In October 2012, I completed the Baystate Marathon in 3:49:45, just about 15 minutes shy of a BQ. For those of you that aren’t aware, unless you run on a corporate sponsored team or raise money for charity, you cannot run the Boston Marathon without qualifying. For women between the ages of 18 and 35, you need to run a certified Boston Qualified (BQ) course in 3:35:59 or faster. However, given the popularity of the Boston Marathon, you need to make sure you finish faster than the maximum limit, thanks in part due to the rolling registration policy. In the last several years, if you weren’t approximately 2 minutes faster than the qualifying time, there was no chance you were getting a spot in the race. Ugh.
Anyway, I had no intention of BQ’ing that last marathon training cycle…I didn’t have it in my head that I would be able to run as fast as I did, given that my previous marathon was completed in 4 hours and 24 minutes. It was abysmal and not the race I thought I would run. Yet, with time, more training, a renewed will, and better weather conditions, I was able to shave off about 35 minutes off of my original marathon time to go sub 4 and then some. Now that was a race I knew I could run. I was proud of myself.
(Top picture from Rock n’ Roll San Diego Marathon in 2011 and the bottom picture from the Baystate Marathon in 2012.)
It took some time for me to get back in training following the Baystate Marathon, as I suffered an IT band injury immediately following the race. Even with rest, I couldn’t run more than two miles without excruciating pain in my right knee. I went to physical therapy and rested until the cows came home. Unfortunately, it knocked the running mojo out of me for about 6 months. Even now, if I run too much and don’t incorporate enough foam rolling and strength training, my right leg will ache.
When I did finally get back into the game last spring, I made sure to do it very very slowly but surely. I signed up for the BAA 10k as my first race, and boy, was it a wake up call. I didn’t race again until a half marathon this last December, in order to prevent injury from the racing schedule. Even with the Half Merrython in December, I didn’t put my heart into training, but still completed it in 1 hour and 50 minutes. Wow, still a 1:50 without stellar training. Fast forward to the last several months and I can’t help but notice some significant improvements in running time. I know I’m only getting started.
After watching the Boston Marathon this past Monday, I felt fired up and ready to go. It was an amazing experience for Bostonians and running fans alike. The city came together to put on a great event. I was moved by the strongest and weakest of runners, and spent hours upon hours clapping and cheering for all those that ran. Watching from the sidelines, I knew that I needed to run this event the next chance I could get.
I’ve been racing the fastest in my life. I have to wonder, is it time to start training for another marathon?
The Pro’s: Satisfaction, Healthy Living, Purpose, Goals, More material for blogging (<—this one’s not for real).
The Con’s: Time commitment 4-5 months of training, 5 days of running a week. 1 long run every weekend. Cuts into my social life- every friday night laying relatively low, in order to get up early enough to run anywhere from 10-20 miles for 18 weeks?
Am I even fast enough to BQ, by shaving off another 15-20 minutes from my marathon time? My half marathon race pace PR of 8:05 would need to be sustained for another 13.1 miles. Do it I have it in me? The Baystate Marathon boasts one of the largest number of BQ’ing fields out of all the marathons in the world, with 25% of its registrants earning a spot in the Boston Marathon. Am I ready to run it again?
What would you do? Is it time? Has anyone struggled with this question before?
On Saturday, I competed in the B.A.A. 5k as part of the Distance Medley series hosted by the Boston Athletic Association. This year’s field expanded to include 10,000 runners, as the BAA wanted to include as many runners as possible, allowing us to celebrate our love of Boston following the marathon bombings.
I decided to get up and run to the start of the course instead of cabbing it in. It should have only taken about 3.5 miles, except I made a few errors about where to go and how to get there. In the end, I wound up running 5 miles to the start of the race in Boston Common (as seen in the map below, hahaha whoops). I fueled the whole morning on just a single ripe banana.
Because of the number of runners and the insane (for a 5k!) amount of spectators, the start of the race was a little overwhelming, especially for a 5’2″ tall girl. There was also heightened security and a larger than normal police presence. Furthermore, if you wanted to check your bag, you had to dump all of your belongings into clear bag provided by the BAA, making sure all of the contents were visible. Since I only brought my garmin and armband, I just stored my race t-shirt and a bottle of water I picked up from the poland spring stand. After getting through bag check, I got myself down to the “corrals” to get ready for the start of the race.
Most of the runners only fed in and out of one section of the “corrals”( aka, put yourself next to your projected pace). Given that there were so many people, there were many runners who did not place themselves into the correct location because it was so difficult to get to the back of the line. Unfortunately, this also clogged the entire first mile of the race with many faster runners having to dodge some of the slower ones. Most of us cut the B.A.A. a little slack though, because this race was about uniting together as compared to riding the train to PR city.
One of the best parts of the race was when we eventually ran through the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I did my best to take a picture of it while running but it was really really hard. I almost dropped my phone at this point, but managed to scoop it up before it hit the ground at the last moment. I also happened to get a little teary eyed once I directly passed underneath, which slowed down my pace a bit as my lungs were having a bit of difficulty expanding to full capacity.
I fed into the finishers shoot, which directed us towards our medals and a sweet stash of food, much more than I had even received for many of my half marathon! I also happened to be one of the lucky few that took their picture with the bag and fife band that played the National Anthem at the start of the race, that is…right before the police made sure to shoo us along.
