Boston Marathon Prep: Noel’s Reflection on Training, Qualifying and Pre-Thoughts Jitters

Though Noel isn’t into blogging, I love sharing her success in different races, particularly her crowning achievement, qualifying for Boston. I speak with her regularly, so I’ve heard all of the details of training and racing on nearly a day by day basis. Though, I personally have heard of each of her achievements and set backs as they have happened, I still love reading her recap of the past few months. I feel so blessed to have a friend that shares the same passion for running and one that I can look to for guidance, encouragement and of course, friendship. While she’ll be tearing up the streets of Boston, I will be on the sidelines clutching a sign and screaming for dear life. If you happen to be running Boston this year or even just spectating, be sure to look out for her ORANGE race shirt on the course. The shirt has YET to be revealed, but I promise, you will not be disappointed!

Please read Noel’s Boston prep thoughts here:

Less than two weeks from today (exactly 12 days, 306 hours, to be exact) I will be running in the Boston Marathon, and my journey to get there hasn’t quite gone as planned. Last summer I trained tirelessly in the humid early hours of the day in order to reach my goal of running a qualifying time at the Twin Cities Marathon in October. Although I had a few minor problems through my training (sore Achilles, stomach virus), nothing really sidelined me more than a day or two. I was confident I was about to realize my goal. I ran the race in 3 hours and 35 minutes, following my normal gameplan of taking the first several miles out comfortably and then bringing it home strong for a negative split. It was an improvement from my first marathon (Disney 2009) of 28 minutes.

After Twin Cities, it was hard to get myself motivated again. I was elated about my race, but I had reached my goal and was physically and mentally exhausted. It took me a couple of weeks to really get my head back into training. I was able to do so by signing up for multiple shorter races to keep my competitive side satisfied. I re-vamped my training plan to include speedwork and soon found myself winning my age group in 10k’s and 5k’s, finishing 3rd overall in a 5 mile race, and bettering my half marathon time by 4 minutes in 3 months. All the while, I ignored the nagging pain I felt in my right heel after each of my runs. Finally, the pain became too much after the Gasparilla ½ marathon at the end of February. I had already take a few days off before the race to make sure I could get through it, but I pushed myself too much that day and found myself struggling to walk. I made the decision to completely rest my heel for a full week and forced myself to ride the stationary bike for 40 minutes a day. It was boring, and I had no motivation to push myself.

That decision to rest was certainly in my best interest. Otherwise, I don’t know if I would be where I’m at in my training today, just 4 weeks later. The time I took off gave me a chance to re-evaluate why I run and why I love to race. My podiatrist told me if I would’ve kept running, I would have risked tearing my plantar fascia which would have completely sidelined me from Boston, the race I worked so hard to compete in. I want to run for many, many years and have no aspirations of becoming an elite athlete. I just love to get out there, improve my time and race strategy, and feel the energy of other athletes who share the same passion. Missing Boston because I tried to run through pain would have been devastating and downright stupid. But now, I’m running 4 times a week and since my ½ marathon have peaked at 30 miles. Although that’s nothing compared to my peak week of 55 miles before Twin Cities, it’s a lot better than 0 miles! Last Saturday, I finished my longest run since September, 20 miles, and felt great. Sure, my pace wasn’t as strong as it could’ve been had I not gotten injured, but the goal is to cross the finish line and know that I just completed the Boston Marathon. Now, I can’t simply rest of just finishing Boston, so what’s my next goal? of securing an automatic qualifying slot at NYC (running under 3:23) can wait until I race Chicago 2010 🙂

Good luck NOEL!!!!!!!!!!!!

Credit to Greater Boston Photography for this awesome picture



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