I'm blogging here within hours of my finish at Boston, so I'll give some initial impressions.
First of all, my finishing time was 2:59:17. That is actually 14 seconds slower than last year at Boston, when the gales were blowing. That's a little disappointing, but I'm still very happy I went under 3 hours. And I had a great time, and being out here in Boston for the Women's Oly Trials and with my friends has been an incredible experience! So I have to say that this has been quite the rewarding experience.
I ended up getting 1 of my 3 goals. I may not have bested my PR (although it was close) nor did I go under 2:55, but I did go under 3 hours, so that makes for a successful race by that measure.
Here's my race recap:
The day was pretty near perfect. Low to mid 50s, light wind. The sun did come out right at the start and I think that did become a factor. But I gotta be honest, these were the closest to ideal running conditions for a marathon that I have EVER experienced. I have zero excuses. Not that I'm upset with how I did, I'm actually quite happy. But I didn't hit all my goals, so I'm thinking about what went "wrong."
My plan to run 2:55 meant I needed to average 6:40 miles. I hit that plus or minus (depending on the hills) for the first 22 miles. I was very close to my goal at the half, coming in at 1:27:35. That's about perfect. And I felt great far longer than I did last year. Last year, I slowed down markedly on the Newton Hills miles 16-20, but this year, I felt pretty good through them. The wheels started to wobble (not come off. Kirk has assured me that my performance was NOT the wheels coming off) around mile 22-23 on all those downhills. Frankly, my legs hurt. Bad. I was in serious pain. Manageable, I suppose, but still pretty consistent.
My last 5K coming in was slow, about a 7:30 pace, although I did pick it up the last mile. I DID stop once for about 3 seconds, and I walked at 3 water stops for the length of time it took to drink a glass of water (~5 seconds), and I wish that weren't the case, but it is, and I know that had minimal impact on my finishing time so I've made my peace with that.
Here are my possible reasons why my race went bad:
1) I got dehydrated. I stopped sweating at mile 21. 2 miles later I was hurtin' bad. After the race I rehydrated, I could walk well and felt reasonably fine (but I'm still sore, let me tell you!). A sure sign that my legs had a tiny bit more in them than I pushed them to. The sun dehydrated me more than I had anticipated, and I failed in properly hydrating. Rookie mistake.
2) Those hills were tough. The pounding down, the long climbs up, and that long downhill after Newton all hurt. My training may have improved in terms of mileage this year, but I probably neglected the hill workouts more than I should have.
3) I kissed too many Wellesley girls at mile 13. Just kidding! :) Those women rock though. They have the most phenomenal vocal cords.
4) Bad (but improving) running form, inadequate upper body and core training left my upper body exhausted for the last couple of miles. I'll need to fix those things before my next marathon.
5) This is probably the hardest one for me to admit, but perhaps (and probably), I just wasn't mentally tough enough today. I should have powered through those last few miles. Stopping even for a few seconds with so little left to go really does bother me. And I should have pushed harder at the end. It's a race, it's SUPPOSED to hurt. I know I've gutted out a lot of races, including marathons (see last year's Boston), so I know I have it in me. I just may not have today. Compounding that may have been the dehydration which weakened my resolve. But this is also something I need to clearly work on.
I huge HUGE congrats to my training and marathon travel partners, MDRA's Kirk, Anne and Mike. You guys showed tenacity, and ran excellent races! And moreover, you made this weekend so much fun. Great job to local blogging legend Chad. I'm looking forward to your race report (if you haven't already done it!) And a huge thanks goes to those who were there cheering me on, my best friend from college's parents who drove all the way from Bellingham to the halfway point to cheer me on. I'm so glad they got to see me looking strong. And a huge thanks and shout-out to the lovely Emily, who besides putting up with Misty Mike (jk Mike, I love ya like a brother), came out and cheered us on and presumably cheered me on (I was too tired to notice) and hopefully won't tell me how bad I looked at mile 23! :)
And thanks to everyone else who tracked me online and sent warm messages of encouragement. Thanks for making me feel like a star today! The marathon is such a selfish (and perhaps pointless) endeavor, but it gives me a lot of joy, and the fact all my friends and family are so supportive means so much to me! (I must be on the proverbial runner's high right now, I'm feeling downright sappy!)