Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Athlete Interview: Kim MacKenzie, Part 2

The elusive Boston Marathon Finisher's Medal, 2015.
March seems like a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away!  But, back on March 10, I posted the first part of a two part interview with Kim MacKenzie about the upcoming Boston Marathon.  Now, somewhat belated as I have been travelling on sabbatical, here is the second part of that interview, the part where Kim tells us about that wondrous day in April so many have come to both fear and love!  Enjoy!

Brad Zinnecker/Trail Running Faith:  Kim, it's been a few weeks since Boston, have you come down off the high of finishing one of the biggest, toughest marathons in the world?

Kim Mackenzie:  Good morning Brad...Wow, I guess it has been a month, where does the time go?!?  It really all seems so far in the past now.  I am back to reality and as I reflect on one of the toughest and biggest marathons in the world, I do feel a sense of accomplishment having been fortunate and healthy enough to run and embrace such an iconic event.  I don’t know whether what I felt was a high or a great relief it was completed.  There seemed to be so much pressure going into it (all self-inflicted of course) lol…I drive myself crazy sometimes.

Brad: Before we get to the race itself, tell us all about the hours leading up to it.  Did you take in other events, the expo, etc?  Is there just an incredible buzz leading up to the start?

Kim:  Well I arrived Saturday afternoon and felt completely exhausted once I hit Cambridge (which was where I stayed – handy to the subway and affordable).  

Brad: Wow, having lived and worked in New England, I don't think I've ever heard anyone say Boston or Cambridge was affordable!!!

Kim:  I arrived alone and wasn’t expecting my friend until Sunday (the next day) so I made a few calls to settled my mind and opted out of eating a meal (which wasn’t very smart, yes I know ;) and that night I laid in bed thinking, thinking and doing more thinking about the coming events.  I made a little oatmeal, which I brought from home, had a beer and went to sleep...@ 8:30 pm.  

The next morning I woke refreshed and
Tracey's poster she made for Kim!
energized.  I did a little 5K trot through Cambridge before 7am and I felt great.  I left for the Expo to pick up a few things, (aka SHOP for gear!) before it became too busy as I heard it can get quite crowded.  Even at 9am it was very busy but I had such fun and met some wonderful people.  I could feel the “crackle of energy” in the air.  I chose not to pick up my race kit until Tracey, my friend, joined me so we could enjoy and celebrate that moment together (and to get more data as to how long the time travelling from Cambridge to downtown Boston would/could be---can’t have enough data!). 

Tracey arrived before noon and ohhhhh it was sooo great to see her and her poster. We left for the trip downtown Boston again and picked up my race kit!
Race kit in hand!
This was very exciting and walking Boylston Street was electric with the sun shining, faces EVERYWHERE glowing.  Walking past (but not across) the Finish Line~ a blue strip on the road soooo familiar from months of visualizing it, yet like seeing it for the first time.  Passing all the former Boston Marathon runners in their various jackets milling about from years previous, the excitement and feeling in the air was palpable and BUSYYY.  We grabbed a bagel, sat on a patio on Boylston Street in the sun, had some water, people watched and finally left for the hotel room to get off my feet.  We had a wonderful supper, and I had my feet tended to by my reflexologist, (Tracey) and settled into the room…to thinkkkkk about...THE WEATHER !

Brad: Wow Kim, travelling with your own medical professionals! Did you sign a shoe contract while you were out there too? :) Okay, all kidding aside, what was the weather like the morning of the race?  How'd this affect your attitude?

Tracey, friend and reflexologist, tending to Kim's feet before the big event!
Kim:  Soooooooo the weather...I must say I was more of a wreck the night before rather than the morning of the race.  I received an email (as did 30,000 others) from the Boston Athletic Association making recommendation as to what to wear.  Prior to this, in my head I was settled and happy with my decision until I read the email…"Oh NO, I don’t have warm enough clothes!!" I thought as I panicked.  I had brought an assortment of clothes, but no winter gear!  "Headwinds/cold/rain...ACK!!"  All that evening was spent speaking and debating with former Boston Marathoners back home and friends as to what I should wear.  I couldn’t help but think of the forecasted headwinds, rain, and colder temperatures for the next day.  Finally after many hours (and my poor friend's sanity being put to the test) I settled on an outfit and was able to fall asleep.  I slept fairly soundly.

The morning of the race, I decided against what I had chosen to wear the night before and instead went with what I originally selected, shorts, a running singlet, gloves, arm warmers, a ball cap and ear covers...settled!  I had breakfast with and said good-by to Tracey who would see me en route and be at the finish for me, ahhh what a Sweetie!  I was ready to go and the weather did not seem as horrid as I had thought it might be.  Attitude was checked and in proper place. 
Attitude Checked and in proper place!

Brad: Alright, let it rip...tell us about your race--- What went well? What did you learn? What would you do differently?

Kim:  As I left the Hotel room, I decided to join some new friends I had met and we walked from Cambridge to the shuttle pick-up in Boston.  (I knew better but did it anyways.)  It was about 5K and felt good, buttttt, I knew I should be resting those legs.  Oh well...friends first right?!?  It was breezy and cold but no rain yet as we boarded the bus and drove for maybe an hour to the start line in Hopkinton.  

