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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Boston mini-recap

Our trip to Boston was fun and drama-filled, as my races always are.
Today I'm just doing a little recap of the race itself, then I'll post more about the entire trip later.
First off, there were two factors that would affect my time on Monday:
2. Right before catching our flight Saturday, I went on a quick run. Somehow I spastically tripped and landed hard on my elbows and knees. I skinned my right knee deeply, but I was way more worried about the inflammation and bruising:

As it turned out, the weather was just as brutal as everyone said it would be (or more so). And my knee failed me in late miles, becoming so swollen (perhaps also from sodium and fluid overload as I tried to stay cool) that I could no longer bend it! But it played less of a factor than I thought it would, mostly because I'm so darn tough. Haha.

So the race. We were staying with friends in Lexington, and we borrowed their car so David could drive me to the start. This let me sleep in a little, since we didn't leave until about 6:50 am. It's kind of an ordeal to get to the start - runners get dropped off by buses or drivers, then take another bus to the start village, then walk half a mile to the actual start - but the B.A.A had it together. These people know what they are doing. I wandered into the start village and saw absolutely no one I knew. I was even looking for Varsity Sports jerseys - no luck. I read some of my marathon program, ate two bites of bagel, and headed out to check my bag (here I saw that there are really two start villages, and I guess everyone I knew was in the other half!). Bag drop was supremely easy and organized. I walked to my corral with everyone else and managed to pull off an incredibly tough task. You see, I had agreed to meet an ultra-runner in my corral with a bag of gels. He was running from the finish to the start - and back again. Crazy. I was worried about finding him, but he was right there as I walked up (BTW don't know his first half time, but he ran the last 26.2 in 4:15!).
Something awesome happened in the corral. An astoundingly talented runner, Joy, sometimes reads this blog. I'm friends with her on Facebook, and I'd put up a picture of my knee on Saturday. Well, a runner next to me was bent over tying her shoe and exclaimed, "Grace!" It was Joy! She recognized me KNEE INJURY!!! 
Joy, can I use your full name so everyone can look up your stats and be in awe?
We started and I was 5 min off the gun. I decided to go out at goal pace for 3 miles, see how I felt, and re-adjust (goal pace was 7:05). I loved being surrounded by so much talent as we started. Everyone worked so hard for this and looked so strong. Well, three miles in it was already very hot. I knew the announcers had said the temp was 80 F at the wheelchair start! That's before 9:30 am! At 3 miles, I knew I would overheat and fall apart at this pace. I slowed down to around 7:40 or 7:45 pace. I wanted to enjoy the Boston experience, so why not at a slower pace? Bonus: this way I might not die of heat stroke!
At mile six a bystander with a yard thermometer was calling out that it was already 86, slow down! It WAS hot. But worse, I was getting a cramp in my quad above my hurt knee. The knee didn't hurt, but it was messing with my stride somehow. I ignored it. 
The crowds were really amazing - cooking out, giving water and candy, holding signs. Whole families come out and cheer. I loved it! I didn't have music (yet) so I could take part in the atmosphere. 
Before the half many people were already walking. Many people were hitting both sides of the road for aid stations (increased congestion). Several people were dropping out. I've never seen so much early walking! I noticed that, despite my conservative pace, I felt HOT. I poured water on my head a few times. 
My friends and David were near mile 17. They were cheering champs! Not that I was doing much to cheer about, just running pretty slowly, thanking all the volunteers (who were incredible), and once in a while giving a high five if the kid was cute enough. At mile 19 some kids were playing badminton and I actually stepped off and batted the shuttlecock back and forth a few times! I happen to love that game. 
At the top of heartbreak hill I stopped to have a beer with some guys, but then it was back to business (look, if I'm going to have a fun run, it's going to be FUN. And the beer was the only cold fluids I got the entire day!).
After that, the loud crowd actually started to annoy me a little. It was getting extremely warm and many people were walking, so basically the crowd was now... yelling at people. "C'mon Ryan! Suck it up! Get  moving!" etc. So I tried to plug in just one ear bud. What ensued was a disaster of chocolate Gu. I forgot I was holding an open packet and ended up getting it inside my ipod. Oddly, it's working fine today. And it smells fantastic!
The biggest disappointment of the day waas my physical failure at mile 25. Here I was, already astonished that I could feel so overheated despite my careful pace, but happy that my muscles were fine when - knee stopped working. Suddenly I couldn't bend it! I looked down and it was very swollen, so the last mile was less a victory lap and more a hobble. And like 50 people passed me. Boo. I couldn't even sprint at the end. But I ran a 3:24:42 and had fun and now I can say I ran Boston! 
So that's my race. 
I will say more about the actual event later, but I did want to quickly add that I got to meet Amanda from Runninghood and she hasn't realized it yet but we're soul sisters. 

I am going to kidnap her and make her run RnR New Orleans with me next year. Oh, yes I am. 


