Boston Marathon 2018 Recap (Marathon 27, State 22 – Massachusetts)

IMG_1162Race: The 122nd Boston Marathon

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Time of Year:  Marathon Monday; Patriots’ Day; the third Monday in April

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I Think I’ll Go to Boston… Even With This Bulging Disc

IMG_1055So my last report wasn’t… the best, happiest update.  I was struggling with back pain, and right on the eve of the Boston Marathon, a race I’ve been dreaming about for SEVEN YEARS.  Today I finally  got the results of my MRI and confirmed the diagnosis…

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A Post Titled “My Massage Therapist Says I Can’t Run Today” or “A Huge Pain in the Sacrum”

Where to start?  I’ve asked myself so many times in the past few weeks to put together the timeline… when was the beginning of all this?  Christmas.  I’m pretty sure.  But probably before then.  Let’s just start there.  My husband and I went to Orangetheory in his hometown over the holidays.  It felt great to sweat but after the rowing portion of the class, my lower back felt a little tweaked.  I had been trying to use good form, engaging my core, etc. etc. so I decided that my historically, notoriously tight hip flexors must have pulled something in my back when I was rowing.  My back hurt for a week or two — longer than I expected, but everything felt muscular.  I didn’t think much of it and proceeded with my life…

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New Year, New Goals: Looking to 2018

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Like a lot of people, each year, I set out some goals.  Sometimes I achieve them — like last year, when my goal was to BQ — and sometimes I don’t.  But writing them down is the first step.  For reference, here are my goals from 2016 and from 2017.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I want out of my running going forward, what I want out of my body, what I want out of my life.  Should I try to beat my BQ time from Phoenix?  Should I run an epic 50 miler, or even a 100 miler?  Should I try to shed 20 lbs and see what my body can do when I’m more runner-size?  Should I just give up and get pregnant and resign myself to a life where my body is no longer my own and I am no longer in control and I am no longer the most important person?   With these questions in mind, I’ve mapped out my 2018 goals…

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Boston Marathon Registration, My Next Race, and More RP News!

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Hi all!  I know I’ve been out of it for the past several weeks on this blog, but I’ve been moving to Boulder, starting a new job, buying a house, doing all kinds of home improvement and decorating activities, etc. etc.  I haven’t been running a ton, but I did do the classic Boulder Skyline Traverse a few weekends ago (mostly hiking, admittedly!), swept a portion of the Never Summer 100K, and have done some cool hiking in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.  Photos and other updates available on Instagram.  Now that I’m fairly settled in Boulder, I’m finally getting focused back on races!  MOST IMPORTANTLY…

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How to BQ: Pacing and Nutrition

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I spent years working toward my goal of running a Boston qualifying marathon time.  Recently, it all came together for me at my 21st marathon, the Phoenix Marathon, where I ran a 3:28:56, over six minutes faster than the BQ application cutoff for my age.  This race was obviously a PR for me, but I was shocked with how much I was able to improve over my three most recent races culminating at Phoenix.

First, I PR’d at Chicago with a 3:42.  I credited a fast course, good weather, improved training (mainly Orangetheory and running hills at altitude), and a stronger mental game. (My previous PR of 3:44:46 was achieved way back in 2012; for my thoughts on what went on in the five intervening years, check out my slowdown story and my thoughts about getting back on the BQ wagon.) Two months later, I PR’d again at Kiawah with a 3:37, an unexpected five-minute improvement.  Again, I credited a fast course, good weather, new mental strategies, and my altitude training.  But I also ran negative splits for the first time in a long time, and I felt like that made a huge difference compared to Chicago. Then less than three months after that, after training back at sea level, I PR’d and BQ’d at Phoenix with 3:28:56, a whopping eight minute improvement over Kiawah, and a 13 minute improvement over Chicago in less than five months.

As someone who thought that Chicago might be as good as it gets in terms of race conditions, that 13-minute improvement was unfathomable — especially without significant changes to my training. (During the buildup, I frequently Googled “What is a reasonable marathon time improvement?” and “How long does it take to BQ?”  Here’s my answer!) So what made the difference?

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