On Monday Dylan and I ran the 114th Boston marathon. Since running my first marathon in 2004, I’d wanted to run Boston. I qualified in 2006 and then couldn’t run it for a few years, but I finally made it! Dylan qualified handily in San Francisco with a 2:58, so we were able to tackle this thing together.
Koushik’s apartment was amazingly well situated for the race (thank you Koushik). It was maybe a 10 minute walk to where we caught the buses to the start. We got to the bus area at 6:40 and a mere 2 hours and five minutes later were finally at the race village in Hopkinton. Yes, the winner of the marathon RAN the whole race in the time it took for us to take the bus.
Dylan and I did all the usual pre-race rituals – peed in the woods, pooped in the Portapotty, taped and lubed various parts of our bodies, and peed in the woods again. Nobody ever said marathoning was pretty!
We had a pretty good seed with our qualifying time that put us close to the front, which was cool. The gun went off, and we start cranking downhill. The first 4 miles of the course was downhill with a bunch of flatish miles after that. We were mostly hitting 6:20s and 6:30s, which definitely didn’t feel very easy, but we went for it anyway.
The crowd was awesome from the start. Most of the city has Monday off, and these people know how to spectate a marathon! One other racer put it very well: “other marathons like New City also get a big crowd, but this is a professional marathon crowd … they know how to do it.” Well said, sir. There is an impressive amount of drinking, yelling, signs, and true running appreciation. One knowledgeable fan cheered on Dylan by saying “that guy’s got a Pre stache! Go Pre!”
I was starting to hurt around 7 or 8 and was wondering how this thing would play out. Between mile 12 and 13, you hit Wellesley, which definitely helped pick me up. I’d heard a lot about this section but still wasn’t prepared for it at all. To say there screaming girls lining the course is really an understatement. You can hear it coming from hundreds of yards out. The sound as you’re going through is deafening, and my ears were ringing afterwards. All of them are also inexplicably trying hard to kiss very gross, smelly runners. In a word … awesome. No kisses for this guy. Saving those for someone else (you guessed it … Eve).
I hit the half in 1:24, almost dead on what I did in Philly last time. Unfortunately, I started fading quickly after that. My pace was still decent until the Newton hills, but then it became much more of a struggle. I’ve run tens of thousands of feet up and down mountains, but Heartbreak Hill just owned me. I was hoping I’d come back to life after hitting the top at mile 21 and then work the downhill to get sub 3, but that wasn’t to be.
Low point was definitely when I was passed by a dude in a Minnie Mouse costume around mile 23 or 24. When Minnie Mouse passes you and you can’t respond, you know you’re in tough shape. I was slowing down but still kept at least a decent pace and crossed the finish in 3:04. That put me just a bit faster than Philly in 2006 but a ways away from my 2:55 in Philly in 2008. I was definitely happy with the finish though.
Dylan finished not far behind in 3:19. He had some vicious hamstring cramps but in typically Dylan style pushed through and still threw down a good performance.
All in all it was a great day. Really good weather, great crowd, and good company. I have a feeling I’ll be back for the Boston Marathon in the near future.
I’ll also come back to post some pictures soon.