Strong but not smart

Or "How the man in the pink tutu crushed me"

Race Time!

Got into my starting corral with a few minutes to spare. Tried to locate a friend from college but couldn't find her and ended up finding B2's friend K who was planning on running a 3:20 but wanted to start off easy so we decided to go out together.

Seemed like a smart plan at the time. Yeah I easily forgot all about that going out easy-negative split goal once the competitive juices got flowing. Actually I just decided to push myself to the limits and see what would happen.

The first mile was the only mile in the entire race that I felt semi comfortable. From thereon out I was either slightly out of the comfort zone or in the I wonder what the wall feels like, could this be it? zone. I didn't feel bad the first 16 miles but I definitely didn't feel good. I felt like I was pushing, but that was all right, I kind of wanted to know what it felt like to push the whole way. K was obviously feeling stronger than I was. I even tried to talk myself into easing off, but then convinced myself that was a cop out and that those type of negative thoughts wouldn't get me anywhere. (Note to self, self preserving tactics are not necessarily always negative thoughts) So I pushed on keeping step with K through about 12 miles. I speed walked through all the water stops and then would chase down K. Somewhere between 9 and 13 I just couldn't chase him down anymore and had to let him go. I had to run my own race, and 7:40 pace wasn't in the cards.

Around 13 a few guys were downing beers (yes runners in the race) and asked if I would like to partake. I declined. I couldn't believe these guys were drinking beers and running at the same pace as me. Unbelievable!

So I trudged on at a pace that felt slightly uncomfortable up through 15. Got some much needed surges from the wonderful crowds, especially at Wellesley, man those girls can holler. I kept telling myself that if I could hammer through 16-21 it was all "easy going" from then on. I knew that I had trained a lot on hills and felt that my quads were going to be strong through Newton. 16-21 came and went and I didn't go quite as fast as I would have liked, and my quads did not feel strong like they did in Youngstown. They were a wreck. My left calf started to protest early into the hills but I just told it that wasn't an option. Not on Marathon Monday!

I finally crested Heartbreak Hill and I just kept pushing. Unfortunately the effort I was putting forth wasn't resulting in the splits I wanted. I thought for sure with the net decline I would be able to hold a steady 8 minute mile the rest of the race and perhaps still break 3:30 or even PR. But it just wasn't in the cards. My quads were protesting every footstrike. I put my head down and trudged on. I decided to wear my Wild Bill shirt and it did help that I got a lot of cheers "GO Wild Bill!" The drunk Boston College boys got a kick out of the shirt and I exchanged some high fives and declined yet another beer.

Around 22 JD caught me. I don't know how she spotted me but she did. We were both faltering a bit at this point but having her catch me gave me the strength to push hard the next mile or so. I thought she was going to drop and I just kept willing us both on motioning for her to keep with me. As we passed into 24 she found her stride and moved ahead of me. I strived to stay with her but had to fall back. My calves and quads were not on board with that plan.

About this time the man in the pink tutu passed me. I was in disbelief. I muttered outloud "You're killing me man." Either he didn't hear me or he didn't care. He just kept cruising by me. He was getting plenty of cheers :)

I knew my family would be just before 26 so I started looking for them. Just before the newly added hill I saw my sister standing up on the fence waving. So cool. She got some great pics and I continued on. About to trudge through the new dip and rise towards the end, and yes that hill was killer though it was small. The downhill hurt so bad.

I headed up Hereford and finally made the turn onto Boylston. The crowds were great and I gave it my all trying to cruise in under 3:31. I ended up just over at 3:31:04. About 18 minutes better than last year at Boston.

I am extremely pleased with the result, but upset that I didn't run a smarter race. If I would have just eased off at the beginning I may have saved my quads and even ran a bit faster. Lesson learned (hopefully!)

The finish was a bit scary this year. I knew JD was just ahead of me so I tried to hook up with her. We got our Mylar blankets together and then we got held up. Everyone was at a stand still. This huge crowd of runners all in Mylar blankets in the sun and we are not moving. My head started spinning and I felt like I couldn't breathe. JD said she was about to hop the fence. It was really a weird feeling. Thankfully the crowd started to move and I managed to find someone to take my chip off and give me my finishers medal. I made my way to my bag and then to the family meeting area. My mom was there waiting for me. It was pretty surreal. I was pleased but beating myself up a bit. Apparently JD passing me along with the tutu fairy had given my ego a blow :)

But today I am feeling really good about my race. I proved to myself that even running a bold but perhaps not smart race I can still gut it out and get a good finish time. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain and I can honestly say I left nothing in Boston on that course. I was spent at the finish. And perhaps a bit dehydrated :)

Splits as follows, last split is 1.2 (No 26 mile marker, what's up with that?)
8:57.90 (Heartbreak)

I made it home from Boston today. And it was straight into work for me. Nothing like getting back to the real world :)

Tons to post about the whole weekend. Lot sof funny and amusing tales! Had a lot of fun and learned a lot, will have further installments about the weekend in general later with pictures.

