The 2016 Boston Marathon: Run Bold

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I’m just going to lead with this: no, I did not run a PR. And I’m okay with it! Let’s just get this out of the way so we can get to the storytelling, shall we?
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3:11:28. A far cry from the 3:05 I’ve been going on and on about. But based on the conditions, I am more than happy with it. Also, I never ran a 3:11 before. I’ve run a 3:10 and a 3:12, but now I’ve completed the trifecta. #itsTheLittleThings

You can train harder than you’ve ever trained before, and try your best to simulate race day conditions for a race. There are always unpredictable variables. It’s the nature of the beast. The marathon – that distance – is no joke and demands respect. Each year, Boston always reminds me of that. Even in perfect conditions, I never seem to remember how hard that course is until I’m running it. Even now, sitting here and reflecting on it I find myself thinking, well there’s so much downhilll…But there’s also uphill, and the late start. The New England weather always proves to be unpredictable, and it’s a crowded course.

It was a hot day, and I just didn’t have it. The heat got to me about a third of the way through the race and I backed off immediately. I know how long of a day it can be on that course if you don’t listen to your body. I was there in 2012 (90 degrees that day) and was happy to come in under the five hour mark that day. So without further adieu, here is my recap!

Saturday, April 16 – The Expo

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We shipped up to Boston around 7am, and headed right to the expo. I quickly found my bib and a free 26.2 Brew at the Sam Adams tent. My parents had given me the obligatory jacket as a birthday gift this year, so I didn’t have any other shopping to do.

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I headed over to the Runner’s World tent to see Bart and Kathleen (friends and neighbors of mine since RW is published in my hometown). I also found Bill, someone Bart had introduced us to when we all traveled to the Marshall Marathon together a few years back.

Quick side note about Bill: he was incarcerated for most of his life and running saved him. I’m not going to get into all the details but he is easily one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met through running. He ran his first 5K in shorts and a polo shirt, and with help and encouragement from Yasso he qualified for Boston just a few years after his release. Bill is an amazing person, and just published a book about his story, called Behind the Wall to the Boston Marathon 2016. If you are looking for a quick read, support him and check out his book!
imageThe expo seemed much crazier than usual this year, so as soon as I found my friends and snapped a few pictures, we headed out. We went to my aunt and uncle’s house in Brookline, who generously open their home to us each year. We hung out with them until it was time to meet some more Lehigh Valley friends out for dinner at a restaurant in Brookline called Hops ‘N Scotch. The restaurant was just okay, but the company was great!
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Sunday, April 17

We woke up when we felt like it, and I headed out around the Charles River for a three mile shakeout run. It was a beautiful day.

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I grabbed a coffee at Starbucks on my way back and got cleaned up for church. After mass, my aunt had brunch for us and we just hung out around her house. I took a nap in the afternoon and stayed off my feet as much as possible. We met my cousin for dinner at Pomodoro, an Italian restaurant in Brookline. I filled up on pasta and bread, and we were back at my aunt’s house and in bed before 9pm.

Marathon Monday, April 18

I woke up with my alarm at 4:30am and had a tiny headache. That worried me, but I ignored it as I made my coffee and got myself together. I went to the bathroom (always a stressful part of the morning. What if I can’t poop?) and refilled my coffee for the road. My husband walked me around the corner to the train stop near my aunt’s house. I take the green line into the city from Brookline – it’s super easy. As we arrived at the train stop, the train was pulling into the station so I was able to get right on.

I still had a slight headache as I got off the T. I took the train to Boyleston, as usual – only to find that I didn’t do my homework. They moved bag check a few blocks closer to the finish line so that you didn’t have to walk to Boston Common after the race. I hadn’t heard this and didn’t read my packet carefully enough to catch it, and got flustered. I was early for the bus and had plenty of time, but I had to walk about a quarter of a mile to drop off my bag. I walked with a guy from Indiana who made the same mistake, and chatting with him eased my anxiety.  Bags were checked, and it was time to go back to Boston Common to load the busses.

Everyone looks homeless in Boston because they don’t allow you to bring your gear to the start since the bombing in 2013. The outfits are pretty awesome and most people try to get something outrageous at a thrift store. All of the clothing at the start gets donated. If you don’t want to wear it racing, you are never going to see it again so you don’t want to wear something that you want back at the finish line. I raid my closet and find something I was going to donate to wear to Hopkinton. 
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I got on the bus and sat in the first seat next to a guy from New Zealand. One of the many things I love about this race is the chance to meet people from all over the world. His name was Aaron, and this was his first time in the US. Boston was going to be his third of the marathon majors since he already did London and Berlin. It’s a long bus ride from the city to Hopkinton, and sitting with him made it fly by.

