It has been over two months since The Boston Marathon April 21st. Why it is taking me so long to write this post. Well it could be because last year was my first time running of the Boston Marathon and before the evil that killed three people that day, it was everything and more that I expected it would be. But then the unthinkable happened and running changed in a second. It took a long time to feel good about running again. But running was the only way to honor those who’s life changed that day. So I continued to train. The focus of every run, every race leading up to April 21st 2014 was to remember Martin, Keystle, Lu, and Sean. I wanted to train as hard as I could, and run as fast as I could to “take back the Finish Line”!
I arrived Friday afternoon on April 18th. Getting from the airport to my hotel in Newton only 8 miles away took almost 2 hours. Traffic was crazy to say the least. I thought about going to the Expo on Friday night but decided to just rest after unpacking and eating dinner. I had signed up for the Boston 5K on April 19th (not the day before the Marathon like normal because of Easter). So Saturday the plan was run the 5k in the morning and go to the Expo after.
I woke up early Saturday and drove to Copley Square at 6am. The race was at 8am so I had enough time to walk to the start and enjoy the race electricity. The whole town was in the mood to run. It was like the day before Christmas and everywhere you are it just feels like Christmas. Well being in Boston during the Boston Marathon weekend everything is about running. My plan for the 5k was to just take an easy, slow shake out run. I think 8,000 people were running and it was packed. The field of elite runners was tough. Two time winner 2011, 2012 Ben True (see photo, Ben is behind the John Hancock banner) from USA was the favorite, the defending winner from 2013, Dejen Gebremeskel (see photo in front of banner) from Ethiopia was also there. I could list the top 10 male and female runners and in any other race, they would win easily. But this was Boston and $39,000 in prize money going to the top 10 makes this unlike any other race. When the 5k was over the course recorded was broken. The Men set a course record of 13:26 when Both Ben and Dejen finished tied. On the Women side, Molly Huddle from USA won with a time of 15:12 tying the course record set in 2012. The 5K was a great start to the weekend. There was a lot of excitement from all the runners, but everyone understood that this year we were running for the world. This was not just another race. The Boston Marathon never has been, but this year everyone was running to celebrate and honor those who suffered on 4-15-2013.
After the 5K I headed to the expo, picked up my bib and shopped for a bit. So many things to see and do at the expo. I
bought some new compression sleeves and then headed out to get ready for a U-Can presentation with Meb Keflezighi speaking and signing autographs. I headed back to my car to change and put my packet in. That was when I noticed I had got a parking ticket. Whoops, I guess there is no free parking on Saturday’s. I thought about moving my car (rental) into the parking garage, but I figured since I am paying for the ticket anyway, might as well just leave it with the ticket on it.
So off I went to meet Meb Keflezighi. I have never been much of a crazy person who wants an autograph. At another expo, I almost stood in line to get Ryan Halls autograph, but it was too long and no way was I going to stand there for hours to get someones scribble. But this was a presentation from U-Can, a product that I had tired in the past. Can’t say I liked it much, but figured I could get some free samples and give them another try. Plus it was in a hotel conference room so I got to sit down and rest. Listening to Meb speak was for sure the highlight of the trip. He was just another person who loved to run. He talked about the same problems we have all had. The last thing he talked about was running to win. It is his catch phrase and he added, it does not mean you win every race. But you push and put everything you have into that race. He said
“A Marathon hurts, I know I will be hurting on Monday, everyone hurts in a Marathon”
It was nice to know I was not the only one :-). He took a picture with everyone, one at a time, and signed autographs for everyone. I brought my bib and he signed it. I can’t say how many times I used that motivation during the race to keep me pushing.
After meeting Meb, I was in a runners high (as my wife would say). Next stop was to go site seeing a bit. Last year we visited friends north of Boston, so we didn’t get to see Boston much. First stop the Prudential tower observation deck. I walked around and took photo’s. Saw Fenway Park, the famous Citgo Sign ( I remember that from last year’s race), and of course a great view of the finish line. After the observation deck and got some lunch and headed back to the hotel to rest up.
I did stop on the way to the car and bought a ticket for A Duck Tour on Sunday. I figured that would be relaxing and not a lot of walking. Sunday was strange, most of the time you run a 5k race the day before the Marathon, plus most Marathons are run on Sunday. But we have already said, The Boston Marathon is not like most Marathons. Today was going to be a lot of resting. Hopefully not much walking was the plan. Of course I was still following my carbo loading plan. That reminds me, if I ever finish this post I need to write a post on carbo loading. But I digress….. The Duck tour was relaxing, but uneventful. I think the kids who got to drive the boat had the most fun. Plus they got a sticker. It did keep me occupied, off my feet and I got to learn a few things about Boston that I would not have.
After the Ducks, the plan was to go eat at the race spaghetti dinner located at town hall. But the line was crazy long. I never did find the end, but figured there was no way the meal was worth that wait. So I went back to my car, Yay no ticket today and headed back to the hotel. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and picked up dinner. Of course lots of carbs, Pizza, chicken and a potato.
I set up my gear for the next day, ate my dinner and waited. I was ready for the race.
Race morning, finally it was time. I headed down to the Commons to catch a buss to the starting line. To make sure I didn’t get another ticket, I decided to park in the garage recommended by the race. Of course I was a bit early. My boarding time was 7:30am and I was there at 6:00am. Don’t want to be late. I checked my bag in (new this year, no bags allowed on the buss or at the starting line). The buss ride seems so long. I have to run that far, it was painful to be on the buss. I had heard a few people ran to the starting line, and then ran the race too. What? Waiting at the staging area was crazy, so many people. I stood in line to pee a few times. laid on the ground to rest and then they called my group to head to the starting line. Last year I left a bit late and had to run to start with my corral. This year I had enough time to get there. I took my pre race drink (U-Can and Karbragousmix). Not very tasty, but it seemed to work. I figured if it was good enough for Meb it was ok for me. At the start of the race, the temperature was 68^f a bit higher then I would have liked. I wondered if I could run my goal pace and hit 3:15. I would know soon enough. On a normal year The Boston race is crazy, packed with people everywhere, but 2014 was not normal and it was more then packed, I was bumping into people like a human pinball. The first 20 miles I had to dodge and dip more then I wanted to. I reached the half way well ahead of my goal at 1:36:55. But I still had the Hill’s of Newton ahead of me and the sun was coming out. I could feel myself slowing a bit, but still maintaining a good pace. Going up the third hill in Newton, a fan held up a sign that I red, “Meb won, Run faster”. That sign put a smile on my face. How great for our country to have an american win. The second half took its toll and I did slow a bit. Not much be enough to miss my goal time of 3:15. I finished 3:16:44, still a PR and with the heat, I was happy with it. There is always next year.