Sandahl Ran Strong in Boston, Gets Set for VCM

by EJN Comments (0) Articles, Racing

As we start to profile the elite field for the upcoming Vermont City Marathon, we also have some unfinished business with the Boston Marathon. It just so happens that interviewing Denise Sandahl takes care of both races, conveniently enough.

Denise in action at the 2014 Loon Mt race, battling it out with Christin Doneski. Will we see them go head to head at VCM in May? Courtesy of SNAPacidotic.

On top of the epic winter weather that made training tough for all of us, Denise had some injury issues that kept her from getting into peak shape. She missed the first couple of USATF-NE road grand prix races, which is the series that she won in 2014. But when the results came out for the Eastern States 20 Miler only a couple of weeks before Boston, there she was…right near the top.

The momentum she showed at the Eastern States race certainly came with her to Hopkinton on Patriot’s Day. Check out her splits from Boston:

5K – 19:45
10K – 39:15 … 6:19 pace
15K – 58:39
20K – 1:18:14
Half – 1:22:30 … 6:17 pace
25K – 1:37:48
30K – 1:59:37 … 6:25 pace
35K – 2:19:38 … 6:25 pace
40K – 2:39:36 … 6:25 pace
Finish – 2:48:32 … 6:25 pace

Denise was the 28th woman, and 26th in her division. Not bad for having a rough winter! At Eastern States, Denise was second to Madeline Duhon (who’s also going to be at VCM) in a close race. Madeline won in 2:08:20 and Denise was only a few ticks behind her in 2:08:23. It’ll be very interesting to see those two duke it out again in Burlington in a few weeks!

What originally was supposed to be just a Q&A turned into more of a FB chat covering a couple of races. Maybe I’m just lazy, but I thought it was an entertaining read so I just copied and pasted it in basically as is. Here’s my chat with one of Millennium Running’s leading ladies:

So how disappointed were you that you only made it 20.3 miles in the Boston Marathon?

Ha! The course was short!

You do know that Dave McGillivray and Co. compare the results to Strava before finalizing everything. Some time in May they’ll drive around and collect finisher medals from those without a 26.2 on their Strava feed. Are you worried they’ll pay you a visit?

They’ll have a hard time getting it back from my boys.

Haha…So what exactly was the injury that slowed you down over the winter, and how much do you think it set you back? Were you still confident in your conditioning heading into Boston?

I had trouble with my left ankle and the top and side of my left foot. It progressed to the side of my leg and top of my calf. I blame the treadmill miles and the lack of consistency on my part. I look at winter as a down time, anyway. I’m not sure how much it set me back. I didn’t do much speedwork…mostly mileage. I was not confident heading into Boston. I did do Eastern States and Red’s 5 Miler (Dover, NH) and was pleasantly surprised by both.

Yeah, you ran well at Eastern States. I remember being pleasantly surprised to see your name high in the results again.


Despite the missed time, your splits indicate strength in your performance. Only slowing by 4 mins in the second half is about as even as it gets in cold wind like that. Do you think you might’ve been in better shape than you thought, looking back on it?

Yes, I was in better shape than I thought. I assume the increase in mileage and the last minute workouts helped. I did my last long runs on hilly routes, too, which help with the Boston course. Boston was not a priority for me. I’m looking toward VCM. Well, it was a priority before winter.

Whoa. You’re not on the invited runner roster for that race (the Vermont City Marathon), yet you would be one of the contenders. Do you like playing the dark horse here? Flying under the radar?

The element of surprise? LOL! No, I just wanted to make sure my legs could race at VCM after Boston. I have contacted the race director and will be added to the Invited Runner Roster if all running goes well this week.
There are some fast ladies on that list! Duhon beat me at Eastern States and Boston. She’s speedy!

It’s a good thing you’re not banking on the element of surprise. Our billions of readers will see this.

Damn you Level Renner.

That’s our unofficial slogan.


Are you looking forward to a rematch with Duhon? Do you think if you can make it past 20.3 you’ll have a chance?

Bah! You and that 20.3! We’re keeping the medal, Dave McGillivray and Co! I would love to stay with her for as long as I can at VCM. I’m hoping to pace better. I feel there’s a good chance at a PR when racing with this group of ladies.

There really is. Burlington is where dreams come true. Plus the Headytopper flows like water. So how has the recovery been so far?

Yum! Recovery is going well. I took it easy(ish) last week and am ramping up my miles this week. It will be one of my highest mileage weeks EVER. Like the caps?

I usually only understand things when people scream them at me, so yes.

It’s meant for emphasis. But screaming is good, too.

haha, right. So what kind of number are we talking about here?

Around 100. I’ve been doing 75-100 miles for my Boston training. I’m not use to it yet.

Wow, that’s impressive. So when will you start backing off for VCM then?

I like a 2 week taper. Next week will be around 90 or so and then I’ll start tapering for VCM.

Denise and I battled it out at the Manchester City Marathon last November. Now there’s a friendly wager for the first pint after VCM. It’s a great race and Burlington makes for a great place to hang out afterwards. If you’re making the trip you should plan on sticking around after the race. Not sure where exactly yet, but we’ve heard there may be some socializing on Church St afterwards. See you there!

And just to clear things up, Denise did not cut corners at Boston. Her watch failed to acquire a GPS signal until she was out 6 miles into the race at Boston. After seeing her 20.3 Boston Marathon entry, I just couldn’t let that slide. So congrats to Denise on a solid 26.2 at Boston!VCM RVT_logo_horizontal_NEWcolor

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