  1. Gracie!! That is amazing that you were able to run a 3:24 with the heat and your knee. I sure hope your knee heals up quickly and isn't anything too serious. GREAT JOB on a terribly difficult day. Wish we had been able to connect!

  2. Great job!! Congratulations on running Boston and on making the best of a tough situation! (And cranking out a pretty impressive time to boot!)

  3. Yikes about the knee and right before the race! The ipod thing is hilarious and would totally happen to me. AMAZING that you did such a great job under all of those conditions and now you CAN say you ran Boston, which is always something nice to say. ;)

  4. YOU ARE INCREDIBLE!! I haven't read this yet and will be back but I've thought of you a ton the past couple days. You have so much talent Gracie. A gifted woman in soooo many ways but running for sure. Such a joy to spend time with you. Even if I was a little absent after the race and rudely messing with my phone. :) You and David are people we really loved spending part of our Boston trip with . And I're a soul sister type of person. Hope we connect again. I especially love that you just rolled with it when I told you what a nice rack you had. ha ha ha. :) Hope to connect again Gracie. Love your energy! Tell DAvid thanks for hanging out with us.

  5. OH so glad you got to meet A-hood! She is awesome and if you're soul sisters, then you certainly are too!

    So glad you didn't die!! Good call slowing down and enjoying the experience.

    A 3:24 in those conditions is amazing!!! It's amazing on a nice day!

  6. You. are. amazing.

    I was so happy to see that you finished and I have no idea how you still managed to run a 3:24!! I may have included you in today's post because you are just so damn inspiring. :)

  7. Nice work - especially given the circumstances. I was tracking you all day! (hope that isn't creepy).

    I hope your knee is on the mend!!

  8. Wow! You are seriously amazing. I was tracking you and was in awe. Congrats on a great race, knee failure and all!

  9. I wish I had balls as big as yours. That's a lot of challenges to overcome in one marathon. I ran my first marathon with a banged up knee (thanks to jerko's TRAMPLING me before crossing the start line) and you kinda need your knees to work and bend to run and everything.

    incredible effort. For real.

  10. You are absolutely incredible. What an amazing time for the conditions and I am glad you didn't die of heat stroke. Jealous that I couldn't join hanging out with you and Amanda. Glad your iPod is working!

  11. This was the most upbeat Boston recap I have read so far! You always have an interesting twist or take on everything and proved you know how to race for fun even in the heat... And yet you still cranked out a 3:24?!! Great race time!

  12. I don't know how you did it. But you are awesome! The knee thing is the pits. Hope that you recover from that quickly. No doubt this would have been a 7:05 pace race for you if your circumstances were different. Come on out to Eugene...2 weeks!

  13. I am so sorry about your knee!!!! It sounds like you did all the right things! Congratulations on running Boston!!!! You inspire me!!!!

  14. You make Amanda look so small! Congrats on your Boston. A 3:24 is nothing to snuff at, especially given the 80+ temps, although you are from NOLA so you should have been acclimated... ;) just kidding.

  15. SO, I found your blog after a shoutout from Caroline and then Amanda speaking of you:) I ended up backreading it for like an HOUR! This is great!! I love your tabs on the top. SO interesting-the way you train- and SO impressive!

    OMG-look at your knee!!! Seriously! Super job out there. Loved reading this report!! I had to withdraw from Boston this year for an injury but I honestly can't imagine having run out there.... You ran and you ran REALLY well for that!!! Congrats on a great race and such a great attitude about it all!!

  16. I kind of figured you'd fare better in the heat than most. :)

    However, I still can't believe you ran in 3:24! Congratulations. I'm now wondering how you fast you'd finish a marathon in cooler weather.

  17. You are incredibly amazing, Gracie! How the heck did you pull that out in that heat? Wow.

    It was one to remember, that's for sure. Rest up and get that knee back in order!

  18. Congratulations!
    And OUCH - that knee looks painful. I hope you get better soon!

  19. Congrats on such a great time, and such a great attitude. Amanda told me a bit about you, impressive woman you are! I live in Arlington, which is the next town over from Lexington:)

    1. I know, I made her late for dinner with you :( I'm sorry!

  20. Amazing that you were able to get a 3:24 with all of the odds stacked against you like that. I refer to you as "that girl who makes her own Gu out of rice and oatmeal" to my husband. I call you "the minimalist" to my running friends. Well, you rocked it!!! You don't need fancy gear and expensive Gus to run fast. You have what it takes. I can't wait to see what else is in store for you (and continue to read and learn from you!!!)

  21. oh this did not look good...and you ran the marathon with your knee like this...aouchy

  22. When I said that I thought you would PR at Boston a while back, I didn't know the weather would turn out to be horrible.

    Real bummer about the knee, hopefully it was just a scrape and it's not anything structurally wrong with it.

    Running a 3:24 despite the hot conditions, your knee pain, and you consciously taking it easy it awesome!