Race report: Baystate Marathon

By | October 28, 2017

October 22, 2017


Lowell, MA

Holy crap. I ran a marathon.

Back story: Manchester City Marathon was supposed to be my first marathon last year. I trained through an injury all season and a month and a half before Manchester my body quit. I had finally run it into the ground. When it got to the point I needed to take Advil before every run and it still hurt to run I knew I was done. It took the entire season and a fair amount of the off season, a million visits to PT and various doctors, 2 MRIs, chiropractor, six sets of x-rays to finally get the diagnosis that my hip pain was caused from inactive glutes. Meaning my glutes did NOTHING when they should have been doing a solid amount of work. So here I was a quad dominate runner/cyclist trying to figure out how to activate my glutes. And before you say strength train. I did. A lot. But who knew all those moves that I thought I was doing right and looked like I was doing right I was actually doing wrong. In the sense that my body was very proficient at recruiting my back and quads to do all of the work. So I hired a strength coach and we started all the way from the basics. I can’t tell you how many times I left there crying and frustrated because moves that were supposed to be easy, moves I had done a million times, were so fucking hard when he had me change my body position by millimeters to force the glutes to do the work. A couple months later I was running and riding pain free 🙂 a year later, I have had zero hip pain. Drew is amazing! It also took him about 5 min into my first eval with him to tell me what was wrong with me. He knew right off the bat my glutes didn’t do any work and even though all of my pain was on the right it was because I was asking a weak right glute to do double the work because my left glute was weaker than weak. So it was months and months of come on Mia get lefty to fire. I mean to the point where if I didn’t feel my glutes screaming, especially the left, we would stop, reposition my foot, my knee, or my hip, and start again until my glutes were screaming at me. I also still can’t lunge which is annoying.

Ok on to Baystate.

My training was very lackluster. I didn’t have much time after my final 70.3 of the season. I needed my recovery period, and then started ramping up the volume which not much time to do it. I was also in a big funk. I did a lot of 7 mile runs, some lower double digit runs and my final long run was 18 miles. Then taper. I swapped a lot of my mid week runs out for hard rides. But 18 miles got done (and my body hurt so much after) so I was “ready”. I did a lot of my runs by “how much slower can I go and still beat the 13:44 overall cut off pace” yea that’s how much of a funk I was in training.

Friday night Lori and I went to bib pickup. Walked around the expo for a bit and then went out to eat. We ended up at chilis. Ate a bunch of not so healthy food. And of course had a margarita. That’s how you prep for a “just for fun” marathon. Wait what? Is there such a thing as a just for fun marathon??

Saturday morning Lori, Catherine, and I all did Kevin’s race. No racing just a very easy paced 5K to keep the legs loose for the following day. This year they had a post race party at Great North Ale Works. So obviously we had beer. Doing the marathon prep thing right 😜 we also stupidly walked to the party and it was farther than we thought haha so I had way more steps for the day than I probably should have the day before I was going to run forever! Went home and put on compression socks and parked my ass on the couch all afternoon. Obviously after getting all my shit ready for the morning. Oh and I did I mention I ended up with strep for the 4th time this year too? 3rd in the last month. Yea back in antibiotics again. But this time they put me on Keflex which they wanted to do the last round but couldn’t for a whole separate issue (which made the lead up to Baystate extremely stressful). Anyways Keflex and I don’t have a good history. Bleh.


Race morning:

Up at the ass crack of dawn to be at Lori’s by 5am. My stomach was a disaster from the Keflex so I skipped the applesauce breakfast and just ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich. This was going to be good. Her amazing wife was playing Sherpa for us. She is the best Sherpa ever! You name it, she has it taken care of for you. Yes that includes handing me a bottle of Imodium at their house because my stomach was not playing nice at all. Like I said, Keflex and I have a terrible history. We were on the road at 5:30am. Obviously stopped for coffee because again we were doing this marathon prep thing right 😜 Ate a bagel on the way. Got there around 6am, Porta potty trip complete. Relaxed in the car for a bit. I haven’t felt so sick (with nerves) before a race in a very long time. Zoned out the best I could for a while until it was time to make our way back to the porta potties and the start line. Eek. I would have cried all morning if it weren’t for Lori’s enthusiasm. So many hugs, so much hell yes we’ve got this. Handed off all of our shit to Petra and went to the start line.

Ran around the corral saying hi and good luck to everyone we knew. Mo found us in line. Epic!!

g And we were off. My pace plan called for very very very slow beginning miles. And let me say I know to trust my coach with his plans. He has never steered me wrong in a race, but this plan left no built in room for me to blow up at the end. And let’s be real who isn’t going to blow up at the end of their first marathon, especially after not following a full marathon training plan? I dissected my race plan with Lori and Kevin the day before.