Huge thank you's go out to everyone who has supported me in all of my endeavors. Thank you for all of your extremely kind comments. I am overwhelmed.

Especially special thanks go out to my family who drove over 12 hours to support me this weekend. It means so much to me.

And all of my love goes out to my wonderful and supportive husband. I missed you this weekend in Boston but I ran this race for you and I know that you were there with me the whole way. Next year I hope you'll be waiting for me at the finish line! Love you babe.


Bolder said...

great race! great report!!

fortune favors the bold.

who knows, what would have happened if you had gone the negative split route -- when opportunity meets preparation -- sometimes you have to race what the day brings you...

and, that's what you did.

well done elizabeth. well done.

backofpack said...

Great race report and an awesome time! I can't believe you peeled 19 minutes off last year - that is so cool! There isn't anything quite like Boston on Marathon weekend is there? I'm anxious to hear the stories...

Running Jayhawk said...

Wonderful report!! Regardless of how you started, you finished like a madman. I admire your speed, strength and ability to just push right through it!

jeanne said...

what a great recap! Thanks for sharing it. Congrats on a fantastic time!

DaisyDuc said...

Way to dig down deep for a fantastic race! AWEOME JOB!

And don't feel bad about pink tutu know he must have been fast or I don't think he could have got away with that outfit!

Now it is time for some biking...

Flatman said...

Well done! That's a great time, a great race and a great report. Thanks for sharing your journey!


Jay T said...

What an awesome time! Great race, Elizabeth!

I saw you a little after the 16 mile marker on the hill just before the I-95 overpass, but didn't scream loud enough to get your attention. That's okay. You had more important things to concentrate on. :-)

Cliff said...

You rock girl. 19 min over last year is amazing.

That guy with pink tutu..that's what i want to be when i grow up..someday..someday :)

S. Lynne Fremont said...



i enjoyed to read the story...
i'm getting strenght to run some half--marathon but...
keep on...

robtherunner said...

Thanks for the great race report. It is always easy to second guess the decisions we make on race day, but you should definitely be proud of your huge improvement over last year.

Robb said...

An amazing trip Elizabeth. You ran a strong race right from the gun. You certainly inspire! Rest your quads.

Chad Austin said...

Great job, Elizabeth. It was fun to track you while at "work." 19-minutes faster is no small task.

When I ran in 2004, two guys dressed as Superman and Flash Gordon came cruising by me around the halfway point. They had the full tight outfit (long pants and long sleeves) going. Flash even had the hooded mask. Keep in mind it was 85 degrees that day. It still boggles my mind.

Josh said...

Congratulations! Awesome report. Enjoy a nice little break, you've earned it.

Black Knight said...

Honour to Lady Elizabeth duchess of Boston. Another black flag waves over the enemy lands. Great race and great time. You are really fast. Congrats

psbowe said...

Wow, amazing improvement, that's huge, super cool and great recap on the race!

D said...

Awesome that you cut so much time off of last years run! Great job Elizabeth!!

Cy said...

Congrats! Very very proud!

Papa Louie said...

Congratulations on a great adventure race!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Well done, and congratulations! Did I read that correctly, 18 minutes off of last year's time?! That's awesome!

Jessica Deline said...

Congratulations on a great run!!!

trifrog said...

Your perseverance and strength are inspiring. Great job!

iliketoast said...

I think there is always a pink tutu at the end of the marathon. Well sort of metaphorically, if that makes sense.

Be proud of a great run. I especially like how you stuck it out and put the head down.

jeff said...

duh...i can't believe i didn't comment yet. i've read this through bloglines and on your site a couple times now. must have been distracted by the pink tu-tu.

congrats, e! you ran a great race and a 18 minute pr? swiss beef, that's amazing. bummer we didn't get a chance to hook up. i think i'll be less stressed next year and will know how and where to get all the bloggers together.

bask in your success, it was hard earned and you deserve to shine.

Neil said...

Holy crow.
That is fantastic.

Thanks for sharing the experience, E. I know you have worked like crazy for it. It certainly shows.

Are you considering a tutu for next year's run? Apparently, they make you go really fast.

Rae said...

Awesome job on the race!!! You should be so proud! I'm sure any guy brave enough to wear a pink tutu to Boston has got to be hella fast! I'm sure you'll be running Boston for many years to come!

Susan said...

You are awesome E. I keep reading your race report over and over - I'll have to live through you until my day comes!! You totally rock.

Danny said...


(do you think the tutu makes him go faster?)

congratulations again!!

Love2Run said...

Duhh, I'm with Jeff, kept reading your blog looking for the race report until I found it right under my nose. Great report, my quads felt exactly the same way and getting passed by Elvis wasn't fun either. Way to go with sticking with it to the end and live and learn about keeping moving after the race. Good luck with the swimmming and recovery!

Niels Taatgen said...

After just finishing my report of the Buffalo marathon, I typed "marathon pink tutu" in Google, because I had the same experience as you! He got me! See my report on
I am glad I am not alone...