Tuesday, April 21, 2015
2015 Boston Marathon
Since I ran Boston last year, I felt more confident about the course and what to expect coming into this years edition. The training from last year to this year had some differences, and that may have been a bigger aspect than I thought it would be. Leading up to marathon Monday, I completed a 15 and a half week, 1,565.7-mile training cycle. I put in about 60 more miles than I did leading up to last years race, but I did less workouts than last year. Looking back, that is THE biggest mistake I made. Because of the way my mind works I like to see big numbers, high mileage. Typically, I would rather go out and run 17-miles at an easy to medium pace than do a speed workout of 8-10 miles. I know how important the workouts are, but, to reiterate my previous point, I like to see high mileage numbers. Weeks 8-2 before the race were all well over 100-miles per week, maxing out at 132.4-miles 5 weeks before the race. Which leads me to the second mistake I believe I may have made: overtraining. I did not feel tapered enough, or fresh enough to perform the way I wanted to and that is my fault. Desiree Linden, an elite marathoner and fourth-place finisher at this years race, put in 1,500-miles during her training cycle. This is a woman that is a professional runner, and I ran 65 more miles during training than she did. I promise this is not a bragging statement, but something that makes me think about what good, solid marathon training should be. Mileage is not everything. I know that now, and I hope I can adapt and learn to use better methods next time around.
As far as the actual race goes I had a goal of running a sub-2:40 marathon (6:06/mile or faster). The closer the race got the more I felt deep down that a time under 2:40 was probably not going to happen. The only thing that gave me a little bit of hope was my peak long run. I ran the middle eight miles of the 25.6-mile run at 6:01/mile pace, but that was the only real confidence boosting workout I had.
I knew the first mile was going to be slower than goal pace because it is so congested for the first one to two miles of the race. By the 10k point, even though I was still on sub-2:40 pace I knew it was not going to happen. I decided to push harder on the downhills because I wanted to put some time in the bank because I knew I would be hurting at the end. That was probably not the best decision because my quads were feeling pretty trashed before the halfway point. The dagger came at miles 16-21, or the "Newton Hills." I did not fear them going into the race because they were less daunting than I anticipated last year, but this year was a totally different story. Long story short, my goal was officially put to bed during this portion of the race.
The weather was no good, either. It was cold and rainy (both of which I personally do not mind running in, so that was not problematic for me), but there was a headwind that was not ferocious but enough to drain some energy. Altogether, the conditions impeded fast times for a lot of runners (if you look at the winning times they were noticeably slower this year).
I crossed the finish line with an official time of 2:44:05.
When I crossed the finish line I was very upset because not only had not reached my goal, I did not even PR. This is my fifth marathon and the first time I have failed to PR. I knew the day would come, but I did not think it would be at this race, this year. The rain picked up around the time I finished, and all of us runners were cold, wet, and shivering as we made our way through the finishing chute to collect our mylar jackets, medals, water, and food bags on our way to bag pick-up and/or to reconnect with loved ones. I picked up my bag of clothes and walked across the street to the Thinking Cup (a coffee shop on Tremont St. that has the best hazelnut latte, trust me) to warm up, change, and get lost in my post-marathon mind. My mother called me and I broke down while trying to explain my disappointment but I knew she could not understand exactly what I was feeling. So, I asked my best friend, Javier Ceja, someone I knew would understand what I was feeling, if he could talk on the phone. He immediately called me and we spoke for a bit. I very much appreciated that and the things he said. Not too long after I got off of the phone I began receiving very supportive text messages and social media comments from a lot of people that mean a great deal to me. I cannot put into words how much every one of those comments mean to me. Thank you, all.
Boston humbled me greatly and the quote from John L. Parker's novel, Once a Runner, has even more meaning now: the Trial of Miles and the Miles of Trials.
The future is a little murky as of now for several reasons. I had a plan of transitioning to ultramarathons or triathlons after this race, but now I have unfinished business with the marathon. Outside of running, I am just a few weeks away from finishing student teaching and becoming a professional educator. I am applying to as many school districts as I can, and would love to receive the opportunity to move away from Wichita and Kansas to begin the next chapter of my life. So, the uncertainty of what lies ahead is exciting with an add-in of anxiety.
Thank you to everyone for the support and for reading this blog post. I'll see you on the roads... after taking these next ten days off!