Posts Tagged With: 2014 boston marathon

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

It was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times

I ran the Boston Marathon today. I did not re-qualify for the marathon next year, not even close. I’ll try and keep this shorter than a novel, but it’s so hard to describe the Boston Marathon in few words.  To sum it up in one word: Epic.

The bus pickup.

The bus pickup.

I was ready to run this morning. I was very well hydrated, I ate my cheeseburger in the middle of the night, I got up early to eat again, and I had everything ready to go.  I went to Boston Common early so I could hit the can before bus loading, and I was very glad I did. They loaded TONS of busses at the same time, so you had to wait until they were all ready to head to Hopkinton before your bus could leave.  It took a while. Then there was traffic on the way to Hopkinton. Then there were enormous lines to the jons when you got to athlete’s village.

So many people at athlete's village

So many people at athlete’s village

Then I noticed how freaking warm it was. I was worried, but I couldn’t do anything to change that part of it, so I just did what I could. I sat around, talked to some of my fellow blogger ladies (who are awesome by the way), saw a few other ladies from my Wilmington running group, and then headed to the can one more time. Thank goodness there wasn’t a line because we had FIVE minutes until start. Yikes!

I walked toward the start line. It took a little while, and I missed my corral because I was in the bathroom. Doesn’t matter, time starts when you cross the line, so I was fine. There were SO MANY PEOPLE!!! The start line was crazy. I cheered and went on my merry way. It was go time.

The first few miles are down hill. I stayed at my 8:30ish pace, but I had several red rover lines to get around. It was pretty annoying since you’re just humming along nicely and BAM, there’s a row of 10 minute mile people. I only tripped one guy.  Oops. He didn’t fall though, and I said sorry and he berated me for being in a hurry. Whatevs. It was go time!

I was a little slow on my goal pace, but I planned that, and was proud of myself for keeping the time I planned. For once. I picked it up on the straightaways and let the gravity pull me on the smaller hills in those miles, and I slowly gained about a minute leeway from my time cushion by the half marathon point, so I was thrilled. I knew the real race started near the 16 mile mark, and I knew it was going to be hard, but I was ready.  My legs felt strong, my breath felt slow and even, and I wasn’t hungry (one of my fears because of late start).  I felt like I was going to have an amazing race.

I had very, very chapped lips the entire time so thankfully I had my chapstick. (I just realized while writing this it’s because I was out in the sun so long and I’m not used to it.)  I ended up going with the Vaseline that was on sticks for us since I didn’t have to dig into my little chapstick/phone/gum keeper. I had iPod issues too. For some reason, all the songs started repeating themselves, so I stopped it and plugged my earphones into my phone, after dialing up my playlist and turning the volume down from the eardrum breaker volume it was on from this morning. All while staying at pace.

I was happy! It was the Boston Marathon! It wasn’t raining. I felt great. The crowds were epic. Just epic. I don’t have anything to compare them to, so if you haven’t experienced Boston crowds, there’s no way you can truly understand what they’re like. Pretty much the entire way. I clapped hands, I blew kisses to the Wellesley girls. I read that you can hear them from quite a distance, and I wasn’t expecting them before the 1/2 mark, but I knew it was those girls when I heard the noise. Amazing!

At the half point, I was on pace and had a minute or two extra built up. I had a sore IT band on my right leg that had never been an issue. My toe on that foot hurt too, and I figured it was just from the downhills. Oh well, I was kicking some Boston Marathon butt! I was so ready to push through all of that.

Then at mile 15.5ish, we went down.  I had looked at the course map a lot and knew there was a long up hill after that. I was ready and tackled it at a good pace. Then I slowed a little at the top so I could catch my breath. I knew that I could handle the hills after that one. I was ready to go!

Mile 16 was good. Mile 17 was good. Mile 18, I was on pace to BQ by five minutes. At least. I knew there were hills coming, but then I knew there were downhills and really awesome crowds to come.

THEN. IT. HAPPENED.  All of a sudden somewhere in mile 19, I felt dizzy. Whew. Keep going, keep going. Dizzy. Nauseated. A little more dizzy. WTF. It was sunny and warm for what I was used to. But I didn’t feel hot. I felt fine.  But evidently I wasn’t. I had to stop and walk. Ewwww, now it was getting worse. I walked a bit and started running again. There goes my time cushion. Shit.

