Illinois Marathon - Boston Redemption

As I recounted in an earlier post, the Boston Marathon didn't go as expected. Not even close. I fretted for awhile but through an unexpected chain of events ended up registered for the University of Illinois Marathon some 12 days after Boston. Doing back-to-back races is tricky, but when you end up running much slower than your planned pace in the initial race, the long term wear and tear is also greatly reduced.

The Friday after Boston I ran 2 miles on the trails. The next day I ran 10 miles, alternating between marathon pace and easy pace every other mile. Sunday rest. Monday 2 miles easy and 1 mile marathon pace, then some deadlifts. Tuesday rest. Wednesday 5 miles with 2x1 mile at 10K pace. Thursday rest. Friday 4 miles easy.

Friday night before the race was another sleepless, torturous experience just like before Boston. I was ready to skip the race but had a cup of coffee and toed the line.

I dialed back expectations from the start, floating between 6:00 and 6:20, and above all, staying relaxed. A few miles in my left hip and glute started to get tight and painful, echoes of the previous race no doubt, but I knew it was runnable. I focused more on the mental side of things, again, relaxed, and also positive. So often marathons become this pit of despair but I stayed out of that pit. At mile 20 I started slowing down. It wasn't a wall. I just started slipping a bit each mile. By 24 I was ready to be done. The fire was gone. It wasn't tragic but a PR slipped away in those last few miles. I finished in 2:48, and one first Masters (a nice surprise).

It wasn't full redemption from Boston, but it took the edge off. The quick turnaround race is tricky but I pulled it off. What's next? Hopefully a mile PR... and maybe a return visit to Boston off my training methodology instead of someone else's.


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