It was the opportunity of a lifetime.
Christine Valdivieso, 49, got to spend a week in New England meeting new friends and runners, including Met Meb Kelezighi, the first American to win the marathon after the Boston bombings in 2013, before running the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17.
Valdivieso was one of more than 100 mostly female runners from around the world who joined Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon in 1967, and 261 Fearless, whose goal is to promote running for women.
Valdivieso finished with an official time of five hours, 32 minutes and six seconds, according to race results from the Boston Athletic Association.
She reflected on the experience of completing her 10th marathon and what the future holds.
Q: How did you prepare your body and mind for the race?
A: Preparations started last summer with three to four days of running five miles per week. I was originally registered to run the Las Vegas marathon in November 2016, but once I received the bib to run Boston, I decided to forgo that marathon and concentrate on a plan for Boston. I feel most confident with a six-month marathon prep training schedule. This time I was spoiled as I received support from the Boston Athletic Association and 261 Fearless in the form of training programs. It included weekly training schedules and long runs, as well as additional information including proper hydration and stretching. My training also included cross-training. I swam two days each week for upper body strength and conditioning.
For mental preparation, we were supported by amazing staff through 261 Fearless, who provided words of encouragement and support. We also had the privilege of three conference calls with Kathrine Switzer, who answered questions and was an amazing inspiration during training.
Last, a personal friend who provides meditation and mind preparation for several pro sports teams and high schools, Jim Madrid, provided one-on-one techniques that were very effective in keeping my mind focused and calm in preparation for race day.
Q: How did the experience of running the Boston Marathon compare to your previous marathon-running experience?
A: There is no comparison of one marathon to the next. They are all special for their own reasons and in their own way. That being said, this is the Boston Marathon. Any runner you meet or talk to that has run the Boston Marathon receives respect for running the most significant marathon in the world. The course has so much history and runner’s respect if just for that reason. To have the privilege to run the Boston Marathon is a runner’s dream.
Q: Was the Boston Marathon course easier or more challenging compared to the previous marathon courses?
A: The Boston Marathon was one of the most challenging marathons I have run. It was about the same difficulty level of the Big Sur Marathon, but in Boston you have far more crowd support, which helps carry you through the harder times you may have on…