Marathon morning at the Ramsey household always starts off so uneventfully. I wake up before the husband, get Cisco the dog ready for the day, turn on the coffee and go about my morning routine. The one change in our schedule is that instead of the trusty Saab pulling up to the Hingham train station and Bill exiting the car, it travels up to South Boston and deposits me at the L St bathhouse. No wonder I start off the day a little nervous- my routine is not exactly how it should be.
As usual, we traveled out with multiple buses to the start line. My husband often makes fun of my running "cult", but even he agrees that L St is second to none when it comes to Boston. Our club has the opportunity to sit warm in the coach buses, helping each other get the body glide in those odds places and pinning the race numbers on our fellow runners. Gus are tucked into race ready shorts (or skirts in my case!), shoe laces are retied, and hugs are passed around as finish preparations for the miles that lay ahead.
My 3:44 from last year's marathon placed me into the second wave. I chatted amicably with a few ladies about our journey to the start line. And then, all of a sudden, we were off. I randomly found fellow club members Jen M. and Cindy J., and we traded last minutes hugs and well wishes. Though we may have raced the first few steps together, I soon fell into my zone.
Last year, I had my secret goal of running 3:45. I put the pace band on my wrist and just went with it. I am not a creative person, but I am excellent at following directions. I prefer the logic of baking to the flair of cooking. It is just who I am. Needless to say, it worked well for me last year, and I crossed the finish line in 3:44.
I made a lot of promises to myself for this year's race. I knew that if I broke them, I only had myself to blame. However, secretly, I had time goals along with the mental goals that I set. Although I did not have the same fire in my belly, I knew my running had been strong. I discretely placed the 3:40 pace bracelet on my wrist and decided it was go time.
Boston is such a techical course. I knew that the last miles after BC were the toughest, so I needed to place money in the bank to save it for later. I also knew that it is SO important to be steady at the beginning and not waste too much energy too early.
The first part of the race was such a blur. I felt confident and in control. My legs did not feel fresh, but I knew it was because they were not entirely warmed up yet. I did not feel like I was pushing it though, and my internal cruise control was on. I was super excited to see my Framingham cheering section, my friend Jaime and her kids. Olivia, Jaime's daughter, made me a "Go Adrienne" sign, and it totally brightened my day. I stopped and took a few pictures and then it was off to Natick.
Natick brought another surprise- my cousin Maureen was at a water stop that I went through. I was very excited to see her at mile 9. My good mood increased once we entered into Wellesley. I do not really care for the Wellesley scream tunnel, but I love running through Wellesley center. I crossed the half at 1:44:44. Perfect- I did not feel like I was killing myself effortwise and my bank of time was building. (But, seriously, how was I faster here than I was at my half in February?)
I love coming out of Wellesley and up and over the 128 bridge. Taking the turn past NWH builds the excitement for the hills to come. I also just love that L St runners who are not racing wait before the fire station to hand out some high fives for us as preparation for the hills. Rounding the corner on Comm Ave, it was go time. Maybe it hurt just a little bit, but I reminded myself that running was not supposed to feel good all the times. I also decided then that if I was going to hit a wall, bring it on. Walls are meant to be climbed over. I made the conscious choice there that I was going to give it my all for the rest of the race. I did not do this at the Hyannis Half, and I regret not pushing myself.
Earlier in the week, I read some advice on Runner's World that mentally, it is better to think of the Newton section as the Newton "flats" and not the Newton "hills". The hills are actually not awful; it is just the point in the course that they come that give them their bad reputation. As I started up the first hill, my pep talk began. "How many times have you run this hill? Remember, it is flat until Newton town hall after you get through it!" It worked for the next two hills as well, and all of the sudden, I was at BC and the hills were done.
I hit the 35K (about 22 miles) in under 3 hours. Perfect- I was on pace to finish 3:40 even if I ran ten minutes miles. I definitely was slowing down at this point. My quads were not happy with me. It was all mental at this point. I made promises not to give up on myself. I hate mile 24 plus of the marathon. I always give up here at this point. My mantra became "I will not walk. I will not walk." And, mission accomplished- I never did. Sure, I shuffled at times, but walking was not an option.
Turning onto Hereford is one of the best feelings I have ever experienced. Seriously, I think I go back every year just to hit this emotional high. No matter how good or bad the race, knowing it is almost over is exhilarating. I realized that not only was get my time goal, but I was going to be below it. It also hit me that I enjoyed every second of the race. I even appreciated the pain as it made me realize that I was not wimping out. I acted like an athlete and placed it all out there. I gave it my all in this race and I raced smart.
3:36:15- Shock, disbelief, excitement, joy! I was so happy with my time. More importantly, I felt content. I conquered the negative feeling that occured and threatened to derail me. I looked at my insecurities about running and told them to hit the road. I did not give up on myself today and I discovered that I have more strength than I give myself credit for.
4 years ago