It’s two weeks until the Boston Marathon! Most people I talk to say this must be a dream come true for me. In a way, yes, it absolutely is. But in another way, it’s not quite as simple as that. Boston was never a dream of mine because after my first open marathon (4:48) I was SO FAR away from the qualification standard, so far away from even running under 4 hours, that I couldn’t even dream of running Boston. Yet here I am, 2 weeks away, and it still feels unreal. Almost every run I see someone wearing the famous Boston unicorn jacket and I think “wow, he/she is such a good runner, they’ve run Boston!” and it’s sort of impossible to think that I’m going to get my very own unicorn jacket!
Since running the First Half, I have been happy with my training. It’s been consistent and I’ve felt better mentally since removing pressure from myself to really perform in Boston. Running a marathon hurts at the best of times with the best training and to set a PR, you really have to be willing to suffer. Basically right now, I am just not willing to suffer to get a PR in Boston. It’s just not an important goal for me. I really want to be able to fully enjoy the experience of the crowds and excitement for 42.2km, especially in the last few miles, and I just know myself, that if I am pushing really hard I won’t even notice what’s going on around me, and that’s NOT what I want to happen!
My original goal was 3:29. I have adjusted to a loose goal of 3:39. That would meet the Boston qualifying standard again for me but it wouldn’t be fast enough to gain entry for the 2017 race (I don’t want to run it next year anyway!). However in reality, I’m going to try to be easy on myself and see how I feel on race day as well as taking the weather into account. I am in wave 3, corral 3, starting at 10:50am, so I may not actually start until closer to 11:00am and if it’s a hot day, it’s gonna be a long run through the hottest part of the day! So maybe I will run 3:45? or 4:00? I will run whatever my body will allow me on that day.
The only snafu in my training came in the middle of March, March 18 to be exact. Why do I remember the date? Because it was one month until Boston. I was in Vancouver for a dental meeting and I met up with a friend from high school to run along the sea wall. We hit some trails through Stanley Park and as we were coming down to the sea wall, I was freaking out about the beautiful weather and the ocean and who knows what else, and I didn’t see the drop down to the running path. All of a sudden I crashed onto the pavement. My left knee took all the impact. I did a quick survey that nothing was broken (except my Betty Designs tights) and continued on the rest of the way. Immediately after I stopped running my knee swelled and got really bruised. I couldn’t touch my knee at all. I did not run the day after because I could barely walk normal, and I tried a 5km run the second day which didn’t go great. My knee felt really unstable, like it was going to give out. After about 10 minutes of limping/running it was like my quads and the other leg muscles kicked in and my knee started feeling more stable. I couldn’t go up or down stairs very well and I couldn’t sit or get up from a chair. There were a lot of one legged “squats” going on! Meanwhile I was panicking a bit. I thought it was a mild PCL sprain. I kept running because after the first 10 minutes it would start feeling better but I couldn’t do really anything at the gym, and skiing was actually the worst for it. My knee definitely did not like the lateral movements involved in skiing. Then all of a sudden two weeks after the fall my knee went back to normal! Thank God! I think the fall caused a lot of swelling and fluid build up in my knee that caused pain and prevented normal movement and function. But all’s well that ends well and I’m back to 100%!
My training has been really consistent. My legs have felt the best they ever have, I have very little muscle soreness after any run which I attribute to the weightlifting I started in the fall. I am noticing more general fatigue (normal for two weeks out I think!) especially after the long runs but I seemed to recover pretty well after a day of rest.
At this point I just feel really excited and completely ready to run a marathon and get my unicorn jacket!
(*all photos by Rob Leishman, my personal photographer and running partner!)