About a week before this year’s Boston Marathon, I started allowing myself, and so too did others it seems, the flexibility to put things off until after the race. “I’ll deal with that with that when the marathon is over” I said about work stuff, house stuff, wedding planning stuff. I had speeches to write, gifts to buy and gear to test (and by that I mean pulling out my running shorts, which had not seen daylight since last October, from the bottoms of my drawers). And obviously race maps to study and pace calculators to obsess over.
Well, apparently my procrastination expired Tuesday morning and I dove right back in to it all. To be fair, we’ve made a lot of progress on the wedding planning front in the last week. But as a result, here I am a week later finally sitting down to write about my race.
I actually think it has been good for me to postpone writing about this year’s race. Usually I write about my race the day after, while sitting on the couch nursing bruised toenails and sore quads. Those reports often reflected my immediate emotions, good or bad, with the race not far behind me.
After a whole week, I’ve had time to think about the good and the bad from this year’s Boston Marathon. Because over the course of 26.2 miles, there are usually both, it’s just a matter of 1) how long each emotion lasts, and 2) which one is dominant at the end.
Of course, like many runners I started the race with a time goal. But more importantly, since a botched marathon in 2012, my 1st goal for every race since has been psychological. My goal was to stay present in each mile and never to give up believing I could run a strong race.
I thought maybe after training in a miserable winter the weather gods would show a little mercy and give runners perfect conditions on race day. Not so. The forecast of wind and rain unfortunately held true. While I can’t say I enjoyed the weather, I can say it never really threw me off my game plan either. It was not as bad as it could have been and in my opinion, it was WAY better than trying to get my body to adapt to alternative conditions. I’m pretty sure I would have been a dehydrated, sunburned mess if it was 65 degrees and sunny.
At Mile 2, near the biker bar in Ashland, I saw a man with his (not tiny) dog slung around his neck like a towel after a workout. The dog was a cutie and looked comfortable enough and I remember thinking, “I hope I am thinking clear enough to remember this when the race is over.”
I ran ridiculously consistently for the first 25K. I thought comfortably consistent enough that I could maintain most of that pace for the whole race. But unfortunately, I did not.
Those darn hills. I’ve run them hundreds of times. I ran them 3 weeks before the marathon on a training run from Hopkinton, in the snow. I know these hills and I know I can run them.
But last Monday, the hills got me. For whatever reason, my legs started to feel like sand bags and it felt like I was running through mud. Yet while I couldn’t get them to go faster, I never stopped believing they would.
At Mile 17, I was welcomed like a rockstar by the Alzheimer’s Association cheering station, which included my friends and family. At Mile 20, my friend Rebecca, social media’s Omgal, screamed my name loud enough to carry over the noise of a rocking Heartbreak Hill Running Company. As I came into Cleveland Circle, I saw 2 co-workers who looked so surprised and at the same time happy to have spotted me, it made me smile too. And although we didn’t run a minute together during the race, after I crossed the finish line, I ran into 3 teammates and got to celebrate our races together for a few moments
So while I feel like I should be a bit disappointed with my finish time, I honestly have to say, I had a really good day.