Boston Marathon Recap Part I {Expo and the Night Before}

After a mere four hours of sleep, I was wide awake at 6:30 am, anxious to get to the expo so I could hold my bib. With hours to go until that was even a possibility, I got cleaned up, ate my toast and requested my Lyft to the convention center.

As our driver started getting closer to the convention center, I started seeing signs for the marathon, Boston Strong signs and hoards of runners walking around with their celebration jackets on.

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As we pulled up, I could see the finish line about a quarter mile in front of us. Walking into the convention center, I was on the verge of tears. Who had possessed me? I’m not one to get teary over packet pick-up.

We got in line with all the other eager runners and waited for the doors to open.

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Once we were moving, the line went quickly. Before I knew it, I had my bib in hand and a tear on the verge of falling. We snapped some pictures before heading into the actual expo.

I went into the morning thinking I was going to buy all.the.stuff, but the official merchandise area was a zoo. Not wanting to waste energy on fighting the crowds, I grabbed a tank top, beer glass, a couple of Spike stuffed animals for the kids and got out of there.

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After paying for those, I hit the KT Tape booth to have them tape my shoulder. It was pretty achy but once the tape was applied, it actually felt normal-ish. I walked around a bit more and picked up one more t-shirt. I was getting overwhelmed. Suddenly I became fearful that I was going to have a bunch of Boston Marathon stuff and then DNF. What would I do with it all if that happened? I stopped looking for anything else to buy, which I’m a bit bummed about. I should have bought the water bottle I wanted (only available at the expo), the license plate cover and  key chain that I need for my new car keys.

Done with the expo, it was finish line time. There were yellow daffodils in blue foiled pots lining the windows of the businesses all down Boylston.

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The closer we got to the finish line, the more anxious I got. Again I started worrying about having my first DNF. I really had no reason to think I wouldn’t successfully finish the race, but my nerves were getting the best of me.

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We crossed the street and there I was. Standing in front of the finish line I’d be crossing the next day. Of course we took a million pictures. And once again, I was all choked up. Who was this emotional basket case?

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Pictures taken and crowds getting bigger, I was ready to leave. It was nearing 86 degrees. Not wanting to get dehydrated, and getting hungry, we swung by Whole Foods to pick up my bland food to make for my dinner that night. When we got back to the apartment, I ate my safe lunch and took a nap while the rest of the family went to enjoy delicious looking pizza.

A short while later, our friends Ryan and Claire arrived from Providence. We met up with the family and headed for a stroller through Boston Commons and the Public Garden. We even took a ride on a swan boat before walking across the street to Cheers. While I drank more water, we all discussed spectating plans for the race.

Shortly thereafter, we went back to our apartment, I made my sweet potato and pork chop with a side of toast with almond butter and jam. Super exciting. I laid out all my race stuff and pinned my bib to my tank top before sending Josh to get me some melatonin so I could actually fall asleep. Of course the next morning I ended up changing my shirt and having to repin it all over again. I seemed to get it on properly without any trouble the second time around.

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By 10:30 pm I was out…for a few hours. Then I was waking up every two hours, just in case I overslept.

A Week Later

It’s been a week since I crossed the finish line on Boylston. It seems like it’s already been a million years. I’m not sore anymore and am proudly sporting my Boston Marathon gear. I’ve been working on my race recap for days now but it’s just not ready. I feel like I’m not quite getting it. The words aren’t flowing just yet. They will come and so will my recap.

In the past week I’ve let myself recover. I’ve done little activity save for my run Saturday morning with my friends. My legs are no longer sore and the only physical evidence of the marathon are the crazy tan lines I got from my taped shoulder.

To be honest, I’m feeling a bit of post-race blues. With no marathons on my calendar, and no possibility for qualifying again, I’m a bit sad. I need this break from marathons, but it’s hard. I accomplished my ultimate marathon goal. Now what? Will I ever be able to qualify again and run the race in Boston I’d like? Will I ever get to feel that excitement and energy that made that right on Hereford, left on Boylston so incredible?

I registered for a September half marathon. That will give me a few months to relax before I train for that. I just have to make myself actually train for a half with the same enthusiasm I have for marathon training. I’ve also starting looking at races for next spring and fall, even considering entering the lottery for London. I might just for fun to see if I get in. I mean, that would be so fun! Other than that I’m looking for local races, one spring and one fall. We’ll see what happens.

How do you get over the post-race blues?

Training in Review & Goals

It’s that time again to look back at my training and share my goals for Boston.

