Wow.... I wasn't prepared for this. I don't mean physically, I mean mentally. Going into this, I just wasn't buying into the hype that is the Boston Marathon. But they made a believer out of me today.
I went to the expo on yesterday and it was crowded but I wasn't impressed with it. I did buy one of the overpriced official jackets, but felt like I had to have one. I also saw Team Hoyt there.
I was looking for Kara Goucher to get an autographed pic for Wille, but alas she wasn't there.
I awoke this morning and caught the shuttle from my hotel to the race shuttle buses and then made the 26 mile trip to the start. The athletes village was ok. There were plenty of drinks and energy bars but it was crowded. The good thing is that the weather wasn't too bad. Rain was predicted for later in the day, but it was overcast and a bit chilly. It was below freezing when I got up, but it was probably in the high 30's low 40's by the time we were outside.
Ok time to line up in the corrals. Then we're off, it took about 3 minutes to cross the start and then we were running. This is the largest marathon I've ever run, and I was worried about having room to run. It does take a lot of energy to get through when you're running just a bit faster than some. From almost the start there was great crowd support. And there was never a time without that support. Every city we ran through was extremely supportive. All the parts you've heard about now I was seeing. Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, let's stop here for a moment. As we approached Wellesley I heard this loud noise. A sign warned us to cover our ears. As we hit Wellesley (Women's) College, the ladies were screaming and had signs that said kiss me. I picked me out one, and moved over to plant a kiss on her. About 15 seconds lost, but I wasn't going to miss this opportunity. On to Newton, Brookline, Brighton, and Boston. This is a hilly course and while it is a net downhill, it is not what you'd think of as a downhill course. It is hard on you and takes a lot out of you. Before we hit the halfway point, there were people walking the hills. On the bus I overheard a conversation where this guy said "don't worry about Heartbreak Hill, you'll run over it and wonder, was that it?" I knew where it was before we climbed and certainly didn't wonder "was that it?" It is hard on you around mile 20, but it also isn't the last hill as I thought it was. Around mile 19 I passed Team Hoyt, and it looked like he was having a hard time. I was almost in tears thinking about them and the dedication of father Hoyt to his son. Around 22 I saw Bill Rodgers (Boston Billy) over to the side and he seemed to be having problems. I checked and he finished just over 4 hours. Which means he did indeed have problems because he is much faster than that.
I had already mentioned two things, (1) one of my New Years goals was to run Boston in under 4 hours, and (2) that my IT Band problems might derail that goal. I started out running just under 9 minute miles because the start is a steep downhill. On level ground I tried to hold 9's, lower downhill and higher uphill. Around mile 18 my IT Band put out a little dull pain, then looked up at me and smiled and said, just don't want you to forget about me, but I know how bad you want this, so I'm going to give you a break today. No more IT Band problems. That is not to say that I didn't have other problems. I was starting to hurt around 20 and had just under an hour to finish. I walked a bit on a couple of the hills near the top and then started back running when it leveled off. That seemed to work well, and I still was holding close to 9:15's, which if I was able to hold would just get me in under 4. At mile 25 I wanted to walk so bad because they were still teasing us with hills. But I knew that I was too close to 4 to do any walking. They have a sign that says one mile to go, and when I hit that I started picking it up a bit. Another hill, oh well just kept pushing and topped it, turned left and I could see the finish line in the distance. I like that because I kept up my pace and took it on in. I didn't know for sure if I had beaten 4 because the clock was gun time and I didn't beat 4 there. But my Garmin said 3:59 and change. Official time 3:59:35. Mission Accomplished.
I don't know if I'll run this marathon again, I'm qualified for next year also, but I've learned not to say what I'll do right after the race.
This is an awesome race if the conditions are right. While we had a head wind off and on, the conditions were still good.
I am also pleased that I have accomplished two of the four goals I set for myself this year.
Blessed that I was able to finish this race with no apparent injuries.