Once we were off I ran as slow as a could and it was still too fast. They were very chatty miles. Lori is so good she even said so uh we need to walk to slow this down. We were not running fast by any means but faster than we should have been running. So we stopped, chatted, took selfies. Had a blast. I felt freaking amazing! Got a good luck text at mile 4 so I took a selfie with the mile 4 sign and sent it back. Better late than never 😜

The first 13 miles went: run, take a selfie at every mile marker (yes Lori had them all written out bc she’s freaking awesome), run, chat away with Mo. Mo’s stories were awesome. She dedicated every mile to someone and we got to hear the stories for the first 13 miles 😍 I ate a cliff bar at mile 9 while Lori used the porta potty. I do better with actual food mixed in with my gels. I took a gel and base salt every 3 miles. Mo left us to go negative split the marathon at the half way point.

Mile 13-16 were still going well. We obviously slowed the pace some because the mental fatigue was setting in. There weren’t many mind games to play at this point. It’s a looped course. I don’t mind looped courses at all. You can’t count miles at the half way point bc saying you only half 13 miles left is a lot. I still felt pretty good physically. And reminded myself I have run 18 miles so no need to fall apart now. That lasted until mile 16. I went somewhere dark then. I was fucking done. I wanted off the course, I didn’t want to finish. I text Kevin and said come fucking get me I’m DONE. Lori talked me through it. Told me all about how she hit the wall around mile 18 of her first. I put my headphones in to try and refocus and the stupid things weren’t working. Of course. So we talked through it, she kept me in the game, I reminded myself that if I done enough 70.3s to know there is a high after every low and I just needed to ride it out. Even though I said I was done I damn well knew there was no way I was walking off this course. We had no time goal other than the cutoff so we took these miles nice and easy. Ha we took the whole race nice and easy. Lori did a Facebook live of me struggling at mile 16 (almost 17) and the laughing and just cursing about how much I hated it helped.

Mile 18 I stated to feel much better. I think it was the happy dance and sheer excitement we were down to single digits that made it better. Kevin responded with only 10.2 to go. Thank god we were down to single digits then bc I would have stabbed him through the phone. You can’t say “only” when there’s still double digits left. I responded with down to 8. But this was also the time my stomach had enough. Not from anything other than the gels and the Gatorade were getting to me. I felt super nauseous. It was also time to take another gel but I couldn’t force it down. Just the thought of having another gel made me sick. I rode it out for another mile and a half and that was all I could take. So I stopped and made myself throw up on the side of the road. Got some water and gel out of my stomach and felt a million times better. My body was hurting some but I felt better.

I felt pretty decent until mile 22. The boost of running through “the wall” at mile 20 was epic! Mile 22 I died. I am pretty sure that is where I died on that course. My body hurt so bad. My feet hurt, my hips hurt, my knees hurt. It hurt to walk, it hurt to run. My knee would give out for a few steps. It was sheer misery. I didn’t want to walk, I didn’t want to run. I also knew at this point we could walk the last 4 miles and still beat the cutoff but I didn’t want to be out there any longer than I had to. As much as my body hurt there was no way in hell I wasn’t finishing this race with 4 miles left. So we ran and we walked. Lori talked me through the rest of the course. I was getting pissy watching the average pace get slower and slower but I couldn’t bring myself to care enough to do anything about it. I had never been on my feet this high impact this long and my body made sure I knew it. Yes, 70.3 race times are longer but the impact from running is shorter.

At mile 25 I stopped and told myself to soak in how much pain I was in. I told myself to remember exactly how much my body hurt right now so I would never ever ever want to do this again. I also got a side stitch around this point. But we kept on trucking. I was also getting emotional that we were so close to finishing. Kevin and Lori definitely carried me through those last miles mentally. I keep thinking about how all through training Kevin kept telling me how much I would hate it and I felt ok with hating it knowing I was doing something right.

Mile 26 came and we just held on. Running those last 0.2 miles were amazing! We could hear the finish line. I wanted it. We got it. The cheers from teammates and friends were amazing in the finisher chute.

Conversation went: how should we cross? I dunno. Let’s just put our hands up. Ok.

Crossed the finish line, arms up, all the fucking smiles, with the best triff in the entire world by my side. Could not have been more perfect.

The first thing I said and loudly was “why the hell did I run a marathon?” The volunteer laughed. Handed me my space blanket. Woooo hoooo finally earned a space blanket. Winning. All the freaking hugs from Lori. Got our medals and off to find people and food. Met up with our teammates. They are amazing for coming out!!

Took my shoes off bc my feet hurt so much. Petra wins the gold star for taking care of me post race. She took my camelbak and my shoes from me.

Sat on the step and ate the best tasting peanut butter and jelly, chicken noodle soup, and chips ever! And that’s when I cried a little. That’s when Lori gave me the biggest congrats ever because we fucking did it. I can now call myself a marathoner. And yes I am still struggling with owning the label bc I feel like I should have been faster to really earn the title, but I’m trying to let that go. It was honestly the best experience I could have asked for for a first! She is absolutely amazing ❤️

I loved the course. It’s flat with just enough elevation change to not be too flat. I was so jealous of the people that had bike pacers carrying their stuff lol. It’s got some really nice scenic parts. It’s well supported for a road race (I openly admit I am spoiled doing tris when it comes to course support).

The whole day was absolutely perfect and I would definitely do Baystate again.

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