Chill out on the first 5 miles. First run in these brand new shoes. Enjoy the madness. Salty face. Side stitch. GUs every 5. Thank God for vasoline on a stick. Timing mats – Hey Guys! Sun burn. Dead watch. Trust your legs. Count down the Newton Hills. I’m running my dream marathon. Right on Hereford, left on Boylston.
I freaking love Boston.
My morning started VIP-style. I slept in Hopkinton with my BFF at her parents’ home. They dropped me off near Athlete’s Village, where runners were wand’ed down by metal detectors. I met some incredible runners and EfoRunner followers (Hi Pam!!!) which brought a huge smile to my face. I got a photo with the famous Hopkinton sign (how hot are my $2 goodwill sweats?!)…
The Athelete’s Village shared a moment of silence for those of last year, which brought me to tears. No one will forget what happened last year; how horribly vulnerable we all felt. But 36,000 runners (and some 1 million spectators!) came back this year to prove Boston is a one hell of an amazing race, city, and crowd.
Then it was time to head to our starting corrals! The countdown! The blast of the gun! Go time!
After running by (the happiest/most enthusiastic support crew) Priya and her parents, I took a deep breath and got myself in the zone.
Miles 1-6.2 (10km mark): 0:47:04 // 7:35 pace
I didn’t get too technical, but all I wanted was to take the first 5 slow(er). Reel it in. Harness that energy for Newton. When I crossed the 5K in 23:32, 10K in 47:04, and 15K in 1:10:02 (practically identical splits), I knew I had nailed it. So I stopped looking at my watch and trusted my legs entirely! I was running hard, just outside my comfort zone, but a sustainable effort for 26.2.
Up to Mile 13.1: 1:38:05 // 7:29 pace
Despite 36,000 runners, the course didn’t feel as crowded as last year. I excitedly anticipated the Wellesley scream tunnel. The sun was hott. I grabbed vasoline on a stick for underarm chaffage and appreciated cold, pre-wet paper towels when folks offered them.
Boston spectators, man. They always have the most thoughtful needs, ready and waiting on open palms. Not to mention the loudest cheering and enthusiasm known to man. I saw thousands of “BOSTON STRONG” t-shirts and banners in every make and model. My absolute favorite thing about the Boston Marathon is the spectators. Knowing friends from afar are spectating online and the (literal) million frantically screaming (semi drunk) fans on the guardrails. YOU make the day magic.
Up to 35km and the Infamous Newton Hills: 2:45:18 // 7:36 pace
Newton hills hurt. No way around it. They’re long, steep, and relentless. I just wanted to keep the same effort, if not tougher. Push through it.
When I hit the first climb, I started the count: 4… 3… 2… 1: Heartbreak. I felt a world of difference coming out of Newton between last year (when I started too fast) and this year (held back a pinch). And it showed in my last 5 miles.
The last 10km:
When I crested Heartbreak Hill, I noticed my watch had died! Somewhere between miles 10-21, the thing stopped. I had no idea what my overall time was. Not a clue how many minutes I had left to keep it under 3:20. I just ran like hell.
That’s kind of the beauty behind my 3:20:04 finishing time. I have absolutely no regrets. I didn’t stress one second about the time on my watch. I was able to soak in the day, let loose when I hit Hereford/Boylston, and throw my arms in the air when I reached that finish line :)
26.2 miles = 3:20:04 (<– 4+ min PR!)
6488 overall, 940 gender, 741 division
I can’t even verbalize how happy I was at the finish line area.
I called Weez to share the blissful moments while I wobbled along. And I called the most proud parents in the world who filled my heart with happiness. I started seeing all the texts from YOU guys who saw my finishing time before I did (thanks for sharing it!). I thanked every volunteer I saw. They were so kind.
I have some pretty darn amazing people in my life. People who made this marathon/day/weekend so special…
Friends who shared in the joy and celebration. Ya’ll know THIS guy.
I owe so much gratitude to the generous, supportive people who made this weekend happen for me: PK, KP, Yarmo, and Steph for the countless laughs and company. Papa/Mama K and Rachel for the comfy housing and celebratory beers. Sam for his usual hilarity and ride all the way to Hartford, CT airport. Ris for saving my feet and tracking down a new pair of Altras the day before my race. My parents, siblings, and Weez for their unrivaled love and encouragement.
And to every single one you who you sent messages, followed the tracker, cheered me along. Your “likes”/comments make me feel like a champ. Especially the spectators in Boston. That proud, passionate, patriotic support MADE the day the magic that it is. Thank you a hundred times more!
Boston 2015? I think so :)