The conditions were perfect and the course and spectators at Boston are wonderful, but today was not PR or close to PR for me, but I still had fun and still learned some lessons along the way.
Waiting for the bus felt cold, and we somehow ended up in the longest line, waiting well over an hour. By the time we got on the bus I kind of had to use the bathroom already but figured the wait wouldn't be so bad. Once we got off 95 and onto 495, the traffic slowed and it started taking longer to get there. Once we were in town, but not all the way to the starting area, a few guys on the bus got off early since they couldn't wait any longer. Finally made it there without having an accident. We had all been warned about not drinking too much before the bus ride, all I had was one small glass of water that morning!
Now it was just after 9:00 and it seemed like all of the sudden it was 9:30. Had time to find a free PowerBar from the PowerBar tent, eat it and head over to the baggage bus. Still felt cold so I kept the sweatshirt on I was wearing. Was hoping to save the sweatshirt as I had bought it for Jenny one year when I went to Toronto.
Got to the start line finally about 10 minutes before the start of the race. No longer cold while in the corral since it was packed with runners. On the walk/jog to the starting area my legs didn't feel quite right but I was still hopeful that things would come together.
Trying to repeat my success from two years ago, I tried to see if I could make my first mile my slowest mile of the race, so I resisted the urge to go fast and took it easy with an 8:12 pace mile. The plan after that was to go faster and try and get into a pace that was faster but still felt natural.
The next 8 miles ranged between 7:12 and 7:31. I quickly warmed up, took off the hat, arm warmer and gloves. Was able to hang onto the arm warmer and hat but had no room to stash the gloves, so I had to say good bye to them (they were the free HP Boston gloves from two years ago).
Now, I felt hot. I've never felt hot in mid 50's weather before, and my legs were not feeling great, actually the were pretty sore. Decided to slow down for a while and see if that helped.
I wanted to quit, but that's just non sense. There was nothing wrong with me, just not having a great run, but I was at Boston, running the Boston Marathon. There were timing mats to cross and people would be tracking me. There were people who would love to run Boston but would not be able to or for that matter people who would love to run but would not be able to run.
Slowed down a little bit the next two miles, and had a slightly faster mile through mile 12, then things begin to vary more.
About 1:39 through the first half, then was feeling a bit discouraged again the next few miles until getting to the Newton Hills.
Going up the hills I actually felt better than during the down hill portion or flat portions. I had foam letters on my shirt spelling out my name, so there were tons of people calling out to me, which really helped.
After my first two marathons, where I was hit with some pretty bad calf cramps, I began taking extra salt for marathons. One packet at the start and one around mile 18 - 20. But, I had forgotten my salt today and became worried about cramping. I had a few warning twinges in my calf starting about mile 13 and my right arm started cramping up so I had trouble lifting it. But, the bad cramps never came. I was ok without the extra salt.
Going up heartbreak hill I suddenly felt a lot better, I felt great. I think it was the best I felt during the whole race.
I saw my sister-in-law Nancy somewhere in mile 22, just after heartbreak. My brother was there but I missed him. My parents and Jenny's parents had seen me about mile 17 but I did not see them, although I did look in there direction when they called my name.
The thing I like about Boston is that the usual saying about a marathon having two halves - the first 20 miles and the last 6.2, is not true for Boston, because I was so focused on getting up and excited about Heartbreak hill, that the hard part in only about 5 miles long!!
Next few miles were ok, took them one by one. Saw the Citgo sign in the distance and then once past it, suddenly found some speed I had forgotten about. Turned the corner onto Boylston, sped up some more and made it to the finish.
During the last 5 or 6 miles, and looking at the time clocks along the way I knew I could make it under 3:30 if I stayed faster than 9:00 pace, which I did, so that bit of math helped me to keep on going.
My legs were killing me on the walk to the baggage bus and then to the family meeting area. Grabbed my phone and called to see where Jenny was. Glad to hear that she was ok. A little slower than planned but would be along soon. Put clothes back on as I started to cool down finally and found place to sit.
Met up with Jenny and Jamie at the "PQ" sign and then waited for my parents and my brother who had brought along some extra shirts to keep us warm.
Well, it was quite an experience. I never fell apart but could have done better I suppose, but great to have showed up, run it again and finish!!
Splits from Garmin: 1) 8:12, 2) 7:27, 3) 7:15, 4) 7:15, 5) 7:37, 6) 7:16, 7) 7:12, 8) 7:36, 9) 7:31, 10) 7:49, 11) 8:04, 12) 7:36, 13) 7:43, 14) 8:09, 15) 8:16, 16) 7:59, 17) 8:23, 18) 8:10, 19) 8:30, 20) 8:12, 21) 8:04, 22) 8:21, 23) 8:29, 24) 8:14, 25) 8:41, 26) 7:33, 26.22) 1:31 (6:59 pace)