I’m so excited to share Amy’s Pre-Boston interview with you guys today! I always learn something new from her interviews and I love how much she loves running!
It’s a bit of a long post, so sit back with your coffee, protein shake, snack or whatever and enjoy the read!
I started out by asking her to fill us in on what she’s been doing since Boston last year and to share a pig PR she hit!
After Boston, I ran the Tacoma City Marathon and then spent the summer training for the Skagit Flats Marathon on September 8th. It was awesome to train through the summer; the light mornings and especially not working helps (I’m a teacher). The date of the marathon is great because once I’m back at school, I’m tapering. I found that I felt much more rested going into the Skagit Marathon over Boston even though I had the same training plan. It helps to have a hard run and go home to rest and spend more time stretching. I was extremely worried about the weather and the heat leading up to the marathon. It can be quite warm during that time of year and because it’s a small race, there aren’t as many water stations.
Skagit Flats is a good race course in the sense that it is flat, but it can get boring. There aren’t many water stations, the roads aren’t closed and not many spectators line the course. Luckily, I was able to put my music on and zone out. This was the first race, where I actually spent time running with other runners and would chat a little bit; I enjoyed that aspect of the race.
I used the same training schedule as I used for The Boston Marathon (Hal Higdon’s Boston Bound Training Plan). I like it because it’s 12 weeks and I find that it’s a challenging training schedule, but completely feasible. I am a Type-A person in general and like having a plan to follow.
During the race, I felt good, but knew that 26 miles is a long ways and things can go wrong. I was mostly worried about the weather, but to be honest, I was fine – it was warm though, I think in the 70s when we finished and then sun was out which makes it worse. I prefer to run in only sunglasses, no hat or visor maybe that would have helped keep the sun off my face.
After the race, I felt great besides MASSIVE blisters. Other than that, I felt strong and my legs didn’t feel too torn apart. I was happy with my time, I wanted to push myself a bit and felt like I didn’t leave much energy on the course. My official time was 3:26:xx, which made me happy because I felt like I would definitely be able to be accepted into the Boston 2014.
I am a runner that usually has a negative split, which I know many people aim for that. It’s a good thing mentally to feel strong toward the end of a marathon, but there have been times when I finish and feel too good, meaning I could have pushed myself a bit more and was too conservative with my pace. In Skagit Marathon, I planned to go out a little faster and see what happens, it worked out well, and I still managed a negative split. Taking 6 minutes off a marathon is a great feeling and I sometimes wonder what I could accomplish if I was a bit more dedicated; I have thoughts of someday wanting to be a bit more serious about running by strength training, working on my diet and pushing myself… but, I’m happy with where I’m at now and feel like I have balance in my life.
SuLee & Amy
You mentioned in your last interview that running Boston in 2013 was unexpected and took some of the pressure off. Was 2014 part of the plan? If so, has it been different training for an unexpected running of Boston vs a planned one?
Boston 2014 became part of my plan when my running partner, SuLee, was accepted into Boston back in September 2013. From that point we decided to do the Seattle Marathon in November to stay in shape and then take it “easy” in December and January before training starts.
The training hasn’t been different; it’s the exact same plan. The same early mornings on the dreaded track, and same long runs Saturday.
Here is what a typical week looks like for me:
MONDAY: 5 easy
TUESDAY: alternate track workout (800 repeats) and hill repeats (7 to 10 miles total)
WEDNESDAY: 5 easy
THURSDAY: 8 easy or tempo
FRIDAY: 5 easy
SATURDAY: long run (14 to 22 miles)
I have found that this training works best for my schedule and staying healthy. It helps that I have my running partners with me on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Are your goals for the race different this year?
Goals, hmmm…. Right now I feel great. I feel strong, healthy and overjoyed for Boston. My number one goal is to make it to the start line feeling good and healthy. If I feel good and the weather is cooperating then of course I’d like a PR or at least to beat my time from last year’s race in Boston (3:36:xx). Honestly, I don’t set a lot of goals ahead of time. Around mile 14 is when I check in with myself to see how I’m feeling and try to figure out what my mind and body will be able to accomplish.
How do you balance attaining your race day goals with making sure you enjoy it and soak it all in at the same time?
I love running; I love feeling the fresh air in my lungs, I love the friends who I get to spend many uninterrupted hours with while running, I love the spectators, I love the feeling of crossing the finish line and a good time is a bonus – I still love running. I honestly think I could have to stop and walk Boston this year and love it the same, nothing will taint this experience for me. Last year, I was in awe of being in Boston on marathon morning, this year will be that same feeling times a million.
Also, since I don’t put too much pressure on myself for a race performance, it allows me to enjoy the day without being too preoccupied with my performance. Each one of my marathons has had a different purpose; to PR, to maintain my fitness level, to help a friend qualify for Boston.
Given what happened last year and all the emotion that is now attached to Boston do you have a game plan to deal with emotions/ceremony at the start line?
