Marathons are not run in a day. They are run in months of early mornings, countless hill repeats, squats, planks, ice baths, and bowls of spaghetti. Race day is actually the final stretch of a marathon, and it can be unsettling when your months of hard work are shattered because of that one factor we cannot control: Weather
On Tuesday, I celebrated Monday’s accomplishment with some friends I am privileged to know through charity running. We were all in agreement that Monday was a grueling day to race, and none of us are quite satisfied with our performances. Mostly everyone’s times were off what they knew they were capable of based on training, and even the elite times clocked in a bit slow this year. That being said, it was still Boston, a race that will eat you alive, spit you back out, but still have you crawling back for more.
The seventy-and-sunny forecast was a bit unnerving considering we never had a long run over fifty degrees this season and our coldest was somewhere around negative ten. With race day being the first warm run of the year, it was difficult for the body to adjust and perform they way it did during training. This was frustrating, especially because the day started out really warm and then 30,000 runners ran into a cold front with a strong head wind on their way to Boston.
This strange weather made for a tricky and technical race, and a lot of things could have gone better. For example, I over hydrated. Over hydrating can be very dangerous. Feeling lethargic for most of the course, I searched the human barricades (beautiful crowds that mentally carried me from Hopkinton to Boston) for a spectator with pretzels. I normally carry salt packets with me for long races, but it completely slipped my mind this time and sent me into a rut.
There are a few things you can do when you’re in a mental and/or physical rut during a race:
- Say to yourself, “One step at a time.” It’s literally how you get from point A to point B in any situation.
- Remember why you run. We all have our reasons.
- Think about all of the other athletes around you. If you’re in mile 21, so are they, and they probably feel the same way too.
One of the most important things running marathons has taught me is adaptability. It is difficult for your body to adapt to sudden changes in temperature during endurance events, but there are always adaptations you can make on the fly while running. I am not proud of how I hydrated and fueled on Monday, but I am proud of one fantastic adaptation that I made. I took my shoes off in mile 24 and finished the race in my socks.
I have a love/hate relationship with my current running shoes. I loved the previous version of this shoe, so when I was due for a new pair it was a no-brainer to just upgrade to the next edition, right? Wrong. Throughout training I had good days and bad days with these shoes. I hesitated (and chose not) to buy a new pair before the race because I was not up for the experiment with such a short amount of time. Instead, I just hoped it would be a good shoe day. It was not a good shoe day. My Daddio helped me take them off and I sojourned onward to that beautiful finish line. Getting those darn shoes off my feet provided instant relief and was the best I felt for the entire race. It also made me feel like an absolute badass.
So, barefoot and crazy, I finished my third marathon. I am incredibly proud of completing my second Boston, but redemption is needed (It’s in my three-year plan).
Thank You Notes:
- Thank you to the spectator who gave me pretzels. I think you saved my life and my kidneys.
- Thank you to the spectator who gave me a wet sponge. I’ll have you know sir that I carried that sponge many miles and I also thought you were cute.
- Thank you to my family and friends for your constant support throughout training and the race. Seriously, y’all’s know how to work a road race.
- Thank you to every spectator who lined the course. You are what makes Boston so special. Thank you for the pretzels, the wet paper towels, the encouragement, the punny signs, the music, endless high fives, and never failing to provide more cowbell when asked. Thank you for carrying me home to Boston.
- Thank you to all of the wonderful donors who contributed to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Your donations provide Life Giving Breakthroughs to countless appreciative people and their families. If you would like to make a contribution, there’s still time! Click here for more information!
- Thank you to the sun for only burning the right side of my body this year. The annual Patriots’ Day Sunburn has much less surface area this time.
- Thank you to the volunteers, medical personnel, and police officers throughout eight fantastic towns who kept the course safe for runners and spectators.
- Thank you to the New Old South Church for a beautiful service on Sunday Morning. The annual Blessing of the Athletes service is truly inspiring and I channeled it while I was struggling during the race.