Thursday, April 23, 2015

Boston Marathon

Well it wasn't quite the race I wanted, but I'm pretty happy given the circumstances! I wanted to break 3:15, but I ended up with 3:17:58- still a PR by 1 minute 15 seconds, and given the lousy weather, I'm pretty sure I could go under 3:15 on a nice day :)

When I saw the weather forecast I was really upset- rain, 25mph wind, and highs in the low 40s- I thought my race was over before it began. I tried to remind myself that I couldn't change the weather, so I should just give it my best and not be too concerned with the result. Easier said than done, of course! I was still feeling depressed about it.

On race morning I ate my protein bar and some coffee, then my brother and I took the T to Boston Common. We split up when he went to bag check- he would be in wave 1 while I was in wave 2, so we wouldn't see each other again until after the race. I was wearing a few throwaway layers over my race clothes but I was still freezing! After the bus took me to Hopkinton I still had hours to wait, so I huddled under the tent with hundreds of others as it began to rain :(

Finally it was time to get to the corrals! I was nervous but looking forward to running- at least then I could warm up. I tossed my layers- I'd be running in a racing skirt, singlet, visor, arm sleeves, and fingerless gloves I jury-rigged from a pair of socks. I knew I'd be freezing after I finished (and perhaps during), but I figured I could suck it up for a few hours.

I started out a bit under pace, but made sure not to push my legs too much on the early downhills. This was my strategy last year and it paid off with even splits and a negative split overall- however this year would be much different! I was trying for 23 minute 5k splits, and came through the first one in 22:44 feeling good! The rain was still light at that point, and not too windy. The crowds were much thinner than last year, and although I kept my pace even through the 10k mark I was feeling a little let down. But I certainly don't blame the locals for staying inside as the rain and wind started to pick up! 

Around 10 miles in I started feeling tired. My legs felt a little heavy, and it was just a bit of a low point for me. I knew I had begun to slow down, although 3:15 was still within reach. I tried to remind myself to enjoy the race, so even if my time wasn't good I'd still have a good experience. Again, easier said than done!

I came through the half in 1:36:15- about 1 minute ahead of schedule but still slowing down slightly. However, my mood improved as that was a big half marathon split PR for me- I told myself that even if nothing else went well at least I'd have that new PR! 

Then I got to Newton and the hills. Last year I powered up them, a little slower but not terribly so. This year, the weather battered me back. By this point I was drenched, and the headwind was made worse by the way the course opened up in the second half. Later on I checked my splits to find mile 21 was the slowest of the race, and I was not surprised. However, once I got past Heartbreak Hill I knew the worst was behind me, so I was able to pick my pace back up a little. I reminded myself I still had about 5 miles to go, so I needed to hold a good pace but not go all out just yet. My legs felt right on the edge and I doubted I could break 3:15, but a PR was still possible if I could keep 7:30s for the last few miles.

Once I passed mile marker 23 I pushed a little harder going into the final 5K. Just past mile 25 I heard my mom yell and was able to quickly turn and wave toward her, and my dad got a picture of me. It's a bit blurred you can see my grin- the one and only time I think I smiled all race- I knew I would be done in just over a mile!

Right after passing the sign "1 mile to go" I glanced at my watch and figured I'd only need a 9:00 final mile to PR. Then I started feeling weird. My throat felt tight, breathing got tougher, and I felt dizzy. I told myself, "oh, hell no!"- I was not about to stop so close to finishing my second Boston Marathon with a new PR! I would push through, but unlike last year I didn't have much left to kick with at the end. The wind was awful downtown, and when I turned onto Boylston Street it felt like I was running forever but not getting any closer to the finish!

Finally I made it! I was so happy to be done, and although I ran a +5:30 second half split I believe it was the weather rather than my pacing that caused that result, so I was quite pleased to have PR'd at all in the end. But I was still feeling weird- kind of dizzy and my legs didn't want to move properly. I was stumbling a bit as I got my water, medal, and blanket, and although I kept telling the volunteers I was okay, eventually a medical volunteer insisted I get in a wheelchair and go to the medical tent.

That was probably a good call, cause as soon as I sat down I began having really painful muscle spasms in my feet and calves. Every time they locked up I started crying. In the medical tent, a nurse took my vitals while a physical therapist massaged my cramping calves. Everyone there was so great- I can't thank them enough! They helped me get my wet singlet and arm sleeves off and wrapped me in more heat blankets. Unfortunately I just kept getting colder, even with a heat pad and warm broth I couldn't stop shaking. However once my legs were recovered enough to walk I decided to go to the family meeting area. i knew my parents would start to worry if I wasn't there soon, and I didn't think I'd warm up until I could change into the dry clothes my dad had ready for me.

Walking back outside was the worst- I braved the wind in my burrito blanket outfit, half crying. Finally I reached my dad, waiting outside a bar and grill, I was so happy to see him! I went in where it was warm and changed into dry clothes, which made me feel a million times better. My mom was there too, as was my brother- he had managed to PR as well, breaking 3 hours for the first time! 

Overall it was kind of a crazy race, but I'm proud I was able to push through some really trying conditions! My quads were super sore after the race, but I took a Bikram yoga class yesterday which loosened them up significantly. I've only got 2 more days until my 100 miler, so although I definitely won't be 100%, I hope I will be recovered enough to get a decent time- preferably without too much suffering along the way!

Race stats: 761/6011 females 18-39, 888/12022 females, 6461/26610 total finishers- not too shabby :)

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