Q&A with Mary Johnson
by. Mary Johnson
A Volée member since 2013, Mary will be running Boston for the first time. She does most of her training solo, with the help of her pink iPod shuffle. When she's not running, you will probably find her at her in-law's shore house on the Long Island Sound. For more about Mary, check out her athlete page.
How many times have you raced Boston?
This is my first Boston!
What makes you most excited about stepping to the line on April 21st?
I’m probably most excited about the prestige of the race and being part of such a special weekend, especially after last year’s tragedy. Very early on in my training, I was so focused on ME and my goals and my aspirations for a huge PR. As the weeks and workouts ticked by, I realized that the race isn’t about me this year. Sure—I’d totally love to hit my goal time and have the race of my life, and my training has been right on course for that, which is super exciting. But more importantly, I want to enjoy the race and enjoy the fact that I’m running my first Boston Marathon, which is something I never imagined myself doing.
How has this training cycle been similar or different to races in the past (training, tapering, fueling etc)?
This is the first marathon I’ve ever run after a year of increased mileage, hardcore running and training. I qualified for Boston during the New Jersey Marathon last May, but prior to training for NJM, I had gained a lot of weight and hadn’t really worked out or trained for anything in over a year. Prior to NJM, I had run other races and had been semi-fit…but that marathon really sparked the beginning of my newfound passion of training and working HARD and with dedication. Boston will be different because I’ve grown a ton in the past year—both mentally and physically—and I’m really excited to see how it pays off.
What are your goals for the race?
Let’s just say a PR would be sub-3:22, and I intend on absolutely crushing that time.
If you could run with any celebrity in Boston who would it be and why?
I would be totally star struck and in awe to run with Kara Goucher (for obvious reasons!) I also would really love to run with Maegan Krifchin, who’s another elite runner I like to follow. She’s super speedy, but hasn’t been running professionally for very long, so not a ton of people knows about her and how fast she is. I tend to love the underdogs because I think of myself as one. She trained for a couple of years in Syracuse, which is where I’m from, so I feel like we have a Central NY connection!
What is your ideal weather?
Mid to high 50s and SUNNY with no humidity.
Are you a master of the water stops or will you need practice?
I’m pretty good at them, but I have to remember to DRINK the water instead of splashing it all over my body.
How do you fuel morning of, during, and after?
I’ll wake up and have a wheat bagel with peanut butter and a banana, and then sip on either Sugar Free Redbull or black coffee. I’ll also make a water bottle of Cherry Limeade Nuun, and drink that right up until the race. Since there will be so much time in between waking up and arriving to Hopkinton, I’ll also eat a Picky Bar en route to the start. During the race, I’ll do a Gu or a few FuelStrip Fuel Chews 10 minutes before starting, then again at miles 6, 11, 16, & 21. Sometimes if I can’t stomach an entire gel, I’ll just slowly eat it over the course of a mile or two. I’ll also try to alternate between water and Gatorade during the water stops. After running long, I normally feel nauseous for a solid 30-60 minutes after stopping. During that time, I try to drink as much water as I can. Once I can keep something down, I like drinking Hammer Recoverite.
What cheer would you like to hear from fans to get you fired up?
I do a majority of my running and training alone, which has made me incredibly strong mentally. I love hearing reminders about running with grit, because I’d like to think I have a lot of it. My coach, Josh Maio, also SOMEHOW always predicts my finishing time of big runs, which drives me crazy! Towards the end of races, I get really revved up trying to go faster than his predicted time, so I can prove him wrong. –That’s how I broke 3:23 last year during the New Jersey Marathon!
What is your ideal treat to celebrate post race?!
A LONG shower, then a Blue Moon and a bacon and bleu burger with sweet potato fries! Then, I’ll probably arrange a massage for a day or two post-race.