In my last post, Burnout, I was a bit whiny and negative so I was really hoping to follow that up with something super positive like I PR’d in my last race or boy, does my hamstring feel fresh and ready to take on the Newton Hills. Not so much. Still, there is so much marathon excitement going on around me, I can’t help but start to feel a little giddy about race day – more on that later.
A couple of weeks ago I ran the New Bedford Half Marathon. This is a great race on a very manageable course and I like testing my speed at this point in training. Last year I ran a 1:47 and I felt like my training had been similar so initially it was my goal to run close to that. It was a chilly day but the sun was bright so I struggled a little bit with what I wanted to wear. Plus it was the day before St. Patrick’s Day so that called for at least some green in the ensemble. I ended up in long running pants and this adorable and temperature appropriate half zip.
Right from the beginning I struggled to find a consistent pace. The first few miles my pace decreased and then I started to feel a little warmer and found a bit more speed. Unfortunately, half way through I began to feel very uncomfortable with some ‘intestinal distress’ and from there I just fell apart.
Beth Risdon writes one of my favorite running blogs, Shut Up + Run, and is very comfortable talking about ‘intestinal distress’. I envy her for that. Maybe it’s why Beth has thousands of people reading her blog and I’ve got my mom and you. If I was Beth, I would tell you about how I was tempted to run off the course and down the block to a Burger King I spotted at mile 7, or how when I finally found the port-o-potties and spent some time in one I heard someone say ‘I don’t think there’s anyone in there’ and then someone started pulling (rather aggressively) at the door of my “stall” so I was forced to scream ‘SOMEONE IS IN HERE. THAT’S WHY THE DOOR IS LOCKED’. Beth would make the whole ordeal kind of entertaining but also like a situation that could have happened to anyone so the reader relates and makes it all not quite as humiliating. I am not Beth Risdon, so I don’t want to talk about it. (If you happen to read this Beth, you are my hero.)
So all this potty drama happened around mile 9 and I felt so much better once it was over. I thought maybe I could finally pick up some speed and maybe if I work really hard I can bring my average pace down to 8:30. The thing is, the last few miles of this course run along the water and the head wind is always
insane a bit of a challenge. It was a losing battle so I just pressed on and worked on getting to the finish line. I crossed at 1:54:33. Working my way through the crowd I was able to locate my friend Chrissy pretty quickly. She also had a tough race and looked disappointed so we whined together for a little bit while we stretched and then her boyfriend Brian showed up with their new puppy and all of our problems melted away.
The following Saturday, my friend Lisa and I drove out to Newton to focus our long run for the week on the hills. We ran out to Wellesley and back to Newton passing by the famous Newton Firehouse (along with the handsome firefighters) and up and over the hills. Lisa and I don’t run together often so we chatted most of the way about our past marathons and what we are looking forward to this year. I finished the run logging in 18 miles, feeling good about my work out and a bit more excited for the race after all that marathon chit chat.
Monday was exactly 4 weeks until race day and Boston is getting all sorts of fired up for this year’s race. After last year’s race ended in such awful terror everyone is ready to celebrate Patriot’s Day again. The banners have gone up, the Participant Passports are going in the mail and the Finish Line was repainted this week. This coming weekend is the big 21 miler when runners will take to the course for one last major long run before the much anticipated taper. The energy is building all around me and its not a moment too soon. Boston is ready for the best marathon we’ve ever seen…so I better get ready too.