Boston 2011, two weeks later
Where do I begin…. the beginning I suppose?
I spent most of 2011 preparing for Boston, talking about it, training, avoiding “dangerous” activities (snowboarding, ultimate) only to be struck with some odd foot pain two weeks before the race. I was definitely more devastated than I probably let on. It was the evening after our 23km run out to UBC and back along the beach that it started.
The morning run felt great. Christina and I flew down northwest marine drive. Our average pace was 5:05 for the whole run. I was ready! Then later that evening, I felt a weird pain in the bottom of my foot. I thought/hoped/prayed it was a phantom taper pain. I wrote notes to myself and posted them around my apartment. My mum found this one yesterday.
Two weeks out, I cut back my intensity (mileage was already dwindling due to the taper) and sought physio help. My regular physio was booked until April 14th (I flew to Boston on the 15th) so I got in to the only physio I could. He said it was an inflammation of my post-tibia insertion. I was happy it wasn’t Plantar Fasciatis. He stuck some needles in my foot, calves, IT band. Using a procedure known as IMS. Although it seemed to feel better, I always question these ‘miracle’ type cures. What is the root of the problem?
I was still nervous. I did the last 10 miler a week before the race. Pace was good. Foot didn’t hurt but felt “different” but it did hurt later the day. I decided to do an extreme taper and didn’t run the 7 days before the race.
THE HAY IS IN THE BARN. That was this week’s mantra. I didn’t put it on a post-it though.
But still it was there nagging a bit, having me worry…I had been really lucky in my first two marathons and showed up at the starting line feeling ready, injury free. Boston wasn’t going to be like that.
Race weekend flew by in a blur:
red socks game
race package pick-up
BRC represents, pre-race pasta dinner
But I just wasn’t excited the way I usually would be or should have been. I was in Boston. I was running the freaking Boston marathon….I was more nervous about whether my foot would crap out on me. Running a marathon is painful enough without having to worry about a real injury.
Race morning came and Aly and I rose bright and early to catch our bus to the Athletes Village.
The first half of the race was going super, according to plan. No foot pain. I kept it in check in the first 10km downhill, clocking a split of 50:07, honestly it was easy to go slow as there were a fair number of people around me. I had to laugh at the fools running on the side of the road trying to get ‘ahead’. It looked like a lot of work! I did notice that it was hot. I was happy I’d put on sunscreen and was carrying my own water but shocked at the heat. I hit the half at 1:46:05 and thought, I was on my way to a 3:30 marathon time. I was hoping to excise the 3:40:xx marathon demons.
Then at km 23/24, I got a sharp shooting pain in my foot. It was unbearable; I could not run. I thought I was going to have to sell my Boston 2011 jacket on eBay and show up at dinner that evening medal-less. I was devastated. I stopped and removed my orthotic. Maybe that would help? No, that felt really weird. I stopped and put it back in. Somehow the pain lessened. Running on the side of the foot helped. I decided I was going to cross that line if I crawled over it or if it took me six hours. Luckily neither of these things happened.
I tried to break the race down from there. My family was at mile 17, get there. Then get over the hills to mile 21 and then it’s almost over. The problem with training in kms and racing in miles is that you don’t really have a sense of how bloody long a mile is.
marathon support team in Newton
I tried to soak up the atmosphere as I had to slow my pace. I saw a Santa Claus, a drag queen, kids jumping on trampolines, crazy college kids. I also loved the large adidas signs that lined each town.
hopkinton with excitement
ashland with stride
framingham with confidence
natick with nerve
wellesley with screams
newton with grit
brookline with determination
brookline with ambition
boston with swagger
boston with love
The runners in costume, the children, the families, the ridiculous crowd support. I wished that my ‘babe patrol’ logo was readable and next time I will sew my name on shirt. Yes, there will be a next time.
The second half was truly a blur. I would look at my watch and think okay, if you finish the last 7 km at race pace you can get ‘this’ time . I would then speed up only to have to slow down due to the pain in my foot. I ended up finishing in 3:47:17. Which is a personal worst but also a time i’ve since become quite proud of.
one day, i will look good in race photos, one day
it seemed like it took FOREVER to get our blankets, medals, food, bags and the only thing on my mind was finding my family. I did. We took tons of photos. It was great having them there.
At the hotel I looked at my foot. The bottom was black and blue. I had an ice bath.
Then Alan started messaging me. He couldn’t find Brian. I assumed when we didn’t get a finish time for him it was because his chip malfunctioned. We later found out he was in the hospital. Alan went on a search for him and finally found out what hospital he was at. We were all relieved to hear he was okay.
The next day, I was extremely slow walking. I had to walk on the side of my foot so it wouldn’t hurt but that hurt as my leg was effed up from too much side running/walking. We noticed there was a free injury clinic for runners out in Newton. It was conveniently located right at the subway stop my sister and family had watched the race at. I got the best care ever. I was in within 10 minutes and saw a physiotherapist followed by an orthopaedic surgeon. He determined that the shooting pain in my foot was my plantar fascia tearing. They set me up with a free air cast/boot thing and crutches, with a 4-6 week recovery time.
I was pretty emotional after this. This certainly wasn’t the way I’d envisioned my Boston experience to unfold. I’d never been on crutches and didn’t realize how you can’t do anything for yourself. Luckily I had my sister to take care of me in Boston, and my parents/sister in Chicago (where we vacationed after Boston). My Mum has hung around Vancouver a bit longer to shuttle me to physio etc. My family rules.
Things were put in perspective though when i found out a close university friend passed away unexpectedly the Wednesday evening after the race. So what if i can’t run for 6 weeks? I just ran the freaking Boston marathon. I am lucky.
race mantra, which my sis cleverly put on a sign, runners loved it.