“If there was ever a year where I thought this was not my year, this was the one.”
Elite runner Desiree Linden didn’t think she would win this year’s Boston Marathon, but in fact she did—and in doing so became the first American woman since 1985 to win the historic Patriot’s Day race that starts in Hopkinton and finishes 26.2 miles later in Boston.
Des, who trains in Rochester Hills and lives in Charlevoix with her husband Ryan, had figured she was in a re-building year following some time off from running in 2017. “I took the break probably in mid-July. Looking back, I had done the [Olympic] Trials, I had done the [Olympic] Games, then done Boston , so three really high-stress, high-pressure marathons back to back to back, and physically it was a lot to ask of my body and mentally, it was just like, I was exhausted and it wasn’t really fun anymore. I felt like I was trying to have this big breakthrough performance and was forcing it more than anything. So I needed to step away and hit re-set and re-group and figure out what I really loved about the process and not focusing so much on the goal. So that gave me time to hate the process, fall in love with the process, and then set the next goal. And that happened over a really big amount of time.”
On this special live podcast recording, Des shares her journey to Boston – and what it was like to battle brutal weather conditions on April 16 – with co-hosts Heather Durocher and Pam Carrigan during the third annual Michigan Runner Girl Spring Getaway at Timber Ridge Resort in Traverse City, Mich.
Des speaks candidly about falling back in love with running. “It probably happened when I was training for this Boston.”
“I had ups and downs with it in November and December and January … It’s when you forget you’re trying and you’re just doing … it’s ‘oh, yeah I do love this.’”
She takes the audience through the miles of the race, including when she turned to fellow elite runner Shalane Flanagan and told her she wasn’t thinking this was her day and that she was there to help Shalane if she needed it, and what it really was like to run in such freezing, wet conditions: “I would take a snow day over, like 30, just above freezing and rain. That’s the worst. Those are the worst conditions. It was bad at the start … and whatever the weather is, it’s only getting worse as you get into the city. That held true.”
Looking back on her historic win, Des believes her consistent training – over the course of many years – led to her triumphant moment of crossing the finish line and breaking the tape.
“When I got to the [start] line, it was like, last year I got my butt kicked so why should I expect anything different this year especially when I really haven’t pushed the envelope to try to get better? But that’s why we line up in a race, because every race is different … It all makes sense now.”