Regardless, I was only about 20 seconds behind my 5k race PR time! Yahoo! I was number 1343 out of about 9000 runners and was 67th out of 844 runners in my age group. Pretty stinkin’ good if you ask me! Splits listed below also include my jog into downtown. I’ve actually found that racing more has improved my racing times, because I’m getting better at the mental game that also comes into play. Duh moment. Who would have thought that racing more meant better race times.
Overall, it was such an honor to be a part of this race and I am so thankful for having gotten the opportunity to take part. Thank you to the BAA for putting on a spectacular event, and for making every runner feel important, despite their experience or pace. It truly is an event that I would recommend all of my Boston friends take part in at least once in their running history. Hey, come July, I might even be able to train you for it!
Did any of you readers participate in a race this weekend? Anyone run the BAA 5k? What was your experience?
Attention Boston area readers! I have the absolute honor and privilege of partnering with Uber, as they focus on the employees who help run this city. Uber is providing an opportunity this weekend for its users to select cars driven by first responders, teachers, firefighters, and other people who help Boston operate as smoothly as it does. This Uber app will connect you with these drivers at the tap of a button.
For this Saturday only April 19th, Uber will be hosting BostonX, a car service that dispatches drivers who lead, protect, and support our community. Uber Boston is giving users the opportunity to request a ride from one of the many Boston firefighters, nurses, police officers, EMT’s, teachers, etc., who partner with Uber as drivers in their spare time. I urge all of you to use this service when you are requesting pickups and drop offs this saturday.
If you have never heard of or used Uber, then you have been missing out for entirely too long. Uber is a car service in use throughout many major cities. I have found that Uber rides are cheaper then the typical cab services. The best part is knowing who they are and when they arrive, so that you don’t have to fight for cabs when the zombie apocalypse begins at 2 a.m. Saturday morning.
As a special opportunity for all first time users, Uber is offering my readers a discount code in order to receive up to $25 off of their first ride. Download the app and use the code: GOLAUREN14 via the link found at: https://get.uber.com/go/golauren14. Not only can residents enjoy the perks of the Uber experience, but for those of you visiting the Boston area, I highly encourage you to download the app and use it whenever you mill about the city.
I will be using BostonX and Uber to help me get down to the starting line of the 6th annual BAA (Boston Athletic Assocation) 5k, which is a yearly event hosted by the same organization that puts on the Boston Marathon.
I am running the race as part of the BAA Distance Medley after having a paid a one time fee in which I participate in the BAA 5k, 10k in June, and Half Marathon in October. The race begins at 8 a.m. in the Boston Common. I imagine that the starting line will tout a sea of blue and gold, for those of you that cannot compete in the Boston Marathon this Monday but who instead want to show our support and love for the beautiful city of Boston.
By downloading the Uber app, you can request a pickup from either an UberX driver (someone’s personal car comes to get you, cheaper than a cab), Taxi, Black Car, or SUV by locating you through the GPS in your phone. All transactions are done through your app, as you are able to link your credit card directly to Uber. Once a car has been dispatched to your location, you are able to get a picture of your driver, several ways to contact them prior to pickup (if necessary), and a map of their location allowing you to track your driver to your door. Chris and I use Uber every weekend to get around the city and find it much more reliable than the cab services in the area.
Sport your blue and yellow this weekend, order a BostonX Uber, and please remember that we are all Boston Strong.
IT’S ALMOST SCHOOL VACATION WEEK!!!!! YAYYYYY!
In the week and a half since my race ended, I’ve been taking it realll eassssy when it comes to running, aka, haven’t been running at all. You can thank my knee hurting for that. But, with the Boston Marathon right around the corner, the city is all abuzz about the happenings and I’m caught up in the excitement.
There is nothing I want more than to BQ (well, that’s not true…I can think of a few others ahead of that). To get there, I have to keep up the miles, continue to practice my speed training, and drop some effing weight….which is apparently never going to happen. So, instead, I just got out there tonight and did what I do best and knocked out some miles. Not necessarily junk miles, but weren’t my best either.
Tomorrow, I just have to get through one more day of school, one more track practice, and then its of to dollar oysters and flowing cocktails at Lineage in Brookline. I cannot wait!!
The rest of the weekend includes celebrating, Easter, and the Boston Marathon. My vote is for Shalane Flanagan, after having watched her CBS interview this past weekend.
#BostonStrong. Love this city.
I hope you all had a nice weekend! On Thursday, I decided it was about time for me to head back to NY, where almost all of my family lives, in order to make a quick visit home. Since I’ll be participating in the BAA 5k on Saturday and then want to attend the Boston Marathon the Monday after, I knew it was going to be difficult to fit in an Easter visit in between. I quickly hopped on the Pike after school and headed into the Albany area on this beautifully warm spring weekend. I had an amazing time and glad I decided to go!
I have some exciting news to share with all of my readers mid-week, but until then, I wanted to let you know about some other exciting news that’s in the works! In an effort to build upon my own training and coaching experiences, I have officially signed up for the Road Runners Club of America’s Coaching Certification Course!
The course will be at the end of June in Hyannis, MA (on the cape) and lasts about 16 hours over the course of two days.
I’m thoroughly excited to take this course, because I’ve been thinking about doing it for the last two years. This is only the second time since deciding to be certified that the course has been in the Massachusetts area, so I knew to jump on the chance within the hour that the email was sent out. I think it even sold out that very evening!
For around $300, and the cost of insurance, I’m hoping that I will finally feeling confident enough to giving out running advice, in addition to taking on beginner runners as clients! I’m so excited to get this process started!
Have any of you become RRCA certified? Pros and Cons? Any exciting news from the weekend?