Boston Marathon Experience

Client story written by Mary Poole:

I was privileged to be accepted through the lottery for the New York marathon as my first ever full marathon. I was amazed to run a Boston qualifying time and have been honored to run the Boston marathon twice now, in 2015 and 2016. I also ran NY a second time and I do feel that this is just as an incredible expe- rience as Boston.

In both, the transportation to the start is part of the fun, and in my view, extremely well organized. NY starts with the Verra- zano Bridge which is amazing, and Boston starts in the town of Hopkinton where the locals are awesome. The crowds at both and the finish lines in Central Park and Boylston Street are unforgettable.Mary Poole

So my message here is that if you do not have a qualifying time for Boston, New York is an equally wonderful experience.

But to focus on Boston, what is so great? The bottom line is that it is the support from the sidelines from start to finish, even along those quiet country roads. The enthusiasm and encour- agement is never ending! You really get a sense of the small communities along the way. In my first marathon I was so fo- cussed on just finishing that I forgot to do the ‘high fives’ and this was a mistake. To appreciate the crowds in return for their support is part of the fun. Now I never forget to smile at the volunteers and to the people screaming their encouragement. I don’t think that this a cost in time because the adrenaline boost compensates.

In my first Boston the weather was cold, wet and windy and I could not believe how many people came out to watch. In the second the weather was warm and sunny and there were four mes as many! ‘Whatever the weather we weather the weather’ so I have learned not to agonize!

In my first Boston I was caught off guard by all the ups and downs and especially by the long last 6 miles of downs. This is extremely hard on tired legs. I was determined to maintain my pace and did so, all the time just hoping that my jelly legs and trembling hips would not collapse beneath me.I even managed to sprint on Boylston. What a high that last 0.2 miles was for me!! Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the last downhill is ‘easy’.

In my second Boston I started with a stomach ache (which had been bothering me all week), and I knew I was in trouble when my legs felt heavy after just a few miles. I maintained my planned pace for 18 miles and then realized that I just could not do that any longer. Stopping for 10 minutes did not help and I limped the last 8 miles. That said, the amount of encourage- ment from fellow runners and spectators made it all worthwhile and I stumbled across the finish.

Training for Boston involves running in winter weather which I personally found no more challenging than running in the heat of summer. I did not start running until age 50 and did not know that I was ‘a runner’ until age 55! For me focusing on my form was essential and I was fortunate to be referred to an outstanding form coach, Janet Runyan, by one of my patients. She taught me to run with my core and on my legs, in contrast to my legs doing all the work and supporting what felt like a sack of potatoes. I am not there yet, but my mantra is that running must feel like floating and be enjoyable!

The second important aspect of training was to join running groups. Expert coaching and the wonderful companionship of runners of all ages have contributed to my progress in many different ways. Thank you to Ewen North, my coach from Rev- olution Running! I am a member of Boulder Road Runners and I join our Longmont runners at Shoes and Brews for their ‘fun run’ every Thursday evening (half price beer afterwards).

I am qualified for Boston 2017 and plan to run it again. Howev- er, running two marathons a year for two years in a row may have to be replaced by running one marathon per year and a lot of half marathons and other shorter races. I say this because I have learned that recovery, and I mean REAL recovery, after a marathon is somewhat of a work of art, and I plan to add this strategy to the many others that I have learned. Those include, listening to my body when it hurts, giving and receiving tips and support from fellow runners, and enjoying eating the im- mense amount of food that runners can eat without problem!

As a physician my goal was to help patients find the secret of health through healthy lifestyles and finding their true path in life. To teach others we must learn ourselves. My love of art, science and athleticism have contributed EQUALLY to my ability to be a good doctor. I have a particular fondness for my elderly patients and as I am now elderly, I hope that they are able to see that it is ‘never too late’. Running taught me how to be comfortable and free in my body and about how to change the negative thoughts and emotions underlying my ‘dis-ease’.

I believe that to truly embrace and enjoy the ‘second half of life’, we must first recognize and then follow our passions. We must make being healthy and active a priority. Rather than fear- ing aging we can experience the joy of living over the age of 60!

Mary Poole

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