We reached Athlete’s Village and I headed directly to a porta pot. Once the rest of the busses show up, the lines for the bathrooms are out of control. They have tons of bathrooms, but there are 30,000 runners hydrating for a marathon. It was 8am, two hours before the start of the race. I took a garbage bag that I brought with me and laid it out on the grass. I ate my breakfast (my homemade sweet potato waffles, Just Great Stuff powdered chocolate peanut butter, and a banana) and drank my water with a Lemon Tea Nuun tablet, and dozed off for about 45 minutes. I hit the bathrooms again since the lines didn’t look to horrible, and grabbed a small cup of coffee. I sat back down and got everything together: put on my iPod, got my watch ready, and stuffed my bra with my GU (one of these days, I will review the Lululemon Race Pack bra :). I stood in line one more time for the bathroom, and then it was time to start heading towards our corrals.

The Start

I walked to the start with a guy named Tom from Illinois. He was shooting for about a 3:10 (he ended up running a 3:22), but was worried about the heat. I was starting to get worried about the heat myself. In 2012, when the temps reached the 90s,  I remember sweating before the gun went off. Not only did I shed my throw away clothing pretty early this year, but I was starting to sweat on the walk over to the starting line. It’s about .7 of a mile walk from Athlete’s Village to the start. If I was sweating while walking at a leisurely pace, what was going to happen while running 26.2 miles?

Tom and I weren’t the only one concerned about the heat. We were in wave 1, corral 8 and lined up next to a woman named Emily from Scotland. She’d run a 3:07 in Tokyo but was injured. Like Aaron from the bus ride, she also wanted to run all of the marathon majors. She was hoping to qualify for Chicago (sub- 3:45) since she battling an injury and lucky to be running at all. She told me she trained all winter in crazy Scottish weather, like hail storms, and was a ball of nerves.

I repeated what Megan told me. Don’t breathe. Whether that meant a 6:50 pace or a 7:50 pace, I needed to be mindful of the conditions. After six years, I know this course well. The first time you get shade on the Boston course is when you make that left turn onto Boyleston Street – at mile 26. I was not abandoning my plan for a PR, but I was certainly preparing myself for a different race than I’d trained for. I know what it’s like to bonk on the Boston course, and ultimately that was what I wanted to avoid.

Miles 1-6

The gun went off, and I kept repeating my mantra: Don’t breathe. I also told myself that I was not going to go faster than a 6:50 pace. I suppose I should tell you my goals and thought process for the race. As the weather forecast developed, I had quite a few numbers to prevent me breaking down mentally if things didn’t go my way. It really helps take my mind off of the marks I missed if I still have something to shoot for.

  • Goal A: Sub 3:05- I’d trained for a 3:05. I also felt really strong and thought a sub-3 could be possible depending how I felt at the start of the race. That’s how my PRs always happen: I line up at the start and go for it. It was in the back of my mind, but I wasn’t willing to blow the whole race for a sub-3. The theme of the race this year was #RunBold, so I had to at least try.
  • Goal B: Sub 3:09- I might be able to get into wave one for next year if I could bring it in under 3:09.
  • Goal C: Sub 3:12 – This would be my fastest marathon since 2014.
  • Goal D: Sub 3:14 – This would be a course PR.
  • Goal E: Sub 3:35 – A Boston Qualifier
  • Goal F: Drink all the beer on the course and finish. If this were a 2012 repeat, I was determined to have a fun day and drink my face off with the Boston College kids.

My first mile was a 6:47 and it felt like I was walking. But that’s the name of the game in Boston – there’s so much adrenaline and it’s a net downhill at the start that unreasonable paces feel reasonable. I checked in with my breathing – don’t breathe. I wasn’t. I felt great. These miles felt really good, even though I could feel the sun really heating up. I thought, Holy shit. This might be the day. I took a GU at mile 5, and drank at every single water stop. I was taking in mostly Gatorade. I wanted to try to stay on top of my hydration. Miles 1-6: 6:47, 6:49, 6:46, 6:47, 6:51, 6:45.

Miles 7-9

I started feel a bit warm and uncomfortable, but my legs still felt good. I told myself to relax, and to make sure I wasn’t breathing. I slowed down a little, but as I approached the 15K mark I noticed that the effort was creeping in. I was worried I went out too fast because 9.3 miles into a marathon isn’t when you should be feeling effort. I didn’t panic, I told myself to relax and back off. Goal A was still not off the table if I backed off for a few miles, and I know the last 10K is a fast 10K if I can pace myself accordingly. Back off. Miles 7-9: 6:48, 6:53. 6:54.

Miles 10-13

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That was the end of my sub-7 minute streak, but I still held on nicely and felt really good through these miles. I had a good sweat going by this point, and the sun was relentless. My legs felt good, but I felt some general fatigue in my body, likely due to the rising temperatures. We hadn’t hit the hills yet, and I didn’t want to walk up Heartbreak. I took a GU at mile 10 and noticed it didn’t go down too easily. That normally doesn’t happen to me until after mile 20, so I knew something wasn’t quite right.

These are the miles where I think the course gets super exciting. The first 10 miles are great because there are quite a few spectators and the 10K is huge. When you hit mile 12 and see the Wellesley girls out in the masses kissing the runners, the energy is high. These were my favorite girls in Wellesley:

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I didn’t take that shot but I’m still laughing at how cute they were. For the record, they had on strapless shirts and little shorts and weren’t naked.

I think the course has some uphill grades in these miles because I always seem to lose some steam here, even with the crowds. Miles 10-13: 7:04, 7:04, 7:07, 7:09.

