I know, I know, I know IknowIknowIknowIknow, you’re all amazingly sick of hearing me mention the Boston Marathon, and you’ve already blocked me on Facebook. That’s fine. It’s OK. I know. It’s like that woman who got a hate letter from “friends” because she posted too many pictures of her new baby on Facebook. That’s me, but marathons.
I just want to be clear about some things: This has been my actual least-good training ever, worse than last summer, even. I started at the end of December, after 4 months of no running at all. I could start with 10 minutes of running and increase by 5 minutes (with a step back) every week. I only ran hills exactly twice late in training, did no speedwork at all. I haven’t used gels, have certainly not “dialed in my race day fueling plan,” have any idea what the weather will be like, or know where my non-winter running socks are.
I have to figure out when my bus leaves for Hopkinton, how to get stuff to my running club for the 30K water stop and the post-race hotel room, where and how to meet my cheering family. I don’t even know what I might want at that 30K (18.6 mile) stop. Gels? A ham sandwich? A bunch of Cadbury creme eggs? Some coffee? That is how wacky my training has been. It was a long, cold winter here in Boston, and the weather warmed up so recently I have yet to run in shorts. (Ok, I tried last week but stopped after 2 miles, in pain.)
So for anyone who jokes that I might just PR, or I might surprise myself, or whatever, I say:
This might be my slowest marathon ever. I might be limping and crying by mile 3.
But it will be my best marathon ever. Ever since I first accidentally qualified, I have wanted to run Boston. It’s big. There is so much surrounding it, so much history.
As for my predicted time, which everyone keeps asking me about:
You’re supposed to run a half-marathon in your training, which might give you an idea of your race time. I ran my slowest (and most miserable) half-marathon ever, in 1:48 (yes, I ran a faster half marathon when 7 months pregnant). I stopped and walked several times and cried a lot (side note: WTF is up with me and all the crying in races lately????).
But when I plug that into a race times predictor, it gives me a very optimistic finish time. I don’t think so.
I’m going to start at a comfortable 9:30 pace and hold it for the first half (I hope!). Then I can speed up if I want to. Honestly, after all the running on flat icy paths this winter, the 21-mile course run felt great, stretching my legs on the hills, so there is that to look forward to.
I will try not to let all the excitement get me carried away.
I have never felt less mentally prepared for a marathon and had absolutely less of an idea what to expect, time-wise. I know I can get through it, no problem.
But I also don’t want to wreck myself for the rest of the spring and summer. I have a 21-mile trail race I’m really looking forward to, for one thing. Also walking without crutches, showing up at track, etc. are really nice things.
So, for those of you who are asking when I plan to cross the finish line, I don’t know. Maybe at 3 p.m. Maybe 2:45 p.m.. Maybe 2:35 p.m. if something amazing happens. Maybe 5 p.m. Maybe 6 p.m., dragging my left leg.
I don’t know. Don’t ask me. Track me. You’ll know when I know.
But even if it is my slowest marathon ever, it’s my biggest and my best. It’s going to be a really interesting experience, that’s for sure, the most spectators (and hills) I have ever experienced at a race ever.
What time will I cross the finish line? When I get there.