Danica Patricks Joins 125th Boston Marathon
Danica Patrick, the former decorated racing driver, is one of 20,000 people who will run the 125th Boston Marathon. Patrick, who is the only woman to win an IndyCar Series race, pushes her athletic limits by running Boston as a way to challenge herself both “mentally and physically”.
As she weaves her way through the 26.2 mile race, she will be joined by sister Brooke Selman and friend Erin Buntin on Team Speed of Light. She and other runners on the team are running to raise money for the Light Foundation, which was founded by former New England Patriots player Matt Light and his wife Susie to empower young people to lead active lives.
When given the opportunity to take part in the iconic race, Patrick said she didn’t have to think twice before taking it.
“It was like, ‘Oh, Boston? Yes, we do, ”Patrick told Boston.com.
Boston.com spoke to Patrick about her training schedule, how she plans to conquer Heartbreak Hill, and why she runs Boston.
This interview has been edited slightly for length and clarity.
When did you decide to run a marathon?
I’ve always wanted to run a marathon. From being a kid when I was still living with my parents, running with my mom in the morning and that was really my only form of training. Fast forward many years later, this is one of those things where I’ve been like for so long, “I just want to run a marathon someday. Before I die, I want to run a marathon. It’s a very big physical and mental challenge, and I love challenges. It’s my only item on the to-do list, so let’s go. I can die after October 11.
What was training like for you in the months and weeks leading up to the marathon?
I can’t say I trained as much as I should have, but I think I have definitely trained enough. I’m not going to say race day will be perfect. Some of the best athletes in the world can have a tough day on race day. Training is like building on your run and building week after week. I [trained] June, July, August, September, so four months. After the first month or so, every other week is a long race, and between weeks is medium-length races. This is where I hesitated a bit because I was high in Telluride, Colorado, and then I was in the heat of Scottsdale, Arizona, so my training environment was less than ideal. I certainly haven’t covered as many miles as the other girls who came with me, but despite everything, I still feel ready to go.
Are there parts of the course that make you excited to run or others that you fear finishing?
I rename Heartbreak Hill to Home Free Hill. The mental space you can enter once you get past it will be interesting as you have just completed the most difficult part of [the] sure, but you know you’re about to be part of a usually downhill race from there to the end. I think [it] it will be an interesting mental position to be exhausted knowing that you are on the home stretch.
What is running for Light Speed Team does mean to you?
Mast [Light] was a professional athlete, played soccer, and the idea of the charity taking the kids out and teaching them about responsibility, accountability and leadership… is just a very simple yes for me. It’s something that I love to support. Any opportunity I have before the race to remind people that they can donate to the Light Foundation, I do. They help kids get out and get active and I love that.
Do you have any favorite songs that you plan to listen to while you run?
I listen to podcasts, especially with my long runs. You know it’s a long time when you can browse a Joe Rogan podcast. But I don’t think we’ll listen to anything [during the marathon]. It will be the three of us running together and then there will be so much interaction with the crowd and people will be clapping your name. I think we want to be really there and we want to absorb it. It’s not about ignoring these things, it’s about adapting to them and avoiding how much your body hurts you.
How do you plan to relax after the race?
I think there will be a descent. I have noticed that after very long runs as if my stomach gets a little weird afterwards, probably from consuming things to keep you alive that you wouldn’t normally eat, be they really rich drinks sodium so you can have electrolytes and sodium so you don’t dehydrate. I think after the race our stomachs will probably be a little weird. I think our bodies will tire a bit. I think we’ll probably go in and lie down in the hotel room and sit in TheraBody boots to get rid of inflammation in the legs. I doubt that drinking alcohol that night will be good for our bodies, but I bet we will.
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