Tom, Erin and I got up plenty early, and left plenty early, worried about crowds, but everything was smooth, The subway wasn't full and we got to the bus loading area early. We saw huge lines, but it appeared that there were much simpler ways to get in line. So we just slipped on in and got on the next bus. We weren't cutting! People just didn't know any better.
So we were feeling good and settled in for the
over an hour bus ride to Hopkinton. We all brought our phones and were
getting FB updates on who was arriving and who was behind us. Some
people chatted on the bus. Others were focused and silent. When we got
there we found a short potty line and knocked that off. And then it was
down to the massive tent. It was a lot of people, but not overwhelming.
We found loopster Bonnie, and settled in to camp Loopville. A few FB
posts later, and about ten of us ended up hanging out there. It was
great fun to share the pre-race excitement with a bunch of awesome
loopsters. Took my mind off being nervous I think. I also happened to
spot OntheBusRunning so he joined the group. So glad I got to meet him
and share a little of his amazing day.
ate a second whole bagel, and drank gatorade. One more trip to the
potty lines of about 20 minutes, and then it was time to go! Most of us
were in Wave 2, so we did the 3/4 mile walk to the start line together.
Every step was more exciting. We're checking our bags!!! There's the
corner!! Let's all pee again!!! OK, time to get in corrals!!! OMG!!!
It's the Boston Freaking Marathon!!!!!!
As we walked up
the side of the corrals, loopsters peeled off with last wishes and hugs.
Corral 8 - see ya Tom! Corral 5 - good luck JJ! Corral 4 - Lady Cap and
I head in, but first wish the best to MTF, Quick Runna and Corc. And
get a photo.
- about 3 minutes to go. I feel relaxed, but excited. I try to warm up a
little with hops and running in place. I don't have a real goal for
this race. I just want to run it, soak it in, and finish running down
Boylston. OK, sub 4. My plan was to just run my usual long run pace. I
expected it would be just under 8, so I would try to hold it as long as I
could, hopefully get to 20 at sub 8 pace. The rest of the way, I
expected a big bonk, but did not care.
Off we go! All
corrals just go with one start, and it took about 2 minutes to get to
the start line. By then we were running, and cheering and high-fiving.
It was crowded, but most of us were the same pace, so it was
comfortable. I felt good. About mile 1 I passed MTF, and said a quick
hello. That would be the only loopster I saw on the course all day.
First mile was a nice downhill, not too steep, followed by a little rise
that was just enough hill to get my breathing going. I was still in
warmup mode, and it was a little wake-up call. Mile one: 8:06 Perfect.
there I was in a groove and just cruised. The fans were great. I must
have slapped hands with 500 people altogether, mostly little kids. I was
smiling and making eye contact with fans, which got me more attention.I
was soaking it in. Weather was perfect. Pace felt good. I ran the
tangents as much as I could in the crowd, which helps keep me focused.
Miles 2-7: 7:48, 7:46, 7:34, 7:51, 7:39, 7:36
little too fast. But it was downhill, and I was trying to hold back. I
wasn't working hard. I tried to find Loopster Lauren at mile 6 or 10K,
but it was very crowded and I had no luck. But that kept me occupied for
a mile. A FAST mile. By this point, my left calf which bothered me last
week, was feeling tight. I wore my calf sleeves, and I think it helped.
It got tight, but never cramped. Still, by mile 8 I was already feeling
tired, like I knew that I couldn't keep this up forever. I was trying
to ease back, but the 7:45 miles just kept coming.
Miles 8-12: 7:45, 7:38, 7:37, 7:48
started checking my time at the actual mile marks (since G was adding a
few tenths), and kept track of how much time I was "banking" under 8
minute pace. For a while I thought about holding on to a BQ, but my gut
told me that I did not feel nearly as good as LA, and it was just a
matter of time before I gave that time back. And there were those famous
By mile 12 I was already thinking "just
hold on until...". First it was the half marathon mark. Then it was mile
15 because there was a big downhill after that. Then it was 30K. I knew
that a lot of people were tracking my splits, so I wanted to put up a
good mark at all those spots.
