This section will just be about the race. I will write my comments on the whole experience down in the comments section.
I came into the race with a goal of enjoying the experience of running The Boston Marathon. My other goal was to at least run a 3:15 so that I would be qualified for next year's Boston in case I wanted to return. I also had a stretch goal of getting close to my qualifying time of 3 hours. The plan was to start out at the 3 hour pace and then assess whether 3 hours was possible once I made it through Heartbreak Hill.
The emotional pre-race activities took place while I was waiting in the starting corral. I noticed the military members on the roofs of close by buildings and their presence was seen and felt all along the route. Once the gun sounded, it took me about 3 minutes to finally make it to the starting line due to the crowds. It was a new experience for me to have that many runners along side me FOR THE ENTIRE RACE! The complete 26.2 miles was in close quarters - but I did not mind.
By mile 4, I was already feeling a tiredness in my quads. It felt very easy and my heart rate was fine, however, my quads just felt tired. I immediately reflected back to all of the walking I had done the past 2 days and told myself to just put it out of my mind and continue with my plan.
I kept my 3 hour pace until I got to the top of the 2nd of 4 hills that started around mile 16. Once I crested that hill, my quads felt like they were going to cramp. I realized at that point, that I still had 2 hills (one of which was Heartbreak) and that there was no way I was going to be able to hit the 3 hour mark. At that point, I just slowed down and took even more time to enjoy the race. I started giving every kid who held their hand out a high five and even walked a few sections where there was a lot of activity. I also stopped when I saw my family at mile 23 and thanked them for waiting to see me.
The last 2 miles were truly electric! The crowds were already huge, but they just kept getting bigger all the way up to the finish line. I made sure to look over at the two bombing spots as I passed by and pictured each of the 4 victims as my way of paying my respects to them.
What would you do differently?:
NOTHING!! While my race didn't go as planned, I had a perfect day. The experience of this race is impossible to fully capture with words. Being a part of it was something I will never forget.
Collected my medal, heat cape, water, food, etc. and then walked to the T station to get back to the hotel.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Starting the race on tired legs. Lack of hill training.
The city of Boston is amazing as the host of this race. No matter where we went and who we talked to, the people made you feel like a celebrity. The day before the race, while scouting a spot for my family to watch, a local couple who was sitting next to us on the T, took time to give us some great suggestions and information. Everyone would ask if you were running and then would say good luck and thank you. All through the race route, there were signs saying thanks for running and even the volunteers kept saying thank you to the runners! After the race, I was returning to my hotel with my heat cape and medal around my neck. The police officer at the T station immediately saw me and let me jump to the front of the line and let me through without paying. When I entered the T, two college age kids immediately jumped up out of their seats and told me to sit down. Everyone was saying congratulations and thank you! I was walking down the street in front of my hotel and a car full of people rolled down their windows and started cheering and telling me congrats! It is truly an event that is loved by the city of Boston and they show it!
There were so many memories from this event but a few really stick out. One is just the extreme amount of spectators. There was literally never a time where the streets were not lined with people cheering. Even the walk from the athlete village to the starting corrals had people lining the street with signs and cheering. The biggest crowd I have ever seen prior to Boston was at the finish of the Cleveland Marathon. That size crowd was the minimum that I saw in Boston. When arriving into any towns or colleges along the route, the crowds were at least 5 times the size of the CLE finish. From 2 miles into the finish at Boston, they were at least 10 times that size. There was always lots of signs, cheers, and kids with their hands out to give high fives.
At about mile 10, we ran through a town where the crowd was huge. They were blasting the song YMCA. I will never forget seeing 1,000's of spectators doing the YMCA arm movements as well as the 100 or so runners along side me! It was awesome!
I also passed Dick and Rick Hoyt at about mile 14. I felt like I was in the presence of celebrities as I have read so much about them. It would always be a memorable moment to see them in a race, but knowing that it was going to be their last marathon made it even more special. I also saw many amputee runners who were running in honor of the victims last year.
This was not just a race, or even an "A" race which most marathons are. The Boston Marathon is an experience unlike any other that I have done. I will remember the day forever!
Last updated: 2014-02-05 12:00 AM
Boston Athletic Association
60F / 16C
Overall Rank = 4608/31931
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 786/2628
Arrived in Boston on Saturday. Spent the day walking around the expo as well as the finish line area. It was a broad range of emotions - excitement about the upcoming race, but also somber respect for the tragic events of last year. It really made you think about everything that happened when you are standing at the exact spots where everything took place.
On Sunday, spent most of the day at the Boston Museum of Science (which is a great place!). We then did some exploring to find a good spot for the family to watch the race and to look for me.
Spent about 1.5 hours at the athlete village. It was only 40 degrees so had layers of old clothing on that would be donated later. Tried to sit as much as possible on the garbage bag that I brought with me. Did a little bit of stretching, ate a bagel and drank a couple bottles of water. When my wave/corral was called, walked the mile trek to the starting corrals.