Well, that was quite an experience! I did manage to finish the Boston Marathon, taking 3 hours 35 minutes 32 seconds to cover the 26.2 miles. And even though this was the slowest that I've raced a road marathon, I'm grateful that I was healthy enough to be able to do this at all.
Due to plantar fasciitis and a related hip / thigh muscle tightness problem that had been bothering me since the previous May, I could barely run 5 slow flat miles at a time in January. With a combination of physical therapy and the help of a podiatrist, I got over my problems enough to start training in earnest in February. But that's not enough time to get back into top-shape by April 16. So, my expectations were low and were lowered further by the ominous weather prediction.
The night before the race, I had a nice Itallian dinner at Lucca's North End, with my friend Amanda and her boyfriend Mark. Reservations were at 6pm, which worked out fine. Had a delicious cannoli at Bova's Bakery afterwards.
I took a private bus, thanks to Amanda, which paid off big-time. We could stay warm and dry and have access to a toilet for the long wait for the race. Finally, Cesare (another friend from my running club) and I worked our way over to line up at the end of Wave 1.
During the race, the weather was truly awful, with rain the entire time, sometimes coming down in absurd sheets with strong cold winds in our faces. My hands never did warm up and my fingers were mostly numb from the cold, to the point that I had difficulty eating my energy gels. On top of the ridiculous weather, I apparently grossly miscalculated how much water I should drink for breakfast, and I had to stop five times at porta-potties, which added precious minutes. I started slowing down around mile 18 due to soreness and low-energy. My training just wasn't sufficient for my goal pace.
Still, I was mostly happy during the race and I'm grateful to the thousands of volunteers and tens of thousands of spectators, who braved the terrible weather while standing around handing out drink cups or cheering us on. Thank you, race supporters!
I was again impressed with the love and support that Bostonians have for the marathon.
|Boston Commons three days before the race -- weather was gorgeous|
|My room at the College Club of Boston|
|Along he Charles River, three days before the race|
Random thoughts and encounters:
- The volunteer who gave me my bib had her nails painted blue and gold (the marathon's colors) and said that this was her 26th year volunteering! Wow!
- Woke up around midnight because I couldn't stop thinking about whether my garbage-bag poncho should hav arm holes are not. Argh. I was worried that a police officer would think that I looked too suspicious. So, I got up and cut arm holes.
- Race morning breakfast: decaf mocha (8 oz?), small water bottle (16.9 oz), plain water (8 oz?), for a total of about 33 oz, between 6am and 10am. I ate two bagels with peanut butter.
- Left the bus around 9:30am, went down the wrong road and was asked to turn back. Found our way. By the time we passed the last chance for porta-potties, I thought maybe it was getting late and plus I didn't feel the need, but in hindsight I should have stopped the last time.
- Running at the end of the Wave 1 (corral 8) seemed to be less crowded than around mid-way (like corral 4). Given the very cold temperatures, I really didn't need to carry a water bottle. I ended up drinking the whole thing. Oddly, I still felt thirsty towards the end even though I had peed so much and my urine was clear.
- In my hotel I met Dan, a 63 year old retiree from San Francisco. He said he worked 10 or 12 hours a week at REI, but had worked 20 years at HP before that. He ran the race and stayed in the same hotel (College Club of Boston). Lives in San Francisco, on Russian Hill. Recommended the Jungfrau Marathon and the Jack and Jill Marathon.
- Met Muhammed on the bus on the way to Logan for my flight back. He said he works at Dunkin' Donuts (as a recently promoted manager), and is from Morocco. He was incredibly friendly. He asked me about the race and we talked about healthy living.
- I met Linda in the Logan airport. She said she was from Bethel Church, in Redding, CA. Does "lay on hands" healing and was here leading a group of young people to a large ministry gathering.