Miles 14-18

I came through the halfway point and it’s hard to explain what I was feeling. My legs felt like they wanted to just GO, but my body didn’t agree. I started to feel nauseous and didn’t want to drink anything, even though I was forcing myself to take at least one sip of something at every single water station. Around 14.5, I saw a sign that I vaguely remembered from my Facebook news feed that morning – it was Susan! I’d been following her blog since early fall and met her very briefly at the Runner’s World Half Marathon. I was so excited to see a familiar face on the course and yelled to her. It took my mind off of running for a bit.

I choked down another GU at mile 15. Part of the problem were my flavors: I LOVE the chocolate peanut butter and caramel macchiato, but I wanted something more refreshing since we were being baked alive. Not only was I feeling nauseous and a bit dizzy, but I realized something. I had to go to the bathroom. And it wasn’t just pee, or I would have just peed my pants (wouldn’t be the first time I did that – totally peed my pants on purpose during the bike segment of a half ironman once).

I wasn’t having stomach cramping or anything like that, I just had to go. I’d gone before the race started so I thought that if I ignored it, it would go away. It didn’t. I cruised through mile 17 and it was the first mile where I thought my pace was noticeably slower and I felt uncomfortable. I told myself I would stop at the next porta potty, which ended up being around mile 18. It was good timing, because it was just before I would hit the hills of Newton. I ducked into a porta pot and was out in record time. Miles 14-18: 7:05, 7:23, 7:09, 7:34, 8:03 (bathroom stop).

Miles 19-21

At this point, I could have achieved that 3:05 but I knew it would mean that the last seven miles had to be perfect. My legs felt like it was a possibility, but my body disagreed. I took the focus off my pace and knew I was likely looking at a Goal B or C kind of day, depending on how my body handled the heat and the hills over the next few miles.

These are the hilliest miles of the race. It feels like you start climbing, and it just keeps coming. One after the other, until finally you reach the top of Heartbreak Hill. At that point it really is all [mostly] downhill from there. While these miles are often not the easiest, the crowds make them so much fun. The amount of people that line this course to cheer on the runners is nothing short of amazing, and each time it keeps me moving up the hill. These were not my fastest miles, but I refused to walk and continued to pass other runners as I looked forward to cresting the hill.

I always think it’s the last 10K that’s fast. In reality, Heartbreak Hill isn’t over until you reach the huge blow up sign at Boston College that tells you The Heartbreak is Over (photo cred: Boston Globe). I look forward to that sight each year!

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Even though these are often the hardest miles in a marathon, these are my most favorite miles of this race. While the weather was not ideal for running, it was perfect for a bunch of college kids to be out drinking their faces off and cheering. That certainly makes it all a whole lot more fun for the runners in the last miles of the marathon. I begrudgingly took a GU at mile 20 even though it was the last thing I wanted. What I really wanted was a beer – and there are usually people handing it out on that course – and I couldn’t FIND ONE! I drink beer around that point every year and with the way I felt, it would have been a welcomed change from the sugary drinks and GU. Miles 19-21: 7:25, 7:46, 8:08 (the top of Heartbreak – whew!).

Miles 22-26

I came around mile 22 and I heard someone scream, “GO ALLISON!” It took me a few seconds to realize I was Allison, and they were cheering for me. I looked over my shoulder and saw a familiar face and yelled back to them. It was my friend Missy’s sister, Julie, and her husband Tom. They live up there and somehow picked me out. It took my marathon brain about a mile to figure out who it actually was.

My legs were still moving and weren’t too fatigued (thank you, HANSONS!) but my body was tired. The best way to explain how I felt was almost like I was in a fog. I was aware of everything going on around me and I was enjoying the crowds, but it was like I was watching it on TV or something. It was the strangest feeling. I continued to feel nauseous and dizzy, so I took a GU at 20 and again at 23 to help me through that final push down Beacon street. I came through mile 24 and saw my husband, Ashley and Mike out cheering.

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I knew they were standing on the left side of the course. I can never remember exactly what mile they are positioned at, so I usually start running down the left side and focusing on the crowds after mile 22. Since I was feeling foggy and dizzy, having something to focus on really helped keep me moving. I spotted them, and it perked me up. About a half mile later, I saw my Uncle Dennis cheering for me. I was almost passed him when it registered: oh hey, I know him! 

That last mile and a half was really like a blur. I crested the last “hill” (really just an incline on an overpass) and passed the infamous Citgo sign. I felt like I was going to pass out but knew the finish line was so close. I spotted the “One Mile to Go” sign, put my head down and focused on just putting one foot in front of the other without tripping. Miles 22-26: 7:26, 7:24, 7:48, 8:00.

Mile 26.2

The thing about Boston is, when you make that right onto Hereford and turn left onto Boyleston, it doesn’t matter what you feel like. I glanced at my watch and knew today, the only PR I would run was a course PR. It was good enough for me. I turned the corner and, oh, could that finish line be any further away? It didn’t matter. As much as I wanted to reach it, I also didn’t want it to be over. This is the moment I wait all year for. This is my happy place. My runner’s high. There was nowhere else in the whole world I’d rather be. Even in less than favorable conditions, I was sad that it was about to be over. Last .2: 7:12 pace.

