Monday 17th April 2017 (Patriots Day)
So, my journey began in April last year when I ran the Brighton Marathon and finally achieved my Good for Age with a time of 3.34:30. However, not only did this qualify me to run the London Marathon but the Boston Marathon too, the oldest Annual Marathon in the world!
In May 2016, I decided to give it a shot and registered with the Boston Athletic Association. The long, anxious wait had begun.
In September 2016, I received my Confirmation of Entry Acceptance. Shit - things just got real!
We booked our flights and a hotel for 4 nights so that we could make the most of our stay in Boston.
Training was already well underway with 2 to 3 runs per week, including some sessions with Adam Hickey and my running buddies, Natasha and Helen. But, things quickly started to go wrong. I’d had a ‘twinge’ in my hip for some time, which I had ignored, hoping it would go away. It didn’t. I went to see Arron for some advice who suggested I go for an MRI scan.
In early October I made an appointment to see a consultant and had an MRI. I had the results within a week. I was diagnosed with a Gluteus Medius Tendinopathy, Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy and a Degeneration of the left hip joint. Nothing Major then!!! My consultant told me to stop running & cycling for 8 weeks at least and start physio immediately. With the injury I had, he was doubtful that I would make the start line. Boston suddenly seemed hopeless.
After a brief meltdown, I decided to pick myself up, dust myself off and fight for my place on that start line.
My physio, who by default became my counsellor too, was fantastic. I was an emotional wreck throughout! She gave me strength work to do every night, which I did religiously. After 8 weeks of laborious exercises and a lot of swimming, which I am utterly useless at, I was allowed to attempt my first run/walk. By Christmas she felt I was ready to try a 2 mile continuous run. Hallelujah!
It was shortly after I had started running again that I developed an annoying ‘popping’ sensation in the back of my knee and I couldn’t fully extend my leg! Back I went to the Consultant again (red faced), who performed ultra sound and found that I had a Bakers Cyst. Who’s even heard of that?!! Strong anti-inflammatories, ice & complete rest (not even swimming) were the suggested course of action this time, with a possible cortisone injection if it didn’t settle. A further meltdown occurred and my husband (Rich Ager aka ‘Kit Man’) was close to moving out!
12 weeks to Boston and I started over again with 5 miles on the ‘dreadmill’. I was told to avoid hills, where possible. Unless you live on Southend Sea Front, it’s fairly difficult to avoid the hills!
When I finally started pounding the pavements again, I was advised not to increase my mileage by any more than 10% a week and to have at least 2 days’ rest between each run. My marathon plan went out the window at this point! I was just not going to get to where I needed to be in time and everything hurt from the waist down.
I’m not quite sure how, but by the beginning of February, I was up to 12 miles, accompanied by my friend, Lisa, who was training for the Brighton Marathon. I didn’t quite stick to the 10% rule! However, I was only running twice a week, so had a reasonable amount of time to recover.
8 weeks to Boston and I was up to 16 miles. Lisa still by my side. That’s when I thought I might actually be able to do this. The pain was still there, but bearable. It was actually worse a day or two after I ran, not during. I spent every evening with an ice pack on my hip and knee and more often than not, a Budweiser in my hand! Beer definitely helped. As did wine. As did vodka. Oh, and my foam roller became my new best friend.
The weeks went by quickly after that and every long run felt like I was a little step closer. They really hurt though and I cried a lot afterwards! Thank goodness for Natasha, Helen and Michelle on group chat. They were there to pick me up when I was in the depths of despair, despite their issues and anxieties with their own forthcoming events. Rich had lost the will to live!
3 weeks to Boston. Lisa and I completed our longest run of 20 miles and I didn’t break! Taper time………my favourite part of marathon training.
2 weeks to Boston. My Runners Passport finally arrived confirming my number (18300), wave (Blue) and corral (3). My start time was 10.50am. Much later than I was expecting. Oh, and it was snowing in Boston – great. That wasn’t in the plan. But, I decided cold was better than hot.
I went for one last long run of 14 miles, with Natasha and Michelle, followed by a quick dip in the sea to help alleviate the aches and pains! It was freezing, but it felt great afterwards.
1 week to Boston. One last run and a few giggles with the RRC girls and Mike. Just what I needed.
2 days to Boston. I bloody made it! It was time to get on the plane.
We arrived in Boston on the Saturday night and went straight to our hotel, which overlooked the Harbour. It was only 9pm, but I was still on UK time and I needed to sleep. Rich told me not to go to bed, but as he is always wrong, I didn’t take his advice.
1 day to Boston. Rich was right! Woke at about 4am! Facebook saved me though, as you lot were all awake. I was astounded by the amount of good luck messages I had received already. I managed to get back to sleep for a couple of hours and finally got up at 7am. The view of the Harbour from our window was stunning. The sun was shining and there was not a single cloud in the sky. Shit, it was forecast to be 83 degrees! What? How? It was snowing a fortnight ago. Another meltdown ensued and once again, Rich was on hand to knock some sense into me!
Expo time! Everybody looked really professional. I didn’t feel like I belonged! I collected my number and had the obligatory photo in front of the board along with 29,999 others!
It didn’t take me long to find the exhibition and then I was in heaven. Mainly because Rich had given me the use of his credit card! I bought an item of Boston clothing for every body part and of course ‘Spike’
the Unicorn, the Boston Marathon Mascot.