120th Boston Marathon
April 18, 2016
A week has passed since that long slow heat suffer-fest I completed, this year’s Boston was full of excitement just not as I expected. Then again its BOSTON, its not suppose to be easy and the course will remind you of that year after year. So let me back track real quick to catch myself and YOU up. I started 2016 full of excitement and ready to begin my 3rd Boston training. I hired a new coach, the ever calm & well liked Mr Edgar Gonzalez. He owns We Run SA specialty run shop in my hometown. I have known of him for years thru friends & family and didn’t really get to know him until a few years ago. He had asked to coach me but I was committed to my former coach and didn’t really see a reason to switch at the time. Fast forward to now, my previous coach dissolved all contact with me and the first person I called up was Edgar. I showed up to his run shop asking if he would take me on and he said yes of course! phew!!! Gonzales y Gonzalez was on!!! Edgar has been coaching since 1996 and I am not even sure how many runners he still coaches, its a lot. He coaches all level of runners and has quite a few speedsters that I enjoyed running with everytime I was in town. Besides running a successful shop, coaching all level of people he is also the Cross Country and Track coach at TMI (Texas Military Institute). And he ain’t just a coach, has a few impressive accolades that he would never brag about: All Heartland Conference Cross Country in college, Boston Marathon Qualifier, 2 Time Full Ironman Finisher, Leadville 100 Mile Trail Run Finisher and Jemez Mountain 50 Miler finisher. There ya go now lets move on and back to me, hahaha.
Training started off slow & easy and I didn’t have any issues until a month in when my shoes started giving me gnarly blisters. I ran in the Hoka Clifton last year and LOVED them. I bought the new Clifton 2’s and they are the WORST!!!!! Turns out they are made more narrow, even for my skinny ass foot. I was rubbing blisters on both arches, it hurt so bad, I kept running and it was throwing my gait off, which then thru my hip out, then was pulling on my IT band, groin, hammies and all kinds of discomfort. I kept going tho. I would tape those bad blisters up and think I could just run thru it. I remember one 14 miler I came home almost in tears from the new blister on top of my old blister. I was more upset that I was about to hop on a plane to go snowboarding and the blisters might prevent me from that. But nope, my handy boyfriend created a bandage out of a pantyliner, no joke. Ladies, it works!! Snowboarding was on and I got some mountain running in too. Now back to these dumb shoes, I was so annoyed and it was costing me training time and money. I visited my chiropractor & massage guy 3 or 4 times in a 2 week period. I had signed up for the Caumsett 25k in early March for a fitness test. I went in treating it as a training run. My fitness felt great but my body was still mad at me for disabling it in the wrong shoes. So what did I do? I ran the race in the shoes. I know I’m so dumbhhhh but I didnt have anything else. I thought all my other shoes were too old. But then to my surprise I ended up winning my AG Division. Hooray, fitness on track!
After Caumsett I went to my local running shop and returned the damn Hoka’s. And after much research including talking to some runners, the Clifton 2 are just awful.
Those who live on the East Coast know we had an ugly winter, we didn’t get all the snow like last year but it was still cold. We got a lot of rain and ice. Every now and then we would have a nice day and of course that would be my rest day. Last year’s Boston was pretty miserable weather, especially for fans. This year’s Boston was HOT. Weather weather weather, its what everyone talks about leading up to the race. 1 week before the race it snowed in Boston but temps were showing high 50s, then high 60s and finally 70. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! 70 is just crazy. Here is another thing about Boston weather. Boston proper can be 10 degrees cooler than inland, so temps were saying 50s and its like oooooh ahhhh perfect running weather — WRONG. The race finishes in Boston, we start 26 miles out in Hopkinton and run thru all the inland towns where it is warmer an throw in the course has zero shade.
With marathon training you can usually gauge where you should be. My goal (again) was to hit 3:30 or less, and that equals 8:00 min pace. I was well below in all my training and was confident I could run comfortable 7:55 – 7:50 pace. Being my 3rd time I wasn’t nervous about the course but rather excited to run the course faster than last year. I finished in a nice 3:33 last year and a 3:46 my first Boston, so this was going to be my year to get that sub 3:30. Did I mention it was HOT??!!! I stayed at a hotel 15 mins from the start and it was 60 degrees at 8am. Holy moly! bright sun and perfect conditions to be spectating on a nice warm spring day. My crew (the boyfriend & Adrienne) dropped me off at the start by 9:30am. When the men’s elite started temps hit 70. oh sheeeeeet was all I could think. There was no shade and I plopped myself down near the starting corral waiting for my 10:50am start. I was baking in the sun and immediately started my nutrition. If there was one thing I learned from my previous heat stroke was get as much nutrition & electrolytes in as early as possible because I knew the time would come when I prolly was gunna have trouble. By the time the gun went off I was over heated and my race plan went into cautious mode. I started out super conservative thinking this would at least keep me together for at least 20 miles then I will just gut out the last 6 miles. oh how wrong I was. my race was over at 10k, like over as in over baked put a fork in me.
