Monday, April 25, 2016

2016 Boston Marathon Race Report

It's hard to believe it's already been a week since I ran my first Boston Marathon! The whole experience was incredible. First off I would like to thank my family and friends that supported me in getting to this big goal of mine. Your cheers gave me the energy I needed to have a good race!

Day One:
The whole race weekend was a blast. Steve and I made it a road trip and  drove in this year. We had nice weather for travelling both there and back. We rented a great condo in Navy Yard this year right by the Charlestown Marina. We loved our place and it was great to have our own kitchen. Our first night in town we found a cute bistro around the corner from us called the Brewers Fork. They had an excellent craft beer list and wood fired pizza - what more could a couple or carbo-loading runners ask for?

Expo Day:
We met Scott Jurek!
Sunday was race expo day. The Boston Marathon expo is world class! After picking up our bibs and shirts we walked around the expo for a while. The highlight of the expo was meeting one of our running heroes - Scott Jurek! We also hooked up with our friend Jillian who was running her first Boston as well. Then we hooked up with our friend and fellow Snakebite Racing mate Mark for some much needed post expo beers so we crossed the street and headed into McGreevy's (bar owned by the Dropkick Murphys). After that it was time to head back to the condo for some prerace prep and we made a high carb dinner of pizza, garlic bread and roasted potatoes.

Race Morning:
Race morning went pretty smooth. We got up at 6am figuring that we would Uber over to the finish area to drop our bags and load the buses to Hopkinton around 7:15-7:30. We ate a big bowl of cereal, got dressed and headed out. The energy was electric as we walked to the athlete tents to drop our finisher bags. There were people screaming and cheering already. We bumped into our friend Karen who was running and then walked over to the commons to catch the bus. We were lucky to run into my friend Jen from Charlestown who I had met last year at the Cleveland Marathon. We hung out with Jen and her friend Siobhan as we waited to board our bus to the start in Hopkinton.

pre race before loading the bus
The bus ride went smooth and before I knew it we were in Hopkinton at Athletes Village. There were thousands of runners everywhere along with hundreds of porta potties, tents, snacks, etc. We ran into our friend Ryan walking in to the village and after using the bathroom we found a place under the tent to sit down in the shade. It was probably about 8:45-9 am but it was already getting warm quickly. Our time to leave the village was 10:20 or so with a wave start at 10:50. I was a sweaty, nervous mess. I had heard all the warnings about the race. Watch the downhill, don't go out too fast, beware of the Newton Hills. When the gun finally went off I was ready to get going.

Focused look!
Running Boston is unlike any marathon I've done. You are literally running with a sea of people for the whole race. Not to mention the hundreds of thousand of fans cheering. The crowd support was unbelievable...for the whole race! The miles ticked by quickly. I was overheated from the beginning and knew a PR was not likely and that a BQ might be a stretch but I had set a goal of 3:35-3:45.  I just tried to soak the experience in and keep within a pace that was comfortable given the heat and later the nasty headwinds that we battled.

My favorite part of the race was Newton. I actually enjoyed the hills (does this make me weird?). I also laughed through Wellsley as I read all the goofy signs and listened to the loud screams. I also really liked the last few miles. I picked up the pace a little in the end hoping to run a 3:40 but came across the finish in 3:43:11. Not a BQ or my best time but a time I am happy with for my first Boston and on a tough day for many.

Post Race: 
Snakebite after-party!
We  Ubered back to our condo to shower, change and eat and then met our Snakebite teammates Mark and Dan and Dan's wife for some post race celebratory beers and more food. Our first stop was a cool bar called Mead Hall in Cambridge followed up with the Cambridge Brewing Company. After that it was time for some much needed sleep.

The day after we walked around Boylston Street and shopped and took in the city - the streets filled with Boston finisher jackets (including us). I was pretty excited to have my finisher jacket embroidered with my time at Run Base at no cost! They were also doing free medal engraving at Marathon Sports but there was a long line and we did not have our medals with us anyways.

The next morning it was time to drive back. That was not much fun. Definitely not as fun as the drive there but we were ready to go home.

Closing Thoughts:
I was part of something special in Boston. It was the 120th year and the 50th year since the first woman Bobbi Gibb ran the race. I am pretty excited to say that I am a Boston Marathon runner! No doubt I will be back for more! My goal for the next Boston is to start in a faster wave (#2) and PR for the course.

Thank you to my teammates, family and sponsors this year especially Pearl Izumi, Nuun and Freeplay Magazine. My next big race is the Cleveland Marathon on May 15. I am hoping to run a BQ time there. Fingers crossed for cool temperatures and no rain this year!

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