Man, can I procrastinate. I write a post, ruminate over it, let it marinade for another two weeks. I have come back down from the high of running the Boston Marathon, and I can confirm that there is nothing that I have experienced that parallels the enormity, the immensity, the experience of the Boston Marathon. So allow me to present the thoughts that stemmed from my experience on April 20th, 2015. It was a trip--one of the best I have ever been a part of in my life!
From April 27th 2015:
|The day before the race--Bluebird and beautiful!!!|
There is no race like Boston. It is unique--without parallel. Those who have run Boston will tell you that there are marathon's, but there is only one Boston Marathon. The B.A.A. manages year after year to put on a spectacle--a rolling thunder of an event. Everything about this race is special--Boston is steeped in history and tradition. The Boston Marathon--the scale and scope; the exclusivity of it with it's qualification times; and the spirit surrounding it is absolutely legendary. The race is big to say the least, yet manages somehow to retain a heart that is vibrant, delicate, humble, and warm. Even travelling on the T into town, I met people from all over the world--Norway, Brasil, California, who were either there to run or to support the race by volunteering. People actually flew from California to volunteer at the Boston Marathon handing out water!!
|Race kit prepped!|
I packed more into a 48 hour time frame in Boston than I perhaps had ever, anywhere. My travels started on Saturday morning out of Vancouver. I was on my taper week in prep for the race, and my last run was Wednesday. Due to work and a stiff neck, I was trying my best to relax and recoup some energy by taking it easy and trying to offload some stress on the plane ride. For the days leading up to the race, I was not sleeping each restfully each night, too excited for what was about to happen. My energy and cortisol levels were at all time highs, and I was having troubles calming myself, highly anticipating the biggest running event of my life.
|I did not cross the line out of superstition the day before the race.|
|Philip and me at package pick up.|
|The cavernous, concrete City Hall of Boston amazingly had some pretty rocking vibes going on both out and inside!|
5 am came soon enough after a rather restless night of sleep. Some pre-race prep making sure that we had our bags properly labelled and secured, a breakfast that consisted of clif bars and some fruit--not ideal marathon nutrition prep, a cup of coffee(--of which I discovered on this trip just how awesome coffee actually is after years of being an anti-coffee snob), and onto the train to Boston Common from Riverside. After a very well organized bag check and onto the school buses in Boston Common, Philip and I managed to get on the same bus out despite him having a start time of an hour after mine.
While riding the school buses out to Hopkinton, I was a big mess of stress--nervous and anxious for my run. Although adidas called it "The greatest run ever". Although that might be presumptuous and "high praise!", it was not far off for me.
|I did not grab one of these posters at the Expo, and now wish that I had seen them there.|
The rain began. And rain it did. For my start time at 10:00am, I had two hours and a half to wait in those tents, with staging beginning at 9:00am. Dressed in throwaway clothes that did manage to keep me somewhat warm, I had my second cup of coffee under the tent. That would prove to manifest itself into becoming a pitstop early on in the race.
In the staging area, I managed to spend some time with another runner named Mike Reitmeyer. He and I spoke about our very close qualification times, his stress fracture, my goals, where we live, etc. It was a pretty anxious yet joyous atmosphere. The dude in the compression socks and WWE fire engine red wrestler's shorts lightened the mood as I saw him prancing or strolling topless a number of times in the athlete's village, and at the starting area. 7 degrees, 20 mile per hour winds, and buddy is in his skivvies. Brave souls, these runners.
The race started after the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, and then a short wait to cross the startline and get our race on. I was surprised with how quickly things moved with 8000 people in the first wave. But again, that is Boston--they do everything right.
Crossing the start line, I began to run at an even pace to warm up. Pretty soon down the road, I moved to the bushes to let bladder out. Keeping a full tank of liquid can lead to trouble down the way, and I wanted no problems later on. That was the first and only stop I made on the course.
The 8 towns that runners pass through are kind of a blur, and they are all pretty quaint, cute, and humble--a good representation of small town America. Sounds of Bruce Springsteen, garage bands playing, smokies roasting on bar-be-ques, spectators handing out beer, water, kids looking for hi-fives, screams and cheers--all for 26.2 miles the course is lined with masses of people. The energy that the community brings collectively matches or even exceeds that of what the runners bring. I was settled into a pace of between 4:09 and 4:12 for the first few kms. I knew that this was going to be good-- a conservative pace that I could keep for a majority of the race. I knew that I would have to dig deep after heartbreak hill, but I was not concerned with that at these early stages of the race--every marathon is like that.
|Looking to be in a spot of bother. Check the stride length.|
|My favorite shot of the day. My face says it all--joy, pain, fear, disbelief. Shock. Happiness. Heelstriking.|
Late in the race, around mile 19, this is when mental toughness has to take hold. Going out too fast or too conservative can be troublesome at this point. Going out too fast, and the hills will nearly end your day. Going out too slow, the rhythm of that conservative pace can chip away at your gears leaving a runner with no 5th or 6th gear to hit at the end of the race. I know this because I failed to kill it in the final 8k at this one to meet my time goal. My racing mate Darbara told me to run hard from the start and not worry about the hills. I raced conservatively, and it prevented me from going faster when I needed to. I think that some more, longer tempo runs may have helped in that department.
Along with my conservative pace, I suppose that my result may have been better had I not stopped for hi-fives with children, kisses from the co-eds, or if the weather might have been a bit more hospitable like the day before the race. However, I am happy with the result, my best marathon to date.
I remember coming into Boston proper feeling like the adidas adios Boost's on my feet were like lead weights--I think I had used up the cushion-y goodness in the first 22 miles. The rain was sheeting--really coming down hard as I raced to the Citgo sign. I knew that my goal time of sub 3 was shot, but I fought on to try and run my quickest marathon yet. It was still within reach.
Right on Hereford, left on Boyleston. I remember the last 5k ticking them off as fast as I could. But rounding the last two turns, I was emotional--. I kept telling myself that this was a dream realized, that this was what I had wanted before me right now, here on Boyleston. And the moment was beautiful. I was tearful thinking about my Mom and Dad, thinking about the bombings, thinking about those that had run this route for years before me, thinking about my family. It was lovely, bittersweet, overwhelming, and triumphant to be part of something so grand.
|Left on Boyleston--jacked!!|
|The course as tracked my Movescount.|
|Elevation profile from Movescount.|
The winds howled, the rain was cold and driving, and still, I had the run of my life. I finished the race shattered--cold and drenched--more from the weather than anything else as I made my zombie walk to Boston Common with all the other racers who death marched to the bag check, regaled in heat sheets printed with John Hancock's John Hancock and the BAA unicorn all over them.
|My Boston peeps. Sharing the love of a beautiful day!|
|Family meet up in the winter like conditions. At least, winter for us on the wet coast.|
|Only the best at Fenway.|
|The top 5 on the Fenway screen.|
|I even bumped into local lower mainland runner Candice Ridyard while at the post race party at Fenway. That was pretty cool to see a familiar face, one whom I have only known on social media.|
|Pretty much tops for me here--highlight of the trip!!!|
|I will be back!|
The love I have for this race is in my bones. It is in my heart. I have fond memories of my short time in Boston, and cannot wait to experience that again.
It is infectious, contagious.
There's only one.
Boston Marathon 2015.
Sugoi Brand Champion Shorts and Race Shirt
adidas adios boost (v1), size 13
Suunto Ambit 2
BMO Vancouver Marathon gloves