||Boston Marathon 08
Now I understand what all the hype is about for running the Boston Marathon. From the moment I picked up my race packet to the moment I crossed the finish line was a one-of-a-kind experience that can’t be found at another marathon. The Boston Marathon is by far the “A” standard for a world class marathon and the feeling in the city is unbelievable, there’s so much energy during marathon weekend. Unlike other marathons, the Boston Marathon runs on Monday which is also Patriots Day in Massachusetts so everyone had the day off to enjoy the marathon festivities. An added bonus for this year was the running of the Women’s Olympic trials, a four loop course crossing the Harvard Bridge connecting Boston and Cambridge. Deena Kastor took the lead with about three miles to go and never looked back on her way to victory. An inspiring moment was watching Joan Benoit Samuelson, at age 50 crossing the finish line in under 2hr 50min!
The expo was incredible, there were so many vendors and people everywhere; it felt like a crowded farmers market. It would be beneficial to show up early and pick up your race packet. I would highly recommend getting a Boston Marathon jacket; (1) they look cool, (2) everyone else buys one (I’m not kidding, the jackets were flying off the shelves!), (3) Bostonians will respect you more and actually wish you luck on the streets, (4) bragging rights! There are no better way showing people you ran the Boston Marathon than flaunting a Boston Marathon jacket.
It’s unbelievable how much food they gave away before the race. The race packet comes with a ticket to an all you can eat pasta dinner. I don’t like carbo-loading before the race so I didn’t have much pasta, the food wasn’t that great anyways, but it was the thought that counts. However, I did pick up lots of take home goodies on the way out, oh yeah; they had circus performers entertaining us as we wait in line. How cool is that!
They had buses shuttling us from Boston Common to Hopkinton; the marathon is a straight line point to point course so it was a long ride to the start, a good place to catch a last minute nap. The buses dropped us of at the “athletes village,” here you will get VIP treatment with everything you could possibly need before race start; water, Gatorade, power bars and gels, fruit, coffee, yoga mats for stretching, plenty of port-a-johns. They even had a pre-race massage area; you have to get there early though.
The race (play-by-play)
After I followed the signs to the baggage drop off (they had signs for everything, but I was still lost), I slowly made my way to the start corrals (again more signs), luckily there were people directing us. It was a cold, overcast morning so I was anxious to get the race started. After the anthem, the sun broke through and it was starting to heat up quick. I had to ditch my fleece cap before the start.
(5 Km, 0:22:46 overall, 7:21 pace, 0:22:46 split, 156 bpm)
The first 5K was an expected slow start; there were at least 5,000 people in front of me, so it took awhile for the crowd to thin down. My goal for this race was 3hr 10min which would have qualify me for next year’s race. I was running with Radell, a buddy from my running group, and he had similar goals so we were going to pace each other the entire way. Already we were greeted with hundreds of screaming fans.
(10 Km, 0:45:44 overall, 7:23 pace, 0:22:58 split, 159 bpm)
We were still on track for our goal, but were slowly losing time. Radell took a natural break around this point and I wouldn’t see him until late in the race. The fans were still amazing; they were lined up almost the entire route.
(15 Km, 1:08:37 overall, 7:23 pace, 0:22:53 split, 161 bpm)
I kept the same steady pace and Radell was nowhere to be seen. I figured he already passed me up or something happened to him. So I tried to pick up the pace a little. I was a little concerned I wouldn’t make my goal. I saw a fan keeping score of the Sox game going on; it was 0-0 first inning when I passed him.
(20 Km, 1:31:31 overall, 7:23 pace, 0:22:54 split, 161 bpm)
I tried picking up the pace, but could not; so I maintained the same steady pace. I should have added some speed work in my training, something to think about next time. My goal was pretty much out of range at this point, so I started making plans in my head to re-qualify on my next race at CIM. I saw fans handing out BBQ, ice cream, popsicles, beer, you name it and they’ll give it to you. I saw a sign that read “short cut! ->” to someone’s house. I had a good laugh with the guy next to me.
(25 Km, 1:54:23 overall, 7:23 pace, 0:22:52 split, 165 bpm)
There were no louder fans on the course than the girls at Wellesley College. You can hear them a mile away, and it felt like you were running to a boy band concert. The girls were incredible, there were plenty of “kiss me” signs and my only regret was not staying there a little longer. It was a great inspirational boost, for the guys anyways. The female runners stayed clear from the hoard.
(30 Km, 2:17:37 overall, 7:24 pace, 0:23:14 split, 172 bpm)
This was my first marathon that I didn’t bring any gels, I didn’t want to carry anything and stay light. I thought I would use whatever was on the course, but there were no gel stops to be seen. It’s a good idea to carry at least one gel just in case. There were plenty of fruits so I grab a couple of oranges and bananas. This was the point I had to bear down and concentrate on the race.
(35 Km, 2:41:19 overall, 7:26 pace, 0:23:42 split, 176 bpm)
They need to rename this area from heartbreak hill to heartbreak hills; there were at least 3-4 hills of the same grade in Newton. The first time runners were asking, “is this it? Is this the hill?” I didn’t know myself.
(40 Km, 3:05:26 overall, 7:29 pace, 0:24:07 split, 172 bpm)
The crowds were 3-4 rows deep as we entered the Boston Metropolitan area. I was a little tired and my legs were screaming from the down slope. So I decided to slow down and save my legs for Wildflower in two weeks. I finally saw Radell pass me up; he was still looking good running, so I figured he must have stopped for 4-5 minutes, as it turns out, he only stopped for about a minute so he was only seconds behind me the entire way.
(Finish, 3:16:18 overall, 7:30 pace)
The crowd at the finish was tremendous; I was greeted with 10’s of thousands of screaming fans cheering me on to the finish. I felt the crowd’s energy pushing me to the line. There was no way anyone could walk the home stretch on Boylston Street. What an amazing finish!
The support was great, the medals look great, and everything was perfect; just how a world class marathon should be. I only wish I can re-qualify and relive the experience again next year. I can’t believe I lived in Boston for five years and was never inspired to participate in such a great race; of course I wasn’t a marathoner then.