10 Things I Learned from Marathon Week and Meeting Shalane

It’s been a whirlwind of a week. My family and I stayed in Boston a few days after the marathon to be tourists then went to DC for a day and a half. Thank goodness we took that detour because I MET SHALANE FLANAGAN along the National Mall (see story below).  We got back home on Saturday so laundry is piled up and the fridge was completely empty, but it was so worth everything. I had the time of my life. I learned a few things along the way and thought I’d share.

1) I won’t be driving to Boston again. The only explanation that I need to give is: Washington, DC and NYC traffic. Our little 13 hour drive….was not.

One of the many beautiful (and expensive) bridges we crossed along the way.

One of the many beautiful (and expensive) bridges we crossed along the way.

2) My family, friends, and followers rock.  My husband, kids, parents and sister and brother-in-law came to Boston to support me. It’s not an easy or cheap trip, that’s for sure. And I can’t tell you how much your comments meant to me before, during, and especially after the race. Y’all rock. You lifted me up when I felt down in the dumps. You made me feel like everything was going to be ok when all I wanted was a re-do.

Cheers to my peeps!!!

Cheers to my peeps!!!

3) Boston does a marathon good. There’s no way to really describe this unless you were there on marathon day. I felt like a guest of honor in THIER home. It was amazing. THEY lifted me up, they carried me through, they made me cry in happiness. Well done BAA, well done Boston.

4) I hate negativity. It’s a bit of an oxymoron, but I heard a lot of negative things during our trip. Complain, complain, complain. I probably have felt some of them because I’m still burned about what happened, but I still feel very positive about the entire thing. Life’s for living and learning, isn’t it? Well, I have no patience for negativity most of the time anyway, and it has just gone up a notch, and I can’t tolerate it. It will now be met with a finger and a “bup bup bup bup” and I won’t listen.

5) I have bittersweet feelings about my race. I’ve had to let my feelings marinate for a week before I could really tell how I felt about my race. It was amazing. It was difficult.  It wasn’t what I planned or thought would happen that day. So I’m bittersweet about it, but mostly, I feel so lucky that I was able to be there and to finish. So it’s more sweet than anything else.  As so many people said, it’s not about your time when you cross, it’s about the fact that you got there and you crossed that finish line.

6) You learn something new at every marathon.  I learned that I have my race prep down. Preparing for the Boston Marathon isn’t easy. You start around 11 am and that’s not when you normally run for 26+ miles. It takes a lot of thought. After the race was over, I knew that I nailed my nutrition and hydration, even with a long, long, long car ride. My body was ready to run the entire race at an 8:15 pace. I knew I wasn’t going to bonk and I knew that the only issue that I had was something that I haven’t dealt with before.  NOW I have been introduced to the world of salt depletion and what it can do, so NOW I know how to prepare for that.  Run and learn, learn and run.

7)  It doesn’t make me feel better to hear similar stories of other runners who had the issues that I did, but it makes me feel a little better to hear similar stories of other runners who had the issues I did. It’s almost like it makes it legit, like ok, it really WAS the salt and I didn’t just wiener out.

8) I feel like my race was unfinished. I’m competitive.  I walked the last several miles of the Boston Marathon. That’s not what I went there to do. I think I’d even feel better if I had just loped in, but I walked. I HAD to walk, but still, I don’t feel the same way about this finish than even the hot race in Stillwater where I ran slow, but I still ran.  It kind of makes me mad that I feel this way and that I can’t just be ok with it, but if I said that I was, I’d be lying.

9) I want redemption.  I know I have a sub 3:40 in me. I feel confident, thanks to the first 20 miles of Boston, that this will happen. I am not eager to do this right away, which sort of makes me sad because I’m in really good condition and I’ll have to pretty much start over in a few months.  But I need to rest, both physically and mentally. I’ll be even more ready to get back to work, and I’ll probably work a little harder this time. Now I know that it pays off. I’m cautiously confident that I can pull out a 3:39.  I’ve already got it pretty much planned, just need to check a few logistics this week to be 100% sure this is the race for me and if I can still do the 1/2 iron distance in October as well. Announcement coming soon.

10) The Boston Marathon hasn’t seen the last of me. It’s not a matter of if I will make it back, it’s simply of when.



And now, for the rest of the story (Am I the only one who thinks of Paul Harvey when you hear that statement?).  My husband REALLY wanted to just stop in DC and walk around a few of the monuments, see them, show the kids, that sort of quick tourist thing. I don’t know how it happened, but the marathon gods intervened. We ended up leaving Boston a day earlier than we planned and headed to spend extra time in DC.  We got to the National Mall Friday morning.  It was pretty, we were out for adventure, had no plans but to walk around and see history. I saw a very fit runner approaching and as soon as she ran by, I realized it was THE Shalane. OMG. OMGOMGOMG. So I took a picture from behind, which is creepy if you think about it, but then I had a picture of her. I was feeling a little unsettled from the events of the race, the fact that there was some negativity going on with my two children (i.e. FIGHTING), and I was just a little down. Then my husband said, “Hey, there’s that runner up ahead again, they must be circling the mall.” I looked and it was her again. My heart started beating like I was back at the marathon, and I wondered if I should ask if it was her…..I didn’t want to interrupt, BUT I so totally wanted to interrupt.

