So everyone else is all like, here’s my race report from last weekend, and here I am, crap, I still haven’t finished my Boston race report!?!! It’s been half written for weeks, so here goes! I’m not going to do my typical race report with splits, and details like that. I had no real pace/time goals, so the splits don’t matter.
Race day started around 6 am, I had gotten to bed at a good hour the night before, and had a pretty good sleep. Not having the pressure of racing helped with sleeping I’m sure! Lori and I got ourselves organized, to head to the buses. We checked the temps outside, and it was already pretty warm out, we both decided to forego the throwaway bottoms, but brought our extra tops, it seemed crazy to pack them home at this point.
Just before 7 we headed outside and called an Uber to take us to the Boston Common where the buses would be waiting. It was pretty straightforward getting through security and onto a bus. We were soon rolling towards Hopkington! I think the worst thing about point to point races is riding the bus all.the.way to the start, it always feels SOOO far. It took around an hour to drive to the Athletes village. Once we got there, we got into a porta-potty line right away. It took 40 minutes or so, but it wasn’t really a big deal since we didn’t have anything else to do for the next couple of hours. After the porta-potties, we found a piece of grass to sit and chill on while we each ate a bar and drank some water. It was already warm, especially in the sun!
The time in the Athletes village went by quickly, it didn’t take long until they were calling our wave. We started the walk to the start line. It was a surprisingly long walk to the start area, we walked and walked, and finally came to another small staging area with more porta potties. We took one last pit stop here (luckily there were not any line ups), and made our way to our coral. Someone in a neighboring yard to the starting coral had a plate full of bacon and was offering bacon to the racers, bacon sounded super yummy in that moment, so I totally took a piece of the “stranger bacon”, yum! Then we snapped a quick start-line picture, and before it we were off! We were off and running the BOSTON MARATHON!
It was super crowded to start, and the thing that I noticed right off was how many injured people were running it. Like really injured. There were people ON CRUTCHES, people with walking boots, all sorts of braces, etc. It made me feel better about my less than ideal couch-to-marathon training “plan”.
The first 16 miles are reputed to be very downhill, and there are a lot of warnings about going out too fast and trashing your quads. I found the course to be more rolling than I expected, I was very undertrained though, so I’m sure my perception of the hills was exaggerated.
The crowd support was ridiculous. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced. There were people along the course the entire way, and every time we’d pass through a town, the concentration of people would go up. It was amazing, when we were a half hour in or so, Lori looked over at me, overwhelmed by all the people, getting choked up and asked if it was too early to cry. YES, hold it together, was my response!
We mostly ran around a 5:30-5:45/km pace, I was pretty happy that I was able to run at this pace, at each water station, we walked and got water, gatorade or both. It was warm, and we were not at all trained to run in the heat.
Just after the halfway mark we hit Wellesley College. You could hear them long before you could see them! This was one of the iconic Boston Marathon experiences that I was excited to see. Their signs were the very best.
The Newton Hills come shortly after Wellesley. We had heard so much about them, that they were tough hills, that they were not that bad, etc etc. We ran all the hills, not walking at all. Neither of us could remember if there were 3 hills and then Heartbreak Hill, or 3 hills total, so we just ran, and worked our way through the hills. Being undertrained, I found the hills taxing. I would have found any marathon taxing, so this isn’t surprising. Luckily I wasn’t concerned with pace or time, so just put my head down and worked my way up the hills, thankful for each aid station as it meant a brief walk break to take in fluids.
If it were even possible, as we got closer to Boston, and into the city, the crowds got larger, and louder. I was getting tired at this point, I’d given up on high-fiving every single kid, and was starting to focus on moving forward. I’d slowed a bit, but not a ton, with km splits mostly sub 6:00/km. I was very thankful that I’d kept the pace easy from the start and had walked the aid stations. Even though we’d walked and drank from every aid station, I was really starting to feel dehydrated. You can see in a lot of our later pics, that we are licking our lips and trying to stay moist, but it just wasn’t working!
Once we turned onto Boylston, things got super exciting, I’d heard that this section can feel super long, like you can see the finish line, but it’s further than you think. I didn’t find it bad at all, perhaps after running the finish line chute at the Calgary Marathon, no finish will ever seem long again. It was just surreal, I was so excited to be done, but couldn’t believe I was finishing, the race had gone by so quickly (unlike reading, and writing this blog post has, hahaha)!! Lori and I crossed the finish with our hands in the air and smiles on our faces.
The after in such a huge race is also an experience in and of itself. Our mouths were SO DRY, like nothing I’ve ever experienced, my lips were sticking to my teeth, thankfully, we were handed water almost right away. Then we got our medals. Then we sat down on a curb… even at an “easy” pace, a marathon is still a heck of a long run. There were volunteers on us though, urging us to keep moving, which we eventually did. It was a bit of a maze finding our way out of the secure area. Once we did, we called an Uber and headed back to our condo.
We were both disgusting. Like, I’ve never been so dirty after a road race. The combination of a warm dry day, with running through aid stations and the ground littered with gatorade cups made for legs covered in sticky gatorade and dirt. Eww. After beer and showers and more beer we were feeling ready for some food and post race indulgences.
We headed to the post-race party at Fenway stadium. I’d say this was the most underwhelming experience of the race. Neither of us are sports fans, so the whole “Fenway experience” wasn’t a big deal. Once we got into the stadium, there wasn’t any special food or drinks, just regular stadium food and beer (at regular stadium prices…). We did a super quick tour, and then decided to walk back into the core of the city and find a pub where we would not have to pay $12 a beer.
We found a pub, and had beer and food, met up again with our friends Phillipe and Isabelle. All in all a great way to end a great day.