Katie is the person who gets the ball rolling. She finds out about races, and lures her friends into running them with her. Katie has wanted to run the Boston Marathon since she was little. She fulfilled that dream in 2004, when she did run it… all the way to mile 11.
You see, in 2004 Massachusetts experienced a freak, albeit not uncommon, ridiculously hot day in April. It felt like the middle of July, combined with intense sun and humidity.
While Katie had trained while she was in Syracuse, nothing, not even a 10 mile hilly run could help her prepare for this heat. The unrelenting cold and snow helped to build character, but would not do much for the oppressive heat. But Katie was determined, and she made the voyage home to run on Patriot’s Day that year.
She started the race and, sticking to her training regimen, didn’t break for water every mile. Eventually this caught up with her, as she does not remember the majority of the race, and has a more vivid recollection of waking up in an ambulance.
This never stopped Katie from entering races. In the time since that attempt, she has successfully completed 5k’s, 5 milers, ½ Marathons, and triathlons. She has even really trained for most of them! But her white whale has always been Boston.
Finally this year she gets Sara to agree. They embark on a training schedule which is heavily weighted in carbo loading and blogging. And they run sometimes as well
While Sara is no stranger to athletic competition, the way she has prepared for competition has changed dramatically over the years. A division 1 soccer player in college, Sara had always been in shape, trained for the season, and been prepared for whatever competition happened to be in front of her.
It was after she stopped playing soccer that she decided to train for the 2001 Boston Marathon. While her motivation was mainly to stay in shape, it was also to fulfill a dream, given that she grew up in Holliston, MA, which is next door to the start line in Hopkinton.
The training schedule she put together was tricky—she was a sophomore in college with countless other things to distract her—but she decided on something like “work my way up to 10 or 12 miles once a week up until the race.” She started this plan at the beginning of the school year, some seven months before the race; the rationale being that even if she didn’t get the distance that most marathoners train with (18 miles or so), she would have longevity on her side, and therefore be fine.
Initially the training was a good outlet to relieve stress and stay in shape. The training consisted of running four or five times a week, with runs alternating between 3 and 5 miles, with a long run on the weekend. This continued until the end of fall semester in December.
As will become a common trend, during winter break that year, she spent her time skiing and generally not wanting to go out in the cold. Upon arriving back at school, (and to a Syracuse winter) she realized she would have to take her training to the treadmill. Anyone familiar with treadmills knows they are A) not an accurate substitute for hitting the pavement, and B) painfully boring and therefore easy to stop a run before the targeted length. Needless to say, Sara’s training tapered off much earlier than is recommended for marathon training.
Even though most of the people around her thought not training was an especially bad idea, Sara had never not been good at something athletic, and did not consider the thought that she might not finish, or that the lack of training might be a real detriment. In fact, this doubt likely fueled her desire to prove the people around her wrong.
The day before the race in 2001 was Easter, and Sara, being the laser-focused marathon runner, stocked up on carbs that day (also a trend) in lieu of the roast beef and turkey. She was serious about this race. She also had a pretty high fever, which has always been uncommon for Sara, as her health is generally impeccable. Again, Sara didn’t think much of this, or that it would even impact her ability to run the race.
The day of the race Sara woke up still feeling groggy and having a fever. She had a bagel for energy, grabbed a Gatorade, and headed to the start line. She was mildly nervous, didn’t feel 100%, but had looked forward to this day for the better part of a year, so it was race time, no but’s about it.
As the race wore on, her legs hurt, and she thought about stopping more than once. At the 20-mile mark, two college friends jumped in to run the last 6.2 miles with Sara, and then drove her back to Syracuse (for an 8:30am Tuesday class that she couldn’t miss).
After that class, Sara went to health services and was promptly diagnosed with mono. So Marathon #1 was run with little training and a virus that makes you sleepy and lethargic.
The second marathon Sara ran was four years later, to help a friend who wanted to run the race, but thought she needed someone with whom to run (side note: if you ever consider running a marathon, make sure you have a partner in crime—it makes the race a million times easier). Sara, knowing she had mono the first time, and that her experience was somewhat of an anomaly, decided she should train. In early January she stepped outside to run 10 miles, because that seemed like a nice round number to start at. She briskly ran 2 miles and called it a day.
Sara knew she wouldn’t be running any double diget runs for this marathon. Her friend was a slow runner, and wasn’t really training herself, and Sara was confident in her ability to make it through. One lesson Sara had learned from her mono run was that anyone can do a marathon—if you can walk, you can do a marathon. Most people aren’t in it to win, so if you take your time, you’ll finish. It’s all mental.
Sara topped out her 2005 training at 4 miles, so while crossing that mark in the race, somewhere in Framingham, she turned to her friend and said, “well, we’re in uncharted territory now.” They finished, but not before Sara had a beer while going up Heartbreak Hill. This was a marathon not to be taken seriously, apparently.
Sara’s “unique” training regimen has helped her compete in a triathlon last summer (no aquatic training prior to stepping foot in the lake), staying out drinking before countless 5K’s, and hiking Tuckerman Ravine on a torn MCL. Not surprisingly, Sara regularly, and with dedication, trains for the annual Beer Olympics. Having never won this event, Sara intends to train by giving her all, focusing especially on repetition and quantity.