass off" (when in reality i drink bud light and eat donuts) "when in reality you have worked your ass off".
less. than. one. WEEK! im picking my bib up in less than 72 hours. freak. out.
honestly, (and this isnt a surprise), i have worked my ass off. runs i have wanted to skip- ive pushed through and crushed (or pushed through and completed marginally, complained a lot). earlier and earlier alarms. a lot of discipline. i have had to sacrifice things in order to train (no i didnt give up coffee or bud light, until yesterday), and to me it has been (will be) worth it (i hope). my family has sacrificed a lot for me to train this way, often watching henry for me while i run (bff has come to my aid for this too! thank you!) i feel as though henry has sacrificed, unknowingly... not having me around as much as i could be. and ty has certainly sacrificed the most, and for his (and everyones) support i am forever grateful. (hes likely hoping i dont want to race marathons for the rest of my life... lucky for him, i do not).
and the reality for this last week of training is that i actually have been feeling like i dont want to race marathons anymore. at all. as in next monday included.
the amount of time that i have spent running this training cycle add up to just over 100 hours. and until recently my feelings have been that i just dont want to put in the hard work for another 3 and a half hours. this quote (unknown origin), which i carried with me during mount desert island marathon last fall, fits pretty well here:
Here's the thing about training: when done right, fast = easy.
When done wrong, slow = hard.
So go the hard route and make it easy!
ive gotten to 6 days before the biggest race of my life. a race i never thought id even be able to register for with a qualifying time. a race for which i have trained like i had never trained before.
"A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
-William G. T. Shedd
goodbye harbor... its time to set sail.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover."
to say im excited is an understatement. to say my bank account is nervous is accurate. luckily thats the only thing that is nervous. ive learned through my past few races that the work is done and whatever happens, happens. theres no reason to allow feelings of doubt and apprehension seep their way in and try to negatively affect an experience of a lifetime. and theres also no reason for me to quit now. 3 and a half hours? thats nothing. just effing do it.
"The runner needs to know that the Boston Marathon isn't run in April, but instead in the winter months prior, when there are no cheering fans, cameras, or medals- only self-discipline."
-Michael Connelly, 26.2 Miles to Boston
ive thought a lot about my experiences at the boston marathon in past years. i have been a screaming spectator outside the barricades in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015....
2010 i rode the bus down with sarah and melissa, spectating in front of trader joes along boylston. my first time watching the boston marathon. i was hooked (seriously... if you have never spectated a marathon, you have no idea what an amazing experience youre missing out on!). i ran the BAA 5k and met some amazing people in 2011... had 10am beers, trader joes on boylston, getting lost on the T, garlic and oysters, a rooftop post race party, rode a sketchy 2 person elevator, and bought a sweatshirt i rarely take off and am still unsure if i can truly replace next week (recently said hoodie was named "stan"). i tracked friends from a pool in myrtle beach sipping pina coladas as they battled the extreme heat in 2012. i was in the bleachers at the red sox game on sunday april 14th, 2013, 4 weeks from my due date, and i didnt think that standing at trader joes on boylston for 8 hours was what my already swollen ankles wanted to do. i was instead treating a copd exacerbation in the emergency room at work, crying as i watched the days events unfold on tv in front of me, wondering where my friends all were down there (and spent hours worrying about them until i got an official text message at almost 5pm that all were safe). i spent 2014 traveling alongside the course from the 10k mark to the citgo sign with kristal, apprehensive about being at the finish line... just weeks before my first BQ attempt.
kara and ryan (2011)... amazing
and lastly, 2015. bff and i spent the am running from our hotel to the finish line to mile 22 and back (i needed to get the pic of mile 22 last year because i am NOT stopping this year!). we cheered all day from mile 25, my very last time screaming at each and every runner, knowing the following year people would all be screaming for me.
and since no one knew we were running a secret marathon 2 weeks later, our run that am was our last long run before taper. and we not so secretly stopped at sonic and had what we coined "taper tots"
last year was quite a different experience than every other year, to say the very least, knowing i would be one of those runners next year. and i still have no idea how its really going to feel until next monday.
next. monday. MARATHON MONDAY! whoa.
runs this week were really no different than weeks prior. hansons doesnt really have that "yay this is my last whatever run and now im tapering weeeeeee all the excitement im in the homestretch!" like everyone else (well it does, but it doesnt come 2 or 3 weeks before the race... it came on sunday). this last real week of training has you running over 50 miles (but in reality i didnt do that, and im not mad about it). ive also adjusted next weeks runs due to work but also because i fear burnout. or injury. theres only one #alarmsthatstartwith3 left. seems so crazy. (im thinking i likely trained for one, maybe two weeks longer than i really should have).
wednesday, an easy 6.2 miles outside... im not sure i even broke a sweat. i definitely had zero desire to go for a run that day though...
before. please dont make me do it. how about i just go take a nap.
but ended up being a really good, easy, care free run.
after! yay i love running so much! double unicorns!
took a rest day thursday instead of friday because a) i had to work thursday (so a 3:40 alarm), b) i wanted to do the mile repeats outside and not on the treadmill, and c) ty was taking friday off and id be able to sleep in and still run outside. i wore compression and took the elevator and tried to really rest at work (not possible, so busy, likely walked 10 miles).
fridays 5 mile repeats turned out to feel great, slightly faster than should be, but overall a great run (cut them from 6 to 5 because i felt some weird something in my groin i had never felt before...)
