Boston Marathon 2016 Recap

Well, it’s been a little over two months since I ran the Boston Marathon. I’ve had a little a lot of time to process my race and as disappointed as I am in how it went, I’ve gotten past it. I put in the work and didn’t have the results that I should have had. It’s that simple, yet also complicated. That’s the thing about running a marathon-it all comes down to one day and anything can happen on that day, things that are out of your control, like the weather…
Grace and I arrived in Boston on Saturday afternoon  and went straight to the expo to meet a few friends. We sampled some goodies, took some pictures, and bought some gear.
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Get bib… check

 We left the expo, walked around Newberry street then walked over to the finish line. As we were walking we ran into Kelly and Casey!
Later that evening Grace and I went to meet our friend Katie for dinner at an Italian restaurant for some carbo loading. Katie and I shared gluten free pizza and pasta. Then we went back to the hotel for to relax and sleep.
The next morning Grace and I went for a shakeout run and we saw Meb! That had to be a good sign right?! We also saw Jessie!
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So great running into Jessie

After we got back and showered we went to brunch at Veggie Galaxy. The food was so delicious.

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tofu scramble with spinach & mushrooms, arugula salad, and french fries

After brunch we went back to the hotel and relaxed so I could rest my legs as much as possible. Grace left around 4:30pm and I met Kristen and Ben for dinner a little later. My pre-race meal was gluten free pasta with a little bit of tomato sauce. After dinner I packed my bag for after the race, got my gear ready and tried to go to bed at a reasonable time. I slept pretty well considering I was running a marathon the next day so when my alarm went off I didn’t have too much trouble getting out of bed.

I got ready pretty quickly then went to drop off my baggage. I found some CPTC teammates and headed to the bus. I was supposed to meet my friend Robin so I left the group, but I couldn’t find her so I just got on the bus by myself to Hopkinton. When I got off the bus I ran into a few other friends as I made my way to the field to try to find my teammates. I walked around for what felt like forever, but I couldn’t find them. However, I did end up finding Robin and some other friends so I sat with them until go time. As we sat there we could feel it getting hotter and hotter and we hadn’t even started running yet. By the time the race started it was already in the high 60’s, which is definitely not ideal marathon racing weather.

My goal going into this race was to PR (under 3:20:45), but I really wanted to run 3:18ish. I was still hoping to run well despite the heat since I had a strong training cycle, but I have had some issues running in the heat before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. So I tried to stick to my race plan as much as possible, but also be a little conservative considering the warm temps. Mile 1-6 ranged from 7:31-7:39. At mile 6 I went to take my first gel and it was already so warm from the heat & being in my pocket that I had a hard time eating it, but I managed to choke it down. My stomach started to bother me a little after though and I almost threw up a few times, but thankfully I kept it together. The sun felt so strong and there was no shade so I was sweating a lot early on. I was feeling off when I got to mile 10 I decided to slow down a little. I went through the half in 142:35, 2-3 minutes slower than I planned (was hoping to go through the half in 1:39-1:40), but tried not to let it get me down. I attempted to take a second gel shortly after, but had a really hard time because my stomach was still bothering me. I was starting to fade so I kept repeating mantras and focusing on just putting one foot in front of the other. I could hear the screams from the Wellesley girls getting closer and closer and finally I was past them.

Up next, the dreaded Newton Hills. Here is where the race really starts, but unfortunately I didn’t have the gas in my tank that I needed. My pace had slowed down to running in the 8:00 range. Thankfully I saw Kelly and she ran a mile with me.

Heartbreak Hill

I was seriously dying by this point, but having Kelly jump in to run with me for a little was so helpful. photo credit: @kellykkroberts

The Newton hills go from mile 17.5-21 and you run over a series of 3 “smaller” hills followed by Heartbreak Hill, which is the worst one. If you run smart earlier on you can really pick up the last portion of the course once you pass those hills, but instead I struggled my way to the finish with my times continuing to get slower (8:40’s-8:50’s and 2 miles just over 9:00). I was happy to run by friends cheering around mile 24, but I was really hurting. I could see the famous Citgo sign as I ran up another hill approaching mile 25, seriously. It is short, but any hill at mile 25 just sucks, especially when you are dying. Soon after I made the right on Hereford where I saw Sarah (thanks for the cheers!) and then the left onto Boylston Street. I mustered up every ounce of energy I had left and ran as fast as I could across the finish line. I was so freaking glad do be done. My official time was 3:36:12, 18 minutes slower than  I wanted, but sh** happens.

I walked shuffled to get my baggage, which was much closer to the finish than the last time I ran this race and I was definitely thankful for that. Baggage also happened to be close to the ‘The T’ so it was super easy to get back to the hotel. Going down the steps however, not so easy. I was very slow moving getting into the shower, but I finally managed to get myself cleaned up and headed over to Ryan’s parents’ house to celebrate.

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My 4th Boston Marathon medal. I still haven’t figured out how to run this course though. One day…

On my way home from Ryan’s I stopped to meet Jessie and her friend at a bar for a little then picked up dinner at Veggie Galaxy. I went back to the hotel and ate dinner in bed. It was glorious.

Clearly I didn’t have the race that I trained for or that I wanted. I know that I am capable of better, but I am proud of myself for sticking it through even when it got tough. It would have been so much easier to drop out so I could stop hurting, but running in these tough conditions only continues to make me a stronger runner both mentally and physically. All I can do now is learn from this experience and use it to fuel my training going forward.

What do you do when a race doesn’t go as planned? Leave it in the comments below!

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