Posts Tagged ‘2012 Boston marathon’

This was my third year running the Boston Marathon, and the second year of very unique weather conditions.  Last year we had a tail wind that would help Geoffrey Mutai run the fastest marathon ever.  This year, the intense heat would slow even the elite runners, to a winning time of 2:12:40.  With the exception of 2007, when rain and a relentless 30 mph head wind slowed the winner to 2:14:13, a winning Boston time hasn’t been over 2:12 since 1985.

Being a glass-half-full type of person, I’ve been reflecting back on the high points of the day.

  • My pre-race routine went exactly as I planned.  (With the exception of the bus I was on taking a wrong turn.  I hear stories every year of lost busses and this year I was on one.  Fortunately, we got back on the right path within 15 minutes.)
  • I felt like I ate and drank exactly what I should have before the race.
  • I walked to the starting line feeling surprisingly calm and confident.
  • At 9:50 I still didn’t think the heat was too bad.

I entered my corral and immediately made my way over to the left edge where things appeared to be less chaotic (I always start on the edges in big races).  I realized that I was directly in front of the route where the elite runners make their way to the start!  Just as I realized this, they came out from the church with Mutai leading the crowd.  I was impressed with the reverence the other elites showed him.  No one would walk in front of or next to Mutai.  With a smile, Mutai humbly encouraged the others to go ahead, but they insisted he lead the way to the start.  That was nice to see.

Shortly after, the gun fired and we were heading down hill.  It took me a few minutes to really get my head focused.  Something finally clicked and the realization of “you’re running the Boston marathon” sunk in.  I assessed my pace and thought about how I wanted to run these first downhill miles.

  • About 2 miles into the race I saw that I was about to pass Joan Benoit-Samuelson!  I said “Hi Joanie!” as I went by, and she wished me good luck.
  • I passed Dick and Rick Hoyt around 8 miles and said hello to them.
  • My plan to go out a little more reserved was going very well.  I hit the half at 1:21:45.
  • I made it up the first couple Newton hills without any trouble.

Considering the heat, I was very comfortable and happy with my pace.  Even if I backed off this pace a little, I’d still be well under 2:50.  Eighty degrees?  Whatever! …  To continue with the positive points of the day I‘ll have to skip over miles 19-25.  The heat finally hit me during those miles.  My legs wanted to go but my brain was saying “you’re walking now”.

high five at 40k

high five at 40k

  • I discovered that high-fiving the crowd really took my mind off how heavy and slow I was feeling.
  • From mile 25 to the finish I was able to pull it together enough to run the whole way.
  • The faster you run down Bolyston St., the louder the crowds cheer!

I crossed the finish line at 3:02:43.  Considering the fact that the heat even slowed the Kenyan runners, being 17 minutes off my goal time wasn’t that bad.  But the best was yet to come.

  • I could still walk!!
  • This year my preparation for the race was much more thorough and I got through the race without blisters, cramping, chaffing or heat exhaustion.
  • The post-race muscle soreness that followed has been very minimal!!  I consider that a huge success.

The first goal I had set for myself was to not let the course beat me.  Last year, I could barely walk or go down stairs for a full week.  My original time goal of sub 2:45, would have been about 40-45 minutes behind the winner of the race.  When all was said and done on Monday April 16 2012, my finishing time was 50 minutes behind the winner.  I’ll take it.   That’s one of the unique things about endurance sports.  Everyday people get the chance to compare their times directly with the best in the world, on the same day, on the same course, in the same conditions.  When will you get a chance to play in a tournament with Tiger Woods, or sprint against Usain Bolt, or swim in the lane next to Michael Phelps?  Probably never.  But if you sign up for the Boston Marathon, you’ll get a chance to race Geoffrey Mutai, Ryan Hall, Desiree Davilla, Joan Benoit-Samuelson, and probably the next big name in marathon racing.

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