Baystate Marathon. The Recap. 

For Runners-By Runners!

 
If “Run a PR” is high on your running bucket list, do your list a favor and run the Baystate Marathon in Lowell, Massachusetts. In fact, if “Run a BQ” is on there, then register for that bitch RIGHT NOW! I ran Baystate on Sunday and achieved BOTH of those magical running goals. Squeee!  I am still giddy. And probably will be for quite some time. Oh, you’ll still have to do the work. It’s not like you’ll line up and suddenly sprout silver wings on your feet. Although, I bet you might come pretty damn close to doing so. 

This course is fast. And about as flat as they come. Baystate is small by marathon standards (<1500) but it has an enormous heart. It is billed as a marathon “For Runners- By Runners” and it truly is. The quaint expo, the friendly volunteers, stellar porta-potty placement and a wonderful post-race results area, with your results popping up as you walked by, all helped make this race incredibly runner friendly and simple to navigate. The marathon course is two loops- which I didn’t think I would be thrilled about.  However, I didn’t mind it one bit.  

‘Murica.

 The trees and foliage were absolutely beautiful. It’s a New England Fall Marathon along a river. Doesn’t get prettier than that. Is it the most scenic course? No. But let’s be honest, I wasn’t there to Leaf Peep. I had 18 weeks of Hansons Marathon Method Training under my belt. To say I had my game face on would be an understatement. I had my game face, heart, head and legs on. 

The Start. 

The start of the Baystate Marathon will go down in my running history as the most un-stressful, low-key beginning to any race I have ever run. Which is strange considering I was putting all of my eggs in the BQ basket.

Caffeine and Carbs.

 In light of the EPIC stress of days prior, I thought I would be a wreck. I wasn’t. I woke up. We drove. We stopped at Dunkin Donuts for coffee and bagels. We parked then hung out in a nice and toasty Tsongas Center with our other new runner friends. We laughed. We shivered. We lined up, hugged and I momentarily got completely choked up. In that one second I realized: This. Was. It.  All that work. All that effort. I gave my training everything I had. I exhaled those 18 weeks. And inhaled desire. I wanted this. Badly. I was prepared. 

This is My Day. 

And just like that. I was off. 

The First Half

I started running and immediately noticed the 3:45 pace group right up ahead. Huh. This might work. I fell into step with a group of roughly 12 runners. I vowed to not obsess about my Garmin. My Awesome Pacer was handling that. I just relaxed and ran as if on autopilot. It was brilliant. My breathe was even, my legs were light. I had trained my legs to run just shy of this pace. They knew what to do. And they were doing it. Effortlessly. I was stunned. I was mindful of the pace, vowing that if I began to fade, I would keep this group in my sight. I had figured that I would stay with them to the half, assess, then take it from there. The first loop was complete. 

This is My Day. 

I started smiling. 

The Second Half. 

Around mile 14, a New Pacer took over. My Awesome Pacer peeled off, but not before yelling such encouraging words. You are all so strong. I am so proud of all of you!  It was just what I needed to hear. There I was, more than half way through, and I was still hanging with The Cool Kids. ME. I was. I couldn’t believe it. And I felt fantastic. I hadn’t felt fantastic EVER during this training. That was the point of it. Cumulative fatigue. Train your legs to run tired. They were chronically fatigued all throughout training. But not today. Today they were snappy. I decide around mile 17 that I would ease off of the gas a bit. I was concerned about falling apart. This feeling has got to be too good to be true. What if I blow up, lose my shit, and throw it all away because I got greedy? Peer pressure kills PRs.  I didn’t work this hard to toss it away! Screw The Cool Kids! Whoa, Colby. Ease up. I kept them in my sight and ran my own race. I fell into a comfortable rhythm for the next 6 miles. It was cold. And I missed the warmth of The Cool Kids. I carried on, steady, waiting for the other Hoka to drop. It didn’t. 

This is My Day. 

My jaw is set. 

The Last Three Miles. 

I run across the Rourke Bridge. I have lost sight of The Cool Kids. This does not upset me. I am running my own race. Dammit. I glance at my Garmin:  I have three miles left. Only 3. How is that possible? For the first time all day, my legs feel fatigued. I quickly envision worst case scenarios as a mild panic creeps in. If slow by one minute per mile, will I still squeak through? What f I fall? What if I cramp? What if I crash and burn?!?! WHAT IF?!?! 

Stop. Just. Stop. 

What if I just keep running and finish what I started?

This is My Fucking Day. 

I grit my teeth. 

I run those last three miles as hard as I can. This is everything. Everything I have! I make several turns. I hear the finish. My heart overflows. I start smiling. And sobbing. And laughing all at once. I round the bend. I have never felt so strong, so ALIVE in my life. I cross the line. 3:51:23! Three minutes faster than a 6 year old PR. And 25 minutes faster than my average past 3 marathons. I can’t believe it. I sob and yell and fist pump like a Crazy Pants! Tina is there and we hug. Tears. I break down. So does the volunteer who hangs the medal on my neck. 