I haven’t thought too much about the emotional aspect yet. Just as I am reflecting now, I have goose bumps all over thinking about what it will be like. When I close my eyes and picture the race I hear people cheering, people crying, people singing in triumphant joy. I hear people cheering for the World Series Winner, the Boston Red Sox, as we run past Fenway Park. I will see people smiling, people crying, people without limbs running. I will see spectators chugging beer and Bloody Marys (yum). I will see streets flooded with red, white and blue. I will taste sweat, Gu, Gatorade, bananas. I will smell BBQ from the parties, nastiness from the porta-potties, BO from people who don’t like deodorant… but it will be worth it. Finally, I will feel pride, humility, sadness, and togetherness. Turning right on Hereford and left on Boylston will be where the emotions explode out of me. Running by the site of terror from last year will be something that words and the English language cannot describe.
**After writing those words, I’m starting to think about and prepare for the emotional aspect of the race.
How does the corral situation/wait impact your pre-race routine/breakfast?
I was so worried last year about how the timing of the race and how to of fuel beforehand. I feel so much more confident this year and realize that the time goes by fast while waiting at the Athlete’s Village. I will have a little snack the morning of and eat something else on the bus and then continue to eat until about 9:30. I don’t drink as much in the morning as I should, I just don’t’ like to stop to use the restroom and have gotten to a place in marathons where I don’t have to which is great!
** My running partner SuLee basically has brunch before a long run, this just shows how different people are in terms of fuel.
Is there a part of the Boston course that is your favorite or that you’re really looking forward to?
I love the small town feel of the Boston course. Some of the most notable parts of the course are Wellesley College (around mile 12), they are seriously CRAZY loud, energetic and rambunctious. The closer into the Boston you get the wilder some of the parties are. Going by Fenway is fun, but the end, Boylston street is what I keep visualizing. Turning that corner onto Boylston just gives me chills – I cannot wait to run down that street again.
How do you decide what to wear race day? Do you know what you’re going to wear for Boston?
For this marathon, SuLee and I are looking for a fun top. I most likely will wear compression socks, a skirt and a short sleeve top. I will probably wait until we know the weather to make the final decision.
I like racing in Brooks Pureflow, I love my ProCompression socks, skirts are great because of the little pocket on the side. I also prefer to not wear a hat, but sunglasses instead. We’ll see when the time comes.
SuLee and Amy
When traveling to a race do you carry on your race day gear/clothing? How many days before the race do you fly in?
When I travel, the only thing I ALWAYS carry with me are my running shoes, compression socks, Garmin and music. Other than that I figure I can replace and buy another set if my luggage gets lost.
I have only flown to 2 previous marathons. This year, Boston is Monday and we are travelling (day flight) on Friday. This way, we can go to the Expo on Saturday and relax on Sunday before the race. The time change definitely works in my favor!
You had family with you last year…is anyone coming with you to cheer you on? Do you look for them if you know where they’re waiting along the route?
SuLee and I are running out there together, but another friend of ours, Victoria, is coming along for fun. I’m sure she’ll be somewhere on the course, but I don’t rely on seeing her. It’s pure craziness to find good spots and especially this year it will be intensified with the amount of spectators. I’m just eager to be able to go out and revel in the day/evening.
In past marathons when I know that my family will be on the course, I definitely look for them or tell them to hand me water or food.
And now for a few questions from readers:
What is your “night before” routine and what do you eat and drink for dinner? What is your “morning of” routine? How many hours do you eat before race time, and what do you eat?
“Night before”: The night before a marathon, I like to eat dinner early, preferably by 6:30. For dinner I might have pasta, a burger, sushi – just not a ton of food; I find that when I eat sushi (sashimi and rolls), I feel the best the next morning. Limiting how much I eat is important, there is nothing worse than going for a morning run after eating too much the night before. I have found that the day before a race (usually during lunch) I like a Bloody Mary, it helps me chill out if I’m nervous and provides much needed salt.
“Morning of”: Boston is tricky because it’s a late start time (10:25), but I have to catch a bus at 6:30 and wake up at 5:00. I’ll wake up, shower (just my body), stretch, drink coffee, and if I’m hungry have a bite of a banana. I typically like to eat about an hour before I run. I plan on bringing a banana, bagel, a bar and some water. I don’t need much to eat, but like to take in about 300-400 calories. This year will be interesting because we can’t bring bags with us on the bus, so I’ll be stuffing my pocket with food and fuel.
What do you fuel with during the race? Do you carry anything with you, or rely on the water stations?
During a marathon, I like to fuel with Gu. I will carry typically 5 Gu packets with me and maybe some chomps, that’s it – I rely on water stations only for fluids. One nice thing about a big race like Boston and Chicago is that people (spectators) will pass out food; I really, really enjoy a banana around mile 20 or something solid to eat. I don’t need it, but it’s a nice change up.
Do you change your diet/routine the week(s) leading up to a big race?
I don’t change my diet or routine typically. The days leading up to a marathon, I might try to drink more fluids, but nothing drastically different. I will try to get as much sleep as possible, especially Saturday night (2 nights before the race).
Thank you so much Amy for taking the time to answer all the questions, and for sharing your experience and love for running with us!
Good luck to both you and SuLee in Boston!
If anyone has any questions or comments for Amy please feel free to share them, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read her other interviews here: Chicago Marathon Part 1 ; Chicago Marathon Part 2 ; Boston 2013