This is me right past the 10k mark, I had already stopped sweating. First bad sign. uh oh! I screamed at my crew I was so hot, thats all I could say. I grabbed my bottle of Heed Adrienne had pre-mixed for me and started chugging so fast. I took my boyfriend’s water bottle and dumped water all over myself. My face was on fire, even my feet were on fire. I wanted to sit in some shade and cool down for a minute, thinking back now I should have done that but there was no shade. NONE. NADA. My fans were also hot standing there waiting for me and got so sunburned. So there ya go i should end the report here. GONZALES COULDNT TAKE THE HEAT! But I kept on and stopped looking at my garmin. It was no longer goal race but rather survive race. I had all the heat symptoms; stopped sweating, nausea, dizzy, couldn’t see straight and this was all before the Newton Hills. Here is another picture of me right before Mile 16 when we enter Newton. That is my friend Thunder and I went over to collapse on him. I kept saying to him “IM SO HOT,IM SO HOT!”
If you look closely in my right hand I had a drop left of my Heed. This was suppose to last me thru the hills and Heartbreak, so another words I started chugging at Mile 6 planning to take sips until Mile 20’ish or so and it was already gone at Mile 15.8. I was already nausea at this point and couldn’t stomach another Hammer Gel or drink water. The only thing I could still swallow were my Endurolytes Extreme which is what prolly saved me from severe heat cramps. I would swish water in my mouth then spit it out. I would pour another cup of water on my head, then another cup down my shirt. Its so hard to describe running in the heat, your body just doesn’t move. Its like slow motion, or one of those dreams when you try to move but you can’t. It doesnt matter how good of shape you are in da heat knocks everything out of you. I kept moving along, somehow made it thru the hills still running and this is when I started to get cold. WTF! So I had to stop running thru sprinklers & getting wet. Boston fans were so amazing and made some crafty water relief stations. I ran thru every single one. I think the best was the outdoor shower someone made and hung it on a pole, oh wait another person had a water hose connected to the back of a high powered fan. Seems like an electrical issue but whatever, Boston fans are the best!!! Due to the warm weather Boston fans came out in droves, it was awesome!! When I crested heartbreak hill I was freezing, nausea and wanting to sit but thank gawd for the crazy drunk Boston College kids. They saved my life!!! They were much louder than the infamous tunnel of scream Wellesley girls. I high fived all the way to Mile 21 until my hand hurt but it was the first time I had a jolt of energy. I got to Mile 22 where my crew had another bottle of Heed waiting for me and I just stopped. I was hanging over the gate with tears in my eyes and they were just stunned, I looked awful and wanted to rest. I never wanted to quit tho, I just wanted it to be over Sooooooon. I was also getting more and more cold. After a good 5 minutes feeling sorry for myself I finally decided to finish. I saw lots of runners doing the cramping jog/walk/limp/jog…repeat. The best thing happening for me at this point, was no cramping. I had been running at a consistent positive split (haha) so I wasnt running anywhere near my potential, which means I actually had legs in me to run those last few miles. Not fast, but I could run them. It was finally cool and we had been running into a brutal head wind after that heat. This is when my brain turned to BEER!! I looked at every fan hoping someone would have beer those last few miles. I did find a grape ice pop and it tasted amazing and it didn’t make me nausea. well duh, I prolly needed the sugar so I decided to drink gatorade the rest of the way in. I never drink gatorade but at this point sugar was a good thing for me now. I finally took a peep at my garmin and it said 3:36, I got so angry knowing I was already done by 3:33 last year but this time I still had THREE MILES to run. uuuhhhhhh noooooooo and I still had that last hill as you go over the bridge passing the CitGo sign with 1 mile to go.
Then finally…..Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston, tears started again and that sound of cheering is like nothing else. Finally I crossed the mat at 4:08.
Grateful for my 3 Boston Finishes. No plans now to BQ again for next year, but I will be back, no doubt!
My friend Maria who is also coached by Edgar, she is a speedy beast! We consoled each other for having bad races then I quickly perked up with that ice cold beer.
My burns and heat blister, thanks for the battle wounds Boston! But it all felt better when I cooled down with a pint of Victory Garden goat milk ice cream, yes I ate the whole thing!