Patricia Kaufman began life as a runner, competing in high school cross-country. After college, she picked up cycling and gradually moved into triathlon. “I was a terrible swimmer. At my first tri, a sprint, I barely finished the swim.” Now, Patricia regularly competes in IronMan triathlons.
One thing Patricia has learned from triathlon is that running and cycling compliment each other. “They offer a similar cardio workout, but use different leg muscles which helps. When your leg muscles start to fatigue in running, you can go to your cycling muscles.”
A huge benefit to both cycling and running, “It helps me to not get injured,” Patricia adds. “I supplement running with cycling. I only run four times a week.” By cycling, “I keep my cardio up, but save my legs.”
Patricia does brick workouts – a run right off the bike. “After two hours on the CompuTrainer, I’ll get off and run fifteen minutes to get used to that transition. It’s a good way to train your legs.”
“Contrary to how a lot of triathletes train – many feel you need to run on fresh legs – I do my long bike rides the day before I do my long runs. My legs are a little bit tired and it trains them for running on fatigued legs. You learn how to deal with that fatigue.”
Patricia is no stranger to dealing with fatigue. Her first Boston Marathon was 18 years ago, when the B.A.A celebrated its 100th year of the marathon. Since then, she’s returned to Boston to run several times.
To qualify for 2014, Patricia had registered – and had raised money for charity – for the New York Marathon in November, 2012. That was the year Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the city along the course and the marathon was cancelled a little over 36 hours prior to the start. All trained up and ready to run, Patricia registered with her brother for a marathon three weeks later in Florida. There, she qualified for Boston 2014 with a five-minute cushion.
Patricia’s been running for long enough to have experience with a lot of courses and to bear witness to how they have changed over time. Her first marathon was Chicago, back when there were only 5,000 runners. She remembers when that race began at Grant Park and ended in Lincoln Park, with the last three miles being run on Lake Shore Drive.
Her favorite marathon is the New York Marathon. She loves beginning on Staten Island and running the bridge, which is totally silent except for the sound of the runner’s feet hitting the pavement. After that, there are people everywhere along the course, cheering runners through each of the five boroughs. “It’s never silent, except when you’re running over the bridges, where spectators aren’t allowed.”
While New York might be her favorite course, Patty says there’s nothing like the Boston marathon, which is difficult to train for here.
To prepare for the course, Patricia makes use of the limited hills in the area. “I always make sure I do the ravines – back and forth. On long runs, I always hit those.” She points out: “The biggest issue for Boston is that people think it’s the going up that’s really hard. I think it’s the going down that is hard. You go down for so long in the beginning. It’s a lot of breaking.”
While training for Boston is difficult to do in our flat terrain, it was especially challenging this winter. “It’s been such a tough winter to train.” Patricia goes on: “I was still on the treadmill doing long runs. It was just so hard with the cold, ice and snow.” Most of her long runs, up until the last month, were all done indoors, with treadmill runs two hours long. Some, she would break up, beginning and ending on the treadmill, but get outdoors for a good chunk in the middle.
The treadmill alone just doesn’t cut it. “You use your body differently on the treadmill. You don’t use your hamstrings the way you do outdoors.” You also cannot prepare for the downhill on a treadmill.
Patricia, with all her marathon and triathlon experience, says the experience of Boston is like no other. “Everyone is there because they worked very hard to get there. They’ve trained to get there.” With most marathons, Patty explains, you can walk and still finish a course. She points out that walking a marathon is different than running a marathon.
“Boston is just a different caliber. I like the feel of Boston – the tradition, the history.” She adds, “It’s Patriot’s Day. They’re all out there cheering for you.” She cites the Wellesley girls, who are as notorious for the “wall of screams” which can be heard a half mile away as they are for their kisses they freely hand out on the course. “I do like Boston for the experience.”
The 2014 Boston Marathon, with its celebration of endurance, will certainly be an experience like no other.
Meet more Higher Gear customers who are running in the 2014 Boston Marathon:
For more information:
- Learn more about the 2014 Boston Marathon.
- Not a runner? Check out this summary of everything you need to know about the Boston Marathon.
- Check out the B.A.A.’s website.
- Get all the details about the Boston Marathon.
- For more background, check out the Wikipedia entry for the Boston Marathon.
- Listen to Scott Simon’s interview with Mike Barnicle on NPR’s Saturday Weekend Edition.
- Listen to Higher Gear’s own Joy Sherrick’s interview immediately following the 2013 Boston bombing.
- For tips on how to approach running the Boston Marathon, visit Dark Horse Triathlon.
- If you’re a local runner not already involved, get to know the Evanston Running Club.
- Learn more about Chicago Sports Institute, co-founded by Patricia Kaufman.
Joy Sherrick is a two-time Boston-qualifier and a Boston Marathon 2013 survivor. She will be returning to run Boston in 2015. Joy runs, but she also bikes, swims, strength trains, practices yoga and plays soccer. She is a fitness coach and Higher Gear’s own fitness guru. She is also her IronMan husband‘s biggest cheerleader.