Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boston 4/15/13

Preface:  everything in this post is trivial compared to the horrific, senseless acts of violence at the end of the marathon.  My heart goes out to all of the people who suffered injury or worse due to explosions. There has been a saying/quote going around that I think sums it up best:  "If you're trying to defeat the human spirit, marathoners are the wrong group to target."  

That being said, in an effort to keep on, keepin' on, here's a post about my experience... 
                Smiles were aplenty BEFORE the race...
So it's done.  It's over.  It's in the books.  With big expectations and visions of a PR (personal record), I set off for the Boston Marathon this past weekend.  After a winter illness setback and a disappointing effort at the Senshu International Marathon in February, I felt like I had done everything right from mid-February to race day to get myself in respectable racing shape. 
First up, before the race, the technical meeting (a meeting to inform all male & female elites of the race day sequence of events and "rules of play").  Sitting in that room with all of those heavy hitters was a super fun experience, and something I hope to replicate in the future.  Water bottle staging was next, then it was off to the hotel for final prep and a night of restless sleep before race morning.
Special buses took elites to the start, escorted by a full police motorcade stopping traffic for us.  Nice.  Sat around in a small church, staying warm and getting my mind right before race time.  I felt good, felt confident.  I had a race plan based on my fitness (not quite 100%, but within striking distance of that 2:45 PR) and the course elevation (those tricky hills).  If I stuck to my plan, I should have a good day. 
9:32am.  Game on.  Luckily the field of elite women went out tentatively so I got to run with the big dogs for a couple of miles.  Felt easy, breezy because we started out with a downhill.  I passed through the 5k about 5 seconds off my planned time.  Sweet!  Kept rolling, feeling strong and fit and hitting all of my pace markers until the half-way point.  From 13 to 17ish, the first couple hills, I started gaining on the two runners in front of me and I felt GOOD!  Then from 19 to 20 the wheels kind of feel off.  21 to the finish was probably the longest, worst 5 miles I've raced to date.  I had eaten a bit during the race to this point, and been drinking a combo of water and electrolytes at every station, but my energy just disappeared.  My legs weren't cramping, but I started getting tunnel/starry vision like I might faint at any second.  Not ideal for running.  This seems to be a trend, which ticks me off to no end...more about this later.
I put everything I had into those last five miles, but it was pretty pathetic.  I slogged across the finish line about 15-seconds under 2:51. I disappointed? Beyond what I can explain. This was a bitter, bitter pill to swallow that days later still gives me a stomachache.  I was given an amazing opportunity to start with the elites and make a statement in the world of running, and I feel like I pretty much blew it.  Will I be salty about this and replay every moment of the race for days (and likely weeks to come)?  Yup.  Will I re-examine my training for necessary adjustments?  Yup.  But I think the biggest consequence and most lasting effect will be that this disappointment has ignited a fire in me.  For two years I have basically enjoyed constant improvement with my marathon results.  I set a few lofty goals and I achieved them.  That's easy to handle.  Now this year, I've been hit with two back-to-back sub-par performances where I didn't achieve my goals (Japan being the first sub-par performance).  I feel like this is a golden opportunity to test how I'm going to react when things don't go well.  I'm not going to pretend like I'm not still sulking around, I am.  But I'm also recovering, looking at my racing/training calendar, and getting fired up for my next race. 
Running might seem like a silly and trivial thing to most, but it has become one of my greatest passions.  And to accept mediocrity in this passion simply won't do.  I know I have a few good racing years left in these legs and I will continue to push the limits of what my body can handle.  

Oh, and I should in Boston is amazing!  The crowds, the race organization, the expo, basically everything, is first-class awesome.  AND my buddy Pete from the orienteering club, and ALL six of my MN RED club mates had great races.  Kudos to them!  

                     Pete and me on race morning...Pete killed it!

1 comment:

  1. I love living vicariously through you! If I had half your skill and passion for running I would give it everything I had as well. Just like you. So sorry that you have had back to back disappointments, but I love that it has fueled your fire even more and I look forward to seeing what you will do next! Great job Kelly!!