As part of our "Get to Know Your Board" series, Vice President of the PANA Board, Adrienne Ruzicka, CRNA, MSN tells all about running the Boston Marathon!
How long have you been running?
I started running distance my freshman year of high school. I joined the cross country team and did it primarily to stay in shape and because I did not participate in any of the other women's fall sports offered at my school. I was actually more of a competitive sprinter and did not like running distance at all; the high school cross country coach persuaded me to run on the cross country team. I am thankful that I did because running has become a huge part of my life and is a lot cheaper than therapy!
Was this your first marathon?
No, Boston was not my first marathon. The Boston Marathon is a marathon you have to qualify for at a USTAF certified marathon course. The time requirements vary depend on your sex and age group. I am in the 18-34 women's age group and the qualifying standard is 3:35:00 (8:12 min/mile pace). However, even if you meet your qualifying time does not guarantee race entry. Only the fastest applicants in each age group are accepted due to field size limitations. For 2016, runners had to beat their qualifying standard by approximately 3 minutes to gain acceptance. I qualified at the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, Pennsylvania with a 3:27:23.
If not, how many have you run?
I have run a total of 5 marathons. The first marathon I ran was the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2010. I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon 3 times, the Steamtown Marathon, and Boston was my 5th marathon.
How well did you finish?
I finished Boston in a time of 3:35:23. My overall place out of female and male competitors was 9340/26639. In my gender 2419/12168.
What were you hoping for?
I truly did not have any goals going into the race and strongly considered not participating. I had my second Cesarean Section in November 2015 and was cleared to start running mid December. The first week I started running again I developed a left hamstring injury and was advised to stop running, go to PT, and cross train. I did that for about a month and was cleared to start running again and within 2 weeks my hamstring was bothering me again. Unfortunately, despite rest and strength/cross training efforts the hamstring issue persisted. I had returned to the Doctor I was seeing and after imaging and other tests I was told to continue to strength train and was cleared to run. So, like any crazy runner, I decided to do the marathon even on minimal training and with persistent discomfort/weakness in my leg.
So long story short, my main goal was to finish! The day of the race I was nervous about it because it was almost 80 degrees at the start of the race. I knew it was vital to hydrate every mile and to try to take it easy or I may not have finished (I have had bad racing experiences in the heat before).
What were the feelings in the day and night leading up to the race?
I was mainly excited and honored to be running with some of the most competitive runners from around the world. I tried to enjoy the entire experience in Boston and to do as much as I could before the race.
Can you give us a sentence that sums up you experience?
Running the Boston Marathon was one of the most memorable and humbling experiences I have had.
Was it all you expected?
It was more than I expected. The energy from the crowd and from the participants was amazing. I expected a lot of the runners to be ultra competitive and everyone I encountered was anything but that. The runners I encountered were encouraging and supportive. Also, most runners who participate in Boston do so to honor the bombing victims of 2013.
Are you running next year?
I wish I was! I missed the qualifying standard by 23 seconds. I hope to run it again in the future. The next marathon I am running is the Chicago Marathon in October! I hope by then my leg is stronger and feeling better.