Just a quickie as I’m getting ready to head to Boston to WATCH the marathon. Yup, no running for me (although Stephanie and I have already planned to run on the course from her house in Natick Monday morning, before the runners come through), I am going to be a spectator, which I’m very excited about.
I’ve been coaching my Boston Marathon runner, Rachel, since January and she’s phenomenal. She has been very dedicated to her training and I know she’s going to have an amazing race. I’m so excited to get to meet her in person and cheer her on.
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. I squeezed in a visit to my chiropractor, the incredible Dr. H. at United Wellness Center, after work on Tuesday. His words: “You’re not in bad shape after back-to-back racing.” Yup. I did that thing I swore I wouldn’t do any more. I raced two weekends in a row. It was, in my defense, an accident as, when I signed up for Reston Half Marathon, I sort of forgot that Cherry Blossom 10 mile was a week before.
I debated not running the half, but I really wanted to give it a shot and, since my legs didn’t feel too trashed after Cherry Blossom, I decided to go for it. Still, I had to settle for a tempo pace as the Reston course is super hilly and I knew I wasn’t fully recovered. The goal was 7:45 pace. I set out right on target and hung onto that pace for the first few miles. After taking a GU at mile 6 my stomach felt a bit off and I slowed the pace slightly. A couple of ladies behind me, one in a skirt, the other wearing headphones, took that opportunity to pass me. I wasn’t happy but there was nothing I could do at that moment.
Not long after they passed me, the half marathon course split from the marathon. Skirt took the marathon route, and I remember thinking, “wow, what an awesome pace she’s running for a marathon.” I must have passed headphones because I don’t remember seeing her at that point. A short while later, while running around a corner, I took a quick glance behind me and saw skirt. Shoot. I guess she went the wrong way, I thought. And now she was chasing me. There was a guy in front of me in blue and I decided to hang on to him for a bit, to try to shake skirt. We dropped to 7:41 for mile 8 and 7:38 for mile 9. It seemed to work, as another peek showed that skirt – and now headphones, who I guess was back – were losing ground.
Things got a bit ugly between miles 10 and 11 when I almost ran into blue guy when he stopped right in front of me at the water stop (he clearly had not learned the art of drinking and running). I also spilled water all over myself and, since it was only 25 degrees, I had to remove my soaking wet glove before my hand froze. For the next couple of miles I shared one glove between two hands, before realizing my head was warm enough to remove my hat and wear that as a glove.
I had now passed blue guy and really didn’t want to give skirt or headphones a chance to catch me, so put in a bit of a surge and ran mile 12 in 7:25. That enabled me to catch up to a guy in tights and shorts who was running well. As I passed him I told him to run with me. Tights/shorts said, “Oh good, I needed some help.” I joked, “No, you are helping me!” We picked up the pace and, although my legs were hurting, it felt awesome. He started losing ground at one point and I said, “No you don’t, stay with me!” All of a sudden he started sprinting, I thought in response to my urging, but it turned out that he’d seen the 12.5 mile chip mat and thought that was the finish line! Guess he doesn’t race much.
I told him that we still had 0.6 of a mile to go, and he hung on but I ultimately dropped him as I think he was out of gas. The last half mile was dreamy. It was mostly downhill and concluded on the High School track, where I used to do my track workouts many years ago. The 300m on the track literally felt like floating. I was tired but super happy. 6:59 pace for mile 13!
I ended up winning the Master’s women’s division, which was cool. The event was organized by Reston Runners, a club I ran with for many years. They are always welcoming when I come back to visit. When former RR President Dennis called me up to accept my award, he mentioned that I was a former regular with the club, which was a thoughtful touch. I made a mental note to join the club for a run some time. Reston has beautiful trails, which was where much of the race was staged, and I could certainly do with some hill workouts!
I’m off to pack for my quick trip to Boston. Can’t wait to visit the expo, hang out with awesome friends, and enjoy the special day that is Marathon Monday. Of course, I will spend time thinking about those who were killed or injured three years ago – how could I not – but I love that this race goes on in spite of those who may try to prevent it, and I will boldly stand and cheer for the runners along with all the other spectators, and not for a moment will I feel afraid.