This being my second Boston I was looking forward to experiencing all those things I missed last year because I was walking around in that “first Boston” fog. I was not disappointed.
• Man that expo is busy
• You have to be on the buses at 6:00 am
• Everyone is as nervous as you are
• Athlete’s village is huge, crowded and busy
• Bring “stuff” with you to Hopkinton. Next time, thermos with coffee
• The walk to the corrals isn’t that far, but it is down hill. Starts warming up those quads
• Holy man those first 16 miles ARE downhill.
• The Wellesley girls are loud. All the spectators are loud.
• I know every one of the Newton Hills now
• Boston College is beautiful
• I love running down Boylston Street
• The Boston Jacket – the most beautiful in the world (okay I knew that)
Last year I had my “dream” Boston, so this year I did not expect to compete with my finishing time from last year. I had a couple of hard fall races, combined with the Goofy challenge and my legs were not in “A” race shape. Also, in getting prepared for the K-Rock 135km Ultra next year, I have run every day since Boxing Day, so no real rest either; Boston would be my 116th consecutive day. I entered this one with a goal/expectation of running a 3:25:21 (determined by taking my average long run pace and subtracting 20 seconds per km), in other words no real clue.
We arrived Saturday around noon, checked into the hotel and headed to a very crowded race expo. After a couple of hours we were done, and mostly just relaxed for the rest of the day. Sunday morning, Justine, Kim and I ran the inaugural 5k. It was a beautiful morning and great for the girls to race in Boston and cross the hallowed finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Monday morning I was up and out to the buses by 6:00 am. It was cold; the wind seemed to cut through me. Arrived at the Hopkinton, blew up my air mattress and settled down for a 2 hour wait. No matter what I did I could not warm up and kept 2nd guessing my race attire, but in the end stuck with the plan. Walk to the start was as nerve racking as always, I doubt that will ever get easier, but I timed it well so I wouldn’t be standing around too long.
So this was it. What did the legs have? My plan was simple, 4:52/km pace, run as even as possible. I didn’t really remember from last year how much downhill the course was for the first 16 miles, maybe because last year I was running on fresher legs, but this year I sure felt it. As it turned out it was a blessing; those tired legs. It stopped me from hammering the first part of the course. I was running a little faster than planned, but not overly and had to slow down a couple of times to keep it under control. Hitting the hills in Newton, I was tired, but not too bad so I stuck with my pace and cadence through the hills, not losing too much time or energy on the climbs. The 21 mile marker just after the Heartbreak crest is one of the most wonderful sights in running I believe. I was still on a little faster pace, tired but moving well. From here I just maintained, checking my averages and speeding up ever so slightly when I saw my pace slowing. My one wish for this Boston was to run hard down Boylston Street to the finish. Last year I got a cramp and jogged it in, this year I wanted to kick it. So I made the turn cautiously looking for Justine and Kim, found them, quickly posed and then raced for the finish. My last .5km was run at a 4:11km pace – perfect end. Just as I had always imagined it.
1st Half: 1:40:13
2nd Half: 1:42:23
Looking back on the race, I am extremely pleased with my result. I paced the race perfectly and had nothing left at then end. I was not as fast as last year, but it was a tougher race for me. Hope to be back next year if the legs are willing. Boston is really getting under my skin.