Level Legion 2.0 – Final Questions
By Tim Ritchie
The hay is in the barn, so to speak, so nothing left for our Level Legion athletes to do now but relax and survive the taper. While they’re relaxing, we figured it would be a good time to check in with them for some final thoughts before they get into their respective starting corrals.
Best thing about the taper?
Hardest thing about the taper?
It’s finally beautiful out and there are all kinds of runs I want to do, but I have to hold myself back from longer runs as well as from using the excess energy to do other things, like yard work!
Marathon Monday morning routine?
I always stay at the Hotel Commonwealth (at Mile 25 on the course). I’ll get up and look out the window at Fenway Park or the Citgo sign. Reflect for a little while on what the day will bring. Obsess about the weather. Use the bathroom a dozen times. Take my breakfast and coffee with me and go downstairs to take the T to the Common to get on the bus. I really enjoy the bus and the Athletes’ Village; I meet so many interesting people from all over the world, and hear such great running stories!
Pasta and a beer. Last year was takeout pasta that I took to the Sox game. I might brave the official pre-race dinner this year—although I don’t relish waiting in line, the atmosphere is sure to be fun.
What will you tell yourself this week to mentally prepare?
I’ll look back at my running log and remember how hard I’ve worked for this; look at my splits from other Bostons and remind myself that I know how to do this and I’m ready!
What will you tell yourself throughout the race to make it to the finish?
For the first 10 miles of Boston, I tell myself, “Be patient and just enjoy this.” (I love to run fast downhill and it is too easy to bang the heck out my quads early on.) Then, when it starts to hurt, my fallback mantra (from my brother) is “I’m doing fine right now” but I will also look at the faces and outstretched hands of all the kids along the course and remember that this is about much more than me and my personal challenge and any temporary suffering I might be experiencing. I’ll be wearing Martin Richard’s words on my shirt: “No More Hurting People. Peace.” and will be reminded that Marathon Monday, now more than ever, is about spring and hope and coming together. For the first half, I’ll be so psyched to get to my daughter and her friends at the Wellesley Scream Tunnel; then I’ll look forward to seeing more family on Heartbreak Hill; my mother will be on the course for the first time, with my sons, brother and niece! After the hills, starting to get close to the city is so exciting. When I’m dragging, I will remind myself that, counterintuitively, sometimes speeding up a little can shake things out and refresh me. I will feel like the luckiest person in the world to be able to run down Commonwealth, up Hereford and down Boylston to the finish.
Bib no and wave?
#9036, Wave 2. After being Wave 2 for the first time last year, I worked really hard to get a faster qualifier so I could be in Wave 1 again. While I did lower my BQ by 5 minutes to 3:13, they made the waves smaller so I missed the cut again. Oh well. I’m not planning to be very speedy this year, so starting farther back is probably a good thing.
Any final words?
Thanks to the other runners who’ve shared their inspiring stories, and best of luck to everyone on Monday!