Months ago, when a former teammate called me to ask if I’d heard that the 2020 Boston Marathon had been rescheduled for October 2021 and asked me to run, the idea of running the iconic foot race seemed glamorous and fun. I figured a great end of the summer goal would encourage me to get in some more running and a fun way to meet up with some friends. At the time, I had already committed to racing the Last Best Ride (LBR), a 90-mile gravel bike race in August. But I would have six weeks afterward to turn my bike legs into running legs. It seemed like a good plan.. until summer went by like a hurricane, and now here I am on the eve of the big race!
My training through the summer mainly focused on gravel riding and some trail running that I couldn’t resist. The LBR was a challenging but fun experience, clocking just over 6 hours. Immediately after the race, I jumped in a U-Haul and moved to Alaska from BC over a three-day drive that wasn’t great for training. The proceeding six weeks didn’t exactly go as I had imagined either. Instead of a consistent build-up in mileage and perfect speed workouts, I only managed a handful of solid runs and only worked my long run-up to about 18 miles at the most.
In these last 24 hours, I’ve slipped back into my familiar athlete pre-race routine. Today I am focusing on topping up my hydration and electrolytes, selecting meals throughout the day that are simple and easily digestible, and getting my race nutrition plan ready. I’ve found sipping Mapleaid throughout the day helps with my electrolyte balance. Over my long runs, I have been using my favorite UnTappeds and have found one every 30 minutes, along with some sports drink mixed with extra salt, has helped keep my energy consistent (especially those coffee boosts late in the race)! So I will be carrying a few packets with me through the race.
As an elite athlete who spent two decades preparing for my biggest goals with systematic training plans and total focus, I have needed to shift my mindset and perspective around my goals. Preparation WILL NOT be perfect, and I need to be flexible as I navigate the busy days of work and parenthood. I feel like I’m still learning how to be a normal person. While my Boston Marathon prep has not been perfect, I am buzzing with nervous excitement into the race. I’ll be running with two of my longtime US ski teammates with whom I ran the New York City Marathon in 2019. Boston will be a chance to test myself at something that challenges me outside my comfort zone. I always preferred the shorter, faster, intense racing of “sprints” in my ski racing career. So these more extended three-hour-plus efforts challenge my mind as much as they challenge my body.
Beyond the Boston Marathon, I’m excited to turn my attention back toward the ski season. In preparation for the LBR, fellow UnTapped athlete Ted King gave me great advice to prepare for my first-ever gravel bike race. Now I’m excited to return the favor and help Ted get ready for his first ski marathon, the American Birkebeiner, in February. I will also have some work to do myself to get my upper body and core back in shape for the season.
But first, let’s get this 26.2 in the books. Wish me luck!