24 hours ago, I qualified for Boston! Woohoo! I checked that goal off the list.
Want the details? You got 'em:
Last Saturday evening, I started having a sore throat, which blew up on Sunday and Monday. Then on a 4 mile run on Tuesday evening, my knee felt a little weird. Wednesday, the knee hurt all day. I skipped the 3 mile run the plan had. Thursday it felt ok during the 3 mile run I did - the last run of the plan! My throat started feeling progressively better through the week but still was bothersome.
Friday night, I set my alarm for 4:45 and went to bed at 8:30. I slept great but still dragged a little when my alarm went off.
I had set out all of my stuff the night before so I quickly dressed and went downstairs to wait for my mom, hoping my kids would stay sleeping! My mom got there around 5:10 and I grabbed my Nuun All-Day water, my peanut butter toast and we were off to Kenosha.
I was feeling pretty good, although I was slightly nervous about the temperature in the forecast. Last weekend, I did my last long run in tights and a jacket. But of COURSE, we were in for a hot weekend the weekend of my race. OF COURSE. Side note - I am not a fan of hot weather running.
We easily found a parking spot and started the walk to the start. I had planned out cheer spots for my mom and two friends (BCK & RTC) who were making the trip down so my mom and I tried to figure out where she was going. I had a successful porta potty stop (runners, you know what I mean) and I started peeling off my clothes. I was trying not to think about how nice it felt, already at 6:45 to be in a tank and shorts.
The gun went off and we were off. I started my Garmin when I crossed the start line, which ended up being about 10-15 seconds off from the official clock. I wish I would have started my watch with the gun for several reasons that i will get into.
My "strategy" other than to make it to the finish was to run the first 5 miles on the slow end of my preferred pace - so 7:45-7:50. This was very comfortable in terms of pace for me, although I really had to fight the urge to pass people. The marathon and half marathon ran all the way together. I saw my mom at mile 4.5ish and I was all smiles. Here are my Garmin splits. You can see the boost that seeing my mom and the crowd had on my mile 5 split:
Mile 1: 7:49
Mile 2: 7:41
Mile 3: 7:42
Mile 4: 7:44
Mile 5: 7:28
The next 5 miles were going to be through a few parks and along the lake. My strategy for this section of 5 was to pick up my pace to around the 7:40 range and see how it went. I felt GREAT during this section and took a gel around mile 7 with a water. (Other than the first water station between mile 1-2 I took water or gatorade from every station). Here are the mile 6-10 splits:
Mile 6: 7:38
Mile 7: 7:39
Mile 8: 7:40
Mile 9: 7:40
Mile 10: 7:41
My strategy for the next 5 miles was to see how I was feeling and try to hang on if it felt difficult or try to push it a little more if I was feeling good. I was feeling GREAT so I pushed it. I again saw my mom, RTC and BCK between miles 10 and 11. This was a surprise to see RTC & BCK as I wasn't expecting them until mile 14 so I definitely started running faster (see Mile 11 below). Once we hit the spot where the half marathoners turned to finish it was like instantaneous crickets. The whole first 12 miles had great crowd support and there were also a lot of runners around you. It became clear that most people ran the half marathon at the turn spot. I still felt really good at this point and was prepared for the 2nd half to be pretty quiet. I was excited to see BCK & RTC at around Mile 13-14 again.
Mile 11: 7:26
Mile 12: 7:35
Mile 13: 7:33
Mile 14: 7:38
Mile 15: 7:29
My strategy from this point forward to just hang on and do what I could do. I was feeling good still but it was definitely getting hotter and the sun was beating down on us. (It turns out that we would not get a break from the sun from Mile 14/15 through the finish). There were more than a few spots where we were on gravel roads going through marsh and that sucked. I got a few pebbles in my shoe and the dust was not fun. It was very lonely. I almost expected a tumbleweed to cross my path. I started really struggling at Mile 19. I was very hot and thirsty.
Mile 16: 7:32
Mile 17: 7:25
Mile 18: 7:37
Mile 19: 7:45
Mile 20: 7:53
The remaining 10K was not pretty. I walked some. I stopped to stretch. I desperately wanted more water than was available. At this point, I knew I had a cushion to work with in terms of qualifying (that's the bad part of having a Garmin). I knew RTC & BCK were going to be around mile 23-24 so that kept me running and then they told me my mom was going to be at Mile 25. A guy that I was running near for the whole second half asked when the next water station was going to be and I replied that I didn't know. When I saw my mom, I yelled for her to grab my water bottle out of my backpack and so by the time I reached her, I chugged half a bottle and offered the rest to the guy. I tried very hard to run the rest of the way to the finish from that point. I again saw RTC & BCK at the 26.1 mark and I heard RTC yell "Yeah! BOSTON!" and at that point, I just tried to keep running, but I had a huge smile on my face. I crossed the finish and my watch said 3:25:35 so I knew it would be 3:25 something given the 10-15 second delay (My garmin also had me at 26.49 miles instead of 26.2 - yep, I'm not great at running tangents!). My official finish time was 3:25:50, 15 minutes faster than the time I needed! Yee-haw! 3:25:50 finish is 7:52 pace. Not too far off my official marathon pace of 7:45 that I used for training. Here are the splits for the last 10K+ :
Mile 21: 7:50
Mile 22: 8:00
Mile 23: 8:03
Mile 24: 8:31
Mile 25: 8:15
Mile 26: 8:37
Place stats - Finisher #63 of 762 total and 11th woman out of 360.
Let's see - what else did I get yesterday? Oh yeah. A lot of sunburn. Dumb - I didn't wear any sunblock. I have zero clothing rub or chafing though so I was happy about that. I have a big blister on my right bunion.
Have I thought about what might have been if I hadn't been so hot? Oh yeah. I mean, I'm thrilled with the outcome - I qualified for Boston (My original goal) and I shaved 4:30 off my previous marathon PR (A secondary goal). I still think I could have stayed under 8:00/miles the whole race in 20 degrees cooler. Ah well. I was heartened to see this post on the Milwaukee Running Festival Facebook page this morning:
"Looking for a fast Marathon or Half Marathon this fall? They say temperature is the number one factor in good race times. Just ask those who participated in last month's Boston Marathon where, despite a strong headwind, rain and a very difficult course, the average times were faster than in previous years and many runners were turning in PRs due to temperatures in the 40s for the entire race. Or ask those who ran in yesterday's Wisconsin Marathon (ahem) where temperatures rose into the 60s and 70s by the end of the race, resulting in slow times and tough conditions."
Apparently I was not alone in thinking it was hot. (RTC and BCK said that one of the women who finished well before me said "This F___ING SUCKS" when she passed them.)
My husband asked me "What's next"? Even though I plan on taking it easy for the rest of May, I actually have two 5Ks planned for May. My colleagues have a 5K planned for 2 weeks and then I have a 5K with my BFF on 5/31. As I told my friend Erica via text yesterday, I will NOT being doing a fall marathon. Sorry folks, I think I might still have to talk myself into training for the actual Boston marathon next year. I still do not love the marathon! I do want to do a half or two in fall. Until then...onto working on my core and trying to break 19:00 in the 5K!
Keep checking in - I want to try to keep this blog up with the same weekly posting schedule that I have been (mostly) maintaining!