25 days left…
I remember when I was writing the “100 days” blog post and that literally feels like only a couple weeks ago. Time flies when you’re having fun? I know most people wouldn’t classify this type of sport as “fun,” but I dig it 🙂
Since the race is creeping up, I’ve started to do more research on the course itself. There are runners who have dozens of marathons under their belt, some are even ELITE athletes, and they say Boston is the most challenging course they’ve ever done. But because it’s so challenging, it’s also the most rewarding. I wanted to know what I was getting myself into on April 16th so I got a couple books on the course, read a ton of articles and personal blogs, asked former finishers of the race to hear their POV, and I’ve started listening to the official Boston Marathon podcast. But I think the best “research” I could have done was to just run the course itself.
So I did. Last week I went on a run with Heartbreak Hill Running Company & Nike Run Club through the first 13.1 of the course. We covered the start line in Hopkinton, breezed through Ashland and Framingham, got to see some nice views in Natick and then wrapped up in Wellesley. It was really cool to train on the actual road where so many historical races happened years before. Even if I wasn’t running the marathon, this would have been an amazing experience in itself.
I thought the first half was pretty easy for the most part – not too much of an incline, mostly flat road. But I knew the worst was ahead of me because everyone kept saying, “just wait until the hills…”
Well I don’t have to wait that long because I’m going on another long run with the Heartbreakers this Saturday to cover the second half of the course! To prepare for the road ahead, I went to a Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) Marathon Clinic held at the adidas RunBase store this past week. This was SO helpful! Coach Michael McGrane (who is running his 18th Boston Marathon this year, holy shit!), along with a couple folks from the B.A.A. broke down the entire second half and had a Q&A session with some takeaway tips for race.
Coach McGrane took us through the rest of Wellesley, explained the “four hills” in Newton, told us about the final stretch through Brookline, and then the finish line in Boston. Since the hills are coming so late in the race (around mile 16) you really have to focus on conserving your energy throughout the run instead of giving it all you’ve got in the beginning. Since everyone has been telling me about how horrible these hills are since the start of my training, I’ve tried to incorporate stronger pushes towards the end of my runs to get my body ready for that extra activity even when I’m tired.
The session was also great for general race day tips – transportation to the start, what to bring with you, how to fuel during the race, where to meet your family/friends throughout the course and after you finish, etc. It definitely got me excited! Plus, they gave out a ton of free samples of products that will be on the course like Clif energy gels, Hyland’s leg cramp pills, and Gatorade Endurance.
Then a couple days later I got my Runner Passport in the mail! This is basically your “ticket to Boston” – it has your bib number, expo information for the weekend before the race, full course map & station information, and a complete itinerary for the day of.
I’m excited and nervous, but mostly just grateful that I have this incredible opportunity before me. The opportunity to run this race is something that not many people may ever get the chance to do in their lifetime; and for me to be able to do it despite my previous injuries and my short running career is pretty remarkable, in my eyes at least. To top it all off, I get to do this while raising awareness and money for my favorite charity, the ALS Association.
Looking back on the past 100+ days with a smile and looking forward to the next 25 with some fierce determination. Ready to take on this challenge and finally get to wear my official marathon jacket ^ 🙂 Hoping for some sunny skies like this on race day!
Check out my Crowdrise page to donate & help me raise as much as I can for the ALS Association: http://bit.ly/BostonBeginnings262