Hopefully anyone who is reading my blog knows that one of my other passions—outside of cooking and food—is running, and that you won’t mind reading an update on my goals for 2012.
As you may remember, in late January I ran a half-marathon that qualified me for the New York City Marathon, which takes place November 4. Once I’d accomplished that, however, I started thinking about other races I’d like to do in my lifetime—and anyone who knows anything about the sport knows that the Boston Marathon is a big one for runners.
The race is especially appealing to me because I lived in Boston off and on for six years, and it is where I started to really enjoy running. My running partner at the time, Megan Piper, and I were in Boston trying to make the US Rowing national team, and we went for many runs around the city and along the Charles River. Since leaving Boston, I’ve often returned to compete in the city’s famous fall rowing event, the Head of the Charles Regatta, where I’ve coxed 14 boats.
One week after qualifying for the New York marathon in January, I flew to L.A. and ran in the Surf City USA marathon. This is when I realized I might have a chance to qualify for Boston. My current running partner, Andrea, liked the idea, so she found the Coeur d’Alene Marathon, which is a Boston Qualifier.
Racing in Idaho
The weekend started off well, once we made it to the cabin in Twin Lakes, Idaho, where we were staying. My dad had come over the night before from Montana to cheer me on. The weather was in the mid-60s, and was predicted to reach 70 degrees on race day—which was warmer than what I’d been training in in Seattle.
Race morning, I awoke ready and everything was going as I had planned. At 5:24 a.m., I unplugged my GPS watch from the charger, started writing my pace times on my arm and drinking my coffee. Ten minutes later, I looked at my watch to see how much time until we needed to leave—and my watch still said 5:24. Because I rely on my watch to keep me on track during races, this could be a huge setback. The watch was frozen. And I knew no stores would be open at this time of the morning, at least not where we were going.
My husband and father finished getting ready, and we headed out the door with the plan that I would use my phone as a watch if we couldn’t fix my actual watch. While driving the 30 minutes from the cabin to the start, Jason continued to fiddle with the watch. Miraculously after multiple attempts, it finally came back to life. Whew! Now it just needed to last for 26.2 miles.
Coeur d’Alene is a small marathon, with only about 500 participants (for comparison, Boston gets more than 25,000), so that made it easy to get to the starting line. Andrea and I finished our pre-race tasks and made our way to the starting line with our fan club looking on. Andrea’s husband and three girls were there, as well as my father, my husband, and our two dogs.
Earlier in the week, Andrea and I had talked about how it had been 10 years since my last marathon. Although I often run 10-15 miles, I had not raced in a while. I needed to finish the marathon in 3:45 to qualify in my age group for Boston, but my goal was 3:40—27 minutes faster than my previous marathon time. Despite months of training (long runs, tempo runs, and speed work), this was going to be a challenge with such a small event and no pacers. I knew I would be running by myself in the second half of the race.
The race started well. I was a bit under my goal pace, knowing that at mile 12 I would reach a couple of hills. I wanted to put some time in the bank to allow for fading on the hills. Luckily the clouds stuck around, and the race conditions were perfect with temperatures in the low 50s most of the run. The two hills were longer than I had anticipated and took a lot out of me, but at mile 13 I was right on pace.
By mile 18, I was 2 minutes off, and I knew it would be a challenge to get 3:40 this late in the run. I needed to suck it up and go as fast as I could for the remaining 8 miles.
At 5:30 that morning the “marathon walkers” had started on the course. By 10 a.m., three hours and 20 miles into my marathon, I was surrounded by walkers, making it an added mental challange to keep running. Note to self: Don’t run marathons that allow walkers. 🙂
I finished in a time of 3:45.48. I didn’t hit my goal, but I ran faster than I ever have before, and I beat my PR by 22 minutes. I also learned a lot from the run, and I’m ready for my next challenge. I have two marathons picked out for later this year when I’ll try again to make that Boston Qualifying time. One is in Juneau in July, where Andrea will be running her Alaska marathon.
Andrea (shown here at the finish line with me) was also going for a PR in the Coeur d’Alene Marathon, hoping to run sub 3:30. She finished in 3:27.56, winning the womens’ master’s division. Congratulations, Andrea!
Now back to cooking—I’ve got several great recipes to share with you in the month ahead. In between my training runs, of course.