I started running again and got back on pace for a little bit, and it got worse. I had to walk again. I was evidently overheated. At that point, I knew my time was out for a BQ because I knew I’d have to run the hills and the rest of the race really fast, so I decided to have fun. I saw Heartbreak Hill.  I really wanted to run up that damn hill! I wanted to conquer it. But my body said no. I was having a good time because the crowd along Heartbreak is really good. They are just so supportive! They yell your name, they tell you all sorts of things you need to hear, they call you heroes.  The crowds are captivating. Especially right there. Oh, a beer, lemme have a drink! So I had a guy open one and let me have a few drinks and get my picture with it. I posted this on Facebook and sent one to my husband and told him I was done and the BQ wasn’t going to happen right around that time too.

See how happy I look? Yeah, the shit hadn't hit the fan yet.

See how happy I look? Yeah, the shit hadn’t hit the fan yet.

At that moment, I thought I could just jog it in and break a 4 hour marathon. I’d be super happy with that.  I tried to run more and every time I did, I got extremely nauseated and relatively dizzy. Then it got worse. I had to stop and kneel so I wouldn’t throw up. I was getting pissed by this time because I had a long ways to go. And walking would take a lot of time.

I walked and walked slowly. The miles crept by. I was in self-preservation mode. I didn’t want to pass out and not be able to finish. I had heat exhaustion, and according to the internets, and based on my symptoms, it was more about salt depletion. And it wasn’t over 70 degrees. It didn’t really make sense to me, but really, I hadn’t run a long run at that pace at that temperature for… well, years. This winter has been cold and I wasn’t used to it, and I’ve always been really sensitive to running in the warm weather. Anyway, I didn’t want to throw up. So I moved very slowly toward that finish line because I WAS going to get that damn medal. Every once in a while I had to stoop to stop the nausea. Every time I did, someone in the crowd or in the field of runners would ask me if I was ok and if I needed anything. I took popsicles, I took an ice pack, I drank a little water. I couldn’t eat though.  A few miles from the finish, one of my long run running partners came up on me and walked with me. Val. Val walked the rest of the way. She stayed with me until we got to Boylston street and we slowly jogged our way to the finish. I finished the Boston Marathon!  Val sticking with me means the world – I hope she knows that.

I walked about a hundred miles to get my MEDAL and food that I didn’t want. I chugged a bottle of water and got another. I had some Gatorade, but it hurt my stomach. I kept moving. I didn’t know where my family was so we made a plan to meet up. I lost Val….

I've never worked so hard for a medal. Any other race, I would have easily thrown in the towel for a DNF. Not the Boston Marathon.

I’ve never worked so hard for a medal. Any other race, I would have easily thrown in the towel for a DNF. Not the Boston Marathon.

I wanted to sit down but I wanted to meet up with my family. I sat down on the way to meet my family. I didn’t feel well. I sat down and met with them and drank a little more. We split so I could go meet up with Kate, one of my fellow Texas runners and friend. I had to go to the bathroom (which I thought was a good sign) and started crying because I started feeling so bad again and was just tired of not feeling well. I needed to lay down so I laid down in front of the jons where I was going to meet Kate. I needed to go to the medic. I didn’t know if something was really wrong. I didn’t want to eat. I drank some but felt like shit again.

Me getting my blood pressure taken at the medic area.

Me getting my blood pressure taken at the medic area. I’m COVERED with dried salt.

They took my blood pressure and it was low for me. It’s usually low, but 60 is not the normal lower number.  I wasn’t disoriented, just extremely nauseated and a little dizzy. So I laid there a while, they took my pressure a few more times, and then we left. I said goodbye to Kate and we headed to the hotel, which is the place I have been sitting since I got here! I finally ate a little for the first time in 12+ hours, thanks to my hubby getting it for me.

How do I feel about an epic fail marathon time? Well, I’m actually ok with it. I finished the Boston Marathon today. I was on pace for a PR and a good BQ for 19 -20 miles. I don’t believe I could or would have done anything different. I was worried about the warm and sunny weather before I started, I just didn’t know it was going to take such a toll on me. I’m not freaking out about going to get another PR/BQ as I thought I would. I’m good.  I ran the race of my life today and I feel like I worked harder than I ever have for a marathon medal. Any other race, I would have stopped for a DNF.  For THIS race, I had to finish. I needed that medal that I’ve been waiting for for over a year. And I’m so happy that I got to experience the largest Boston Marathon in history. I was chosen for this race, and I finished it. It was epic.

Now for some fun in Boston!!!!

Oh, and to everyone who has sent me texts, commented on this and/or my Facebook page (both personal and the Running Boston and Beyond), I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It helped me keep going when it got questionable. It made me feel like I was a rock star. It made a difference, and I appreciate it more than I can express with a simple thank you. To all of YOU, you rock!!!!



Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

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