The run itself was amazing once I was able to actually run.  I shed my throw-away fleece at the start but kept my rain poncho and an extra t-shirt on, which I was glad I did as it began to rain when we walked to the start line which seemed like it took forever! The start of the race was sooo crowded that you couldn’t even weave through the runners.  When there was a little opening to the side of the road, I often made the mistake and got caught out and had to run straight into large puddles that had accumulated on the sides of the road from the rain.  I thought about blisters for a while as I waited for the crowd to thin and then forgot about it...I did not get any, so yay!  At around 18KM I finally felt I was able to stretch my legs and start to run.  Up until this point my pace was dictated solely by the crowd I was surrounded in and so I kept telling myself this will save my legs and I won’t fall into the trap of bursting out of the gates and running too quick.  But I had lost a lot of time and felt waves of apprehension as to my finish time and whether I could make some of the lost time up (although I knew this was near impossible) but I set off running and found my pace and rhythm over the rolling hills.  The weather was never an issue and I had shed the layered t-shirt and poncho somewhere along the early stages.  This was the type of weather I was accustomed to running in...I was finally racing.  I was enjoying seeing the crowds and runners for the first time.  There were certain moments that jumped out while I ran.  I noticed a man in front of me for a while and as I drew closer to catch him, I could read the back of his shirt, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Phil 4:13”  I couldn’t help but look to the sky and smile and knew I wasn’t alone in my run.  I saw a spectator in the crowd that looked identical to my sister Wendy-she smiled and said “You got this!” I smiled and touched her hand and set off again.  A stranger on the side street said “Power, I see power in them legs!”  I looked down and smoothed my hand over my working quads, yes they felt powerful to me too.  And then, finally, how long the last 2 miles of the race was…and especially that final turn up Boylston...seeing the finish line sooooooo far down the street, “You have got to be kidding me!” I thought.    

I ended up running a negative split in Boston which I hear it is not that common.  I felt great and sailed into the finish line with ease as the rain and wind pelted my face.  It felt great to really run hard with the final KM being my fastest.

Brad:  Wowza Kimmie!  A negative split!  That's crazy!  BTW, Philippians 4:13 is one of my favorite verses.  I was praying for you as I watched your little person icon travel across the screen of my iPad online.  In addition, your Twitter fit fam that I am a part of was cheering you on, hoping for you to break 4 hours!  What did that feel like?  What was your official time?

Kim:  I know, I read and reread all the exciting posts of my fitfam on Twitter, post-race.  How I love you all!!!  I think I had shared with you that under 3:50 would be a great day, less than 4 hours a good day.  As the possibility of a 3:50 finish slipped through my fingers, I was doing the math while running (and let me point out this is not an easy task for me, lol!), and the thought almost crippled me of not getting that time as I felt strong and ready to have been able to accomplish it but the slow start may likely have contributed to missing it.  Who’s to say?  So I was determined to beat 4 hours.  My official time was 3:59:02.  I still feel I was faster on the day but have allowed that thought to become less sharp and instead have chosen to focus on my negative split, which was very exciting.  

Brad:  How were the hills?

Kim:  This may sound fictitious but I really didn’t notice many hills, either downhill or up.  Running down the hills was easy the first half as I was going at an easy pace.  I had prepared extremely well through the winter months running hills and running a “replica” version of Heartbreak Hill in Halifax time after time after time.  I could not distinguish between the rolling hills and “the” hill (Heartbreak) and only realized it was behind me when I saw marker Mile 23, whoopppeeee!!! 

Brad:  What was it like crossing that finish line? 

A windy and wet finish to Boston 2015.
Kim: Crossing the finish-line was a great feeling, many thoughts went through my head: happiness, relief and frustration…but they all lasted but a split second as I regained my composure and focused on getting to my friend Tracey who was waiting for me.  At this time it was so windy and raining so hard it quickly brought you to your senses.  I didn’t stick around very long as I began to chill very quickly after crossing the line.

Brad: Anything else you want to add?

Kim:  Oh my, I could talk about this event forever but there is a fine line between sharing information and blabbing, lol!  My thoughts are changing the further removed I get from the marathon.  I was content not to strive to do another Boston and focus on running the other 5 majors, butttttttt, now I am toying with the idea of getting a better qualifying time which would set me up in a faster corral... hmmm maybe??  ;) 

Brad:  The other 5 major marathons around the world, or another Boston...small potatoes, right?  What encouragement would you give to someone just getting into running and hoping to someday get to Boston?

Kim:  I would tell them it is for sure possible.  They just need to work hard and believe in themselves.  It all starts with a dream backed by some hard work, focus/commitment---you have to want it.  My story is a very simple one and it definitely shows that anyone can do it.  Believe in the dream and believe in yourself.

For most, getting here is the goal.  Kim wants to come back and rock it even faster! :)

Brad:  So proud of you Kim! Awesome job!

Kim:  Thanks Brad, I couldn’t have endured the training this winter without the wonderful support/push from you, my friends (both in the community and on-line) and family...I feel so blessed!  

Brad:  We were so excited for you as we followed online!  Thanks again Kim for taking time to share with me about your Boston experience!  

Goal accomplished, Philippians 4:13.

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