My screaming quads! Boston Marathon 2011

I’ve been trying to figure out how to start this and have erased many times hoping to do the race justice with my report. This training started out with good intentions and a plan in place, but that quickly fell apart due to a snowy Winter, broken arm, and probably 75% of my training being done on a treadmill. Not at all ideal training and meant I changed my goals for the race, after TCM I wanted to break 3:30 but during training changed my goals to have fun and run a good race under 3:45 just using this as a training run for Minneapolis in 6 weeks. Add to this getting sick the week before and I broke all my marathon rules: drank wine with dinner Saturday and Sunday, ate different then I ever have race morning and even ate Thai curry for dinner before the race, this could be bad.

The logistics of race morning were not ideal: up at 4am to catch a cab that per the hotel would take 30-35 minutes to get me to my team bus, crazy driver took 10 minutes, meaning I could have slept an extra ½ hour. Got up at 4am, ate toast and coffee and packed my bag to get to the bus. So happy I was on the nice team coach bus that blasted Prince to start the day. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love Prince and this always gets me in a great mood, I knew this was my first sign the day would go well! Got to Hopkinton about 7:30, but had a nice warm place to wait for 2 1/2 hours. Ate a banana and a Lara bar, used the bathroom and tried to relax. Headed out to Athlete’s Village around 9:30 to find more water and attempt to meet up with a friend who I ran with a few years ago, but never met up with her even though she was pretty much standing next to me. I then made to trek to the start corrals and found a spot and started talking to Jessica who I had so much in commom with: moms to 1 year girls, BQ'd last Fall, grad students. We both secretly would love to run a 3:30 but wanted to just run comfortable. It is a perfect day to run, 50s and sunny with a nice tail wind.

The lead men

I have never run a marathon with anyone so this was a new experience, before I knew it we were miles in to the race and feeling good. The crowds, both runners and spectators were crazy but very motivational. The miles were flying by, I couldn’t believe it. I’d hit a miles marker and look down at my Garmin to see another sub 8:00 mile and think uh, oh you went out too fast. Then I’d think, but this feels good and I’m having fun. Before I knew it there was the 5K mark (24:29). Then the 10K (48:40) only 20 miles to go! Jessica looks at me and says “only a training run left”. I couldn’t believe all the water stops, they seemed to be almost every mile and seemed to sneak up on you. The crowds made it tough to get to the side for water, so I ended up hitting every other one for awhile. 15K mark: 1:12:43, still on pace and loving the hills, 20K 1:37:14, hoping I wouldn’t regret this pace since I’d been warned not to go out too fast and save some for the hills.

Mile 17 and feeling good!
Soon we hit the half mark (1:42:24) and I looked at Jessica and said that we had a good cushion to run a 3:30. Knowing that the hills were ahead I was happy with this. I’d been warned about Wellesley and wow that was crazy loud. I loved reading all the "kiss me" signs. Now the crowds just grew, kids were everywhere high fiving runners. We kept running and passed the third woman running with a shirt announcing “baby on board” and then the spiderman wrestler in full mask and all, wow that would be warm! 25K (2:01:24) and still on pace, Matt is getting the text updates and all I can think is he must be thinking “I thought she was running an easy race?” I knew I’d be seeing my cheering section soon and there they were, Ophelia was holding “Good job mama” sign. Racing has changed since she was born, I pay so much more attention to the kids along the course and look forward to her smiling face along the course.

30K (2:26:41) slowing a little but still with a 4 min cushion as Mile 17 and 18 bring the first hill and miles of 8:10s, but I’m able to get back to the pace of sub 8 until Heartbreak Hill which bring a 9:00 mile, yep I didn’t save my legs for this. I think the best sight along the course was the sign saying “The heartbreak is over,” yes it was tough, but I almost think it wasn’t as bad as Summit hill of TCM and I was able to get back to 7:40s pace so I must have something left.

35K (2:52:31) oh my gosh my quads hate me! Now my cough is returning and wow does it hurt to cough while running, never thought coughing would hurt in my pelvis. Just keep moving and you can do this. 40K (3:18:41) so much for the possible 3:25, but if I push I can get that 3:30. This wasn’t pretty, but I just kept pushing forward and then I turned onto Boylston and there is the finish line, the guy running next to me starts cheering and once again the emotions hit me, I’m doing this. I’m running Boston and I’m going to PR! I’ve become and emotional runner since becoming a mother, what happened to my hardcore self?

There it is, I look ahead and aim for the finish 3:30:27 I just ran a PR at Boston! I am thrilled and quickly push the thought of if only I could have pushed a little more out of my head. I make my way through the finish area and see Jessica again (lost her around Mile 22, she also PR'd at 3:31:xx), we grab our bags, find a spot on the sidewalk and sit knowing we may never get back up. My family finally finds me and there is Ophelia with her bright smile and Matt with my well earned Boston jacket.

Family pic after 5K

Overall it was a great weekend, great food, relaxing for the most part and a great race. Matt and my dad ran the 5K on Sunday and had fun. Ophelia had a blast swimming at the hotel and is such a great traveler and such a social butterfly when we’re out. This Boston trip was much different then the one I took 10 years ago as a girls’ weekend, but I still love the city, wonder if I can convince Matt to move?

Now as I look back on the race and forward to my next I am so happy with how far my running has come, but I want to get to the next level (whatever that is!). Maybe find a coach, look at nutrition, more speedwork and hills, who knows. The problem is I kind of like my "make it up as you go" training, it seems to be working for me. But then the thought creeps in, "what could I do if I trained better?" I still think my body is liking the lower mileage, but now to make it better mileage.


  1. Awesome job! So happy for you!!! Amazing to PR at Boston!

    Lower mileage? Aren't you running pretty high mileage? (OR is that low compared to what you used to do pre-baby?).

    DYING TO GO TO BOSTON! Hopefully I will be better in time to train for 2012.

  2. By the way, you are brave. I am so routine about my pre-race meal, etc...but hey, it obviously didn't harm you at all

  3. That is a fantastic result! maybe it helps going in with no expectations due to possible reasons why you won't do well?? Congratulations!

  4. Thanks! :-)
    My mileage pre-pregnancy was 65+ weekly and now i am keeping 50-60mpw range with a purpose to my runs.
    I am usually someone who follows pre-race rituals, but I think lack of high expectations helped me relax and enjoy the day.


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