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I crossed the finish line and walked out of the way, off to the right side and squatted down. There are medics everywhere waiting to help the runners, so one of them (Jamie) made a beeline over to me and asked if I was okay. I told her I just needed a minute, but as I stood up I started to fall over so she grabbed my arm. She wanted me to get in a wheelchair but I said I just needed to walk, so she held my arm and walked me to the medical tent. I sat for a few minutes because I really thought I was going to puke. A few minutes earlier, I was finishing the race and unbelievably hot, but now I felt extremely chilled and had goosebumps.

She got me a water (the last thing I wanted) and made me drink a bit of it while asking me questions to get me to talk and see if I was coherent. I really think I just needed a minute because I stood up again and still felt foggy but I could walk. She walked me over to get my medal, and I grabbed a Mylar blanket. She finally felt satisfied that I could handle it on my own, so I headed to gear check. I changed into some dry clothes, but I was still chilled. I was chilled for the whole train ride back to Brookline and until I got into a hot shower. Not sure what that was all about since it was so freaking warm all day long.

I am extremely proud of this race. It wasn’t the race I trained for, but it also wasn’t the conditions I’d hoped for. That’s the nature of the beast when it comes to marathon running. You spend months training and hope that every variable works in your favor. There are so many variables you can’t control and can go wrong. I might be good enough to run a 3:05 or faster when the conditions are favorable. I am not good enough (yet) to run it when something is not going my way.

I don’t say that to sound negative, because really I mean it to be positive. While the past 18 weeks of training were focused on a specific pace that I did not run, I can say that it undoubtedly prepared me for less than ideal race conditions. There was a time where those conditions would have caused me to finish the race in whatever I could manage, and simply dream of the day I could run a 3:11 in good conditions.image

Despite my best efforts to run a PR, this still ended up being my fastest marathon in two years, and my fastest time I’ve ever run in Boston. A lot of people asked me if I was okay, but how can I be unhappy with it? I am beyond grateful that I was healthy and able to make that trek from Hopkinton to Boston for my sixth consecutive year. Being part of that field is a privilege and something that I will never take for granted. A PR would have just been icing on the cake. I left Boston on Monday after the race, and my heart was full of joy.

 

For most people in Boston this year, the race was a struggle. It was a hard day for everyone – not just me. Is it bad that I take some solace in knowing that we all struggled? It’s not that I want to see anyone struggle, but I’m glad we all struggled together. It demonstrates the strength and resilience of our incredible running community, something we take pride in. We are bold. We are strong. Boston Strong! 

 

Any good stories from Marathon Monday?

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100 Replies to “The 2016 Boston Marathon: Run Bold”

  1. Amazing! I loved reading this. How you are able to maintain the perspective that the heat (and headwind too, I’ve heard) was just one factor you couldn’t control and finish the race feeling happy with your time is awesome. It sounds like Hansons really has you ready for 3:05, you just need the right course and the right weather. Which obviously means you should come back to Charlevoix. I’ll even let you sleep in my guest room so you don’t have to camp 😛

    But seriously, I’ve been so impressed by your training this spring and your perseverance through tough race conditions is so inspiring. You are awesome.

    1. Thank you Heather!! There was a headwind but honestly, it felt good. It didn’t make the pace easier but when it would blow, I was like “ahhhhhhh”! I just got an email the other day about Charlevoix. I would do that in an instant!!!!! I loved that race so much. The only reason I wouldn’t is because I am doing the Kentucky Derby Marathon in two weeks and I think I will take a real recovery after that. Otherwise, I would say see you in June 😉

  2. Excellent race recap, as always! It sounds like you had a pretty darn good race, especially when you consider the conditions of the day. Glad that you didn’t feel too awful post-race after running in the heat. That’s a feat all in itself! Congrats on a 6th and fastest Boston! That 3:05 is in your near future!

  3. ALLISON!!! This is like my favorite race recap ever!!! Congrats on a course PR and a race run so strong! To run like that given the conditions there is such an amazing feat – so proud of you and not just for your physical ability but even more so because you can take such enjoyment from this experience and you don’t take Boston for granted. Boston Marathon is definitely a unique and super special race and there’s an extra spirit to it that I think you definitely embodied out there. This right here chokes me up: “As much as I wanted to reach it, I also didn’t want it to be over. This is the moment I wait all year for. This is my happy place. My runner’s high. There was nowhere else in the whole world I’d rather be. Even in less than favorable conditions, I was sad that it was about to be over.” ❤

    As a side note, I think your feeling of nausea probably came in part from the heat. It sounds a little like my experience in Grandma's marathon. I'd trained with certain GUs and it all worked…until mile 15 of the marathon when I couldn't get it down anymore. I think it's harder to figure out fueling in hot/humid/sunny conditions and when we up the intensity to race in those conditions, our bodies want to rebel.

