• Conquer the marathon

The marathon has been a very difficult race for me. Well, obviously it’s difficult for everyone, but my marathon times just don’t line up with what my half marathon and 20 mile races would predict. I also have a weird (but also pretty common apparently) GI problem that seems to only show itself during the marathon, specifically when it’s not freezing. In the last three years, I’ve started six marathons and only finished four.

The two I did not finish:

  1. Run Around the Lake Ultra/Marathon, July, 2013 in Wakefield, MA. Yes, a July marathon. It was a local race, put on by an ultra marathon organization. My friend and I decided on this race because we desperately wanted a qualifier for Boston 2014, the year following the bombing that devastated our beloved city. I was in great shape and excited to run my first marathon. Given my recent race times, (I had PR’d in the half that June, running just over 1:22,) and the fact that I was running my long runs, (18-22 miles) in sub 7 minute pace the majority of the time, I thought running a sub-3 hour marathon was not completely crazy! However, it was a 7PM race start and my nerves got the best of me all day leading up to the race. I didn’t fuel properly because my stomach felt so off all day and by the time I got to mile 12 in the race I had thrown up a couple times and was not feeling it. I made it through mile 18 or so and if I finished running 8 minute pace or so I would still run a Boston qualifier, probably around 3:15 – 3:20. At this point though, I was so sick and had lost so much fluid from throwing up that I knew I needed to call it a day. I signed up for the Lehigh Valley Marathon just over a month later and went out very conservatively to finish in 3:07. And that was that, an in for Boston 2014.
  2. Boston Marathon 2014. This was the most emotional race I have ever been a part of and even though it did not go as planned, to say the least, I am so happy I was a participant in the Boston Marathon the year following the bombing. I was in the best shape of my life getting on the starting line that day. I ran a 2:10 20 miler in early March, (6:30 pace) and then PR’d in the half two weeks later in 1:19:55. My training partners and I were all so excited to represent our city and we were expected to finish very strongly, 2:48-2:55ish. I had so much emotionally invested in this race and I think I just made it too big. It wasn’t super warm that day, maybe mid-50’s or so, but the sun was shining. I felt off before the race even started and by mile 5 I knew it was a no-go. Again, I made it through mile 18 but lost so much fluids from being sick, I knew if I pushed through to the end, I would be out of commission for a while. I made what I know was the smart decision to stop at 18. I’ve been racing since the age of 12. I’ve had really great races, really bad races, and mostly mediocre ones. I’m never one to get upset about a race, because I know there’s always another one ahead. But not finishing Boston 2014 was the biggest disappointment of my running life, and probably pretty high up there on disappointments in general. The next day, I signed up for a local marathon that upcoming Saturday (5 days post Boston), not knowing it was the hilliest thing ever, finished in 3:04, and won. That lessened the disappointment a little.

Since that 3:04, I ran 3:05 at Chicago in 2014, (definitely was not as prepared as I had been for Boston…got sick at mile 17 where I was running about 2:55 pace, and then just jogged it in after that) and then finally breaking 3 hours with a 2:58:15 in October 2015 at the Mount Desert Island Marathon in beautiful Acadia, Maine. I actually wasn’t in the greatest shape going into the MDI marathon. I had got in my long runs but nothing very fast, and only one longer race leading up to the marathon. What helped, (other than the fact I basically had no nerves or expectations) is that it was absolutely freezing the day of the race, like 20 degrees at the start. My body likes that. I am now in the midst of my training for Boston 2016. I know I am in the best aerobic shape of my life right now. I also know I am capable of running sub 2:50 in the marathon, (and probably a lot faster.) Now it’s just a matter of getting out of my head, and doing it. It could be Boston 2016, or it could be some hodunk marathon in the middle of nowhere, but I will conquer the marathon!


Other Goals

  • Run a sub 35 10K
  • Run another sub 17 5K (although I count my 16:52, I know in my heart it was a point to point downhill…)
  • Get in yoga three times a week (even when mileage is high)