But before talking about race day, what a great weekend it was in Boston! So much to do, no doubt about it, though we didn’t do or see it all. First off, I would like to say “thank you” to Meghan Irvine and her family for allowing us to stay at their house. Despite the fact we had to stay in a boy’s room with a bunch of Red Sox/Patriots stuff, it was comfortable and a lot cheaper than a hotel.
After a late arriving flight into Boston Friday night, Tina and I woke up early and drove a little over an hour into Boston for the BAA 5k. The weather was a perfect day for the 5k. Wish we got the same weather on Marathon Monday, but that’s another story… I was able to see Tina at a couple of locations on the course. I also saw Sean Astin running the 5k. After Tina completed her impressive PR 5k, we made our way to the expo, stopping on the way for some quick pictures taken at the finish line.
|Celebrities spotted in the BAA 5K: My wife Tina and Sean Astin|
Up next, probably the thing I was looking forward to most on this trip was getting to meet my running hero, Meb Keflezighi. Meb won the 2014 Boston Marathon, becoming the first American to do so in 31 years. But as good of a runner as Meb is, he is a better man. He is a strong Christian, very personal, and puts others first. Meb spoke on behalf of Generation UCan (think Gatorade but with a lot less sugar). It’s not a product I use, but I greatly respect his commitment to the company. Meb started to represent and being sponsored by Generation UCan five years ago in Boston when he met an eight year old who had so many dietary issues and needed a lot of help. The dietary program of Generation UCan helped the boy so much. Meb was so committed to the products and the family of the eight year old he came to the boy’s birthday party, not just to make an appearance, but to be there with him.
The rest of our day was spent at the expo and a Red Sox game.
Following all the walking on Saturday, we did our best to keep me off of my feet on Sunday. After the Duck Tour (a great way to both see the city and relax), Tina and I met up with Megan, Killi, and Dion (who also stayed with Meghan for the weekend), and went back to the house for an early carbo loading dinner and the chance to get ready for the next morning…
You go into events like the Boston Marathon with visions of what the day will be like. My hope was temperatures in the mid 40s, a tail wind, and overcast skies; and running my best race ever. Obviously our visions of what we expect don’t always work out the way we think they should. Race morning arrived with a temp of 42 degrees, but the real feel was in the mid 30s, windy and rain.
The alarm went off at 3:00 in the morning. Yep, awake at 3:00 for a 10:00 race. As expected, I really didn’t sleep too well the night before. We needed to leave Meghan’s house early because Meghan and Kelli needed to board their bus to Athletes’ Village at 5:45.
|Pre-race photo with Meghan Irvine and Kelli White.|
The race weather forecast was not very promising, calling for highs in the mid 40s, winds out of the east at 20 mph (yes, a nasty head wind), with gusts up to 30mph, and rain.
Tina and I arrived early at Boston Common and found a bench to sit and wait until it was time to load up. I had made contact with a running friend of mine, Chad Ganger. The plan was to meet at Boston Common and ride the bus together. Those who know me well, know I am not very patient. I am the type of person who expects to be early. My worry started to kick in, for probably no reason at all, and I messaged Chad I was going to go ahead and get on the bus. In the crowd of 30,000 runners on this day, I never did see Chad in Boston (sorry guy). Nerves were obviously starting to get to me as I used the port a potties four times while in Boston Common.
|Impatient me, off to the bus…|
The walk to the corrals from Athletes’ Village is about a half mile long. On the way right before the corrals were tons of, you guessed it, port a potties. I figured I better make one more stop (total of eight at this point). Once in the corrals, I needed to go again (that’s nine. there is a reason I am sharing this with you, I promise). We were in the corrals by 9:30 with the race beginning at 10:00. Once again there were more conversations with runners. One guy was from Chicago, another from Edmonton. The one from Chicago had about the same goal as me, and I thought I would hang with him for a while.
