My Personal Boston Marathon Recap

April 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

I knew I was taking a gamble when I signed up for Boston back in October. For the SF Marathon in July of last year, I had a near-perfect training schedule: only two classes during Spring Semester, and the couple months prior to the race pretty free of time constraints, as I only worked part-time. This allowed me to run a charmed* race. In the case of Boston this year, however, I was facing a tough year with 7 classes the first semester and 4 (previously intending 6) in the second.

Nevertheless, this was something I wanted to do. I did qualify, after all.

The bottom line is, I didn’t run very much to prepare. The most I did in training was maybe 50 miles in one week, compared to the two 60-mile weeks that I enjoyed during my training last Spring. I would have been less optimistic about the whole thing except for the fact that I ran a pretty good race in the NYC Half just 4 weeks before, PR-ing and just a little over a minute away from reaching NYC Qualification. I was out sick for an entire week after that, though, and my running hadn’t quite caught up.

What I mean to say is, I’m satisfied with my time, and there’s no denying that Boston is an incredible course—one that I would like to revisit after getting a little stronger through serious preparation. I love the vast downhill portions (one of the arguments against it being a world record standard course, unfortunately), and the uphills aren’t any worse than anything that San Francisco has to offer (I just need to actually train for them). The crowds were amazing also, and I was so moved and appreciative at the time that I found myself almost tearing up.

The first 5-6 miles are primarily downhill. I took it fairly easy, and saw that I was running slightly under 8:00 pace… but it wasn’t that easy, and I didn’t feel confident that I would have consistent strength throughout the whole race. By mile 8, actually, I was actually starting to huff and puff a bit (only 8 miles??), and by mile 10 I started to wonder how I would actually finish the race. The quitter within me started fantasizing about pulling over to one of the medical stations and whining about being too tired to run (so lame!) but the thought of my friends not seeing me when they were cheering for me on the course, and having to admit it on Facebook after spamming everyone’s News Feed with Pre-Boston updated (oh the horror) were sufficient to tell myself to suck it up and see how for I could get.

The downhills and the crowds saved me, though. Around mile 13, there was a delicious downward stretch, and the crowds got crazy and wonderful. Two miles later I saw my friends Eric and Kelly on the sidelines, and let me tell you, seeing familiar faces who go out specifically to cheer for you just means so much. After the half-way point, I broke up the final miles. I thought to myself, You just ran 13.1 miles, so just do it again. Only 7 miles til Mile 20, and then just 2 5-k’s left. Piece of cake. I had started fading back at mile 8, but enjoyed occasional surges of energy before feeling that weight in my chest and pain in my legs again. I allowed myself to stop and walk while drinking the Gatorade that they handed out at stations, because the goal had clearly become Survival and not Glory. I did get in a respectable sprint in at the end, though, despite feeling like absolute sh*t in the final 2-3 miles.

Then, after crossing the finish line, I found a metal structure to lean against and sobbed out a few tears from the pain I was in. (But I like to tell myself that this is all to prepare me for the pain of childbirth! Har har har har.)

But I’ve fallen in love. I can imagine what it would be like to be as strong as stronger than I was in SF last July—tearing up the rolling hills. HILLS. Did I ever think I would start to romanticize them? I think it would be great to be a strong hill runner.

The elites had a spectacular and exciting race today. I won’t delve into details because it would be more of the same that several of the news articles I’ve read through have already recapped, but SportsScientists does, as usual, an amazing job of giving a scientific analysis to everything.

On a side note, I’m drinkingthe Gatorade Series Pro 03 Protein Recovery Shake, and I’m not sure how I like it. It’s ridiculously sweet. I feel like I’m drinking melted ice cream, which makes me feel kind of gross.

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