it's funny how boston is the standard of marathons. when you say, "boston" to another runner, they know you mean the boston marathon. even non-runners are impressed; while my boss came out and cheered me on at the new york city marathon (with a sign and everything!), she was so proud of my personal best time at boston ("look...look how many people you beat! you came in the 6,000s out of over 25,000 runners!") she started meetings by announcing my success. everyone knows it's THE marathon...
i almost didn't do it. i qualified in the nyc marathon; i was aiming for a personal best in nyc and i got one (3:32) but then crista was doing boston...and i had to do it. crista ended up NOT doing boston, but i had already paid. "there's no refund! i have to run it."
i ran a 50k two weeks before boston, and was really nervous. i had been running longer, slower, and doing less speed overall. i didn't have super high expectations, but wanted to PR, have a good time, and run strong.
i arrived in boston full of energy. i bought two boxes of Gu at the expo (strawberry banana, yum!) and realized after the expo that i didn't have my endurolytes. these help balance my electrolyte deficincies, which my doctor and i discovered i am prone to. i hoped i would run well.
the morning started off good. i got nearly eight hours of sleep, and met a super nice guy on my bus ride. we chatted and were super runner nerds ("oooh, kara goucher!") and it helped keep me calm. i headed into my corral and chatted with a fellow new yorker, shivering. it was COLD!
after the race started, my first mile was actually kind of slow. i picked it up, cursing that i was in the last corral of the first wave. this meant i had to fight my way forward...and fight i did. but i enjoyed myself. i smiled, i waved, i ran strong, i watched my watch...i was on target for 3:22, 3:23.
of course i started feeling nausea (i'm blaming the lack of endurolytes, though it also could've been the speed i'm not used to), which slowed me down the last few miles. i refused to give in. i ate pretzels. i ate oranges, lots of them. i ate watermelon (oh. my. god. i am going to have watermelon at my 50miler next week - it was that incredible!). i tried to force down gus. i got kisses from wellsley girls. i felt great, strong, happy, alive.
coming into boston i ran into a strong headwind but kept pushing. i was disappointed my time wasn't as fast as i had hoped, but i was still PR'ing. at the finish, i didn't pass out (that's saying something for me) and was rewarded with an amazing hot cocoa but a good friend. that was probably the best hot cocoa i ever had in my life. it was SO good. i asked for more whipped cream after i ate it all, and the guy gave me a ton. fantastic!
this race was amazing because i felt good, strong, happy, and i ran fast! 3:28!
and you know what? i qualified for boston at this race. i just might have to do it again next year!