It was January when Josh told me I wouldn’t run a sub-3:10 marathon this time around. I was fairly certain a sub-3:10 was in the cards, but I also trust him and his coaching, and I like to be realistic. If he didn’t think I’d go sub-3:10 in Boston, then I guessed he was right. I was really upset that day he told me no; I didn’t go running and decided to drink wine with friends instead.
But then I got pissed. I thought it was BS that he didn’t believe in me. The next day, I did my scheduled run, and I also made it a private mission to break that 3:10 barrier. I only told a few people about my goal, and I never brought it back up to Josh.
As training went along, I obsessed less about breaking 3:10 and more about enjoying the experience of my first Boston Marathon. By the end of training, I had become a bit more rational. I thought that I’d love to break it; but at the same time, if I was running along and it just wasn’t happening, I wasn’t going to push the issue. I just wanted to enjoy BOSTON.
The night before the race, Josh called to discuss the race plan. (Notice: I said THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE. He gave me no race plan until less than 24 hours to the race. Cue all the panic.) During our chat, he asked what I thought I would run, and I said I truly thought I’d run under 3:10. I said I knew it’d be a close one, but I believed I could do it based on my training data. I said if I just wasn’t feeling it in the legs, I’d settle for a 3:11-12. But I knew deep down in my heart I could do it.
Then he gave me his number that he thought I’d run. It was 3:09:35. He said this to me, which became my mantra throughout Monday’s run:
“Tomorrow isn’t the day to play it safe. Tomorrow is the day to go for it and get it. You’ve worked way too hard not to.”
The plan was to be conservative for miles 1-5 and stick between a 7:20-30. Then for miles 6 through the halfway point, I needed to “lock it in” between 7:15-20. One of my biggest strengths as a runner is my ability to zone out, and literally just lock into a pace like a metronome. –So I had a lot of confidence going into this middle section. I was to hit the half between 1:35-37. And then I was to attack.
Attacking at the half meant that I needed to drop the pace 10-15 seconds per mile. I planned on hitting the hills (starting at mile 16) in the 7:10 range. And I was not to waste any energy putting the breaks on my quads running downhill. I was told to let the legs carry me downhill, but never push the pace. If I started running sub-7s, I needed to eat and drink more.
I’ve never bonked so many times during training runs as I have this training cycle, so leading into Monday’s race, nutrition was really important to me. I started the morning off with a cup of black coffee, which felt GLORIOUS after cutting it out all week. I ate one mini bagel with peanut butter and jelly and packed another one for the road. I also packed a Picky Bar, a banana, and a myriad of gels.
As much as I tried to preplan my bags and other things, the morning was inevitably rushed. We had used FlipKey to rent an apartment in Jamaica Plain, so we planned on leaving around 6:30 to catch the bus that would take us downtown. Jackie and I were both in Wave 2, so we hurriedly got out the door around 6:40, leaving behind our significant others and Robin, who sadly couldn’t run because of injury.
Once on the bus, it hit me. “Oh my God,” I thought, “I’m actually doing this. I’m actually going to run the Boston Marathon.”
Despite being rushed and semi-late, we checked our bags and boarded the bus to Hopkinton with plenty of time. The ride was LONG and I felt as though my stomach was in my throat the entire ride. I was ridiculously nervous and excited. I somehow was able to eat my second mini bagel, and I drank a large bottle of Powerade Zero and Nuun.
Once we arrived to the Athlete’s Village, Jackie and I bee-lined to the porta-potties. The line was LONG and seemed to not be moving. I was too nervous to be hungry, but I forced myself to eat my Picky Bar and banana. Someone passed sunscreen down the line of bathroom-goers, and I slathered it on my shoulders and some on my nose.
And then we waited. It seemed to take forever, but I let out a sigh of relief when they got to our wave. YES.
But wait. I think…I…omg. I think I have to pee again.
There were three main takeaways from my NJ Marathon recap from last year:
- I qualified for Boston
- I PRed by 14 minutes
- I needed to pee the entire race but for some ungodly reason could not pee my pants
I quickly thought about my inability to pee my pants, so I turned and lined up for the bathroom again. And I missed my corral. But it didn’t matter, because I was NOT running another marathon needing to pee again.
Spoiler alert: I had to pee AGAIN as soon as I lined up in my corral. Stay tuned for what happens next.