This training cycle I pushed myself a bit more with both mileage and speed. While I kept my base training plan, I added an additional warm-up/cool down mile to my interval workouts and tempo runs. I reviewed and speed up slightly my various paces to reflect my last marathon and half marathons. These paces got HARD. I typically stayed at the lower to middle end of my pace ranges, though at times, I was able to speed up to the higher end.

The additional mileage added up to just over one hundred more miles run, than when I trained for Lake Wobegon. I planned to add a slow recovery runs on Sundays, but the way my schedule worked out, Mondays were a speed workout day, so I kept my Sunday rest day. I also didn’t want to overdue my mileage increase.

My average weekly mileage is still what many marathoners, would consider low, peaking at about 45 mpw. It has worked for me, so while I was willing to increase it slightly, there was no way I was going to up it to 60-80 mpw. I frankly don’t have the time to do so. Nor do I think my body would respond well to it.

Here’s the breakdown:

Total Miles Run: 574.18 miles
Average Weekly Mileage: 36 miles
Highest Weekly Mileage: 44.44 miles
Number of Tempo Runs: 15
Number of Interval Runs: 15
Fastest Interval Pace: 5:05 min/mile (Orangetheory), 6:07 min/mile (400 m)
Number of Long Runs: 16
Average Long Run Distance: 15.9 miles
Number of Orangetheory Workouts: 15

So how am I feeling now? Other than the usual taper exhaustion, I’m pretty good. I feel random aches in pains, such as stiffness in the big toe on my right foot and a little ache under my left knee. Oh and I caused a strain/spasm in my trapezius muscle on my left side when I napped too long on my arm last Saturday. Obviously it was really tight and that was just the cherry on top. It’s been so sore and stiff, I haven’t been able to turn my head to the right or sleep. On Tuesday, I went to see a physical therapist who adjusted me, gave me a painful massage and acupuncture. 


Ouch! The stiffness is much better, but after my easy 30 minute run on Wednesday night, it seized right up again and was really painful. I had one last appointment on Thursday which definitely left me with some nasty bruises. Hopefully it will be all squared away by race day. I need the power in my arms to use when my legs get tired.

Now onto goals. Are ready? You won’t believe me…

I don’t have any.

I suppose that’s not entirely true. My goal is to take in the experience. Take in the crowds and the course. Enjoy my victory lap that I worked so hard to take. I want to run a smart race. Start slow and not be defeated by the Newton hills. Seriously, that is it.

I’d be lying if I did say I’m really nervous. Part of it is because it’s the freaking Boston Marathon. Another part is that I have a lot of eyes watching/tracking me. The support is amazing, but also totally nerve wracking. All I can do now is trust my training, hydrate, eat right and rest. So that’s what I’m doing.

WIAW: Boston Marathon Week Edition 

My sensitive stomach when running has been a source on issues for a few years now. After experimenting with the low FODMAP diet, I’ve found what I need to avoid in order to try to prevent any GI issues during the race. Basically that means anything that tastes really good, is out. No onions, garlic, avocado, apples, pistachios, peanut butter, etc. Oh and no wheat or dairy. While I’m not a celiac, it does cause some digestive issues. I only care before a race, otherwise, give me all.the.bread.

Last May when I ran the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon, I had no stomach issues and had plenty of energy. I attribute a lot of this to my bland diet and an appropriate amount of carbs the week prior. I’m basically copying it this week. Without further adieu, here’s what a typical day of eating during marathon week looks like.

Breakfast: Two Gluten-Free Blueberry Waffles with a banana and some raspberries with a glass of water.

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AM Snack: Doesn’t really count as a snack, but to up my carbs I need sports drinks. Mid-morning I drank this G2. Regular Gatorade obvious has more sugar, but I just cannot handle how syrupy it is.

Lunch: Turkey sandwich on gluten-free bread with carrots and gluten-free pretzels and a big glass of water.

Afternoon Snack: I crack open a Smart Water while I snack on two graham crackers with almond butter. I spent the rest of the night sipping on that bottle of water. While I need to hydrate, I don’t need to overdo it.

Dinner: Shredded BBQ chicken sandwich with steamed green beans and roasted sweet potatoes with another glass of water.

Dessert: I gave up sweets for Lent, as I do every year. While that would be an easy way to get carbs, it’s not an option. Dessert was a package of instant steel cut oats with cranberries and blueberries. I didn’t take a picture because they exploded all over the microwave and it was a mess. At least I got to eat 3/4 of it.

These meals put me at about 225-250g/carbs. Come Friday and Saturday, my carb intake goal is around 400-500g. That is a ton of carbs. I love carbs, but I just can’t eat that many. To get them, I’ll probably grab a few Vitamin Waters to drink as well. I also try to make sure I get some form of protein in most meals and a vegetable.

What’s your key to race success?