Hard to believe there are only 21 days to go until Marathon Monday.
OK, recap of the last week of training. Monday and Tuesday I rested fromthe busy weekend (and honestly when I woke up Tuesday I had planned to run until I saw it was raining, again!). Wednesday, I just did an easy day on the eliptical. Thursday I did what was probably the last Crossroads run, an out and back on the course, about 8 miles based on time because my garmin didn’t get a signal. Friday, I rested and relaxed.
Saturday, I did a nice easy 6 miler and then met my friend Kristen to drive the course. We headed to Hopkinton around 11:00, the sun was out and it was in the mid 40s; A beautiful day for a drive (or run for everyone that was out running the course). I got a picture of the start line. Worn and faded, it was impossible to even make out the word start in the paint. I wonder if they repaint it every year. Anyway, I got a great picture of me near it, on race day I doubt I’ll even see it as I pass over it with thousands of other runners. I got a picture of the port-o-potties already set up. Then we hopped in the car and headed down 135 towards Boston.
We stopped on the side of the road to get a picture of the “Entering Ashland” sign. Winding down the road, trying to take in the landscape and absorb as much as possible, we honked at runners and cheered them on for their last long run before Boston. We pulled over again to get the “Entering Frammingham” sign and continued on. I missed the Natick and Wellesley signs. We got the Newton sign as a drive by. There was no place to stop. Kristen took a picture of some volunteers at the corner of Washington St. and Commonwealth Ave. They had a mile 17 sign and tent with water and snacks for the runners.
From there the landscape looked familiar, but it is going to be weird to run on the road and not on sidewalks. I can only hope that I still feel good when I hit the hills and I can power up them like I have so many weeks with the Crossroads group. We turned at Walnut St. to get a picture of the John Kelly statue then got back on Comm. Ave. By now we were starving so when we got to Brookline we stopped and ate lunch. It was so much fun, and so exciting to see the whole course before I’m sweaty, suffering, and running the Boston Marathon.
Sunday was the Eastern States 20 miler. I got up early, ate my breakfast, and headed to Hampton Beach to get the bus to Kittery. Got to Kittery and picked a spot on the gymnasium floor to chill out and rest before the race started. I actually fell asleep for a bit. Then the announcer woke me up and I saw some of my friends from my Reach the Beach van last year. We caught up and waited together for the race to start.
The walk to start line seemed longer than it was last year and last year it was pouring rain and freezing cold so it was a little weird and a totally different experience. It was sunny and in the mid-40s. I felt like I might be a little over dressed with my jacket on but reminded myself that once I reached the coast it would be windy and colder. The race started and the runners took off. I settled into a comfortable pace and kept telling myself “it should feel like you’re holding back”. It worked. The first 10 miles went by in a flash and I averaged 10:00 miles with ease. I kept repeating to myself, “Nice and easy, one mile at a time”. The next 5 miles were inland and over rolling hills, pretty and oddly familiar. I wonder if it was just the half in Hamptons course backwards or the Rockfest half backwards. I struggled a little in mile 15 and 16, but then took a gel and got a nice kick of carbs and caffeine. At mile 18 we reached the beach and there was a ridiculous head wind coming off the water. I put my head down and powered through it. I thought to myself “thank you Mother Nature, can I have some more wind please”. With a big smile on my face, I took her challenge and destroyed it. I ran the last 2 miles the fastest and passed a ton of people. I did a 9:20 and an 8:50 for my last two miles. Finished strong and still had gas in the tank. PR’d by about 10 minutes in comparison to last year’s time. Totally pumped and ready for Boston.
Bring on the Taper!!!!