I’ll apologize in advance for the super long post. I was trying to pick out pictures for this recap and it was hard to just pick out a few. So, I’ll take you through the whole race in a photographic journey! Since we had a late start time (10:50 am), we woke up around 6am and felt totally rested. Unlike those races where you have to get up at 3am to make it to a 7am start time, this was a breeze so far! I got super excited when I looked out of my hotel window and I saw the buses that were taking runners to the start line in Hopkinton already!
I thought the bag drop off and bus loading would be crowded, but it was super easy and sailed right through it. We got on our bus and took the 40 min ride to the start line.
The excitement was growing as we unloaded the buses and headed to Athletes Village where the runners wait for their wave to start. On the bus ride the rain started to fall just a little bit before we got off the bus, but then stopped. The wind was pretty gusty though. I did start to worry when I could see my breath! It was in the mid 40s at the start.
Athlete’s Village is at the high school and takes up the entire space. Most people were hiding out from the elements inside one of these large tents. Fueling for the race was one of the things I was originally concerned with. Before I left the hotel I had some oatmeal, a banana, and a NutriGrain bar. On the bus I had another NutriGrain bar. At Athletes Village I had a bagel, another banana, and half of a Cliff bar. I was all fueled up by the time 10:50 arrived!!
There was no lack of port-a-potties here!
Soon enough it was time to head to the starting corrals.
But wait…. our journey had not yet begun. We had to walk a long way to get to the starting area.
As we were waiting, the rain started to fall. But that didn’t dampen our spirits!
Soon we all started walking to the start line. The funny thing was that Alan had to tell me when we arrived at the starting line because I could barely tell the difference from it and the rest of the journey so far! But here it was – ok, everybody run now!!
Here is a random picture of some people peeing off the side of the road around mile 1. That was a frequent occurrence and no one seemed to care, as long as they weren’t in front of someone’s house. Pretty funny!
Here’s my marathon/race advice for everyone – make sure your throw away gear is actually functional. Some people had bathrobes and PJ’s in Athlete’s Village – but I stayed in my hoodie for almost the first hour of the race I think! So glad I had it. Lots of people ran in plastic bags for almost the whole race!! I think they ditched them in the last mile for a nice finish line photo.
I also clutched that water bottle the whole time. I was just a regular plastic water bottle, but it became my safety blanket because it comforted me to know I could drink water any time I wanted. Or throw it away any time I wanted to! Around mile 11 we ran into a friend. She “tried to keep up with us” for quite a few miles. She was hoping for 9:00 miles, but would try out our 8:50 plan.
Half way done now! I’ve got to say – not only is Boston a net downhill course for the first half, it’s also “rolling hills”. I really had no idea what “rolling hills” were, because you know I live in the flat lands of Ohio. Oh man, by the half point my glutes were burning. That’s my issue – I always get strong pain in my glutes. Like someone is tightening a screw on them. And by mile 13, I was feeling it. But on a good note, no foot problems and no pain in my knee. I guess my plan to tape it up was a success!
A little later on, we ran into another friend. He started before us, and we finally caught up to him. He was quite happy to join us and have someone to talk to! Here we are powering up one of the Newton Hills. The Newton Hills are 4 hills that start around mile 16. The first one was not an issue. It was less of an issue for my friend in orange, and she kept on going when I slowed down a bit on the hills.
They say that Boston shreds up your quads from the hills. I did not have that issue. I guess that means my treadmill hill training paid off! I was still in a world of pain from the glutes. Each hill was harder and harder, and by the 4th hill – Heartbreak Hill – I was spent. No shame, I was actually in tears at the top of it. I think it was tears of frustration and pain more than happiness that it was over. Tears that I still had 5 more miles to run!! My splits were starting to really suck at this point. Early on I was cranking out 8:30 miles, and now I was struggling to get anything better than 10:00 min miles. It felt like I had concrete blocks on my feet.
We finally made it to mile 25 where we could see the Citgo sign. This is a huge point in the race – just one more mile to the end. Longest.Mile.Ever!!
But I kept on telling myself that if I smiled, I would be happy. So smile I did! Despite the rain and temperatures being only 44 degrees, I was not cold. That was surprising because I was shivering at the start line. Thank God I brought along those capris and arm warmers (socks!). Remember I was concerned about having a tan a few weeks ago? hahaha
That was a picture of us going down the final stretch – Bolyston street! We had finally made it. And then this awesomeness happened…. listen very closely….
Wasn’t that the best?? And my husband recorded it for me. It was a surprise to both of us. He never asked them to do that, they just did it. It made my day, big time!!
After the race kinda really sucked though. I was an emotional basket case and was sobbing. I was in such pain, it was an effort just to walk a few feet down the road. My legs barely functioned. I just wanted to sit down, but they wanted to keep everyone moving. We had to walk at least a half a mile to get to the end of the finishers area, and then another half a mile to get our gear bag (with the dry clothes in it). At least the ponchos were pretty awesome and functional.
I just wanted to be magically transported back to my warm hotel, and it was so frustrating. Luckily we had some dry socks in our gear bag and we used those for mittens.
After I finally got back to the hotel, Alan took off my shoes and helped me lift my legs up on the bed so I could relax. I took a super long hot shower (and some strong pain pills!) and I was feeling much better. We had some burgers, celebration beers, and went to share race stories with our friends.
If you’ve hung in with me this long, give yourself a high five!! You deserve it I hope you enjoyed this long journey I have been on. It’s hard to answer the question “did you have fun?”. I mean, it’s hard to get excited about running in the rain, but in the end, I really feel great about my race. I powered through the hills, never stopped once, and got that medal at the end. My husband is awesome for supporting me the whole way. The city of Boston loves the marathoners and I was surprised to see how many people stood around in the rain to cheer on the runners, on such a rainy chilly day, along the entire course. It really is BOSTON STRONG. And yes, I’ll be back It can’t rain two years in a row… right??