I am excited to feature a different runner each day as we count down to Boston. I love that each runner is unique, coming into Boston with a diverse background and goals. Their journeys all lead to the same place. You can read about my journey, Reflection and Countdown to the Boston Marathon.
I’m excited to introduce our featured runner today, Beth. Read all about Beth’s journey and be sure to leave her well wishes as she gets her revenge on Boston course.
Name: Beth Z.
Follow Beth on Twitter and Instagram: @bethrunsfast
1. Can you first, give us your Boston Marathon “story”
I wanted to run Boston for the longest time (probably since early high school) due to its prestige and history. I’ve been a runner since I was a kid; I ran cross country and track all through middle and high school and for two years in college. I ran my first marathon at 18 (Walt Disney World, 2009) and returned to the distance in 2012 (Sunburst Marathon). After Detroit that same year, I decided that I wanted to qualify for the Big One and ran a series of marathons in an attempt to qualify. Finally with my eighth marathon, I qualified with a 3:25 and some change. I was ecstatic! I then lowered my qualifying time that fall in Detroit with my PR race of 3:19:59.
My first Boston was awful. I didn’t dress well enough for the weather (a waterproof layer would have saved my race… lesson learned) and I ended up basically walking the last 4 miles struggling with possible hypothermia. After that race, I swore that I’d return to seek my revenge. Job changes kept me from committing to Boston 2016, but I re-qualified in Houston in January 2016 for Boston this year!
2. What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
This year, running Boston means seeking revenge for my 2015 race. Boston is and always has been a challenge to me to both qualify and finish the race strong. This marathon is also going to be my last for a while as I return to running shorter distances. So as I seek revenge for my 2015 race, I’m aiming for even the slightest PR (assuming conditions aren’t ideal).
3. What do you look forward to most about running Boston Marathon?
I’m looking forward to the support, the camaraderie, and absolutely OWNING the course this year! I will finish strong… or be hobbling towards a PR!
4. How will you define success, on race day?
On race day, finishing without totally bonking and having to walk the last few miles will be a success. I’m aiming for a PR (which I’ve been training to crush if the conditions are ideal), but I really just want to enjoy the day and not put any pressure on myself to perform. My A goal is to PR and my B goal is to have fun!
5. Do you have a favorite piece of clothing or tech that you always use for training or racing?
I try not to get attached to things that I might need on race day just in case I forget something. It leaves me room to improvise especially since I will be flying in from vacation for my race. As long as I have some Vaseline and my shoes, I can purchase and make anything else work!
For training, I use my Camelbak Marathoner vest for self-supported long runs. I’ve also fallen in love with my New Balance Zantes for training and they will be used for racing the marathon. I also recently purchase a SPIbelt to carry my Salted Caramel GU and phone on race day. I can’t tell you how many people borrowed my phone after the Boston Marathon in 2015 because we were all crammed on the busses trying to warm up afterwards and they had no way of letting their families know. If you can swing it, I would suggest carrying your phone.
6. How has your training gone, leading up to Boston Marathon? Any advice?
My training has been phenomenal! This is the best shape I’ve ever been in for a marathon, so even if conditions are less than ideal, I’ll be shooting for a PR.
For anyone training for any distance, my advice is to find consistency. Consistently hit your training mileage each week, get out the door and run, go to the gym, work on your core strength, and stretch. Do them consistently and you’ll see results. Yes, you’ll have a bad week here or there, but as long as you come back the next week and jump back on the wagon, you’re going to be fine. Consistency is what’s getting me to the start line with confidence this year!
Advice for Boston: Take the first few miles slow and steady. You can make up time in the second half. Don’t trash your quads in the first few miles of downhill running because that mistake will come back to haunt you in the last few miles (and frankly, for the next week as you are hobbling around telling people about how awful your race went).
7. What part of the marathon do you find most challenging?
Really, the beginning is the most challenging (especially at Boston). You’re going to feel good and you’re going to have to hold yourself back. That’s hard to do sometimes. Just remember that if you hold yourself back early, you won’t be struggling [nearly as bad] through the later parts of the race.
8. What has been your favorite race (any distance) up until this point?
Honestly, Boston is my favorite. It’s the one that I say people have to run if they ever get the chance. There is crowd support nearly the entire way, there’s a ton of history, and it’s a challenge to both get into the race and to finish. If you’re not prepared for the course, it will eat you alive and leave you hobbling for a week (sorry for 2015, quads).
Aside from Boston, I loved the Flying Pig Marathon and the Detroit Marathon for the support and the sights, respectively. Locally, I enjoy getting out for the mile race on the track in June and the Turkey Trot in November. Both are high energy and fast races!
9. Do you have a pre-race routine, ritual or good luck charms?
Not anymore. I mean, I try to at least shave the night before, but I can hardly guarantee that! It’s better to not have anything that you *have* to do pre-race because if it doesn’t all go to plan, you might psych yourself out. I just ensure that everything that I am wearing and carrying the next day is set aside and ready to go the night before, including shoes, number, clothes, belt/phone/gels, and breakfast.
10. What inspires you as a runner?
Chasing my goals has been inspiring me as a runner. I have finally surrounded myself by other runners chasing the same dreams and I gain a lot of motivation from them. We all have bad days, but we support and encourage one another. And we all go out and let loose occasionally (come on Boston… I’m ready to celebrate when I get home). It’s both accountability and motivation!
Check back tomorrow for our next featured runner! You can wish Beth good luck and send her some positive words of encouragement for the big day, in the comment section below.
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