    1. Aw! I somehow didn’t write back to this 🙂 It was a tough year but as always, I love it there!! It was certainly not the race I trained for and it was a very similar situation from what happened at Grandma’s. It was also very humid that day and our bodies were not used to it, coming from the east coast spring weather! My body didn’t want to cooperate but I am happy with how it ended up. Can’t wait for you to experience Boston!!! xo

  4. I love this so much. You ran such a good race and like you said, I think the training prepared you to fight if conditions were tough. You were prepared. On a perfect day, without the need to battle, you would’ve killed the race, I know it!!

    I’m so proud of you. And inspired. And proud. And so many emotions. I’m just so happy I found you and that I was able to follow this amazing journey of yours. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. Love you, amiga!! Can’t wait to squeeze in you in New York. I might tackle you.

    1. I might tackle you too!! LOL! I agree – that training had me ready to come out swinging on a rough day. Can’t wait to try again in better conditions and see what the result is!!

  5. Great job lady!! Congrats on a Boston PR – You did AWESOME out there. I’m so happy that you have such a positive outlook on everything despite having to run in miserable conditions. It is a really cruel irony, isn’t it – getting a day like that after also having to put up with snow in April?

    Enjoy your recovery (all two weeks of it, lol), you’ve earned it. Everyone is very proud of you!!

  6. Congratulations on such a great race! It’s been fun following your training and it’s so cool that, despite the course and conditions, that you can away so positive and happy with your experience. Congratulations on an incredible marathon performance and thank you for sharing your awesome race summary…it gives us all something to dream about one day!! Cheers!

  7. I was just captivated by your recap and got teary eyed as you described running up Hereford and turning onto Boylston. I’m glad you don’t take that moment for granted. I don’t either. I wish everyone in the world got to experience it.

      1. Well I looked at it because I was like damn he needs to read that, but my brother would not be able to relate at ALL to the religious aspect of the book. Even though I know one doesn’t need to share another’s religious views to find motivation and meaning out of someone’s journey, I just know he wouldn’t be able to do that. However, I might read it!

  8. Congratulations!!! I’ve seen so many reports of people running their slowest marathon ever or of totally crashing and burning at Boston this year because of the conditions. Sounds like you did a great job listening to your body and running smart. From your description of how your legs felt, it sounds like Hansons did a great job preparing you for this race!

    1. Thanks, Katie! It was a rough day. I think many people underestimated how warm it was, and the course is in full sun. Many people went out at goal pace and ignored the heat warnings. I did the same thing – but I knew to back off because it can get ugly on that course!!!

  9. Congratulations on running a great race! Whew, was it hot on Monday! And I was just standing cheering people on. You ran a really strong race, despite the heat and not feeling great. I was at mile 14 and from the sub-3 hour group on people were already walking, grimacing, and looking in rough shape, especially for mile 14 of a marathon. It was so tough to see so much disappointment so early on in the race and my heart went out to everyone who had trained so hard. So glad to hear that you finished strong and most of all, HAPPY!

    1. Thank you Katrina!! I was saying to someone else, I think what happened to a lot of people is they underestimated exactly how warm it was and the fact that there is zero shade on the course. I think people went out at goal pace thinking 70s was no biggie, but since we have that late start and it’s FULL sun, it was. I am happy with the result. Onward!!

  10. i will be completely honest and say that i sometimes will skim a lot of lengthy blog posts, and i read every single word of this and am SO glad i did — because it’s wonderful and amazing and you are wonderful and amazing and i am SO beyond thrilled for you, not only that you ran a course PR and your fastest marathon in 2 years, but because you have such a true love for this sport and admirable spirit and approach (LOVE your grinning pic with your arms in the air!), and you’re such an adorable and strong inspiration. amazing amazing amazing job, my lovely friend! ❤

    1. Awww thank you Shawna!!! I get it – I skim the long ones too – and mine are always soooo wordy, haha! It was a good day – even with not hitting my “a” goal, I am happy with the result! I love that race!!

  11. Congratulations! (same as Shawna above)….I read every single word of this. You totally had me feeling like I was there experiencing this event! It’s so powerful! Amazing you could get a PR on that course with the weather. I assume the toe held up? (I’ve haven’t had much blog reading time lately). Way to inspire others and make us feel like we were there with you. Again, congratulations on your race!

    1. Thanks, Anna!! Yes, my toe held up – sooooo thankful. It started feeling much better earlier that week. It’s still stiff and slightly swollen but it’s significantly better. I think it will take some time before it’s completely healed but it’s definitely not what it was a few weeks ago. Whew!! That was stressful!

  12. Congrats!!! You are amazing and those conditions were hard. A course PR is nothing to be sad about. I’m glad you had such a good time! Get some rest and eat some good food!

