Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Boston Marathon 2017: A sweaty slog

Summer ARRIVED with aggression.

The day before. DOOM. 
The day prior to the marathon had us in the 90's. It was completely bananas.
On the drive to Boston the fan in the car, and therefore the AC decided to die. We made the best of it, because what else can one do? With two blocks to go, it fired back up. Well, played AC.
(and weirdly, this little theme was played out again in a different way the next day. read on.)

Anyways. We made it! All was well and Boston was wonderfully bustling with runners, and the weather was just perfect for shorts and flip flops and it was really quite delightful.

Saying a quick hello to the finish!
Eric and I made a quick run to the expo to exchange an item, and made a pass by the finish.
Then, we had a little R&R back at the hotel. Gotta stay off the feet in the heat!

Top floor of the Revere
Marathon DAY DAWNED........

Yes. It was cooler on Monday. Sort of.
I jumped out of bed at 6:00, our close proximity to the Common allowed some very luxurious sleeping in. (it was pretty amazing!)
I got to the Common at about 7:45 and proceeded to stand in a potty line...

Out of the potty line! Into the bus line!
I was on a bus and on my way at 8:20, whoot! (and it was already 67... so there's that.)

I had a nice ride to Hopkinton, and my bus was a PARTY BUS. So many people in good moods!

Things moved very quickly at that point because I arrived somewhat later than usual.
I hung about in a portable potty line, and had just made it out of the crapper when my wave was called to the corrals.

Leaving Athlete's Village
I made the walk to the Corrals, which is always a hike, as well as a good way to get loosened up after the long bus ride.
I had been drinking quite a bit of water to keep up with the rising temps, so I hit up the potties one more time. So much time in the toilets....!

As I made my hike to Corral 1 (which is wayyyyy up there!) I felt it getting really, stupid hot.

I have never been in 1 before! 
As one would expect, the general murmurings from the crowd were all "wow this is hot" "the sun is crazy" and so forth.
Also, not even as much as a puff of wind. Temp: 69 degrees.

Summer running in Corral one
I had a pretty reasonable plan regarding race execution. I concluded that I would run similarly to last year (easy, especially first half) and then evaluate. It seemed as though, at the half way point or so, that some clouds might roll in and that we might have more of a side wind, making the final half more tolerable.

I rolled on out at an 8:30/8:35 pace and maintained extreme composure.
Until the mile 1 marker when I took a 4 second pee break. My bladder. So much water.

Let's reflect quickly.
My warmest recent long run (and the high temp for the past few longs) was 40.
The most water I have consumed in a long run is 16 oz.

By mile 5, I had consumed much more water than I am used to. Ick. I was doing the tiny sip thing, in order not to become sloshy but my belly still felt full of water.

Other than feeling like a camel, things were going well and my pace felt extremely easy and pedestrian. One cloud came over the sun around mile 8 or so, and then it left.

The first half was generally uneventful, lots and lots of cheering spectators, lots of sun, not a lot else. I was trying to stay pretty focused on hydration, finding shade, fending off collisions in the water stop stations, and sensible snacking. Marathoning is busy work, clearly.

I ran through the half in 1:53ish and just after, walked through a water station because the crowds were just too thick to run through.

And then... Something bad happened. My legs decided to be done. Just like that. No more legs.

"Well" I said to myself " "I guess this isn't totally unexpected since it is hot af"
*but seriously, having another 12.8 miles to go seemed daunting*

Temp: 74. Clouds: none. Wind: at our backs, generally unnoticeable for the first half. And the second if we want to get real here.

The heat from mile 14 to mile 17 was the most intense. I imagine, that with the staggered wave start, that not everyone will agree with this. However, at the time that I was running this was the case, and as I ran over the 128 overpass it felt like the sun was burning  hole through my skull. LOVELY.

I found my Dad, and family, at mile 18.2 and I was basically useless. I looked at my pre-cramp leg shakes and said "YIKES!!! I better get outta here!!"
Which is exactly what happened. I am terrible company.


You know what kids? Sometimes things are hard. Hard marathoning is a very privileged and first world problem, indeed.
However. This was a hard marathon for me to finish.

I saw some wonderful Crows from my running group along the way which was great. The crowds were fantastic. Lots of good stuff.

But I HURT. And I also sucked it up and kept going.

Getting close
So. As fate would have it, at the 40k mark the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up.
And as I said to the car AC on Sunday: "WELL PLAYED" and "too little too late!!!"

Eric, Danielle and my family were all at mile 26.1 and I did a hell of a job looking fresh and happy for them!!

Fashion on point though
My friend Sarah screamed at me from the grandstands but at that point, I was apparently beyond hearing. Waste of space me!!!

Thanks to Sarah for the pic!
I finished, with a remarkable personal worst of 4:12:08 which I honestly gave ZERO fucks about. I was just so happy that I finished!

I basically felt ok upon finishing. I was not (too) stupid and there was no barfing or crying. But Holy CRAP was I ever sore. My legs, my BACK, my shoulders. Forget it. OUCH.

I met up quickly with Eric and a few family members who had braved the crowds to hang with me for a hot, sweaty minute (I was glad to see all of them!!)

I skedaddled off to shower promptly (hotel living was truly a luxury) and then I became more human.

All my clothing was wicked salty. CLEARLY and SHOCKINGLY I must not have yet had an efficient cooling system. NO CRAP.

And the next day.
IT WAS COLD AS FUCK. Not that I am mad or anything.

45 degrees. ONE DAY LATE. 
The day after the marathon was indeed cold. UGH. Two years in a row!!! RUDE.

What can you do, right? I really enjoyed my training cycle and came out of it fit and healthy. I ran the best marathon that I could, on that particular day.
And I was well enough on Tuesday to hike across the city and buy beer, which made me very happy.

YAY!!! YAY!!!
So here is the moral of the story.
A few years ago on Boston, it was hot and I had a terrible race and I was pretty bent out of shape about it.
This year, it was hot, and I ran nowhere near to my ability but it's ok. I was happy to be there and happy to finish. Happy to be healthy and to have family there to support me. I am lucky. And I feel fine about how it played out. I'm excited to get out, and run more miles, and I'm lucky to have run 26.2 in Boston.

And I'll be there next year.


  1. Others runners I know had similar experiences. No doubt the heat was a big factor. Glad you stayed hydrated.

  2. Boston is the cherry on top. It's the qualifying that's the real race. Congratulations and I'll see you there next year.

    1. Yes!! Can't wait! Even when Boston sucks it is still awesome :-)

  3. It was hot! Good to see you made it through! Congratulations!