“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thams A. Edison
My Boston training is gradually coming to an end. I am excited to have some down time from training but sad to let go of the commitment I built with running. I have never felt fear like I have recently in regards to Boston. I believe the fear steams from the thought of not meeting my PR. Everyone keeps telling me to run for the enjoyment of the experience and not focus on time (these people are obviously not runners). I have no doubt I will love every second of the Boston experience but I know disappointment will follow if I did not meet my goal. It took three marathons for me to qualify for Boston (during the first two I was not thinking about Boston, I was focused on finishing under 4 hours). All three previous marathons I met my goals, which forces pressure on me to PR this weekend. I ran a 3:38 in Columbus to qualify for Boston; I will be ecstatic with any time under that. My true goal is somewhere in between 3:30 and 3:35 (the BAA increased the qualifying times for Boston in 2012 by 5 minutes, meaning my age group’s qualifying time is 3:35). I ran Columbus at an 8:20 pace without much training. I am still in shock I was able to qualify for Boston as terrible as my training was leading up to Columbus. I was coming off a broken ankle which took longer than expected to heal and gain strength. I only ran one 20 mile run and rarely focused on speed work in my entire training program. I ran what I could before the pain in my ankle set in. Columbus was the toughest marathon for me personally. I pushed beyond my means in order to make my dream of qualifying a reality. I have never felt worse after a race as I did in Columbus. My vision was blurred, my hearing muffled, and my thoughts clouded. I was unable to focus or have solid thoughts. All the blood in my body was being pumped to my muscles to feed them with oxygen. Every step I took post race was extremely painful. Walking down stairs was almost impossible on my knees. My hamstrings and quads were close to being completely locked up and my calves burned with pain. What had I done to my body? All the pain and pushing through the wall was worth it. I qualified for Boston the same year I gave birth and I will compete prior to my thirtieth birthday. My grandfathers were right when they told me the human body can handle almost anything and still survive.
This past weekend was my last long training run. Ashley and I ran 13.1 miles of hills. It is amazing how the mind and body works once they are trained. The past 3 months of training has made me realize anything less than 15 miles is a walk in the park. We ran a mini on Saturday morning with ease. We talked and laughed our way through hills while bonding and building our friendship. It was a very humid and warm morning. A large storm system was pushing its way into the Louisville area. We knew we had to run fairly quickly in order to bet the storm. We made it to our last half mile before the lighting started and thunder crackled through the sky (we picked the pace up significantly). The moment we made it to my house the sky grew black and heavy sheets of rain and hail poured down. Ashley and I were greeted by my husband and daughter. I am very blessed to have an understanding man in my life. He made all of us breakfast which included sausage, bacon, eggs, and coffee (all from our local farmer’s market). It was a wonderful meal to come home to after running a mini. We ate together as the storm passed through. Ashley ate a couple of bites and headed off. Shane left for a brick workout and Sloane and I took a recovery walk to Willow Park. As soon as the storm passed, the clouds gave way to blue sky and sun. Shane finished his brick work out and met us at Willow Park. The three of us played until we were all worn out and ready for a nap. It was the perfect training day. I was able to get in a hilly run, bond with a friend, eat breakfast with my family and spend time with my daughter while I recovered. I couldn’t have asked for a better final training weekend.
At this moment I feel prepared for Boston. However, I hope I am prepared for the constant downhill, uphill 26.2 mile battle. Will I be able to control the urge to rush across the start line and down the immediate first hill? Will I be able to suppress my adrenaline with all the spectators watching and cheering? My goal in Boston is to run smart yet leave nothing on the table. Like Steve “Pre” Prefontaine I want to run with my guts! I want to push until I have nothing left to give. I will see you in 7 days (this time next week my corral will be approaching the starting line)!
“A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.” – Steve “Pre” Prefontaine