I am happy to report that the last 20 miler went really well. It was faster (2:53 for 20.4 miles, 8:29 pace) than what I had planned (8: 38 pace), but my legs would not cooperate and refused to slow down.
I was up at 6:30 am, had my usual oatmeal plus blueberries and coffee. The forecast said 50 degrees again, so I tried on my shorts for the first time since last year. That turned out to be a great decision. Chris, Petru and I drove to pick Sue C up, and off to Framingham to meet Sue M and Andy, who did a complete marathon prep and took the bus to mile 6. Everyone was in good spirits. We chatted about our anxieties, and planned to focus on having fun. And we did. We laughed the entire 10 miles that we ran together. The weather was beautiful, the course filled with runners, and that took away from the fact that the first 10 miles were so ugly! Sorry, those who will be running the course will eventually agree with me. We started out at a slowish pace and ran about 6 miles @ 8:45, and then slowly went down to @ 8:38 by mile 10. At this point I took off, as the other 3 wanted to go slower (it did not work out for them, as they ended up running much faster, too!). I decided not to use my ipod, and just take in the entire experience - the sun, the runner, the people cheering on us! My legs started hurting - my R hip was tight, and my ankles were sore - but at the same time they also wanted to go faster and faster. My paced kept getting faster and faster, and I tried very hard to slow down. At mile 17 after all the hills I was @ 8:36, and all the pain was gone. My legs sped up on the downhill, more and more during the last 3 miles. At Kenmore I had 1.5 mile left. I felt strong and happy. I decided to catch up with some of the runners in front of me - nothing hurt, so why not. This turned out to be a mistake (well, not really) because I ended up getting off the course with them and running straight on Beacon (rather than R on Hereford, L on Boylston) for a total of 20.4 miles, to Fitcorp, where all the charity runners who took the bus had their bags. No biggie, really, as I know the last mile of the marathon so well anyway from having lived in Boston for so long.
I stretched a bit and ran to a nearby Starbucks to get lattes for my friends, wanting to surprise them. I purchased them and then waited and waited and they did not show up. And then it dawned on me that perhaps they stuck with the course and I started running, 4 lattes in my hand, the .5 mile to the Au Bon Pain that was the meeting point during our last run. Turns out we had a miscommunication - I thought they'll go to Fitcorp to get their stuff and then go to Au Bon Pain, but they just ran on the course to AU Bon Pain. Lattes were drank, along with bagels and scones, and we walked back to Fitcorp (what's my mileage so far???) through Boston Common, laughing and being so happy to have done so well. I got home at 12:30 and I was ravenous. I ate cold chicken curry with sweet potatoes because I could not wait the 3-4 minutes to warm it up. Then a bagel with pb&j. I skipped my icebath because I was shivering, and ended up taking a short nap with Petru. What a great run!
A couple of other things:
1) I love my Asics Gel Kayanos 15. I think I finally found my perfect fit. They were so comfortable. My feet still hurt, but not near as bad as they did in all my other running shoes. I have very small skinny feet (AAs), and a medium size built, and it's a lot for my feet to carry. I only got one blister, as opposed to 4-5, thanks to my Asics.
2) Those who read this blog know that I was looking forward to the taper. Well, now I am so sad that the long runs are gone. I am going to miss them terribly. A 13 miler next week is not going to be enough... Who knew?
3) My confidence is up. This run has proven to me I can run a good marathon. After 20.4 miles I was no where near done, I could have kept going. In fact, through the entire run, I was not a bit out of breath.
4) I love hills. I did not even feel them today.
5) MY power is in the downhills. I developed strong quads during all my crazy elevation trail runs, so I have never experienced any of the burning on the downhills that my friends talk about.
6) Eating 3 gels, 1 every 5 miles, was a great idea. It has taken me a while to become able to eat this much during runs (even now I take 1/2 gel and 1/2 mile later the other half), but they definitely help me.
7) Roctane GU is such a nice change from the sweetness of regular GU. However, I am not a big fan of the bitter after taste.
Hope everyone has had a good running week. Good luck to Dan, Emily and Michelle running the Skyline Ultra tomorrow. A month ago I gave my spot up, and I think it was a good decision. but, I'll be there next year for sure. Finally, thanks to Laminator, Aron, Heather, Irish Cream and Dan for their helpful comments in my previous post. I thought about everything you guys had before starting today's run, and your comments and advice helped tremendously.
Building a clock
7 months ago