I ran the Boston Marathon this week! It was the most awesome and scary and exciting and intimidating race I’ve ever done. I was asked to run the prestigious race with the Hyland’s Team (an official sponsor of the Boston Marathon), an all-women’s squad running to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kathrine Switzer’s run. Since I didn’t qualify with a time to get a bib I felt unworthy. I trained hard and really tried to stay positive and believe in myself, but it was hard. Knowing everyone else there was super fast and earned their spot by running a “BQ” made me nervous. So I focused on the crowds, the atmosphere, the experience. Here are six reasons I’m happy with my marathon that have nothing to do with my finish time.
I trained hard and feel in shape.
Even though I was not going to go for a PR in Boston, I trained hard. I did tempo runs (which I never do) and incorporated strength training into my routine (also never do that!). Since I was just aiming to get in good shape, I wasn’t overly concerned with my running times. This helped me focus on my fitness.
I shared my journey—the good, bad and the ugly—on social media.
I was hesitant to use #BostonMarathon on Instagram at first because I knew everyone else using that hashtag was a superior runner. But I wanted to share my journey, however imperfect or random it was with my followers. Putting myself out there knowing I wasn’t the fastest or strongest was hard at first. But it was liberating to share my ups and downs. I’m normal. I have good days and bad days and that’s okay.
I took my mental game up a notch.
I’m going through some tough stuff at home. Running is hard on your body but even harder on your mind. I really had to get in a good place to push myself. I used my mantra “Be Brave” over and over while training, talking about running and sharing my marathon training journey on Instagram.
I had to come up with a race strategy.
I never have a plan for race day. Sure I’ve had goals in the past but I don’t show up with a race plan on what pace I want to run each mile. The Boston Marathon is a challenging course because the first half of the course is either downhill or flat. Then, it has some good rolling hills from miles 16 to 20—plus the infamous Heartbreak Hill. I was warned I had to keep it slow in the beginning or I’d have nothing left at the end. In an effort to NOT embarrass myself I made sure to keep it slow for the first 6 miles. And I tried to leave something in the tank for the hills. It was hard and I still struggled on the hills but I felt better knowing I had a plan.
I did it alone.
I traveled to the Boston Marathon alone. Sure I travel alone for races a lot but this was different because I was just feeling lonely and intimidated in general. I have never felt lonely while going to a race before but for the first time I really wished I had a friend to stay with me and run with me. Two nights before I was leaving to fly from LA to Boston, I started to get very stressed and sad about going alone. Part of me wanted to just stay home. But I pushed myself knowing I would regret it later. I showed up. Sometimes when you’re in a hard place in life that’s all you can do and that’s okay.
I had fun!
The Boston Marathon is the most respected marathon in the world. It was such an honor to be among the best marathon runners on this legendary course. I made sure to take it all in and try to remember it.