Boston Marathon - Run

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Boston, Massachusetts
United States
Boston Athletic Association
65F / 18C
Total Time = 3h 35m 33s
Overall Rank = 9391/26639
Age Group = F18-39
Age Group Rank = 1857/5948
Pre-race routine:

Had half my pb sandwich and carried the banana with me to the buses (ended up not eating it after all). Dropped off my finishing bag, even though I probably could have done without. I kind of like having access to my phone as soon as I get across the finishline anyway.

Then, headed to the buses with everyone else, got on and started the sloooooooow long trek to Hopkinton.
Event warmup:

Welp, like last year, the weather dominated the day. It was WARM when we got there. I had some good throwaway clothes, but as soon as I hopped off the bus, I knew I wouldn't even need them. I sat around with my Boston runner friends and tried not to psych myself out over the stupid awful hot weather ahead. Used the porta johns (again, a solid 45 minutes before my wave opened up) and headed back with a group starting at the same time as I was.
  • 3h 35m 33s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 14s  min/mile

I recently joined the Harriers and have been doing their Wednesday morning speed workouts regularly. I'm actually not much of a social runner. I like to do my own workouts and get lost in my thoughts on long runs. I don't ever run with anybody. But I figured joining a team would at least help me work on my speed. It may sound a bit selfish -- and it's definitely out of character -- but I thought joining a team would be good for my growth as a runner and hey, maybe as a person, too. What I didn't expect was to find the wealth of knowledge and support that I did. Two runners in particular, Eva and Kat have been a great inspiration to me -- not only are they both fast, but they're also incredibly humble, kind, encouraging and hard-working runners. They don't just talk the talk. They the run.

Kat was also running Boston this year. I knew she was shooting for a PR in Boston -- I was shooting for one as well, just behind her in pace (me, a 3:16, her a 3:15). We weren't going to run together, but had encouraged one another and planned to see each other after the race to celebrate. Surprisingly, with absolutely zero coordination on either of our parts, among the throngs of tens of thousands of runners on Marathon Monday, I actually saw her sitting with another teammate on a blanket in the Athlete's Village before the race. We all wished each other luck, but went our separate ways -- everyone is always caught up in their own personal mental game before a big race, so you tend to keep your distance. But it felt like good karma to run into your teammates in a veritable sea of strangers and I looked forward to seeing her at the finish.

So, as I mentioned, the weather dominated the day. AGAIN. This year was a hot one. The sun was beating down at 10 a.m. and already you could feel the heat coming off the asphalt. I knew it was gonna be a tough day for PRing, but I also knew the temperatures would drop as we approached Boston, so there was still hope for a good race.

But -- like delicious lemon-flavored Gatorade spilled on the hallowed aid station grounds -- that hope quickly evaporated. Not long after crossing the starting mats, it became very clear the weather was not going to cooperate, to say the least. Within a few miles, I was already dumping water on my head to cool myself down, and seeing my average pace slip, second by agonizing second. I hit mile 9 and realized things were getting out of control. I was barely hanging on -- at a point when I should still be feeling strong. My heart felt like it was trying to jump out of my chest and I was sweating like crazy -- and I hadn't even hit the Newton hills yet. So, with sadness and a tinge of relief, I decided to give up. Today was not going to be my day. Which is ok, I told myself, because it's still the Boston Marathon and it's still an incredible race and I should just try to enjoy the day for what it was about to become: a "fun run" -- without a blazing fast time that I'd spent considerable effort working on this training cycle. ...Ugh.

As I was having this steadily demoralizing conversation in my head, I suddenly spotted a familiar figure ahead of me. It was Kat. She looked, pushing through the crowds at a steady pace, the same as I'd seen her run every Wednesday morning: focused and strong. I figured I'd sprint to catch up with her, maybe wish her luck as she pulled ahead to her PR. I thought, if I wasn't gonna nail my time, at least I could give her a friendly face among strangers and cheer her on. So I pulled up next to her, said hi and told her "I'm giving up. It's over for me, the heat's too much" -- so she wouldn't slow down to stay with me. Instead, she responded, "Me, too. Wanna jog it in together?"

And with those magic words, we became a two-person NY Harriers/Boston Marathon group run. We commiserated in our struggle ("my quads hate me," she said at one point; "my hamstrings are done," I confessed at another), we shared ice cubes stuffed into sports bras -- and we both agreed this was the year to land as many kisses as we could from the Wellesley girls. The Scream Tunnel has never been more fun for me -- as we both sought out random strangers for support, who all cheered us on like we were the only ones running a marathon. We pointed out hoses spraying cold water to each other, or funny signs on the course ("If Trump can run, so can you!") to distract from the work ahead. At one point, an older man running ahead of us took a nasty tumble. We both stopped, Kat supporting the man to his feet, me yelling for a medic across the street. Our focus had changed, no longer on our own individual goals, but on the race itself, the runners, the spectators and also, each other. I told Kat I promised my friend to do a "Walk Like an Egyptian" pose for one of the overhead cameras and asked her to join in ("I don't even know what that is," she said to me. I demonstrated for her as we ran and she said, "Oh, ok, sure.") -- and she asked if I wanted to hold hands as we crossed the finish line together ("Yes, of course! I love that idea!").

As we ran up Commonwealth Ave, the (head)wind picked up ("That wind is just mean," she said, voicing my thoughts and reminding me I wasn't alone). Things were rough, but I felt Kat pulling me along, even as I worried she would find another gear and drop me. She never did. I swung by some friends spectating at mile 25.5 to grab a beer from them, which we shared sips of as we made our final turn on Hereford and Boylston. With the IPA in one hand, and Kat's hand in the other, we made the final push, crossing the finish line just minutes over 3 and a half hours.

It wasn't my fastest marathon. It wasn't even my fastest Boston. With months of training gone down the drain, I had a running partner lift me up and pull me along on a day that could have ended up sucking in the suckiest of sucking ways that only a bad marathon can. And it didn't suck. It was the opposite of suck. It was really fun, it was really silly, it was really hard, it was demoralizing as it was invigorating, it was inspiring in a way that it only could have been with a teammate by my side.

So that was my Boston Marathon. The race pictures are up and they're pretty great (especially the Egyptian one). After the obligatory congratulations and thanks we sent over text later that day, we ended with the following exchange:

Me: I'm trying to decide how tough a PR would be in NYC this fall. Bad idea?
Kat: I think a PR in NYC is not as crazy as you think. I say go for it. I'm trying for the same!

I can only hope to see her out there again, hopefully under different circumstances. The words, "Me, too" have a bigger significance to me now. I feel like Kat taught me something about teamwork. We were in it together, for better or for worse, and that made this year about as great as I could have ever hoped. I'm so happy and so proud I'm a Harrier -- and so lucky to be on the same team as someone as inspiring a runner as Kat.

I've already booked my hotel for Boston 2017. Here's hoping the weather finally cooperates.


What would you do differently?:

Train in hot weather. Seriously.
Post race
Warm down:

Was there even a need for a warm-down? It was hot as balls.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The heat.

Event comments:

Third Boston. I'm coming back for more -- it is still probably the best marathon I've ever run. It feels personal -- the whole city comes out to cheer for you. It is an absolute must-do race.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2016-01-01 12:00 AM
03:35:33 | 26.2 miles | 08m 14s  min/mile
Age Group: 1857/5948
Overall: 9391/26639
Performance: Below average
5k 0:23:20 10k 0:46:30 15k 1:10:00 20k 1:35:08 Half 1:40:42 25k 2:00:45 30k 2:27:47 35k 2:55:25 40k 3:23:45
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 2
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5