The Boston Marathon Race Report
Training: Well, as you can see, I have basically only the one decent 20 mile long run- on asphalt in 75 degree perfect weather with no hills... zero of my races have had hills... and I live in Florida... so, not really prepared at all. But- it's the Boston Marathon! I was excited anyway!
Weather: 31 degrees wind chill, 40 degrees temperature, rain for the duration of the marathon with squalls/heavy rain, 26mph wind at the start that ended up being a constant headwind/Easterly wind the entire way, and even some small deposits of residual snow on the ground by the starting tents which added to the ambiance nicely. People were laughing when I told them I was from Florida- I don't blame them!
Pre-race: The one hour bus ride was difficult- I forgot it took so long to get down there. I'm about 6' tall, so I don't fit into a yellow school bus very easily. When we finally arrived, the rain/wind/temperature was a tough combination to deal with, and I found myself shivering and and conversing with everyone while wondering how we were going to do this. I knew I was going to do it, I just thought it was a bit crazy of all bad weather days for it to be on this particular day. Finally they called for wave 1 and we trudged across the mud towards the start line, shivering. Fortunately, I was in corral 2, so I got a good look at the elites which was a fun sight- oddly enough, Yuki Kawauchi- the winner- noticeably stood out as looking particularly spry while Galen Rupp (or at least I found out later was Galen Rupp) looked like he was about to rob a bank in dramatic fashion.
Goals: A Goal- Run a 2:59 to keep my streak of sub 3-hour marathons intact.
B Goal- Run a BQ so I don't have to run another marathon until Boston next year (approximately a 3:03 finish time)
C Goal- Complete the marathon.
The Race!- This was an insane, unforgettable experience. If I could make a race with the worst weather conditions at the start, I'd have checked all of the boxes that this race had- enduring rain, squalls, headwind sustained over 25mph, and a windchill at freezing temperature- so as to be as cold as possible, but not cold enough to freeze. I started with an inordinate amount of clothes and decided to wear a poncho- a legit poncho- for the duration of the marathon, which proved to be absolutely worth it despite making me into more of a kite than a runner.
Miles one to the 13.1 mark were difficult conditions, but the mild 6:32 pace made it easy to sustain. I crossed the half in 1:25:45 and felt fine condition-wise. Wellesley again was an incredible experience, and I was able to see my family twice, smiling and high-fiving every time.
Miles 13.1-20 were a bit unprecendented. The rain squalls were intense and had me smiling at the sheer ridiculous conditions. I'll run in pretty much anything, but had I woken up for an important long run and it was doing this outside, I'd have noped my way right back into bed and took the L. Some runners along the route were such an absolute mess that I felt bad. Some were shivering, walking, hunkered under blankets and tangents seemed to be the last thing on anyones mind. How 89% of the runners started the race who signed up and 95% of those who started were able to finish is phenomenal. Then again, I suppose if it's the Boston Marathon you just kind omit not finishing from your vocabulary, so I shouldn't be too surprised.
Miles 20 & 21 were slow, but I still felt fine. The Newton hills are a bit evil, mostly because they aren't necessarily challenging, it's just hard to speed back up after them and everyone slows so it's easy to slow paces and not realize or correct it. Not surprisingly this was my slowest 5k. Fortunately, I got to see my family/friends for a fourth time, and I was still smiling and high-fiving people along the way which was a good sign. I'm shocked I was able to pick them all out so quickly in the crowd of umbrellas and coats. What a memorable experience!
The last 5.2 miles were a lot of fun. I am usually a bit over running right about here, so the biggest benefit of Boston is you have a large group just pulling you along so looking at your watch isn't really needed which eases the mind and effort. Lots of smiling and high-fives. I did have to drop in a bathroom break within the last two miles, but it was worth the stop, particularly because it takes forever to find one after the race ends. I crossed the finish line arms in the air and still smiling at 2:53:30. What an uncanny experience! I truly enjoyed this race and was able to take everything in much better this time around.
Truly, the difficult part of this race was afterwards- they (the BAA) were NOT prepared for the state of the runners at the end. After waiting 20+ minutes just to get my bag of dry clothes, I was shivering pretty intensely and needed things to expedite- they did not have a good plan for places for runners to change/get dry/get warm. I felt like I was waiting at the DMV.
Splits: 1st half- 1:25:45, 2nd half- 1:27:45 (6:37/mile overall pace)
5k Splits: 20:23, 20:13, 20:10, 20:33, 20:22, 20:39, 21:13, 20:27, Finish- 9:33