Ok, I think the saying is actually “bowled over,” but just go with it.
The Boilermaker 15K is by far my favorite race ever and my love for this race goes beyond the popsicles at mile 5 (although you know that’s definitely what I was thinking of running up the ginormous hill at mile 4). Its a local race with a lot of spirit, friendly competition, a pretty tough course, and a distance just far enough to feel like you did something awesome, but you can still have a lot of fun. Its pretty big for a “local” race, too — 13,000 ran the 15K. It also ends at a brewery, so the faster you run, the more free beer you can drink.
My med school buddy, Courtney, is from the area where the race is held, and she schedules her summer plans around the Boilermaker (seriously). She’s going for 50 in a row. This year was year #11. Jess (another med school buddy) and I came along with Courtney this year (my 2nd, Jess’ 1st Boilermaker).
Let me give you a little intro into who Jess and Courtney are in relation to running. FYI: both are much much much much much faster than me so I am the one slowing these two down. Both have marathon PRs of like 3:36:something, both at Boston. And Courtney’s Boilermaker PR is 1:09:something.
Courtney: Highest pain tolerance for running of anyone I’ve met. She also enjoys “puppeteering” me (read: manipulating) me when I run and I go with it because it makes me run faster. And faster is better.
Jess: Happiest runner on the planet. Hands down. Even if its 90% humidity and the rest of us (read:me) are whining.
If you happened to read the last post, you know I had no time goals for this race. Or so I thought until the night before until Courtney and I started constructing a plan of how we were going to approach it. Our planning went down like this:
C: “So, we’re going to try to run around 1:16 to 1:17”
M: “Umm, no, that’s too fast for me.”
C: “No, its not. You’re such a headcase.”
SILENCE. STARE DOWN.
C: “Fine, we’ll start out slower than that at like an 8:30 mile and then speed up after the first 5K.”
M: “Ummmm, fine. But you have to be ok with me throwing up at the end.” [actually thinking, ok so I will be running the first 5K with them and then they leave me.]
C: “Please do. So entertaining.”
And, Jess just said she’d do whatever we were doing.
So, yes, I was anticipating running with C and J for a bit, dying, and then waving them on to leave me as I double fist my popsicles. That’s actually not what happened.
I RAN 1:16:06!!!
My last year’s time was 1:18:36, so let’s just say I was really happy. Sorry to boast, but I’m very, very happy, so just deal with my boasting. We (all 3 of us) actually stuck to the original plan. The first mile was 8:44, the 2nd 8:30, and then I stopped doing the math from there, but apparently we sped up.
Along with good doses of encouragement from both coupled with extra fear based methods from Courtney, I’ll tell you what helped me not give up (and believe me, I was tempted.)
I thought of my thoughts as a balloon.
Once you’ve (ie: Courtney, Kim, and Autumn) stopped laughing at how weird this sounds just hear me out. So, let’s just face it, pretty much an entire race thoughts float into my mind of “this is too hard” or “why do I feel like I’m dying” to “why on earth am I doing this” to “I would like to stop running now, thanks” to “mommy, help, too far!” It just came to me during, umm, like mile 2, that I somehow had to get rid of these thoughts if I was going to make it to mile 9 while still having a [relatively] good time. What worked for me today was to think of each thought as it came as floating out of my head like a balloon floating towards the sky — and thats the mental image that I had in my mind — a balloon (it was blue, fyi) floating towards the sky (which was also blue in my vision).
I know, I know, it sounds completely stupid now, but it worked for the rest of the race, so who am I to judge my mid-race mental tactics I invent?
The BEST part of the race was crossing the finishing line with two great friends and, yes, we went all cheesy and held hands, partly in hopes of making it in the paper or getting a cool picture on Brightroom.
Courtney and Jess made a beeline for the beer while I used whatever sprinting ability I had left to get as quickly as possible to Freihoffer’s cookies.
Courtney made a pretty good assessment of my running by saying, “Meggie, you’re actually a pretty good runner, but I don’t know what goes on up in your head.” I guess the whole bad running mental game is my cross to bear. [This is your cue to bust our your violins for me.]
All in all, an A+++ day. I wish I could run, eat, and nap every day as my job because I can rock a post-race nap like nobody’s business. And by eat, I mean eat about 8 cookies, a cupcake, and a brownie without feeling guilty. (FYI: in my world, if you finish a race, calories don’t count that day, and even more so if you PR).
364 more days until next year’s Boilermaker. I can’t wait.
So, tell me people, what’s your fave race?!?
Until next time…