On Monday, October 11th I ran the 125th Boston Marathon. It was the race of my life so far, and I am still processing the day. I usually have the “what race is next?” mentality but 11 days later I’m still overwhelmed with positive emotions. I’m so thankful for everyone who contributed to my fundraising effort and all the other physical and emotional support.
The race outcome was everything I dreamed of…I finished in 3 hours, 28 minutes, and 16 seconds. That’s a personal record overall, and I did it on the hardest marathon course I’ve ever run! Here’s the backstory (Part 1) before I get into the race (my next post – Part 2).
This was my second marathon after taking a several year break from running races while having two kids. When the pandemic hit and I was able to start jogging again after having my second, running quickly became my treasured escape each day. I slowly built back my mileage over time and hired a coach to help add structure to my running. The daily routine enabled me to build a base that I had lost after those years. When new years struck, I added running a marathon in 2021 to my list of goals and I started to ramp up my training. You can read more about my marathon at the end of April, but the race and experience with friends was so memorable!
After the Wasatch Marathon, I took off a couple of weeks from any serious running before easing back into the routine with 5 months to go until race day. I had been accepted on the Mass General Pediatric Cancer marathon team and was elated to support this cause!
Boston training consisted of the following long runs: four 15ish milers, one 16 miler, 17 miler, 19 miler, and two 20 milers. Three of these long runs were incorporated into a race: Falmouth Road Race (7 miles), 3 Beach Half, and Black Cat 20. Otherwise, I kept my long runs easy. I averaged 40-45 mile weeks with one week peaking at 61 miles because that week I did two long runs.
Consistent, longer daily runs (about an hour a day) were the center of my training. I also incorporated some speedwork (mile repeats at marathon pace or below, 800m repeats), but nothing too crazy. I also made sure to include hills in every run. Compared to Boston where I would run around the river, it’s been easier to find hills here in the suburbs and I think that has helped!
Apart from the training, I focused heavily on the “extra things” that help me such as getting as much sleep as possible (ie- lights out just after the kids went to bed), stretching, foam rolling, throughout the days, eating and hydrating plenty, cutting back on alcohol, etc. My husband bought a massage gun that I stole. It was easier to do a lot of these things with a mostly remote work schedule and with little kids!
After months of the training grind, marathon weekend was finally here!! Mark and I went into Boston on Friday to get my bib. The expo was very dialed down compared to other years, but it was fun to be back. Getting my bib felt a bit surreal, like this celebration was actually happening after a very long and difficult pandemic. But the spirit of Boston was alive again! It was also fun to run into a running friend who was in Boston for one day only to get her bib. She flew back to Chicago Friday night, ran the Chicago Marathon on Sunday and then returned to Boston Sunday evening for a back-to-back race weekend. Amazing!!
Honestly, I have never been truly nervous at the start of a race before. Up until now, I have run most races without a LOT of training or mental prep, and just had fun. Marathon Monday’s race day nerves caught me a little off guard! Mark dropped me off at the shuttle in Hopkinton and I was able to start earlier than expected. I was so thankful to go this route- especially given some of the hiccups with some buses getting lost to the start! Before leaving the house, I had a big bowl of oatmeal and banana, coffee, and an entire Nalgene of water (thanks to Lisa & Julie for race morning tips!). Race start wouldn’t be for a few hours, but I always abide by the “stop drinking with one hour to go except for sips of water” rule. Given Boston’s later start, I brought a peanut butter & banana sandwich and a couple of honeystinger waffles.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Boston Marathon Recap in the next post :)