10 days left!
we went north for the weekend so i headed into waterville and ran at colby college for another 6 easy recovery miles (less hilly than skowhegan, no groin pain, barely any sweat... mostly because it was 43 degrees). what a beautiful school!
i dont know that ive seen a track with 9 lanes before...
sunday was not all rainbows and sunshine like the other days.... until my run was over. i didnt sleep well saturday night. my legs had been a hot mess, sore everywhere, my back hurt, etc.
a lot of this. and complaining. what are these muscles inside my knee?
and why do i need them? go away now!
future long distance runner
i almost contemplated not going for my run at all on sunday. but when ty got home from the gym, i put on my big girl pants and walked out the door.
i finished this run with 11 miles, 8 @ mp. my legs just wanted to fly. im fairly certain i was running uphill into the wind the entire way, and i couldnt slow down. i knew mid 7:40s werent mp, but i went with it knowing the rest of my week was easy (TAPER!). i was so so happy with this run, and it was exactly what i needed heading into the final week before boston. (it was also a balmy 43 degrees... anything above this for the race is going to be a slow sweaty mess with all the complaining!)
5.2 easy miles monday, beat the rain. thought a lot about many different things, mainly boston, but you know. life. and 8 easy slightly faster rainy miles along back cove and the maine marathon course finished off week 14.
yay all runs outside! see ya treadmill!
5x1mi strength- (goal 7:38-7:50)- 7:34, 7:37, 7:34, 7:34, 7:33. averaged 4 seconds faster per mile than when i did this run in week 8 (which was on the treadmill). felt great and running outside helped me have to push myself to keep hold of the pace, especially on hills. overall a really solid workout.
8 @MP- 7:50, 7:47, 7:44, 7:45, 7:46, 7:48, 7:37, 7:44. into the wind up hill both ways. but man, what an amazing run... last hard run before boston, it really showed me how far ive come this training cycle. i almost cant believe the numbers when i see them all on paper.
i dont know how else i can explain what my runs have felt like other than cruise control (i know ive said that phrase before in the last 14 weeks). although most of the times when i start out into some sort of speed mile im typically 30 seconds faster than i should be (thinking "i have to speed up so much from my warm up because certainly the pace i need is waaaaay faster than that!" and then im like whoooooa slooooooow down... and then huh, this pace doesnt really seem so fast...), once i get into the desired zone, i stay put. left right left right. like a metronome. dial in a speed, lock it in. im hoping that all of the work ive done can allow me to feel like the hard work isnt impossible next monday (obviously thats what all this work is for, right?).
ive run 104 marathon pace miles... slowest of the miles: 8:04. average of the 26 slowest miles: 3:28:56. i went out aiming for 3:30 at providence marathon, with very different training. ive run parts of the boston course 3 separate times, once from mile 9 to the finish, once from the bottom of heartbreak hill to the finish, once solely on heartbreak hill. ive run the course from the start line to the finish line via ifit on the treadmill. ive read books and articles. ive studied the course, the turns, where to avoid the train tracks, where to move left or right so as not to trip over cement islands (and where to close my eyes when passing the ice cream and donut shops). ive run hills, both up and down.
the fact remains: none of it matters. race day is race day, and anything goes. this isnt my first marathon. i worked hard to get here but the work isnt done until i cross the finish line.
total miles for boston training cycle:
(with 20 left to go before monday)
highest weekly mileage:
highest monthly mileage:
246 miles (march)
T- trust your training
A- adjust your intake
P- perfect your strategy
E- embrace the free time
R- rest and recover
awesome friends send really awesome gifts
during taper you dont care about anything
and go to home depot looking like you live in westbrook
goals for the BOSTON MARATHON: (is this real life?!)
AA (no more bud light? haha funny. jk. never happen. and not that kind of AA): get a medal with a unicorn on it! (you get that at the finish!)
A: enjoy each and every second of the entire day, start to finish no matter what (and finish!)
B: sub 3:30 (finish!)
C: sub 3:35 (you guessed it... finish!)
despite writing the time goals as a B and C goal, they are my overall time goals. however, finishing the race trumps all. ALL. i didnt work this hard for this long to not cross that finish line. to not get a unicorn medal. to not experience the right turn left turn. heat, rain, whatever aches and pains and emotional shit may come my way, running, walking, crawling, crying (likely)... i will finish, sub 3:30 or 7+ hours. i have absolutely no choice but to finish what i started.
"So be sure when you step, step with great care and great tact. And remember that life's a great balancing act and you will succeed. Yes! You will indeed (98 and 3/4 guaranteed).
Kid, you'll move mountains."
-Dr. Suess, Oh, the Places You'll Go!