Obviously a bucket-list race, I started to get pretty excited to run the week before the race, even knowing my training wasn't great. The trip started out a little rough though! After a 3am wake-up to make it to Albuquerque for my flight, I struggled with air sickness on both flights to Boston. What a relief to finally touch down!
On Easter Sunday we hit packet pickup and the Expo (which was still packed despite the holiday)! After the expo I met up with some Fort Collins folks for lunch at this adorable Italian restaurant that LOVES Boston runners! Having worked in many tourist towns, I'm used to the locals not being thrilled with tourists, but the people of Boston seem to genuinely love hosting the marathon runners- and we were EVERYWHERE. It didn't matter where we went, there were Boston jackets and shirts flooding the city all weekend. It was neat to be a part of it as a qualified runner this year, rather than as a guide like 2015- though that was super fun too :)
The weather on Sunday was HOT- those of us who trained in the snow all winter didn't quite feel prepared for this weather, and every time we checked, the forecast had gone up a couple degrees for Marathon Monday. Eek!
I think the hardest part of Boston for me was having to be up at 5:00 to take an uber to the bus, and be on the bus by 6:00 just to arrive at our special athletes village and wait. And wait. And wait. My nutrition plan was a little out of whack, having to be up for almost 6 hours before the race even started. FINALLY, at 10:00 I began the journey to the start with some other wave 3ers on my bus. I slathered the heck out of myself with sunblock as the sun was already beating down on us. After what was actually a pretty long walk to the real athletes village and then the corral, I was already sweating. My race began at 10:50 on the dot!
Having no idea what I was capable of running, I planned on running solely by feel, and just hoped that it would translate into a decent pace. People always warn you about not starting out too fast because you feel great! and you're excited! and it's downhill! BOSTON!
NOPE. Nope, Nope.
None of that at all. I felt zero benefit of training at 7k feet, it was hot, my legs had zero pep to them, and I distinctly remember hitting a hill in the first mile and going, "what the what? All downhill, huh??"
I was pretty disappointed to see my splits: 8:40, 8:38, 8:40, 8:24, 8:45
HOWEVER, I also knew that this would be FAR from a PR and that I should just try to have fun and enjoy the experience- I worked hard in OK (at 5k's, ha!) to get to Boston and this would be a celebration run of that accomplishment. Who knows if I'll ever qualify again?
Anybody who has followed my training knows I have LOTS of trouble with side stitches. They've ruined a HUGE chunk of races for me, and at the very least have shown up in almost all my races. When I switch to trail racing, it's usually because I'm so frustrated with not being able to make any progress on the road due to them. At mile 12 they showed up full throttle, and I was scared it would be a repeat of the CO marathon where I could barely walk/jog the last 18 miles of the race. Amazingly, I was able to keep a steady pace after slowing for a couple miles at a time. I know some people think they're all in my head, but I was feeling confident going into this race that I wouldn't have issues. It was heartbreaking when they showed up. It gets harder and harder not to give up on road racing when that happens.
8:16, 8:18, 8:42, 8:28, 8:32, 8:29, 8:35, 9:18, 8:27
Miles 14-21 "The Hills"
The crowds at Boston are for real. It's the whole reason I would come back in a few years if I re-qualify/save up enough money. Tons of people lined the streets for the Newton Hills and their energy really gives you a boost! At this point I was already stopping at every aid station to pour two cups of water on my head, then drink a cup or two. I no longer cared about running the tangents and was crossing the street over and over again to grab ice to stuff in my sports bra, or to run under the fountains of water produced by fire hydrants that the fire department had rigged. Little kids handed out otter pops, and I saw more and more runners doing either the death march, or stumbling and acting drunk due to dehydration. Volunteers would yell out where the next medical tents were.
8:27, 8:38, 8:29, 8:26, 8:37, 8:17, 8:50, 9:42 (heartbreak hill)
Miles 22- the FINISH!
The last 5 miles were of course pretty brutal- even though I trained some downhill I was beginning to feel my dead quads during this section, but that's to be expected. This is when the crowds really come alive, and I soaked in everything, especially turning "right on Hereford, left on Boylston." I don't think my smile ever left my face the last couple miles!
8:23, 8:19, 8:36, 8:36, 9:06, 7:59 pace last .4 miles
After crossing the finish line, I had a strong urge to barf as I made my way through the medals, blankets, medical tents, and goodie bags. When I finally made it to my friends it was clear that nobody had a good day, but we laughed about what a disaster it was, took some photos and began our journey to our hotels to SHOWER. I was caked in salt, even after pouring water on myself most of the race! Terry was in rough shape, so I got him some ice from the med tent, and we hobbled to the T. I had to bail from the first train before we made it to the second train because I was so close to puking. Luckily I felt better by the time we met up with people for dinner, because oh MAN the seafood is awesome in Boston!
I may not have run fast or re-qualified, but I'm proud of the race I ran. I paced well and only positive split the race by 1 minute (during the Newton hills) and hit my "D" goal of having fun haha. I also managed to move up about 5000 places from where I was seeded, which I took as a victory. Someday I hope to be back, but for now, it's a bucket list race checked off. :)