ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
[personal profile] ilanarama
Two races - one I watched, and one I ran:

Boston Marathon race report: the view from mile 22

I know, I know. I didn't actually run the race. (Reasons detailed in this post, and btw I did end up getting a second cortisone shot.) But I wanted to write a race report anyway.

My hotel had posterboard and markers in the lobby so I made a sign to cheer on my friends. There were so many people I was cheering on that I was afraid if I wrote all their names on the sign, they would have to be tiny. Yet I wanted to be sure they noticed me, so they could see me cheer and get a boost. My solution:


I posted the picture on Facebook and on the RWOL sub-3:20 thread where I hang out, and made sure to tell everyone at the social gatherings I went to that I would be at mile 22 on the left side, a location I settled on after studying the course map and the subway map, wearing my teal 2010 Boston jacket and a red cap.

In the morning I dressed in, basically, all my clothes. Before I left Durango I'd seen that the forecast was for cold rain and wind, so I brought my backpacking rain gear and some warm under-layers; I had three layers on my legs and six on my upper body, plus a hat and gloves and thick wool socks, and had stashed a granola bar and some chocolate in my pocket. I took the Green Line out to Chestnut Hill Avenue and staked out my spot right at the outside curve of the road, where I could look right at the runners approaching before they made the curve. There were already quite a few spectators lining the barriers, but there was still plenty of room.

Despite the clouds and wind, it wasn't raining yet, and people continued to show up to watch. The first wheelchair athletes had apparently gone by quite a while back, and every so often, another would appear on the course to raucous cheers and whiz by - I was standing right where the course began to go downhill, so they were picking up speed as they passed. After fifteen minutes or so, a series of motorcycles and cars came by, and then the lead pack of elite women, who start first of all the runners. Everyone cheered wildly.

More elite women came through singly and in small packs (two canny women were drafting from each other in turns) and then the first elite men came through. The problem with my great viewing spot was that I wasn't able to see either of the lead elite packs because the media vehicles were in the way!

Shortly after it started to rain, my elite friend Rachel came by, looking unhappy and determined (she ran 2:55, nowhere near her PR), and then slowly the faster men started filtering by. I saw some of my running friends here: Oleg waved, and Richard stuck out his arms like an airplane and detached from the pack to buzz me, and I saw Dan but he didn't see me.

More and more runners went by. Some looked miserable. Some grinned and waved at the crowd, and we erupted in louder cheers every time. It was impressive how big the crowd of spectators remained even with the increasingly more dismal weather. The woman next to me had an umbrella, and I asked if I could hold my sign under it as well - I was fine in my rain jacket but the ink on my sign was beginning to run!

More of my friends came by. Some didn't see me until I hollered their names, others called to me and waved. One runner, Sue, came over and gave me a hug! This prompted the woman next to me to say, "Wow, you sure know a lot of people running! Do you live here?" to which I had to admit that not only was I not local, I had actually never met Sue until that instant - we had first 'met' on the RWOL forum, and we're Facebook friends, and we've corresponded by direct message, but never before met in person!

I finally left around 3:30, when I figured all the people I knew had gone by. The marathoners were down to charity runners now, for the most part, and I was astonished at how many of them still looked cheery despite the downpour. I caught the T back into town where I had a late lunch/early dinner with a non-running friend, then went back to my hotel and changed for that night's social gathering.

Tortoise and Hare 5K: the slowest race I've ever won

After my long weekend in Boston, I took the train down to visit my parents in Greenbelt, Maryland. When they drove me back from the train station, we noticed signs up in town advertising the Tortoise and Hare 5K on Saturday morning - as my flight back left Saturday afternoon, I thought it would be fun to run, even though I hadn't run much all month. (Naturally I had running gear with me!)

It turned out to be sponsored by my old nursery school, and would begin at my old elementary school (which is where the nursery school is now) and run two loops around the lake which is across the street from my childhood home (where my parents still live). Memories! I ran twice that week just to remind myself how, but I wasn't expecting much - other than I figured I had a chance to win my age group, since it looked to be a tiny race.

And in fact, not only did I win my age group - I was the first female! (Out of 30. Like I said, small race.)

My official time in the 5K was 24:40, making it the slowest race I have ever won. (7:56 pace, 2 sec/mile slower than the muddy-dirt-road 10K in September 2013, in which I was the first woman and third overall.) I spent much of it trading leads back and forth with the woman who came in second, but I rudely came from behind in the final 0.1 mile and blazed past her with a bigger finishing kick than I honestly thought I had.

I thought my HR data for the race was really interesting. My last several 5Ks have had fairly anemic max HR measurements, such that I have not felt as though I have had a good read on my max, which I would like to update. The thing is, not only did my HR record a clear (and, I think, believable) max at the end of this race, it's substantially higher than what I have believed my max HR is. Which is reasonable, because max HR is lower at higher elevations. So what I really need now is a formula to convert my max HR at sea level to a max HR at altitude!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-29 06:37 am (UTC)
blnchflr: Running (running)
From: [personal profile] blnchflr
I want to read your race report anyway, so how well does that work out?!

Well done on the 5K win, *applauds madly* - slow, whatever.


Date: 2015-04-29 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I saw you!! I'm not on any forums, nor do I know you. I *am* a long-time reader/stalker of your blog, though. Your sign idea was a great one. This comes from a "Jennifer". I can typically ignore 99% of the "GO Jennifer/Jen/Jenny" signs along any marathon course. When I saw yours, though, I immediately knew who you were and the realization was fun. Or I was soaked, tired and delirious.
Or all of that.
Thank you for braving the weather and cheering. I'm sure your friends appreciated it even more than a stranger like me.

From Greenlee

Date: 2015-05-03 03:54 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I don't think I saw that sign posted on FB! It's awesome! Sounds like a great day at Boston and everyone was lucky to have our support. And huge congrats on the win! So what if it was a small race, you still won!


ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)

August 2017

131415 16171819
20212223 242526

My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @


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