For those who are not familiar with the course, the Boston Marathon is unusual in that it’s a point to point course with a net elevation loss.
After introductions of the elite male runners and the national anthem, the gun went off and we were on our way. At this time, there was no rain and light wind. There was only one problem at the start, I had to pee again. I swear, I really didn’t think I drank that much water. Also at the start, I lost contact with the guy from Chicago I thought I could run with and pace with. I am not sure if he got ahead of me or behind me. The corrals were so crammed and it was impossible to move side to side. I was basically going to have to run my own race.
Mile 4 – 6:25, mile 5 – 6:38, mile 6 – 6:23, mile 7 – 6:28, mile 8 – 6:36, mile 9 – 6:45, and mile 10 – 6:35.
That was far from the plan, especially miles 4, 6, and 7. They say seconds in the beginning of the race equals minutes at the end. How would this all play out later? It was also around mile 8 it first started raining. The rain lasted for a couple miles. At this point, I had already thrown off my hat and gloves.
I also learned it is very easy to get distracted in Boston while running the marathon. There are crowds like I have never seen at a race before: I was giving high fives to the kids along the course, and trying to move among all the other runners. It became so much of a distraction I forgot about the fuel I planned on using at mile 8 and remembered it at mile 11. Oops.
Mile 15 probably has the steepest drop on the whole course. You drop about 100 feet in elevation right before the climbing begins. Mile splits for miles 11-15: 6:40, 6:32, 6:38, 6:39, and 6:48. Amazingly, the most loss of elevation in a single mile, and it was a slow mile. By about mile 12 though, I knew things were not going very well and it could be a struggle. At the halfway point, I was at 1:27:05, 25 seconds ahead of goal pace.
At this point, the rain continued and the cold precipitation would last until the end. My hands were numb. I was struggling to grab water at the aid stations and was having trouble seeing.
Mile 22 was run in 6:50. Then finally, as we entered Brookline, I hit the wall. During the 23rd mile I walked for probably a quarter of a mile. Whatever chance there was of breaking 2:55 was gone. My 23rd mile was completed in 8:20. Usually when I walk, it means the rest of the way will be run/ walk.
Finishing time was 3:00:43, so I missed out on my first two goals.
After crossing the finish line is where the long walk begins. First came water (thankfully the volunteers had the caps already off, because I still couldn’t feel my hands. They were still numb). Then they give you your medal and take some photos.
Then they give you a poncho to keep you warm (I really wish this came before the medal). I had to ask the woman for help because I couldn’t feel anything, and couldn’t get my arms through the arm holes.
Then it was a long walk back to Boston Common to pick up my gear and meet Tina. They provided changing tents for all the runners. On an average day, this would probably go pretty smooth but with the rain and cold, everyone wanted to change, and it was packed full.
Tina and I had some time to kill before Meghan and Kelli finished, so we went and grabbed a late lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.
Can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with Red Velvet Cheese Cake. While at dinner, we got text alerts of how Meghan and Kelli were doing. Both of them ran impressive times, especially considering the conditions. Meghan ran a 3:44:07, and Kelli (first marathon ever) ran a 5:16:14.
|Post-race photo with Meghan Irvine and Kelli White.|
How did it go? Quiet honestly, it was one of the greatest weekends of my life. The experience of being in Boston for the longest running marathon was unreal. Along with that, I got to spend it with my wife, Tina.
Are you happy with your time? Yes and no. I didn’t hit my goal, and weather obviously played a part in that. But also, there were parts I just didn’t run smart. I believe I was ready to run a 2:55:00, it just didn’t happen. However, it is hard to be disappointed with running a BQ time in Boston.
Will I return next year? Well, I do have a qualifying time, but the answer, unless something drastically changes and we win the lottery (which we don’t play), the answer is no.
Will you return to run it again at some point? Assuming I keep up my training and maintain qualifying times, it looks like maybe in five years for the 2020 marathon would be the most realistic chance of returning.
|My mother’s graph|