Christ. You would have thought I won. 

Because I did. 🙂

I did it!

This is My Day.

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52 thoughts on “Baystate Marathon. The Recap. 

  1. LOOK AT THAT HUGE SMILE ON YOUR FACE! YOU LOOK GORGEOUS!!!!

    Dude. Seriously. DUDE. You are incredible. I wanted to ask what your previous PR was and was hoping you’d talk about it in your recap. YOU BROKE A SIX YEAR OLD PR. Also the whole 25 minutes off most of the marathons you’ve run since then is insane. And hearing how good you felt while doing it made me so happy to hear! I am so excited for how this race panned out for you. You worked so hard, and during the hardest time of the year – summer – and it paid off in a HUGE way. I hope you are still drunk on IPAs and stuffed on lobster rolls.

    AHHHHH AND BOSTONNNNN!!! YES!!!!!! It’s like icing on the cake. I hope you ate post race cake…or milkshakes…or something that was not a banana, bagel, or pasta. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

    • IPAs all around! And lobster rolls. Of course. 6 year old PR. TRUESTORY. Not bad for an old broad. 😉 That’s why my confidence was shaky. I honestly believed I would run a good race- should the universe be compliant. But HOW good for me I simply couldn’t imagine. Boston is the icing on the godamn cake! And I’m lickin’ it up!!! Thank you for such heartfelt words. I had a good day. Xoxo

  2. I freaking LOVE that pic and LOVE you!!! You are amazing! I can’t say it enough, AMAZING!! I love you and Tina! GO STRONG WOMEN GO!!!!

  3. A big congratulations! What a story. That is huge to have a PR after six years. Does that mean there’s still hope for me? My best, 3:32 was now two years ago, and I need a 3:25 for a BQ. Guess I have to keep working! Nicely done.

  4. Your face says it all. Wow.
    It has been so freaking inspiring following your journey and to see your hard work pay off, hell, it makes me want to put my big girl Colby panties on and get back to work. Thank you so much for showing all of us what hard work does. YOU ARE AMAZING. ♡

  5. Amazing! Seriously. So incredible to read your updates on what sounded to me like the most hellish training plan ever and then to read about you absolutely ROCKING your race. Congratulations again and again!

  6. I love this. I teared up a little just reading it! (Does that make me creepy??) All your hard work paid off in an amazing way and I want to high five you so hard! Congratulations again!!!

    • VIRTUAL HIGH FIVES ALL AROUND. I was tearing up writing the damn thing. In fact, there’s probably a ton of typos because I hit post, got up to blow my nose and didn’t reread it. No creepiness. Just huge high fives! YES!!! 🙂

  7. WELL DONE!! What an awesome race to have! Sometimes the running gods look kindly on you and the stars all alight. PLUS all your amazing hard work. It sounds like you had an amazing race day! This makes me (slightly) less shitting-my-pants scared about running my own marathon! 😀

    • The Stars were definitely in alignment, Pippa! And the Running Gods were smiling. You know, my very first marathon goal was to NOT shit my pants. Goal: Finish with dignity. That was many moons ago or Colby, Pre-Blog. How’s Shady???

      • Genuinely, that’s my goal. Don’t die and/or have a Paula situation. Shady is very well, stitches have come out, but he’s hating being cooped up indoors all day and not being allowed to run around the garden like a looney. I’m gonna have a word with him about patience, since I somehow managed to get through my injury without killing someone! How’s Oats?

      • Poor Shady. He needs a chat about patience. Maybe Drunk Otis can talk to him. Well actually he would charge him, and then scoop him up with his massive cone. He flipped Evil Beagle over with his cone. She was none too pleased. He’s chomping at the bit to get outside and RUN. He gets his sutures out Wednesday. Then it’s GAME ON.

  8. Oh my gosh – so much happiness! Oozing from your pores, and I’m overflowing with happiness for you! So may of us could only wish for a race so spectacular 😀
    Congrats again Colby, you knocked it out of the park!

  9. Holy hell, LOWELL???? Birthplace of the Black Dog Papa??!!!! It’s no wonder you smacked that bitch into next week. The ol’ Polack was looking down from the heavens on you girl and saying well done crazy woman. Well done. (Thought you were all cried out, didn’t ya? 🙂

  10. Just found your blog from Alison at Inverted Sneakers and I’m so glad I did! 🙂 I ran the Bay State Half Marathon this year while my mom ran the full and we absolutely loved it too. So glad you were able to achieve your goal and earn yourself an AWESOME new marathon PR!

    • Oh, so glad you were there! Great day, wasn’t it? I was a crab while training for it and cannot believe how much I loved it! Had I known what lay ahead, it may have made some of those hot and humid runs more tolerable!! How was the half?

  11. Pingback: Refreshed, Recharged and Reinvigorated. I’m back!  | It's A Marathon AND A Sprint

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