Mile 13 was Wellesley, of
which I had heard so much about the wall of sound and the girls offering
kisses. I was definitely looking forward to it. However the noise,
while loud, was not as deafening as I anticipated. I've heard louder
places many times. The girls were great though. There must have been
several hundred signs saying why I should kiss them. I was enjoying it
thoroughly, and pulled over twice to lay a sweaty wet one on some lucky
coed. That was fun.
13 and 14 were 7:45, 7:44, and I hit halfway in 1:42:08 (nearly 3 minutes banked).
I finally felt my energy levels dropping, yet the pace held at 7:56,
and mile 16 was 7:50 with the help of a big downhill. Then the first of 4
I slipped into a shorter stride, and
plugged on up without working too hard. Soon I was over and thinking
that wasn't so bad. But I was getting tired. My feet hurt, a lot, and my
legs hurt. It was just kind of overall pain starting to whisper to me
to stop and take a break. I set the voice aside for now. Soon I happened
upon a runner from California and we ran together a little. She was
suffering like me. I had happened upon her during LA, and now here we
were again at Boston. I really hardly knew her before (she coaches CC at
my kids high school) but after today we were friends. I went ahead, but
we hooked up again at mile 25 and after the race.
18 were 8:19 and 8:31, both had a pretty good hill. 19 had no hill and I
managed 8:19 again. And at 19.3 I hit the third hill and finally gave
myself permission to walk a little. But the walking really didn't feel
much better than running, so I kept going up and over and got to 20 with
an 8:56. 2:39:40 at 20 - still 20 seconds under 8 minute pace. I called
it a victory and felt pretty good about my race. Surviving the last 10K
would take care of itself. I would get my sub-4. Seriously, I was happy
and content in the midst of big-time pain with over an hour to go. I
stopped and walked right after the 20 mile mark.
But it still had to be done.
21 was heartbreak hill. It was a nice little hill. I ran some of it,
walked a little, and crested knowing that the rest couldn't be too
hard... Mile 21 was 10:12
I kept plugging. I knew Loopster
Scott would be at 22.3 so I looked forward to a friendly face. By now I
was trotting at about 9 minute pace, and walking a little every half
mile or so. I would walk enough so I actually did feel better, and then
started up again. I managed to see Scott and said Hi and had an orange
and smiled and kept on going.
Boston College was louder
than Wellesley,and especially loud because some guy in Captain America
gear passed me then so they were going crazy. That was fun. I was
hurting, but with the walk breaks it wasn't too bad, and I was still
smiling and enjoying it. The fans were great, and I think they liked me
because I was one of the only smiling runners!
Soon I saw
the Citgo sign, and it didn't seem too much longer. Miles 22-26 were
9:36, 10:23, 10:14, 11:30, 11:14. The last two miles I could only run
about two blocks without a break. But at least I wasn't cramping. I
could still run.
At mile 25 I was surprised to see my DW
and Mrs TO! I thought they were further back and I had missed them. So I
pulled over for a hug, but she wouldn't put down the camera.
And then I shuffled on.
She also got these photos: MTF
on to Hereford I saw my local friend again. She was gallowalking as
well, but we vowed to run it in. However she had to walk a little more
so I lost her.
Then it was one last left turn on to
Boylston and I could see the finish. This was it! Dream come true! The
crowd was loud. I was soaking it in, smiling, got choked up a bit. I
managed to run it in at a respectable 9:25 pace for the last .44 miles,
probably faster at the end. And of course I had to give it one of
And here you can see my walk breaks:
then the pain, the cold wind, and big crowds made the next few minutes
pretty brutal, but I eventually made it to my bag and got some clothes
on, after figuring out how to bend my legs and get to the ground without
dying. I found QuickRunna24 at the bag bus, so we got to share a
moment, and eventually we hobbled over to the group meeting area where I
found Corc and Whitey.
It was about 2:45.