  13. Great recap. I went through SO much of what you described; I was in a complete fog, my body rejected GUs that I normally have no issue with, I got a stabbing pain in my stomach and really had to force myself to take fluids because I just didn’t want them. I don’t even really remember parts of the race and don’t feel like I got to take in the crowds because it was all a super overheated blur. It was such a blur that I didn’t realize the same thing was happening to everyone out there. I thought it was just my body shutting down because I was overtrained or overtired or, like, not a runner or something (clearly I was in a bad place during this race). And that’s why I absolutely LOVE your perspective on the experience. You were able to enjoy it even though it was a really tough day. Boston is such an amazing experience and every runner out there really was in it together on Monday. Congrats on your course PR. I have no doubt your overall PR will fall soon, as well. 😊

    1. FINALLY getting to read this. It was SO HARD. I felt great until I didn’t. I went into it fully hopeful that the conditions wouldn’t affect me but as I walked to the start and felt a little sweaty, I was prepared for a slower race. I was still hopeful I would start and it would be fine, but I knew the reality of it. The late start really makes the warm temps and full sun SO HARD. You freaking killed it though. I think you have a sub-3 in your VERY near future 😉

  14. Beautiful, Allison! I’ve enjoyed following your training (and of course will continue!). I find your hard work, faith, and dedication so inspiring. A 3:11 marathon is still so smoking fast!!! I know you’d hoped for faster but like you said, the marathon is a difficult beast to tame. There are so many variables that must be just so for the perfect race to be executed. I felt like I was in a fog in Savannah that’s why I ran only the half…and I’m afraid that I’m in for a similar event next weekend. Nashville’s forecast is calling for a high of 91! Even if all goes south for this race I KNOW I’ve had a solid training season with my fastest 23 mile training run ever. We celebrate the process and our growth. We can take something from each cycle. And I’ll run Savannah again in the fall. Maybe it’ll be cool this year??? I bought Bill’s book! He’s a member of our Transylvania running club on Facebook. 🙂 I think some of my local guy friends know him well. I’m excited to read his story.

    1. Thank you, Jess!!! GOOD LUCK THIS WEEKEND! I will be in Kentucky fighting what looks like very similar temps. I think the early start will be helpful, and I am keeping my fingers crossed for BOTH of us that we can persevere! So excited you bought Bill’s book. He is an amazing guy and I am so thankful to know him. I never met someone with that kind of perspective. He is so humble and thankful for the people in his life, and he just loves to run. Let me know what you think of his story!

      1. I will. 🙂 I’m halfway though and I keep thinking there’s no way that’s this guy…God is so AWESOME!!! How he can take a story like his and rock it right around. I’ll be praying hard for you and crossing all my fingers! 🙂

      2. He really did hit rock bottom. I knew much of his story from talking to him, but reading his book…wow. He writes just like he talks 🙂 You should message him and tell him you read it. He would love to hear that!

  15. Just like I’ve been so impressed with your training, I’m also super impressed with your race. The heat, the nausea, having to go the bathroom, feeling like you were in a fog–you conquered all of them, ran your fastest course time, and focused on the positives through it all. You deserve to be proud! Congratulations!!!

    1. Thanks Jennifer! It was really rough but I really think following Hansons made me strong enough to run a strong race in bad conditions. Started to read your post that YOU are running a marathon – I’m going to finish it later but I wanted to ask you about the Hansons coach you consult. Did you pay to be coached by them, or is Melissa someone you know?

  16. You are amazing. Heat is such a killer. I’m not surprised that you were so chilled. Likely a combo of that heat dehydrating you and loss of salt/electrolytes. Our bodies have amazing ways of responding. Great work pushing through those conditions. I know it wasn’t the time you were hoping for but those hills and that weather don’t make for a happy combo.

    1. Thank you, Sarah! I wasn’t sure if I was just not having a good day or if it was the heat until I felt chilled. That is a tell tale sign for me. I took in extra GU and drank gatorade, but I think my body just wasn’t ready for the heat and it didn’t matter. I’m still happy with it!!!

  17. Congratulations Allison! I tracked you all morning and you ran a great race. I’m so glad you’re at peace with your time and it was a great time- your fastest Boston and your fastest marathon in several years! You had some good PRs on the way to this marathon too and think your training cycle worked out well. You ran a very commendable time and requalified, which is not something many people did- but I’m sure if the weather were better, you could’ve scored that 3:05. I hope you are having a speedy recovery.

    You met so many fun people in Boston and always seem to meet fun people at your races… so neat that you remembered their names and looked up their finish times. Another thing about the throwaway clothes: one of the races here in Charleston gave a thick, warm hoody instead of a t-shirt last year. My friend wore it as her “throwaway” at a race (I think NYC) and gave it to a homeless person bc she knew it would serve him better in the colder temps there.

    I love the purple Boston jacket and how you’re wearing it in your pics. That’s probably my favorite color scheme I’ve seen and I like that you did not wear this year’s in the pre-race pics. I also think you should review that lululemon bra because I will need it if I ever run a marathon!

    1. Thank you Amy! I do agree that with better weather, I might have been closer to that 3:05 mark. That is such a great story about your friend giving her hoodie to a homeless person. It was a really cold day in NYC too – that is so sweet of her. I think the purple might be my favorite one, too. I’ve been wearing the teal one but I still love the purple one. I NEVER wear it before the race – I am way too superstitious for that! I promise to get on reviewing the bra AND writing out some of my how I came to running story like I said I would. Whenever I miss a few days of work, I feel like it takes me a week or so to get back to a place where I don’t neglect my blog and reading everyone else’s!

