On Saturday I ran the farther distance I have ever run – 21 miles. I am still in disbelief, and as I type this on Sunday evening, very sore.
This was a special run organized by the Boston Marathon charity teams. We started in Hopkinton and ran on the course to BC. The course is usually populated by hundreds of runners every Saturday morning, but this time there were water stops and tons of police men and woman and volunteers cheering us on. I cannot say enough good things about all the wonderful people who kept us safe, motivated, and hydrated. During your next race, please make sure to thank every volunteer you pass!
My coach picked my teammate Alex and I in Boston, drove us to the start line, and… then we ran. No formal start line or anything. Oh, we’re here? We start running? Well… okay.
Here is a (very simple) breakdown of how the run went down:
Miles 1-2: This sucks. This. Effing. Sucks. I have to do this 20 more times?
Miles 3-13: This feels great! I can’t believe how good this feels. I am in complete and utter disbelief how good this feels. Oh look, a commuter rail stop. Can I take the train back to Boston?
Mile 13.1: My eyes could have deceived me, but I PRed the half marathon part by about three minutes!
Mile 13.7: Insert any curse word you feel like using because holy shit do I have the worst stomach cramp in the history of the world. I stopped for water for the past 13.1 miles, but this was the first time that I actually had to walk. I walked for a few minutes, tried running again, and the same terrible cramp came back. I texted my coach: “A little past half marathon. Bad cramp. Might die. Need to walk.” She assured me that walking is fine and to try to breathe from my stomach.
Miles 13.8-16: Ran for 10-15 minutes, walked for about 2 minutes. The worst part was I could feel the stomach cramps coming on, so I knew I had to walk.
Mile 16: Start of the Newton hills. Now, in all honesty, they weren’t terrible. By no means are they a piece of cake and there are about 650 things I would rather do than run them, but it wasn’t awful. I’m sure if a gremlin wasn’t trying to claw its way out of my stomach I would have probably run them better.
Miles 16-20: Hills. More hills. Nothin’ but hills. And internal crying.
Mile 20: Heartbreak Hill. It is everything you’ve heard of and more. My heart… it broke. Along with my arms, legs, stomach, and 4 eyelashes.
Mile 20.5: I see my coach. You know when you are still trying to register pain, but it’s not there yet, but you know it’s going to be super painful, so you start crying, but you’re not actually producing tears and just making weird whimpering sounds? That happened. “MY STOMACH HURTS!” I yelled. “I know!” My coach yelled back. “You’re almost there!”
Mile 21: Done. Done done done done done. I have never been so happy to finish a run.
My coach greeted me with a hug and a Gatorade. We talked about why my stomach was cramping and came to the conclusion that I start too fast. My first few miles were nearly 30 seconds to 1 minute faster than I usually run. Not good. I need to start slower so I can finish stronger.
I finished 21 miles in 4:44. Miles 1-3 were about 9:30/mile, miles 4-13 about 10-10:15/mile, and then it just turned it shit after that. My goal was to finish in 4 hours, so yes, I am a little disappointed. I am confident, however, that if I didn’t have stomach cramps and didn’t have to walk I would’ve finished closer to 4 hours. BUT! There is no use in beating myself up because in the end, regardless of how long it took me, I ran 21 miles on the Boston Marathon course. I’m pretty happy about that.
This is the countdown clock on Marathon Sports’ window display. I took this picture last Wednesday. Now there are only 20 days to go. I’m trying not to freak out… but that’s not really working. Here we go!