We haven't had a recent installment of this series of What Would Another Mother Runner Do scenarios in a while--and we've missed it. So when saw Michelle San Antonio’s story on Facebook this weekend, we knew we had to feature it.
After an injury kept Mother Runner Michelle from running the Boston Marathon in 2016, she planned to requalify and run a PR on April 15 at the Newport Rhode Race. Unfortunately, she lived every racing mother runner's worst fear: she got sick during her taper. Rather than race regardless, she picked another race, the Maine Coast Marathon, which was one month later. The timing was such that it would allow her time to heal from her illness but hopefully still be able to use the speed and fitness she'd already built. The day before the race, however, a classic spring Nor'easter was predicted. The forecasters were calling for sheets of rain, stiff winds, and just-above-freezing temps.
Michelle wondered: should she race on regardless, having already delayed once, or push through and hope for the best?
What would you do?
Sarah says: While I know it's possible to qualify for Boston Marathon in craptastic weather (I did it in continuous downpour in 2010 Portland Marathon!), I would have delayed the marathon again. Particularly in light of predicted 30 to 40 mph winds accompanying the storm! Living in the Northeast, Michelle was running against the onset of summer heat, but I would have found a copacetic marathon on Memorial Day weekend, with the hopes that third time would be the charm! Then I would have run long on the day of the Maine Coast Marathon, then gotten in a touch more speedwork before, once again, starting to taper.
DMD says: So Boston Qualifying—let alone the distance of a marathon—feels so far out of my (injured) wheelhouse right now, it's hard to mentally put myself in Michelle's shoes. (Shoes, it should be noted, that have had too many frustrations lately. Sorry, Michelle!) That said, if a fast marathon was her priority and if she knew that, when she crossed the finish line, she was going to be disappointed if she wasn't able to race to her full ability on race day, I would've told her to save her taper (again) and find another race. On the other hand, if she wanted an adventure and a story that would always get runners to laugh, I would've totally condoned running 26.2 in a Nor'easter. Personally, I'm 100% in the adventure-over-clock-time camp, so I probably would've run. And then I would've taken a crazy long, hot shower and celebrated the badass feat I just accomplished with a huge slice of carrot cake.
Michelle decided to just go for it. It was her slowest and, due to some misdirection by a volunteer on the course, longest "marathon.” She says: "I'm not happy with the way the race went - I struggled with cramping hamstrings and calves and knee issues for the last 11 miles, and the awful weather on top of that made for a pretty rotten experience - but I am happy I did it, because I'd always rather give it my best shot and fail than not try at all."
What would you have done? And do you have your own What Would Another Mother Runner Do? quandary to share?