This week I deliberately waited to post my marathon update until Monday – because we are ONE WEEK away from the marathon! I’m getting chills, folks.
On Saturday we had our final big coalition run of our entire training – a little over 9 miles on the course. We started out at Revolution Fitness as usual, but only for the talking portion of the day. This involved all of the team managers giving shout-outs to their top fundraisers, followed by Coach Rick giving us our last pep talk and answering any questions we had. While I didn’t come with any questions myself, those of others were extremely helpful and I’m glad I didn’t skip the meeting as I originally intended. Perhaps most useful was Rick’s advice about breakfast before marathon day, although I didn’t know it at first. He eats a bowl of oatmeal before he leaves, and brings a bagel to the Athlete’s Village. This sounded, in the words of Nandi, like a Mack Truck’s worth of food to me, but by the end of the day I was a convert.
After the final questions were answered we all trooped down to Copley to take the D Line to Woodland Station. This is the stop at Newton-Wellesley Hospital – in terms of the course it puts us just before the Newton Hills and about 9 miles out from the finish line. The day was sunny, windy, and a bit chilly – pretty much ideal running weather since the wind was at our backs!
I started at a nice easy pace with my running buddy Lisa, slightly concerned that we were tackling the hills cold. However, once the first one was under my belt I felt good. Really good, in fact. So good that I decided to run the rest of them the way I run the Somerville hills – as hard and fast as I can, slowing on the downhills. What the heck, I thought, it’s only 9 miles!
As I crested Heartbreak, I saw one of the runners from the Boston Debate League team, and suddenly the thought entered my head that I could overtake him. Those of you who know me are probably aware that when it comes to physical endeavors I’m not exactly the most competitive person in the world. (Mental endeavors, such as trivia, are another matter entirely. I’m out for blood!) Something shifted in me that morning, however, and I knew that simply by keeping it “light, smooth, and easy” as Caballo Blanco recommends, I could pass him. And I WANTED TO, and I did!
At this point I was ahead of all of the other runners in my pace group, and feeling pretty good about it. However, at Cleveland Circle a large group of them managed to cross the street at a much more convenient location than I had, and were well ahead of me. On a normal day, I’d shrug and let it go, but on this day I was determined not to let them beat me. Get ahead of me because of a traffic light? Oh, HELL NO. Keeping the mantra of light, smooth, and easy in my head (along with Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf“), I carefully ate up the lead they’d built, despite further problems with traffic lights. By the St. Mary’s stop on Beacon Street they stopped for water – and I caught them! I finished ahead of all but two of that pack in what was easily the fastest time I’ve ever run nine miles. It was an amazing feeling! I pushed the boundaries of what I thought I was capable of and it was a big success.
It was followed, however, by one of the worst feelings of my life, in the form of some seriously low blood sugar. Remember what I said about Coach Rick’s breakfast advice? Well on this run I’d eaten a bagel, but with all of the talking and then the T ride, it was about four hours gone when I started running. After giving everything I had to the run, I had nothing left. I was irritable, shaky, and my vision began to blur. A hit of chocolate milk made a vast improvement, but I wasn’t fully recovered until Nandi and I grabbed lunch at Porter Exchange – a huge rice bowl with beef, tofu, and eggplant. Lesson learned: I will be eating two breakfasts on Marathon Monday, since there will be a similar lag time between leaving the house and starting the race.
Before I end this, some huge fundraising thank yous! Chashing Bugang, Maggie Taney & Nadia Ibrahim, and Susan Hoye: Thank you so much! I am now at $4,580.40 raised for Boston Partners in Education! Can we take it to $5,000?
Thanks as always to everyone who reads this for their support and encouragement!