4:13:40 and out

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Taking no chances: a pre-race finish line photo

Somewhere between my 2008 breast cancer diagnosis, my failed Boston qualifying attempt in 2014, and being wheeled into the medical tent after running 3:58:50 at the 2015 NYC marathon, I decided that Boston would make a fitting last marathon.

And while I’m reserving myself a little wiggle room to maybe possibly consider another go at the distance after my next significant birthday, it feels good to say “I’m done.” Continue reading

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Boston marathon pre-race report

imageWe’re here in Boston, enjoying the kind of weather that fills marathoners with abject terror: bright sun, 82 degrees and windy.

Fortunately, the temperature is expected to drop (albeit not enough) tomorrow, more clouds will move in, and the winds should die down . . . we hope. I fear, though, that Paul Ryan’s youthful marathon record will be safe from challenge by this 55-year-old woman this year.

Yesterday’s trip from New York Penn to Boston’s South Station was uneventful. “Don’t do anything before the race that you didn’t do in training,” the experts tell you. Since I ate like crap during training, I took that to mean I should start the trip with a doughnut from the new Underwest Donut kiosk in front of Penn Station. Continue reading

Boston: ready or not . . .

imageTomorrow morning, Eric and I will board a Northeast Regional train so that I can join the 121st running of the Boston marathon (the 46th in which women have been officially allowed to compete) on Monday. It’s kind of a big deal – and yet, have I ever been so nonchalant about a marathon?

Here are a few indicators:

  • I waited until Tuesday night to load Boston and Hopkinton onto my phone’s weather app, and I’ve only checked it once since then. Maybe twice.
  • I have yet to study an elevation profile of the course.
  • I’m not experiencing any phantom injuries.
  • I have only the vaguest idea of where the Expo is being held and no idea how to get there from our hotel.
  • I’ve skimmed the participant guide, but don’t plan to actually read it until we’re on the train . . . if I read it at all.

This is quite a change from 2015, when I blogged obsessively about my quest to qualify for Boston. Continue reading

Chasing Boston (part 10 – the end)

Still smiling after 22 miles - a personal record (Photo credit: Eric Brooks)

Still smiling after 22 miles – a personal record (Photo credit: Eric Brooks)

Well, I did it. I finished the New York City Marathon in 3:58:50, well under my Boston qualifying time of 4:10:00.

I’m not sure which makes me happier this morning: the fact that I’ll be joining Kathrine Switzer and a whole bunch of my friends in Boston on April 17, 2017, or the fact that I don’t need to run another marathon for almost a year and a half.

I didn’t achieve my most ambitious time goal, which is OK. Nor did I achieve my goal of negative splits. If I wanted to be hard on myself, as I often do, I’d describe the execution of my race plan as “start slow and finish slower.” If I were to cut myself some slack, I’d point out that this was the most evenly-paced marathon I’ve ever run, and that five of my fastest miles came in the second half.

I must be getting soft in my old age, because I’m inclined to cut myself some slack.

Besides – given my adventures in the medical tent at the finish line, no one could accuse me of not giving this race everything I had.

Here, then, is my race report.

Continue reading

Chasing Boston (part 8 – race goals)

My race gear, at least, is ready.

My race gear, at least, is ready.

So what exactly are my goals for Sunday’s race (other than qualifying for Boston, of course)? I realize I’ve been a little vague in these posts. Obviously, I have goals – but publicly committing to them is scary. Will the marathon gods punish me for my hubris?

Scary or not, it’s time to come clean. Continue reading

Chasing Boston (part 7 – final training recap)

Less time running = more time to customize my singlet with kinesiotape

Less time running = more time to customize my singlet with kinesiotape

Less than two weeks until the New York City Marathon – which means the hay is in the barn, as they say. (I have no idea why that agrarian image has become the go-to metaphor for marathon training, but it’s what everyone says. Even here in Brooklyn, where there is little hay and few barns.)

From here on out, nothing I do is going to increase my fitness in any appreciable way. I can still mess myself up, though, which seems a little unfair. The balancing act between now and November 1 involves:

  1. Cutting back on mileage enough to allow my body to rest and recover.
  2. Maintaining mileage sufficient to satisfy my body’s craving for consistency and routine.
  3. Continuing with workouts at marathon goal pace, intended to drill it into my overly enthusiastic legs and my traitorous, self-deluding brain. (The latter is the bigger challenge.)
  4. Not tripping and hurting myself.
  5. Not going crazy.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with my training. Continue reading