  18. Incredible race recap. It’s been so great to read about your training and see how well you did at Boston. I’m so proud of you. Congrats!!!!! And many more happy miles to you. xoxoxo

  19. Yay Allison! I loved reading this. You had such a great training cycle and when I was tracking you (sorry – stalker) on Monday I was worried that you were having a bad day. I should have known better! Because you ran the best race for the conditions and got a course PR. In that heat, on the course and not feeling great. I’m so glad that you enjoyed your race and all of those Hanson miles paid off. You are such a great person to follow to get inspiration to go out and work and after reading this it’s clear that you are just a great, positive person. Congrats!

    1. Thank you so much!!!! I definitely didn’t have the day I expected but like you said – I ran based on the conditions. It’s so hard to train for a marathon and not be given ideal conditions for race day, but that’s part of the gamble. I am looking forward to a little recovery after this weekend, and then beginning again!

    1. I have a lot of posts planned for my recovery period, including a review of Hansons and why I am a believer. It is SO worth looking at. It was not my goal time but it wasn’t the conditions I expected either. Thank you for the support, Judith!!

  20. Congratulations on running such a strong race! Everything I’ve read about this Boston makes it sound like a super tough race. There are so many stories about people ending up the medical tents. It may not have been the race you hoped for but you ran a great race- 3:11 is amazing! Congratulations again! Hope you are feeling better after the dizziness and nausea.

    1. Thank you! It was a tough day. Recovery was slow, too! I usually bounce back pretty quickly but I am just now starting to feel better. I think the weather took a lot out of me. It was still so fun!

  21. I’m so impressed with everything you went through and how you made it out the other side. That is awesome. Your confidence is wonderful and I’m glad you were able to hit those goals because you deserve that. It stinks not being able to PR but I think it was a positive cycle for you and with the weather, I don’t know of anyone who did!

    1. Thanks Hollie! I was only a little bummed about the lack of a PR, but I think everything else went really well. My legs felt good and I made it to the starting line. I am thankful for that. I WILL run a marathon PR again someday – just wasn’t the day for it in Boston this year!

  22. i wish you lived closer so you can rub your speediness off on me. I feel similar in my training–like if race day is PERFECT i can hit my goal pace next week–but if i come close and things don’t go my way i’ll still be excited about what happens and what can happen in the fall. Also- your plan F is my new plan F. If all else fails, drink beer and have fun! love it! haha

    1. Awww you have your own speediness, my friend! I am going to send some energy to you this weekend – I think we are both racing on Saturday so I will be thinking of you as I toe the line!!!! And yeah – HOLLA at plan F- if all else fails, drink all of the beer! Cheers and good luck, my friend!

  23. Congrats on a course PR and an excellent race. Loved reading your recap. It seems like the heat got to everyone, from recaps I’ve read. You still had a strong race, so good for you- all your hard work payed off 😊

  24. What a great read! I soaked up every word. I have no doubt that Hanson’s plan got you through that so strong, and I’m glad you recognize just how strong you are instead of getting down on yourself for not hitting 3:05. And you’re totally right about how it does feel better knowing that everyone struggled that day and not just you. You’ll get that 3:05 on the day you’re supposed to get it. It’s waiting for you. ❤

  25. What an amazing experience…I felt like I was there!! I’m sorry you had some physical issues during the race – sometimes it’s just not our day, and honestly only runners can understand that that’s just the truth. It’s not an excuse, it’s just how it is sometimes. That said, it sounds like you pushed through a lot of discomfort and fatigue and let your body do what it has trained for. I love that you both wanted to see the finish and didn’t want it to end!! I don’t think I’ll ever qualify for Boston, but you have inspired me to want to be there someday, even if it’s just to spectate.

    1. Thanks, Ali! My legs were there, but my body wasn’t cooperating and the heat just added to that. It was still such a great day. And never say never, my friend – I said the same thing and here I am, 6 Boston’s later. My first marathon was 4:53 and it took me five tries to qualify for my first Boston under the OLD standard – then, I needed a 3:40, not 3:35! You could TOTALLY DO IT.

  26. I was following you and a bunch of my training team friends online Monday. All my other training team peeps ran slower than they normally do, some much slower. One guy actually passed out on the course, had to crawl to a medical tent, and waited for about 30 minutes before finishing, still until 4 hours. (Runners are crazy.). Another girl, Andrea, who won last year’s Go marathon here in St. Louis and has broken 3 hours many times ran it in 3:13. So I think your performance was really stellar!
    I think you also have a really great attitude and it’s one I share. We have years of running ahead of us and as long as we keep challenging our bodies with different activities, it’s exciting to think of what we’re capable of in the future!

    1. Thanks, Nora! Your comment made me feel great 🙂 Not that I like hearing about other runner’s having tough days, but I feel like we all felt the same way and hearing other stories is comforting. Regardless of the time on the clock, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything else!!! Thanks for the support and for tracking me!!!

