Boston Marathon Race Recap
|April 20, 2011||Posted by Emily under Uncategorized|
The Boston Marathon is a tricky beast. The race doesn’t actually start until at least 10 am but you still need to wake up at an ungodly hour to get ready and get to the shuttle buses that will truck you the 30 miles to Hopkinton.
So I woke up at about 4:00 am on race morning, leaving me enough time to drink my tea (so I avoid any, ahem, stomach issues) and get my race shit ready to go.
Oh, and have a dance party. I am quite sure The Rocketship, my brother and my mother were very entertained by me getting down with my bad self before the break of dawn.
This year, our hotel was right around the corner from the park where the buses meet to carry the buses to Hopkinton. This was a HUGE improvement over last year where we were staying miles from the start and I had to hitchhike since the Boston T does not open in time to carry runners to the center of the city. I had plans to meet up with my friend Mitch to brave the long lines and school buses together.
Thank God. From arrival at the buses to start of the race is about 4 hours. Doing it with a friend makes it about 12 million times easier. Trust me.
We kept each other calm in Athlete’s Village, bummed tarp space from strangers to keep our butts warm and dry and traded tips for conquering the Boston Marathon.
When it finally came time for Wave 2 to head to the race start, I parted ways with Mitch and traded my 12 warm layers of clothing for my highly fashionable throw away clothes.
You don’t have to tell me I look good in side stripes.
The start line is still about 3/4 mile from Athlete’s village and you are herded over with a constant stream of thousands of other runners. The adrenaline is cranking, people are hooting, throwing fist pumps, kids are lining the walk ready to high five you, and it’s pretty much impossible to not get totally pumped up on the trek over.
I was in Corral 2 of Wave 2 which put me pretty much at the front of Wave 2. At first, I was bummed not to be able to start with Wave 1, and then I realized that instead of battling crowds of thousands through the narrow streets of Hopkinton, I would be at the front of the pack.
Even with my great seeding place, the first mile of the race was slow and crowded. I tried to let the people around me ruin their races with foolish weaving and hopping off-road to get to the front while I settled into my pace.
The start of the race is lined with people hollering and children leaning over fences to give high fives. I made it my mission to soak it all in, smile and wave at anyone yelling “Emily” and enthusiastically slap the outstretched hands of dozens of kids.
Mile 1 – 8:00
Mile 2 – 7:31
Mile 3 – 7:32
Mile 4 – 7:26
Mile 5 – 7:33
Mile 6 – 7:33
The first 10k of the race is pretty much straight downhill with a few rollers. I truly felt as though I was not going out too fast. My pace felt natural and smooth. I was working with the downhills, not sprinting them or trying too hard to put the brakes on during the descents.
I fist pumped as we passed the drunk bikers, cat called some inebriated Bostonians on a rooftop and kept my smile alive as we passed through Ashland, Framingham and Natick.
Mile 7- 7:32
Mile 8 – 7:35
Mile 9 – 7:31
Mile 10 – 7:34
My favorite part of the first half of the course is the Wellesley Scream Tunnel. You start to hear the deafening hollers of the Wellesley Women well before you see them and knowing they stand at about halfway through the course is a huge mental boost.
I scream backed as I ran through the hundreds of women carrying signs like “Kiss me I’m Unemployed”, “Kiss Me, I’m from New Hampshire” or “Kiss Me, It doesn’t Matter if You’re a Boy or Girl.”
Lifetime Boston Marathon Goal: kiss a Wellesley Woman.
Mile 11 – 7:40
Mile 12 – 7:37
Mile 13 – 7:45
At this point, my Garmin distance was starting to get way off the race course. I knew there was no way I would be running an even 26.2 miles. But even with the added tenths, my official halfway split was a 1:40.20. With the Newton Hills still in front of me, I accepted the face that a 3:19 was probably out of my reach, but I still wanted to run a strong race no matter what, so I charged into the hills, ready to conquer any ascent Boston threw at me.
Mile 14 – 7:30
Mile 15 – 7:27
Mile 16 – 7:37
No part of the Boston Marathon is flat. It’s just not. As soon as you go down a downhill, there’s a little roller in front of you, and as soon as you conquer an uphill, there’s a downhill looming ahead, ready to wreak havoc on your quads.
I was definitely black out with pain and excitement last year because I REALLY did not remember just how much downhill Boston gives you. By the back half of the course, my quads were so tired from running downhill that my pace going up was better than my pace going down. I silently thanked myself for doing uphill training and not-so-silently cursed my lack of downhill training.
Mile 17 – 7:43
Mile 18 – 7:50
Mile 19 – 8:05
Mile 20 – 8:12
Around Mile 20 is when I saw the On The Run girls. Let me tell you, I needed that boost of squeals/screams, matching outfits, jumps and signage.
Mile 21 – 8:28
After the final ascent of Heartbreak, it’s all downhill into Boston. But seriously, forget Heartbreak Hill. The end of my race was all Heartbreak DOWNhill. My quads were feeling every step and I could only will them to go so fast at this point in the race.
Mile 22 – 8:04
Mile 23 – 6:58
Mile 24- 8:32
In the final miles, I knew I was not going to PR the race, but with my Garmin still telling me I failed to run even close to a straight line, I wanted to see what I would hit at 26.2, knowing that even a PR on my Garmin would encourage me about my ability to run a 3:19 at my next marathon.
Mile 25 – 8:08
At my unofficial 26.2 mark, my watch read 3:23. I grinned, knowing I ran a good race, even if I missed my goal time and a PR.
As I rounded the final corner onto Boylston, I started scanning the crowd for my mom, brother and The Rocketship. In their coordinated hot pink outfits, it was not hard.
Mile 26 – 8:49
I smiled and waved at my amazing family and boyfriend and dug in for the final stretch to the finish line.
Yes, I know it looks like I’m walking. At this point in the race, that wasn’t far from the truth.
.92 – 7:11 (or 7:49 pace)
Final Official Time 26.92 (7:59 pace or 7:47 Garmin Pace)
It took me all of 30 seconds after getting my checked bag to tear the tags off my jacket and put it on. I mother-effing earned that sucker.
Boston really is an amazing marathon. I am so thrilled to have finished my second one, in a time almost 9 minutes faster than my last jaunt through Boston.
Thank you again for all of the love and support before, during and after this race. I thought CONSTANTLY about the many people watching the race in Boston and on office computers. You guys are rockstars.
Dear Boston Marathon, I still love you, even if my quads are a little angry with you. See you next year. <3 Sweaty Emily