Finish line 5

Marathon weekend and Spring weather (hopefully lasting this time) have finally arrived and I think all runners regardless of what event they’re working towards deserve a HUGE pat on the pack for getting through this particularly tough training cycle. For me, as I’ve blogged about previously, it’s been challenging not only because of the crazy weather, but also the Dietetic Internship, which really ramped up in intensity this past month. My taper has unfortunately been accompanied by several weeks of sleep deprivation ending with a bad stomach bug this past week, nevertheless I’m grateful I was able to complete all my long runs without any major injuries and am now here in Boston ready to tackle this historic course for a second time. My stomach is still a bit queasy here and there, but that could just be the carbo-loading!

Official jacket Last NYC run Entering Hopkinton

It felt a little weird to be back in Boston at first, perhaps because we were on the same exact schedule as last year, which brought back a flood of mixed emotions and chaotic memories. E and I drove up from NYC and arrived around 2:30pm yesterday, spent a couple hours at the expo (sadly we missed all the big names this year), paid a visit to the finish line, took a bunch of photos, and then got settled in where we are staying. I opted to wear last year’s official jacket, even though I caved last week and bought a few items from the 2014 line (pictured above) – that jacket is just SO bright.

As I wandered around, it occurred to me how much things have changed since I last ran Boston, both for me – now married and nearly finished with my internship (last year I had just found out I had not matched, which was very upsetting) – and for the race too. That underlying somber element was of course still present, however, with the sun shining and thousands of people in Red Sox and Boston Marathon gear hitting the streets, I felt mostly positivity and solidarity around me. This was clear from the goodies in my race bag and the banners hanging at the expo to the excited smiles of pretty much every person I encountered. When I visited the finish line, I felt even more grateful than I did last year to have the opportunity to support and celebrate this race. It’s bound to be a good one!

Boston Expo Number pickup Expo goodies

I’ve included above some photos from the expo and below, a few at the finish line (including one of the bombing sites – huge lines to get into the running store). I really love the finisher shirt this year (especially the “Boston as One” with the unicorn logo on the back), my new orange headband (my one purchase of the day), and the little race bag packet including a 26.2 sticker, temporary heart tattoo (which I’ll wear on my arm tomorrow) and a bracelet with a lovely message. It was a really nice touch. Good job BAA!

Finish line 3 Boming site Finish line 2

Finish line 4 Finish line 1

I honestly have no idea how tomorrow will go. I am not fighting off injury as I was last year, but I also am less fit and not as well rested. I’m guessing I may be around 3:40-3:45ish, depending on how hard I feel like pushing myself (my slowest marathon time is 3:41:52, to give some context). Either way, I am trying something different tomorrow that I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. I will not be using a pace band, and I will also be covering up my Garmin (I still want to track the run but want to prevent myself from checking my splits) so I can attempt to run “by feel.” I know I’m not going to beat my hard effort from last year (3:36), but I’ve always been curious to see how I would run if I really listened to my body. It will be unsettling and will take a lot of discipline and trust in myself, but I’m excited to try it out. Even if I end up running a more relaxed race and don’t push myself very hard, I’m very interested to see what my splits will look like. I’m generally a pretty steady runner but maybe it’ll help even more – or not.

Race day is predicted to get up to 68 degrees, which is a tad warm for my taste. I’ve run every marathon in my compression tights thus far but last year I regretted that decision within a few miles of the start, so it’s time to finally try out 26.2 miles in shorts. I love my Lululemon shorts and have run many long runs in them over the summer, but my body has changed since then and I haven’t worn them for more than 9M recently…so I’ll have to slap on a ton of body glide on my thighs and hope for the best!

Here are a few more photos from the weekend, including my friend’s adorable puppy, all my gear ready to go and me this afternoon after my last pre-race run!

Carbo loading with Tessa gear check shakeout run

It’s already late afternoon and I have a pile of work to do for my program, but hopefully I can relax a bit tonight too because mentally, I’m feeling pretty worn out. I also have a really early morning tomorrow despite my 10:25am start (wave 2). Like last year, my friend is driving us out to Hopkinton (where we hang out at another friend’s house until closer to race time), and the roads close a bit earlier this year due to heightened security. We’ll probably also have to do a bit more walking to get to the athletes village, but that’s ok. My parents aren’t here this year (they are taking a break after last year) but I’m excited to see E at mile 25 near the Citgo sign, where he cheered for me last year too. I also will have a few other supporters along the course, and have no doubt the crowds will be even louder than usual. I certainly will be needing the encouragement!

Lastly, E and I found out that we got into the Marine Corps Marathon in October. I can’t say I’m psyched for NYC summer training, but I do love fall marathon running and am looking forward to running a new marathon with E, especially one near his hometown. It also means I have another racing opportunity coming up should I want one, which takes even more pressure off my performance tomorrow.

Good luck to everyone running tomorrow! I’m excited to get out there and experience what I can only imagine will be an incredibly unique race.

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