  27. Ahhh, such a busy week at work for me that I had to wait until SATURDAY to read your recap! (Because its all about me???)
    Big time congrats on the Boston PR. I think your attitude is so inspiring. So many things are out of your control, and you manage to not let that sway you. You focus on what you can and execute. I want to be more like that!
    Thanks so much for sharing your Boston experience. I love reading it!

    1. You had to wait until Saturday to read it, and it took me until Tuesday to respond and now start catching up in the blog world! Why does a few days off of work mean three times the amount of time to get caught up?! Thank you so much – it was a great day, regardless of the time on the clock 🙂

  28. I LOVE your jacket! And how well deserved. Congratulations on your finish! And thank you for sharing those lovely shots of the Charles River. 🙂

  29. Wow! Your recap gave me goosebumps! Seriously…was on the edge of my seat reading it. Boston just sounds like such a magical race. I would love the opportunity to experience it one day (I’ve got lots of work ahead of me though 😉 ).

    So proud of you! You go girl!

  30. You killed it out there! Top 300! Nice! I’m sorry that I missed it this year (not). My first Boston marathon was 2004, and it hit 85 degrees that day. So I guess I can relate.

    I originally qualified this year, but when they ratcheted up the time, my qualifier was 17 seconds too slow. So I went to Pittsburgh to check out Carnegie Mellon with my daughter instead. She’s been accepted, and wanted to see if it’s right for her. I guess it is. So I’ll be in the poor house for the next decade or so. I don’t mind – Carngeie Mellon looks awesome.

  31. Congrats Allison! You approached the race smartly and listened to your body. I tracked other runners I know who also had a tough time with the heat. You were more than well prepared with your training and a course PR on a tough course like Boston is outstanding. By the way, you looked great in the pic at mile 24! You gonna run it again next year? My goal is to run it in 2019 – 10 yrs after I ran my first Boston.

    1. Thank you!! Yes, I am planning to run again next year – I want to run it as long as I qualify! It is feasible for me because I live close enough to drive and can stay with my aunt. Otherwise, it would be a hefty expense to do every year. I love that race! So hopefully I will still be qualified and running it in 2019 so we can meet up 🙂 Nothing like some advance planning, right?

      1. We can definitely meet up!! It is nice to have family to stay with. The $$ is a reason why I’m spacing it out (not that I can qualify every year…)

      2. Yay!! Yeah, it is a super expensive race. Flights, crazy hotel costs, etc. I would not be able to justify it if I didn’t have my aunt and uncle in Brookline!!

  32. Great job! Tracking you on race day, for the first 15k I was so excited for you. You had a good pace (although in my opinion still few seconds per mile too fast 😉 . But when I saw your splits for the other distances, I knew something was off. You were definitely ready for a PR, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.
    I’m glad to hear that you are happy with your race. It was a tough day to run a marathon, but you did get a Boston PR and you know your training plan worked.
    Keep up the good work and your day will come.

  33. I love this. I hate that we weren’t able to meet. Although I did spot you for a brief fleeting second trucking down the left side of the street on Boylston. I am so goddamn proud of you! Tim had the same race you had- the heat was taxing and he wound up coming in just before you. He was nothing but thrilled. GO HANSONS, GO!!!! I’ll see you ( and Ms. Helly!) in New York!!! I owe you an IPA! Xoxo

    1. OMG YES! Are you cheering or running? I need to get caught up in Blog Land. I am coming to CHEER and we NEED to meet up – I will stay in town for the whole damn weekend and hunt you down if need be! In a really, really, non creeper, non stalker kind of way 🙂

      1. OMFG. I AM CHEERING!!! Which means, WE ARE DRINKING!!!!! Tina is running! I’ve already told her we have broads to meet. And yes, the stalking will begin. And I’d hate for you to block me. I really do enjoy your posts. Even if I have been a shit blogger. I need to catch up! Now that my time will be spent in a state of far less stress (goodbye, toxic old job), I’m returning to normal. Ahhhh. Xoxo

      2. YES WE ARE MEETING. And I WOULD NEVER BLOCK YOU! That is the craziest thing I ever heard!!! I have been crappy at keeping up with everyone the past few weeks with work. One more month and I am free for summer!!!!! (because high school teacher 🙂

      3. That’s going to be my next gig. High School Teacher. What I wouldn’t give for a free summer. I was seriously considering it! Jealous!!! I can’t wait for NY!!!!!!

      4. YES. Teaching gig for sure. But don’t teach “real” classes like Math, English, Science, etc…the electives are where it’s at. You can still have fun doing your job!!!

  34. I read this the second you posted it, but I’m glad I didn’t comment until after Kentucky Derby! So glad you spotted me at mile 14 – I missed most people I was looking for, and really only saw people who spotted me, oops. Glad it gave you a boost, it looked so tough out there so early in the race. Major props for realizing that today wasn’t the day for your A goal, but still pushing to a solid race. There’s a lot to be said for mental toughness when your A goal is out the window. And no matter how tough the day is, running down Boylston somehow makes it all better – it really is a magical moment.

    1. I was soooo happy to spot you!!! I never know anyone cheering before mile 20 and I couldn’t believe I picked you out! It was such a hard day and I was feeling it by the time I saw you. Thanks for being out on the course!!!!

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