Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Boston Marathon: "There's an endless road to re-discover" Part TWO.

I woke up on Monday morning feeling ready to run a damn race. The sun was shining, the hooligans that had kept us up almost all night were finally quiet, and all was well in the world.

Kate put my race braids in, I liberally applied sunscreen, I put on my finest throwaway attire and prepared to run some miles. IT WAS TIME!!!!!!!!

Beast Mode! BWAAAAA!

 From our hotel it was an easy walk, maybe a half mile, to the buses. It was a bit cool but warmer than the previous morning. I was relieved since freezing to death for 3 hours in athletes village is a wicked bummer. I basically hopped on a bus and was on my way to Hopkington!

Since I was not freezing in a horrible way I enjoyed my few hours in the village. Hanging out with 36,000 crazy runners can't be a bad time! I did all my usual things, eating, drinking, applying Body Glide to my whole body, standing in line for an hour to use a porta-pottie, all the fun stuff! (non running friends- applying Body Glide is whole body business if you know what I mean. and we do this in public and do not care.)

Mostly though, I went over a mental rehearsal of my plan.
"Let the excited people go, do not run a 6:47 pace and blow your load, maintain thru the half, try to hit 13.1 around 1:40-1:42, hydrate at every 2nd water stop after mile 4, ease up over the hills, motor to the finish in a 3:25" I had it DOWN.

Even before I headed to my corral I was warm enough to shed all my layers, including gloves which is very rare for me. It was beautiful though, very sunny (I reapplied sunscreen because it was rather intense) with a few tiny puffs of wind but pretty quiet. I also saw Crystal who basically picked me up and shook me all around. I love her!

As usual there was no waiting around at the start, we lined up and off we went! Big, excited crowds of spectators, crowded running conditions, the usual.

And yeah, you can tell it was getting pretty darn hot.
 Unlike last year I really enjoyed the first part of the course. I was running at the exact pace that I intended and it felt easy and maintainable. I was hydrating and eating on schedule and other than noticing that I was sweating- and sweating a LOT things felt really good. YAY! I loved running, I loved the marathon, I loved all the people and the spectators handing out beers! (I passed)
It was, however, a lot warmer than I am used to and my body was working overtime, sweating like a beast trying to cool me down. Calm down body, seriously. Taking this into consideration I started alternating between a little water and a little Gatorade at each stop. I'm careful not to overdo it because I don't want to get sloshy and barf- but a few inches of fluid usualy works like a charm.

I ran thru the half in 1:40:00. Right around this time one of the Oiselle girls caught me and we ran together for a mile or two. She was shooting for a 3:20 so we were both right on pace. We talked about how intense the heat was getting and how it was starting to be a struggle to keep cool or even remotely comfortable. She grabbed a water bottle from a spectators hydration station and we shared that, feeling that it was getting to be a challenge to get enough fluid in at that point. We were maintaining though, so I think at that point we were feeling good about the outcome.

Lots of people. EVERYWHRE. It was great!

I knew my Dad was going to be at mile 18.5 so my focus was to get there, I ran a slightly slower mile 17 because I felt funky, very hot and very very dry... As I ran thru mile 18 I realized why I was bone dry- I had stopped sweating. Crapola.
I stopped for a good couple minutes to talk to my Dad, letting him know that I was getting worried about how hot it was (it was 70- so no, not warm for you southerners, but brutal for me and my damn polar vortex!) He told me to drink, he gave me a chapstik and I was off again.
And continued to feel off..
......and on a side note......
To make things even worse at this point my brain started to sing "Heyyyyyy Brother" and wouldn't let it go. Constant repeat. That song is just awful! What is it trying to be?

This is what Kate thinks. Quality evaluation.
Back in reality, I got fairly close to pace but at mile 22 got really hot and dizzy so I stopped for some salt and gatorade. Heading back out I picked up my pace and my legs completely cramped up, all the way from my calves to my lower back. FULL. ON. CRAMP-AGE.
I was in horrifying pain and couldn't so much as hobble. It would have brought me to tears except I was so damn dry that I was like the Sahara dessert and there were zero tears in there.
I kind of hippity-hopped my way to mile 22.5 when I stopped, borrowed a strangers phone and texted my Mom, asking her to tell Kate and Eric that I was struggling. At this point I was noticing that runners were going down quite frequently and that the EMT's had their hands full, and I did not want them to think I was racked out somewhere too.

