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 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

Chasing Boston (part 6 – September training recap)

This was to be my monster training month, in which I piled on the mileage and the workouts so that, at month’s end, I could look back in satisfaction and forward with confidence.

It was, in fact, pretty monstrous. After losing ten days to my sprained ankle, I jumped back in to 50-mile weeks. That was probably definitely not the smartest thing to do, but I was feeling a lot of calendar pressure, and I have a long history of running stupid to uphold. Continue reading

Chasing Boston (part 5 – August training and injury recap)


What a welcome sight: damp running clothes hanging up to dry.

A monthly training recap seemed like such a good idea back in July, when I was flush with self-satisfaction at how well my training was going. What a great idea, to document my progress by posting comparisons between this year and last!


After two 60+ mile weeks, I managed to twist my ankle in a freak accident – on a rest day, no less. That took an almost two-week chunk out of my training schedule. I’m tempted to pretend the month didn’t happen, but in the interest of honesty and transparency (and because injuries, even stupid ones, are part of running), here’s how August panned out. Continue reading

Chasing Boston (part 3 – July training recap)

Screenshot (19)If you’re not a runner, you’ll most likely find this post really boring. Go ahead and skip right over it – I won’t mind.

Fact is, you may this post boring even if you are a runner. Other people’s training logs are not exactly scintillating reading. It can be a little bit interesting to peek at the training of an elite runner, if only to marvel at their mileage and the grueling workouts they sustain. And it can be interesting, in a perverse way, to see the training of someone who’s a complete slacker. Their 20-mile weeks allow you to feel quietly superior* as you shake your head and cluck your tongue over the world of pain that awaits them.

I fall in neither category: I’m just a middle-aged woman who’d like to run Boston as an age-grouper. It doesn’t get more boring than that. Continue reading

Chasing Boston (part 2 – marathon vices and virtues)

Just some of my marathon vices

Just some of my marathon vices

At last year’s New York City Marathon, I missed my Boston qualifying time by five minutes.  Almost immediately – after that first crabwalk down the subway stairs at 72nd street, after the ice bath that reduced me to soft whimpers and the non-restful non-nap that followed, but before my first celebratory beer – I wanted a do-over. A mulligan marathon.

The heartbreaking thing about marathons is that if you screw one up, it will be months before you can try it again. (I mean “try it again” in the sense of racing one, not jogging an event to enjoy the spectacle along the course, or as a training run for an ultra – and hats off to you endurance monsters who can do things like that, because I certainly couldn’t.)  If you’re an older runner, like me, you’ll need a month, minimum, to recover from your last race. Another month to get back to some semblance of your running routine. Another three months or so to ramp your training back up.

Add to that the logistics of finding a race aligned with your training calendar (not to mention the rest of your life) and, well, you will have plenty of time to ponder your marathon training vices. In my case, that means birds, booze and blogging. Continue reading

Chasing Boston (part 1: why)

Screenshot (18)Once upon a time, I didn’t care about running the Boston Marathon.

I had my reasons. There was my New York chauvinism (even back then, when I lived in Detroit): the New York City Marathon is just a better race, I declared, before I’d run either one. There was my desire to seem quirky and iconoclastic, gleefully puncturing the assumption that I had run, or at least aspired to run, Boston (“Boston? Nah, for some reason I’ve never been interested. What I really want to run is the Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton, Ontario. Did you know that race is actually older than Boston?”). There was my aversion to training hard through the Michigan winter. And, I’m ashamed to admit, there was snobbery. Weren’t those vaunted Boston qualifying standards a little, well, soft?

In my not-so-youthful arrogance, with two Boston-qualifying races to my name, I figured that if I ever changed my mind, I could always shuffle my way to another BQ. The standards just get easier with age, after all, and I had plenty of time.

Then came my cancer year. Continue reading