I did it. I went toward her, in a non-stalkerish way so her body guard person wouldn’t use me as a javelin to remove me from the area, and I asked “Are you Shalane?”.  She answered “Yes” and stopped running. OMGOMG, my hands were shaking, my heart was going a million beats per second. I asked if we could take a picture together and she was gracious enough to allow that. I think I kept mumbling how awesome she was and that she did so great on Monday and was so inspiring, but I really don’t know what it sounded like to a sane person. All I know is that I needed that right then, at that moment of that day, to see someone who did so well and was so disappointed, and was out running again. It was truly like a pat on the back from the marathon gods and a “it’ll be ok, you’ll get your race”.

I thanked Shalane and her guard runner person and as they ran off, I had to go sit down so I could stop shaking.  I had a brush with greatness that morning, and for that, I’ll always be thankful.




Categories: Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, running, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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17 thoughts on “10 Things I Learned from Marathon Week and Meeting Shalane

  1. I’m thrilled you’ll be back for another Boston Marathon. Awesome!! Can’t wait to continue following along on your running journey 🙂

    • Oh yes, I’ll be back. I don’t know when, but I will. The thing that surprises me is that I’m not in a tizzy to go back right away (maybe because I left all my money in Boston??), but I DO want my redemption marathon. It just happens to be a qualifier, which means I would HAVE to go run Boston again. Poor me. 🙂

      • Haha, I love your train of thought! 🙂 Good luck with your next marathon. You’re a champ!!

        And so true, I think I leave my money at every race destination (did I really need ALL that pasta…and dessert…at every meal?!). Ha!

  2. You did NOT wiener out…and you have the right spirit. You want redemption, and you will get it, but you are so right to recognize that you need time to regroup before beginning the climb again. Sure it’s hard to worry about losing a little fitness by taking a short break, but your body, mind and soul need to refresh and you won’t lose as much as you think. And I can’t believe you ran into Shalane…amazing!

    • I had to laugh out loud when I read that first sentence in your comment. Thank you for that!!! And the decision to wait a while for redemption was really good based on how the running has gone this week. My legs are pretty toasted, but my mind is like, why am I not training right now? It’s all good.

  3. WOW!! I had a lot to say about all your points, but now your picture left me speechless, how cool.
    And you will run a better marathon, sometimes we have great races and sometimes we don’t, don’t beat yourself up.

    • I understand telling someone to not beat themselves up over a race, but it’s hard not to when it’s you (which means ME) 🙂 I’m competitive so it comes with the territory, but the fact that I didn’t screw up in some way makes me feel tons better. Thanks 🙂

  4. That’s so awesome! I’m glad you’re feeling better about your race overall. 🙂 I’m happy the marathon gods intervened and you got to meet Shalene; that’s so cool!

  5. I too have experienced hyponatremia…not fun. I experienced it during IRONMAN and ended up walking almost the entire marathon. As women, we tend to need more salt, especially at different times during our cycle. I’ve found OSMO Nutrition to help with this a lot. It is nutrition designed specifically for women. You should check it out 😉

    • My goodness, I couldn’t imagine how that would feel to walk that far. It took me so long to walk just the last 5 or so miles because I had to go so slow and stop pretty often so I wouldn’t yack. I was going to ask you about salt tabs and that sort of thing since I know you really have to be prepared for IM. I was going to look up OSMO “later” after your post about it but I guess with the humidity that came in while we were north, it’s time to do so. Thank you.

      • I did take salt tablets on IM race day last time, but our bodies don’t absorb it as well and the digestive system slows down in processing foods and food like substances, so the salt tabs were not effective for me. I’m looking forward to trying the OSMO in more trying conditions this summer 😉

      • There’s a lot of ladies in my group that were talking about salt tabs, so I’m going to find OSMO and see how it goes and educate as many as I can. I really wish I would have known something about salt depletion and practiced during training… Well, everything happens for a reason, so I’ll take this lesson and run!! Literally.

  6. So awesome that you met Shalane!!! I would’ve had a heart attack 🙂 I can’t wait to hear what you have planned for your next marathon adventure!

  7. Awww… we just missed each other if you were in DC this weekend. I was there for the Nike Women’s Half (which is why Shalane was hanging there).

    It must be hard to have not had the race you trained so hard for, but you have a spectacular attitude about it. I’m learning from your example and hope I can have the same grace as you when races don’t go my way.

    I look forward to reading about your next race. I bet it will be amazing!

    • There was a group from my running group going to DC and they had a great time – beautiful necklaces!!! Thank you for your very sweet comments. I swear, everyone has made the fact that I didn’t accomplish my time goal a non-issue. I really appreciate it!!!

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