Boston marathon 2015

24 Apr

Boston marathon 2015 was this past Monday. This was my 7th year in a row of running the Boston marathon and each year each 26.2 mile run has it’s own story and journey and 2015 certainly had a special story and one that will be remembered forever.

As a coach with my business Gotta Have Heart Training I help prepare runners from all over the country, first to qualify for Boston at other marathons, and then once they get in to run Boston and how to handle that course. I love coaching and I love working with these different types of athletes these inspiring everyday people who have a passion for running like I do. These people like myself have full time lives as parents, they work and so on. But we all still give 100% to our running and the level of commitment they have simply makes me smile!

Most of us live in Minnesota that I coach but some live on the West coast and some on the East coast. But for those of us in Minnesota this past winter was actually not so bad and we had pretty good training conditions. In-fact I never had to do a training run on the treadmill all winter! it was awesome!! No matter how cold it got I would bundle up with some other crazy souls and  go outside and run. 2015 Boston was not all about me and some lofty goal for me it was about these other runners who traveled with me to Boston. some of them have run Boston before and some it was their first time. I love the excitement in first time Boston runners it’s so special and fun to see! Boston is the holy grail for marathon runners it’s long tradition, the hard qualifying standards all of it make Boston so special. and if you actually qualify and get to run Boston you can put yourself into a special percentage of elite marathon runners, because only about 5% maybe of all marathon runners ever make it to Boston. So congrats to all of you who made the start line!

The weekend in Boston was beautiful weather filled with the typical stuff, walking the expo checking out new products, dinner in the North end and eating some yummy pasta! A pre-race dinner at Atlantic fish and the always so fun Sunday morning shake out run! Every year I gather the runners I coach and we do a 3mile shake out run that goes along the river and then finishes with a march up Commonwealth to Hereford and that famous turn onto Boylston we run and stop short of the finish line and then do a group photo.

Boston race day, temps about 40-42 degrees, cloudy, headwinds, and rain! the day could have been a pretty good race day minus the rain. the headwinds were not fun but they were not so brutal until about mile 21 of the race so for the last 5miles they kind of drained on you. My goal for my own race this year was to run smart, to try and feel good after the hills and then try and go for it a little. I was not chasing a marathon PR or even a Boston course PR this year I just wanted a smart and solid race. My plan was to be between 2:42-2:45 so before I left for Boston my good friend Andrew said “Don’t run dumb” and that stuck with me. over and over during the race I would say to myself be patient. As typically when I race I go out hard and I push the pace and I challenge myself as long as I can until the legs fail and I limp home or stay strong and finish in glory! So as the miles ticked off and I kept holding myself back feeling good enjoying the race actually seeing some of the sights along the course. The body was holding up and all was well until around mile 8 I took some salt tabs and after that I began to feel bloated in my stomach and by mile 12-13 mile stomach was really feeling sick and ill.  I thought at times I should stop and use the bathroom maybe it would help me but I hate stopping and so I never did I just pushed on. I would have moments of feeling dizzy but just kept one foot in front of the other. This was affecting my nutrition plan also because my stomach felt off and I did not want to take a gel or something and send it into a tailspin. I began to take water at only every other stop as well. Still my body felt OK breathing was always very relaxed and my heart rate was low. I powered through those 4 hills keeping a steady 6:25-6:30 pace (which was slower than I had been running as most my miles were 6:05-6:10 zone before this) after I crested Heartbreak hill and descended upon Boston college I said to myself lets go! I was able to pick up my tempo for 2miles or so but by mile 24 my legs were becoming lead and my body was freezing and cramping and going into a very cold state. Yet I told myself no walking keep running, keep powering through and hit that finish line it will be over soon.  Finally I made it to Boylston street and began that ;last stretch to the finish line. I crossed the finish line and grabbed a volunteer as they held me up and got me a wheelchair. my time was 2:48 a respectable time not quite my goal but I was happy I ran the type of race I had wanted to on that day. As I went into medical tent shivering they took my temperature and I was 93 degrees so they began the process of warming me up and working out the cramps in my legs. My race day was over and I felt satisfied.

But my real glory that day came when I connected with all the runners I coach my friends and I heard their amazing stories of how they battled that course, battled the elements and came out winners with such amazing race times and new shiny finisher medals.  I had some of my runners get marathon PR times like Michelle who went 3:06!!  and Manuela who went 3:15. I had runners get PB times for the Boston course  Todd going 3:10 or Krisana doing a 3:15! Chad, Julie, Kiesha all re-qualified for Boston this day on the course as well!  Ann and Leah ran strong races and Leah actually negative split but they missed re-qualifying for Boston but they both have the hunger to get back and they will! A sad moment but also a moment of strength and courage and the spirit of humanity was when at mile 17.67 Katie went into a medical tent to warm up from being almost hypothermia and then being told she can not go back onto the course because she is in too much pain then took an ambulance ride and had an MRI to be told she has a stress fracture. But this sad event for Katie had a special and meaningful ending one that displays the kind human spirit and just what kind of people I coach and are my friends.  This was Katie first Boston and she was so sad to not finish and get a medal so when she walked into dinner that night post race on crutches and in tears as we all prayed and cried for her Manuela went to her room got her finisher medal and gave it to Katie This is what Team Gotta Have Heart is all about! This moment among so many other moments make Boston 2015 a success! It was a day not about my finish time on the clock but a day about the other athletes who traveled with me trained with me and had such glory that I smile.

Thanks Boston you never disappoint and 2015 was another amazing year! we shall be back!

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