But I basically was. I really wanted to get that feeling of "it's ok, you are tough! push thru this, here is your second wind, your legs will work again, you are fine and can still finish strong!"
Unfortunately that never happened.
I was in horrible, horrible pain. And still singing Hey Brother.
Every time I tried to run faster than a feeble jog I got all weird feeling which was scary.
I REALLY wanted to FINISH. Like, really badly.

So I did. I picked up a shuffle as we turned on to Hereford, and was able to continue past my cheering family all the way to the finish.

See how I look close to death? Yeah that was a problem.

And the clock read 3:54:50.... It wasn't my day to win the race.

Bailey drew this for me on Saturday while singing "Hey Brother"

30 minutes over my goal pace. Not even remotely what I trained for. But I finished, thank heavens.
Seeing the masses of people being helped to the med tent passing out and projectile vomiting I continued past, feeling funky but not near death and mostly rather sad. 
Eric found me and I was sad. My family came to celebrate with me and I was sad! And really pale and deathly looking so they pumped me full of gatorade and pretzles after first sending me to the med tent to see if I needed an IV (I wasn't puking, so I did not)

After I felt better I cheered up well and was really happy that we got to have a proper family after-party this year!! It was great fun and made my horrific performance much more tolerable.
My family is fun and they always make me feel better, usually by Mom-ing me to death (which I love) tending to my medical needs and magically procuring gatorade and snacks out of thin air!

Eric is holding me up.

The bottom line is that I was at the damn Boston Marathon and that's a big deal, and something that I'm very lucky to be able to participate in. It was an incredible year to be there which counts for much more than an individual performance. I almost feel guilty posting this very honest commentary on my experience as many other bloggers seem to be going the "everything is perfect even if it sucks" route (haha) But this is reality, it sucks to have a lousy day at the most awesome race ever and I believe an heartfelt recap is just fine.

And this individual looks like S-H-I-T

Being that I am a goal oriented person I am certainly not satisfied with my run but know that this was simply out of my control. It is almost impossible to have a 30 degree temp change and to not be affected by it. I don't see this as an excuse, simply as a fact. I would be lying if I said I wasn't quite disappointed, I am human after all.... The tough thing about a marathon is that you can't head out and seek redemption the following weekend (well, I can't!) so this is going to bug me for a while.
But until then... I'll keep training smart and will keep my chin up. The way I ran the first 13- and maintained to the 22-ish mile mark even though I felt off tells me that I have a sub 3:25 in me, if not a 3:20. I'm ready to have that happen and plan to meet that goal (at least the first one!) by the end of the year.
If marathons were easy everyone would do them.
I will be back at Boston next year and redemption will be mine!!!!!

And until then I'll just ease the pain with some ice cream!



  1. Way to go, Sara!!! Sorry to hear you had such a rough time out there (sounds a bit like 2012), but you fought through it and finished what you started!'re a ROCKSTAR!!!!

    See you in Hopkinton next year!

  2. When I ran the Boulder Bolder (admittedly a much much much shorter race) I had something similar happen. It was the hottest Memorial day since the race had started... Just remember there was no way for you to train for that temperature jump with the winter we've had. It's amazing to me that you made it all the way through despite the cramps and clearly being severely dehydrated. Everyone knows you had a much faster race in you, but mother nature decided to switch things up. Go Sara!!

  3. BTW, Spiderbabe is Lisa, Aaron's GF.

  4. you are still super awesome and i can only wish to be as fast as you! hope to see you in hopkinton next year. well, hopefully before then, but ya know ;)

  5. You still rocked it. I love how you texted Eric and dam to let them know what happened. Ward had spectators text me a couple of times to let me know he had hit the wall too. He was a good 39 minutes off his goal time. It was hot. Hotter than expected. And given we haven't had many days over 50, that's quite a temp change.

  6. I knew you were going to be upset with your time, even though I think you did awesome. I also had a feeling that the weather might be a problem since we were plagued with the polar vortex this year... grrrrr.... We haven't seen 50's in forever, let alone be able to train in it. Next year. Next year.

  7. You were amazing to finish. You are tough so if you are saying it was bad and painful it must have been incredible.

  8. Great job! Finishing in cramp pain makes you a winner anytime, anyplace. Hope you're recovering well.

  9. Finishing at all with cramps for the last 4 miles makes you tough, and "what does not kil us makes us stronger".