Chicago Marathon Week 6 and the Michelob Ultra 13.1 Boston RR

Mr. Docket and I ran the Michelob Ultra 13.1 Boston yesterday.  This was sort of a last minute trip; we had registered but it all depended on how my husband recovered from the Disneyland Half Marathon two weeks ago (he has never done two half marathon two weeks apart).  He is more than halfway done with his quest for 12 HMs in 12 months for the Half Fanatics and has already gotten his second moon for doing the 6 in 6.  He felt pretty good in between and did a good recovery/mileage during the two week period, so he is happy.

In my case, I am training for Chicago and this was supposed to be a tough MP workout.  Specifically, I had to do 2 easy, 8 @ MP, 3 progressive (or as fast as I could).  Since training has been going OK, but this week's HMP workout went horribly, I was a bit nervous of attempting 8 @ MP after traveling the morning prior and being dehydrated.  I wish I had known this would not be the case.

Like I said, training has been going OK, but I have been running everything not tempo/MP at a much more slower pace than in prior sessions.  I know part of it has been that the heat indexes down here have not cooled down from the 95-106F for the last three months and it has been humid as fuck, but I was getting worried.  I have hit all my workouts except the one this Tuesday where I could not breathe and my paces felt horrid, but running most of my easy runs in the 12mm ratio has been partly demoralizing.  Fortunately, every single MP workout has gone well, so that gives me hope.  Chicago, in my mind, is not supposed to be a PR, but a stepping stone to a PR sometime later in the year or next year.  My endurance was damaged too much before and during the SF Marathon fiasco/illness.  But I have improved quickly, at least and this and the other MP workouts have me wondering whether I could squeeze a PR there.  I guess we'll see.

We left Ft. Lauderdale at 7:30am so we barely slept (extra 30 minutes of driving to that airport).  I went to bed past midnight trying to choose all the options I needed to for the NYCM transportation and baggage, since I managed to get a spot to run it the night before.  Very excited for that! I was supposed to run 5 miles on Saturday morning but the 4am alarm was apparently on mute because the next one I heard was the cat waking me up at 5am.  Oh, well.  It was a cutback week after all.

We arrived in Boston at 11am and went straight to the hotel.  We got public transportation set up and went to Faneuil Hall to have lunch at a nice Irish Pub and then take the train all the way to Chestnut Hill to do the packet pickup.  The race was pretty small and there were no corral assignments.  I was very happy about that because then I could start with my husband and smoked him all the way to the finish line. 

We did some sightseeing all afternoon long, doing as much as we could.  We loved Boston.  The people, the places to see, the food, everything was great.  The best part of the late afternoon experience was going into an ice bar and having a martini in 20F.  I was in heaven (my husband was freezing).  I wish I could have pictures for you but both our phones died during the afternoon so there are no pictures.  Sniff.  I guess I have to go back there again!

We were staying at the flagship hotel which was 0.50 miles from the start/finish.  Race start was 8:15am which is super late for us (our races start between 5:30am and 7am) but that allowed us extra time to sleep.  The hotel had a shuttle at 7am to take us there and we took it.  We walked back to the hotel after the race.

The weather was gorgeous, 54F, no humidity, but 18mph winds.   I guess Baboon felt I needed to get the same experience he had the day before?  Sigh.  I felt great, except for the stomach cramps I had all morning.  Fortunately, they calmed down a bit by 8am and we headed to the starting line.  But, thanks to that, I had no food prior to the race (which is normal for me pre-long runs) and the first gel was iffy.

Start: As I said, the race was small, as it had less than 2000 finishers.  We all lined up at the start in one bunch, a girl sang the National Anthem, and then we were off.  I wore one of my Boston Strong bracelets and a shirt that I think reflects the place and time of year:


As with my whole training this time, I am running by HR, so the plan was not to exceed 145 during the first 2 miles, 157 during the MP miles and fuck the HR during the last miles and just do what needs to be done.

AND I WAS FREEZING FOR MOST OF THE RACE! I loved every minute of it.

Miles 1-2: I was in the second half of the "corral" starters and still, half of the field behind me past me. Of course, I had to run the first 2 miles easy, so that was expected.  We'll see how many I could pass when I really start running.  There is a different between 54F and no humidity (50 dewpoint or something) and 95F with 74 dewpoint: I can fucking breathe.  I can run, not sweat, and did I mention I can fucking breathe?  What a concept!  This miles were not flat, though; lots of rolling hills or for us flat runners, rolling mountains.  The miles went by very fast and easy: 11:24, 11:12.

Miles 3-10: This is where I am supposed to pay attention.  My 8 @ 155-157HR (MP).  I start picking up the pace and immediately notice I pass 10-15 people at once, cool.  Usually, I start feeling like death by MP mile # 3 in 90-95F and humid, but I reached Mile 10 and I was like: I am done?  Seriously?  They went that easy.  Unfortunately, this race was similar to my marathon PR race (Ft. Lauderdale Marathon in 2013) where I ran with a headwind almost the whole race.  I could feel the MP being a bit slower than usual and the wind was brutal.  My face is burned slightly from it.  You can see how the wind played with me by the paces I hit: 10:04 (no wind), 10:36, 10:26, 10:30, 10:29, 10:30 (headwind, there you are), 10:19 (barely any wind), 10:30 (headwind).  Fortunately, they felt like a walk in the park, so I grew confident that I could pull these paces or faster depending on the weather.  The terrain here went from a gravel trail to running by the beach (flat, yay), and it is similar to the A1A Ft. Lauderdale Marathon where I had my PR, except, you know, for the 45F difference.  Ha.

Sometime at Mile 8 I saw my husband coming to the turnaround.  He seemed to be doing well and as we said hi, he told me he had to stop at the potties.  I saw him again at Mile 11 as I was exiting the beach and he said he had to stop again.   Thanks for the information, I guess....

Miles 11-13.1:  Now, the fun part started.  Could I run as fast as I could at the end?  Let's find out!  I picked my first victim and passed her within 0.10 miles.  Picked a second one farther away and passed her within 0.40 miles.  Then, I picked this girl I will call the Lulu girl (for obvious reasons).  She was running pretty well and no matter how fast I would run, she would always be the same distance away.  It took me 1.5 miles to pass her but I finally passed her at Mile 12...only to see her prancing by the finish ahead of me t the end.  Grrrr.  Anyway, I felt so good running fast and I was passing so many people, I just targeted everyone and said pass 'em all.  9:51, 9:57, 9:39, 9:03 (0.21 miles).

My target for this workout was 2:15 (11 minutes off PR but still a solid workout).  I ended up with 2:17:28 but with the headwind for most of the race, I think the goal was achieved.  I felt strong throughout and managed some confidence that, although I might not PR in Chicago, I am fucking close.

After I finished, I waited for hubby, talked to people, took my picture:


And then took some pics of hubby as he was finishing.  He finished sub-3, which has been his goal for all the HMs this year (although he did not achieve it in Disneyland due to the same stops he did here, sigh).  And here is us post race:


I really have not really raced a HM in three years and I have no intention of doing so any time soon, but it was nice to run a HM solo and with a challenging pace to see where I am in training.

Thanks for reading.

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