This Monday is a true holiday in the world of running - Marathon Monday, the running of the Boston Marathon.
From amateurs who dedicated weeks, months, even years of training to run a qualifying time and earn their spot on the starting line, to runners fundraising for partner charities, to the perennial world-class roster of pros racing to be the first across the finish line on Boylston, to the millions of people who tune in from their tvs or along the course to spectate, the Boston Marathon is a WHOLE THING.
And this year, the Picky Crew has even more reason than usual to tune in to race weekend --- Three more reasons, in fact!
Both female co-founders (Lauren and Steph) along with sponsored athlete Molly Seidel will be toeing the line Monday morning, all on very different journeys with one shared goal:
26.2 miles of Marathon Monday magic.
Runs for: Hoka NAZ Elite
After over a decade of professional running, Steph was diagnosed with Bicuspid Aortic Valve disease last fall. She's still healthy enough to run, and has dubbed 2022 the "Grit Finale" -- her retirement tour! Always the open and honest one, she shared all the details about the diagnosis and her decision on her blog, and has invited everyone along as she closes out her storied career. This will be her first time back at Boston since 2013, long before she was a mom and when Picky Bars only came in four flavors!
Picky Sponsored Athlete
Runs for: Puma, Verde Track Club
If it weren't for all the podiums and that little Olympic bronze medal, you might think Molly was just a goofy, regular ol' gal who likes running a bunch based on her Instagram. Like, she'll lace up for a local turkey trot in a fleece turkey costume, but will also win and be deemed the World's Fastest Turkey. She's had beer sponsorships, and also been three stories tall on the Puma Flagship store walls. She's fun and fast and looking for a big debut on her "home" course.
Runs for: Herself
Fundraising for: Girls on the Run Boston
A 2x National Champ in a once upon a time not too long ago, Lauren retired from professional racing back in 2016, with one 26.2 finish to her long list of career highlights. (NYC Marathon, 2011.) She wrote about retirement that she is "not afraid of getting slower; I can always get better." "Better" has shown itself as over $15,000 raised for Girls on the Run, something LF now thinks might be her marathon'ing super power.
Steph: Why do you need any more than it being world major, with a top-notch field, in an iconic event that demands its own unofficial holiday?! Ha. It's honestly the who's-who of marathons in the US and the World. Any time I've met someone on a plane or at a party over the years and I tell them I'm a professional runner, they ask "yeah but have you run Boston?"
Lauren: "What's the big deal about Boston" is a big driver of my curiosity. I've watched as a spectator, but there's no replacement for getting direct experience. Since Boston is an event you have to qualify for by time (unless you're a charity runner like me), it represents a stretch goal for a lot of runners. Trying to qualify for something challenging can deepen your practice immensely. Boston has driven many people to be more dedicated in their movement, whether they end up qualifying for it or not.
Molly: I think of this as my “home” course, since I lived in Boston for about 5 years at the start of my pro career. Until you’ve been to Marathon Monday and seen the race you can’t understand what a huge deal this is for the entire city.
Steph: I am looking forward to challenging myself against an amazing field that was assembled by the BAA and put all this training to the test. Can't wait for the energy of the crowds as well.
Lauren: Running through Boston in my Girls On The Run singlet, seeing old friends, spending time with my Oiselle community. And that elite women's field, holy crap! I want to see how that all shakes out!
Molly: Finally getting to race on a course I’ve run on & dreamed about since I was a kid.
Steph: [on the mentality she’s applied to this cycle]: Just [being] with it. The move. The injection of pace. Just [going] with it.
Lauren: Completing the 17 mile out and back on the Deschutes River Trail for my long run, something I hadn't done since my early 20's. It was so satisfying to push past my long run limits and feel strong at the end.
Molly: I’ve gotten to ski quite a bit this build, and it’s been really great getting to have that as a mental break from the grind. I love uphilling at Snowbowl (our mountain in town) in the evenings after long runs, it’s wonderful to watch the sunset and just be peaceful.
Steph: Yeah I got Covid at the end of January just as I was feeling really fit and came off a 5th place at US Cross Country. Since its effects aren't quite studied on athletes and long term effect I erred on the side of caution and took five days totally OFF of running. Nothing. Just me and my couch for five days.
Lauren: I've had lots of problems with side stitches, and some trouble motivating on my training runs because of being absorbed with work. I haven't completed all my training, but that's ok. I'm done with perfectionism!
Molly: I’ve had a hip impingement for a lot of this build, so had to pull back on quite a few things and change the buildup from what we originally hoped. That’s just what the sport is though, you make the most of what you get!
(editor note: A-freaking-men!)
Steph: So many things can go right in the marathon and so many things can go wrong. You train for weeks and months to lay it all out there on race day. The training for a marathon is half the battle of the race itself. It is a true test of will and the human spirit.
Lauren: The distance is, well, long. There's no way around it. Those last seven miles or so will test me in many ways, and I like having that hanging over me a little bit. I like that voice that pops up in response to the challenge that says "you'll get through it."
Molly: You go to a place in the marathon you just can’t with the shorter races; the race doesn’t really start til mile 16 or so, and you’ve gotta reach inside to this deep well of mental toughness you never thought you had. It’s also really such an experience and every one is really different.
Steph: Running my race and grinding solo.
Lauren: Pretty sure I don't have one yet! But as far as charity marathon running goes, maybe my super power is gathering my community to raise nearly $15,000 for scholarships for Girls on the Run Greater Boston. I'm really proud of that, and proud of my community for coming through!
Molly: An egregious aerobic capacity, a very shuffle-y stride, and freakish pain tolerance.
Steph: Picky Bar Mint Condition, a bowl of white rice, and black coffee.
Lauren: Picky Oats, Trail Mix Fix!
Molly: PB toast, a Picky Bar (Need for Seed), and coffee!