Friday, April 20, 2012

Boston 2012: It was a Hot One!

I apologize for how long it took for me to write about this! 

I did it. I survived Boston. I have mixed emotions about the race. I am, of course, extremely happy that I was able to finish on my own and that I only walked a total of 20 seconds throughout the race. Not bad. But a little part of me is sad that I trained so well this year and had no chance of getting a PR.

It was awesome to hear how many people were following me while I raced. Some were at work, some were at the race itself, and some were the students in my mentor teacher's classes! Although I had no idea who was following me that morning, the knowledge that somebody was following me kept me chugging along.

Below is my recap of the race. It's going to be long. So if you're one of those who would rather look at the photos and skim the text, I'll let you know in advance that I finished in 3:42:03.

Tom and I headed down to Boston with Rachel, who I've been running with this year. We arrived at our hotel around 6:00pm, dropped off our things, and headed into the city to meet up with our high school friends, Kelley and Sean, for dinner. It was so awesome to see them again. We went back to the hotel after and headed to bed.

The three of us headed out for a 2 mile shake-out run. On the way back I picked up two bottles of chocolate milk and some Reese's for the pre-race meal. Oddly, I did not crave chocolate during this trip, and couldn't even finish ONE Reese's when I tried to eat them. What happened to me?

After showering, we headed into the city. By the time we got there we were hungry for lunch. We stopped at the Whiskey Priest restaurant near the Expo. BAD IDEA! That was definitely the worst restaurant experience I've ever had. I'll save you the details.

When we finally finished our meal we headed into the expo. I didn't buy anything except for GU, however, I did munch on a lot of the gummy blocks from different vendors. Tom and I decided that the Powerbar gummies were THE BEST!! They were like candy.

The best part of the expo? Seeing our friend Colin, from college, who was working at the Brooks section. I'm pretty sure seeing the excitement of his face when he saw us was the highlight of the whole weekend.

After the expo we headed back to the hotel. Prior to our trip down I had decided that the only thing I wanted to do (besides race) was to eat a cupcake. So we stopped at a cupcake van, but I didn't buy one. I simply did not want a cupcake. What the heck was wrong with me?!

We ate dinner at the hotel that night, and one of Tom's friends from his semester at American University met us there. I had rigatoni with spinach, tomatoes, and sausage in a "rosette cream sauce". It wasn't bad. Rachel and I returned to our room at 8:30 to pack and hit the hay.


We were up at 5:00am and our of the hotel around 5:30. Fortunately, Colin let us park at his store in Boston so we could hop on a quick train ride and get to the Boston buses.

There was quite the crowd waiting to board the buses, and just a tad too-few port-a-potties.

Adios! See ya at the Finish

We got to Athlete Village in Hopkington around 8, grabbed some food, and camped out until we were able to drop our bags and head to the start.

We were already sweating before we got to the start, which I barely made. I don't know what happened this year but it was definitely too congested at the bag drop off area. I literally had to run to the start and made it with just 30 seconds to spare (the announcer gave a 30 second warning). I saw the awesomeness of runners, as they all passed around someone's sunblock to help each other out. Little did they know that it would be washed away about 20 minutes later.

The Race
  • First 10 miles: Felt good mentally and physically. Held myself back and tried to maintain constant splits, just under 8:00/mile. Had it not been such a hot day my goal was to run faster splits, but I adjusted for the weather.
  • Rachel: Rachel and I were pretty close together during the race. I caught up to her somewhere near mile 10 (I honestly can't remember which mile) and she definitely passed me before Heartbreak Hill. She was on fire!! It was her first Boston and she did awesome.
  • So many walkers: Unfortunately these were a lot of really good runners that were walking. I had never seen so many people stop so soon in a marathon to walk. I found myself unconsciously stopping to walk twice, but quickly realized what I was doing and began to run again. 
  • Signs: We had warning signs all over the course saying "Hot!" and "SLOW YOUR PACE". Ugh! What was I to do?! Looking back, I wish I had been a little more daring and pushed the pace a bit longer, but I gave in and listened to the signs. I maintained below 9:00/mile for a while, and by the end had a few miles in the 9's.
  • Sprinklers: I'm pretty sure I ran through 3/4s of the sprinklers along the course. There were "tunnels of water" set up every couple of miles to run through. You go in hot but come out soaking wet after being sprayed with nice, cold water. I also hit up most of the water stations, which were spread out every mile, and made sure to dump cups of water on me. I could not get enough water!
  • Craving: I started craving a big bowl of vanilla ice cream around mile 7. I wanted it more than I wanted water.
  • Warm disgusting-ness: GU on a hot day is absolutely disgusting. 
  • The Hills: I felt like one of the few who actually ran the hills. Many people stopped to walk them. They hurt. A lot more than last year. And just like last year, it wasn't Heartbreak that was the killer. It was the one before. 
  • Tom: We actually saw each other this year!!! He was at mile 23. Funny part was that 100 meters before I saw him I thought, "maybe I should stop and walk for a bit." Good thing I didn't! That would have been embarrassing.

  • Eternity: That's what it felt like to run the last four miles. Unlike other marathons I've run, I never actually had a moment where I felt like I had "hit the wall." It felt more like time was slowing down as I was slowing down. I can't tell you how happy I was to turn that last corner and see the finish.
  • The Power of Ice: Boston was prepared with a lot of medical staff at the finish. Thank goodness. My legs started cramping up immediately after I stopped running. Half-way through the corral I realized that I was going to need the med tent. I managed to walk there with a nurse, but very slowly. Fortunately they were prepared for the number of people they would be seeing and had pallets of ice bags ready. I sat my butt down on two bags of ice. Relief! I spent about 20 minutes icing my legs because every muscle in them had cramped. I was able to walk out of the tent feeling relieved and cramp free. I never knew the power of ice prior to that moment. My legs felt so amazing that night that I was able to skip around the McDonald's parking lot (don't judge - other marathoners were there too).

I wish I could send a thank you note to all of the spectators of Boston. It was awesome to see how many people were out there supporting the runners. I cannot tell you how many people had oranges and popsicles for the runners, who must have been holding their sprinklers and hoses up for us for hours, and who were running back and forth to fill up their water cups so we could stay hydrated. It was really awesome to see college students at mile 24 filling up cups right outside their apartment. THANK YOU! That ice cold water was greatly appreciated!

I also want to thank YOU! All of you who gave me support and advice along the way. I cannot tell you how much that helped during training and during the race. Thank you!

It is now Friday morning and my legs feel like they're back to normal. I had two days of hobbling, or what I call, "Pirate-leg Syndrome" (I felt like a pirate with a wooden leg any time I walked down stairs). Yesterday, I went for a 35 minute walk around town since I wasn't able to run. The week after the marathon is so hard for me: I'm always more pumped to get out and train, yet I have to rest to let my body recover.

Unfortunately, I did not re-qualify for Boston. I thought I was too far off with my splits to make it my goal in the race. So the next decision: summer marathon or take a break from the Boston running....

1 comment:

  1. Hey! Congrats on beating the heat for the Boston marathon. CRAZY how warm it was that day. I can't imagine.....

    Hopefully, you are enjoying some downtime and baked goods.