When I decided to call this blog 18 weeks to a BQ it was after some consideration.  That was a big statement of intent.  But then hey, don’t all the self help books tell you you’ve got to believe; fake it till you make it, dream big – all that.  This past couple of weeks I’ve been lamenting that title.  Believe me, in my head I’ve written an alternative ending to this tale and it’s positive.  If I didn’t BQ this weekend, this has been one heck of an amazing ride and if something had gone wrong, well, as my American girls say… “DANG!”   And me, well, I’d have just gone again.

But hey, that’s not the blog post I’m writing today.

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BECAUSE…. OH, MY DARLINGS…. I FLEW!

I trained for 18 weeks.  I ran 800 miles for it.   I wrote about it.  I stressed about it.  I talked about it ALL THE FREAKIN’ TIME.  I ran it.  I qualified for Boston with 2 minutes and 15 seconds to spare and this, my 3rd marathon, the 21st Flying Pig was (and is in so many ways)… my personal best*  *by 11 minutes.

Here’s what happened.

So, I did exactly what I said I’d do.  I went and found the 3:50 pacers in my corral and planned to stay with them for as long as I possibly could.

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Oh my gosh, PACERS!  This is my second time using them (in so many years of running) and I just LOVE IT!  My pacers in the pig were a man called Stacey and a girl called Maddie.  They were just awesome.  In my pace group also was an awesome dog loving man who made it his total business to compliment EVERY dog owner he saw on the course.  Literally for every dog seen this guy passionately shouted “I LIKE YOUR DOG”  *obvs in an American accent, so more like DAWWWG.  Sometimes he’d say “I like both your dogs.”  He’d never miss a dog.  He thanked the owners for bringing them. By 13 miles he’d complimented over 200 dawgs.  It was golden.

Crushing the Eden Park hillage

Crushing the Eden Park hillage

I could go into all kinds of detail on my race, but I think I’ll just pick out the highlights and lowlights.  *there’s only one lowlight.  I’ll start with that.

LOW POINT:  Miles 9 – 13.  At this point we lost the halfers.  We’d done the 3 miles of tough hills, but by golly, there was still so much to go.  Support had thinned out a bit.  I felt physically fine.  I felt mentally terrible.  I think Stacey the pacer had noticed because at this point he gave us all a pep talk about low points.  My own coach Terry (as quoted in last week’s post)  and lovely Sally said these would happen AND THEY WOULD PASS!  And, yes.  They did.

So that’s out of the way, let’s get onto the high points:

Mile 15:  Mariemont.  My friend Rebekah’s sister Michelle is a super beast cyclist and Rebekah had kindly volunteered for her to bring me some tailwind (drink).  I’d said there was no pressure it would just be a bonus if she could.  Anyway, after my little fug, around about the 15 miles I’d suggested, there she was… a vision in a pig costume with a cycling helmet and a bottle of tailwind.

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Oh FAIRY RUN-MOTHER ON A BIKE – I can’t even tell you.  That was the point I got happy.

Mile 19:  Somewhere along a stretch of relatively bland dual carriageway, I felt my wings.  Like a bird fleeing the nest, but with some sadness, I felt I could leave Stacy and Maddie behind.  I felt strong.  They’d given me my base and because of that gift I had shizzle to give.  So I gave it.

Mile 23:  My friend Kate, regularly featured in this blog, currently pregnant and already sighted twice on the course had said if her baby would allow it, she would come somewhere around this point to run me in. (YESSSS!)   Suddenly up ahead I saw her.  BUT NOT ONLY HER… but also SALLY PEREA!!  Oh my days.  Just a word on these girls.  When I got to Ohio they were run idols.  They are everyone’s run idols.  I used to admire both of them from afar.  Then there they both were, Sally in her Boston top, Kate with child, for no other reason but to RUN ME IN.  (waaaaaaah!). I can’t even..

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Running the last 3 miles of a marathon where I pretty much knew I was going to qualify for Boston, with these girls either side of me singing… well, I’ve got something in my eye AGAIN

Miles 25-26:  All the MRTT folks I saw cheering me in… oh gosh… GET OUT OF MY EYE… THING!

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Mile 25 and 3/4:  OK this moment is cute, funny and a heart squeezer… but my family were cheering me at this point and my little Benny, dressed in his poignant fluffy chewbacca jacket with his little teddy came out to high five me.  After 25.75 miles, this causes an emotional runner some confusion.  I had to try and swerve him causing this pretty funny “Kathrine Switzer Boston ’67 battle reanactment:

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I love that little guy SOOOOO MUCH.

Mile 26.2:  The moment I qualified for Boston at the Flying Pig.

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And so, whilst I feel I could go on forever, here’s where it ends.  But before I go, just THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who has been on this journey with me.  I’d mention you all, but you know who you are.   If you are reading this now… well IT’S YOU!  YOU!

Thank you to THE FLYING PIG MARATHON.  What an event.  I was terrified of you, now I love you.  YOU ARE THE BEST MARATHON …. LIKE EVER!  So much personality, nowhere near as tough as the rumours make out.  I am so happy that one day I will leave Cincy with it’s awesome marathon in my books.

And as I close, I’m dedicating this to My Wilson family.  This medal is for my babies.  May you always take pride in knowing your Mama runs kickass marathons with you in her heart.

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THE END.