Not to beat a dead horse with Boston, Boston, Boston, but this is all a bit therapeutic for me. Honestly, though I’m physically recovered, I don’t know that I’m mentally or emotionally recovered. I worked so hard for that moment, that day, that race, that now that it is over, I feel a sense of loss. Strange?
I won’t lie to you, my running ego took a bit of a hit in Boston. While I never went into the race with a PR as a goal, it was a total blow to run nearly 21 minutes slower than my qualifier. I did not expect that at all. Yes, the course is much more difficult than Lake Wobegon, yes it was 40 degrees warmer without any shade and during the warmest hours of the day, yes those all impact performance.
I keep telling myself that it was a hard day for a lot of runners, but I find myself being jealous of my friends who are running marathons soon and are sure to PR and likely to qualify for Boston. I want those things for them. I’m so excited for them! I’m not a jealous person and find these feelings really unsettling. Running is an individual sport and I certainly don’t compete with anyone but myself. I think it’s just knowing that I don’t have an opportunity to qualify again before September to join them in Boston next year. I thought I’d do it once and not want to do it again, but I really want to. I want to run the race I know I can on that course.
Let’s look back at what worked well leading up to the race.
- My body handled the increase in mileage well. I was healthy, other than my silly shoulder, when I got to the starting line.
- My eating/carb loading was on point. I had zero stomach issues on race day and plenty of energy.
- Fueling also worked well. Honey Stinger gels have worked well for me, without causing GI issues. I ended up taking four gels during the race because I started to get hungry. I was also out there longer than expected. Luckily, I never hit ‘the wall.’
- I was well hydrated going into the race which was good because I dehydrated quickly.
Here are some things I want to work on or do differently next time.
- Heat conditioning. When I’m doing a race with the potential to be warm, I need to prepare myself. Sure this is easier when I train over the summer, training during winter in Minnesota, is a whole different animal. I’ve been reading on how to acclimate your body to heat even when you live in cool places. Definitely going to work on that next time.
- Try out salt tablets or some other sodium replacement. I was sweating profusely for a long time before it suddenly stopped. I think if I had replaced some of the salt I had lost, it may have helped my body regulate itself a bit more.
- I think I was trying to out run myself during some of my speed intervals. I don’t know if it was adding more miles to warm-up and cool-down or trying too hard to run at the high end of my paces, but some of those workouts were so hard. When I went back and compared my training paces from Wobegon, I sped them up quite a bit. I’d probably step back to my previous paces until they feel super easy.
- Add another easy run. Even if it means just a slow mile or two.
- I say this every time, but strength train more. I usually have the opportunity to run or strength train. I choose running obviously. I just started a strength training program which I hope will get me going again. I won’t be able to continue at this level during a training cycle, but will definitely have some moves that I can incorporate to a training plan.
- Get my weight in check. I very rarely weigh myself these days. Mostly because I’m afraid of what I’m going to see. It’s not even the number on the scale necessarily, I just feel flabby. My clothes are tight and my old jeans have collected dust because there is no way I can fit into them.
Boston is not the final chapter. I will run another marathon. I actually entered the lottery for London. Knowing that my chances of getting in are slim to none, I’ve started making lists of marathons I’d like to do. Hopefully I will be able to qualify again and have the opportunity to run a better, for me, race performance-wise.