DPMR’s very own Aude Hofleitner, Dan Brounstein, and Christie Jackson all ran the Boston Marathon last month. Their post-race excitement is contagious – you might find yourself daydreaming about running Boston as you read about their stories!
Aude and Dan, you’ve done Boston before. Why do you keep going back? And Christie, what made you choose Boston?
Aude: “I ask myself that each time… And then I still do. When I look at all the logistics of flying across the country, day of logistics of taking the bus for an hour, waiting for another couple of hours, the crazy weather… And then I see the energy of the crowd, the passion in everyone’s eyes, the end on Boylston… And I know I’ll be here again!”
Dan: “It is pretty addictive. The mystique of Boston is special and you can’t take it for granted that you are going to get in every year. I had qualified almost 13 years ago and came down with some IT Band tightness. I figured I would qualify any time and found out it’s not easy. So taking all the long ultrarunning base I have had and translating into fast road times is fun. It’s like a puzzle. How do you get the speed without getting hurt over the winter. I missed last year and I really wanted to be there for the 10th anniversary of the tragic bombing. The town just comes together for all the runners and celebrates and mourns the the people of Boston.”
Christie: “As I registered I said to my husband “just wait, it’s going to be a huge winter because I am signing up for a spring marathon”…you’re welcome!”
Best experience this year?
Aude: “Just running the marathon was the best gift. Celebrating coming back after a small tear in my achilles and being able to have fun! Having [my boyfriend] Ryan spectate on course was definitely a highlight and he’s perfected his Boston cheering so he was there at 3 different spots (if you know the Boston course, you know how incredible that is!!)”
Dan:“This year was just great having friends from Truckee in town and actually getting to see them when we don’t see each other back home. I think one of the coolest parts of the race was to see [Aude’s significant other] Ryan at mile 7! That got me pumped!”
Christie: “Putting in the work and feeling confident. It was also amazing to see my immediate and extended family along the course.”
Worst experience this year?
Aude: “Seriously I don’t know… I guess the expo was a bit underwhelming, maybe it’s the post Covid effect? Well and the jacket was really ugly ;-)”
Dan: “I really didn’t have anything bad happen this year. I would say most folks complained about the 50 degree drizzly weather but we all went through a crazy winter in Truckee. I really enjoyed the weather.
Maybe the worst part of Boston is that it is always around Jacob’s birthday – my son. So that bummed me out but also I got to share with him my goals and we made a time goal together. I felt like it made his birthday more special and we had an awesome time when I got back the next weekend”
Christie: “GI distress mid-race – the first time I’ve ever had to make (2) trips to the porta-potty.”
What were your goals for the race, how did you set them, and were you happy with the outcome?
Aude: “Goal was to run healthy. As I was able to ramp up the miles, I started to build confidence in being able to complete the distance, and my body felt great as the weeks were adding miles. I barely did any speed work, and only a single marathon effort run so I was definitely not gunning for a PR. But I ended up 12 minutes under my PR, and my best Boston so far in 3h15.”
Dan: “Obviously living in Truckee this winter was a challenge. Also, after 7 years of working at my startup company, we launched our product. This put me on the road a few times per month. So it made it challenging. Despite all of this, I have been trying to break 3 hours at Boston for the last 4 years and just struggled with holding on at the end. I ended up with 1:28 first half which is my fastest marathon half and then I held on for a 3:02 and change. I was over the moon about the result. I left it all out on the course. At mile 24, I saw Christie motor ahead of me and knew she was also going for 3 hours. I just couldn’t go with her and she killed it! So happy for her performance.”
Christie: “I really wanted to set a new PR and break 3 hours. I felt really strong the last few miles so I am proud of how I executed the race. I’m super happy with a marathon PR on this tough course but a little bittersweet finishing just outside my “A” goal of sub-3″
What was your approach to training? What did you think was the key component?
Aude: “Mostly base building. Starting from zero running, I built very consistently with mostly easy miles and some gentle climbing as my achilles was getting stronger.”
Dan: “This was a different training cycle for me. Since I couldn’t get outside as much for long fast runs, I really focused in the gym. The key to my training was strength workouts that included core, lunges, step ups, dead lifts, and squats. I combined this with focused treadmill workouts where I tried to do some Boston courses with steep uphills and even got the treadmills to go downhill to pound the quads. I also added in a ton of sauna which I am religious about, especially after a hard workout. I swear it helps build cardiovascular strength. I wish I had done 1-2 more long runs outside as I think it would have helped with the last 5 miles. That’s the toughest part of the course when you killed yourself on the hills.”
Christie: “Prioritizing one quality long run and one quality speed workout each week. No excuses, just get them done and enjoy easy days of cross training (mostly skiing, swimming, snow-running and stationary bike).”
What was your fueling strategy the night before, the morning of, during the race, and post race recovery?
Aude: “Likely my best marathon fueling! Stomach training for ultras is paying off! The night before, I had my classic pre-race meal: guacamole and chips, sweet potatoes and chicken, berries and dark chocolate. Boston is a late start, depending on your wave, you start between 10am and 11:15am. I was in the 2nd wave starting at 10:25am. I had a bagel with peanut butter and a banana for breakfast at 7am. I had another half bagel with peanut butter in the bus around 8am. Then while waiting in the athletes village I had a small granola bar (100cal) and a banana. On course, I had 5 gels (1 SiS and 1 Gu that I had brought with me, 1 Maurten non caf and 2 Maurten 100 caf) plus a sip of gatorade at most aid stations (every 1-2 miles).
I also managed to eat more than usual post race. I had two bananas, 2 fig newtons (which made me think of the newton hills) and a protein shake quickly after. Then the other half of my morning second bagel, and quickly left to get a beer with Dan (carb recovery??) and then an italian dinner where I cleaned my gigantic pasta plate with chicken before getting cannoli!”
Dan: “Compared to my TRT this was easy. I cut out any beer for the week. I ate fish and potatoes and some pasta before the run. A few days before I really overhydrate with water and electrolytes. The morning of is a bagel and PB and J, with a Blue Monster and an orange. You have to wake up around 6 am for a 1030 start so I eat this and then bring a ProBar and banana on the bus. All real food is finished by 830 so it digests and then 1 Awesome Sauce 15 min before I start. Then I carry Skratch superfuel water bottle of 250 calories. I drink that in the second hour. I then finish with a couple of awesome sauce.”
Christie: “I regret the seafood casserole my mother-in-law prepared the night before! Like seriously, what was I thinking? During I consumed UCAN edge, 3 maurten gels. Post race recovery included fajitas and a delicious margarita.”
What would you say to anyone thinking about doing Boston?
Aude: “Do it!!!”
Dan: “This is a party and one of the greatest experiences for a runner! I have run Boston and NY and Chicago. There is nothing like the people of Boston and you are never alone. It gives me chills just thinking about it!!”
Christie: “It’s definitely a privilege to get to race there. Non-stop support throughout each and every mile keeps you engaged. The hills were challenging and the last 1/2 mils is soooo fun! I personally hope they create a lottery division so people who are unable to attain the time standard can still have a chance to experience the ‘Boston Magic’.”
Dan: “My arms were drawn on by [my kids] Shiloh and Jacob. Jacob wanted me to run 2:58!! I didn’t wash my arms for 4 days!! “
I enjoyed reading about your latest experience in n the Boston Marathon.
Your uncle always loved that one the most.
So glad to see the kids are doing fine.