The Boston Marathon is the world longest running consecutive marathon. However it has a very special place in my heart for another reason:
Deciding to run the Boston Marathon only a few weeks before the event was kinda a last minute decision,,, and I hadn’t done very much Marathon specific training, but its the Boston Marathon!! So I squeezed in a few extra road workouts, in an attempt to get the legs turning over and build some kind of marathon specific fitness ( no easy task in the few weeks I had)…However I always like a challenge, and the plan was to knock off a sub 3 marathon, and then fly to Europe and run a 115 km Ultra race. And after the weather bomb at last years race in Boston, I kinda had some unfinished business i wanted to take care of.
So what is so special about Boston?
I guess i could mention the things most people talk about when think of running the Boston marathon…The history of the event, the incredible crowds that line the course, and the incredible way the city comes alive with runners from all over the world in the week leading up to the race. But Boston is special to me personally for a couple of reasons. Firstly its the race where a decision was made to fly back to Chile and live with my amazing Ultra running partner Fran…Secondly, it was one of my dreams to qualify and run Boston, so when I was struggling with various life and health issues, it kept me focused and working towards this goal. Ok, so lets fast forward to this years event, starting with…
You’ve gotta experience an Expo like Boston, it has an incredible vibe, and it’s a great opportunity to meet runners from all over the world, and see the thousands of different products and services associated with running and fitness. It’s also a great place to spend a few weeks salary in one hit on shoes, clothes, and Boston related merchandise!!!
With the ever changing weather forecast in Boston at this time of year, its easy to get caught up in another phenomenon of the Boston Marathon…The race day weather forecast and the thousands of posts, tweets, messages, from runners talking about what to wear on race day. Seriously, I know how much weather conditions can effect a race, being and Ultra runner I’ve experienced Rain, snow, wind, mud, ice, sun, dust, and temperatures from -10 to 45 plus degrees Celsius… So I tend not to get too carried away with what’s gonna happen on the day. I just plan for the conditions and roll with it.
After dropping my gear bag at the finish line area, I caught the bus from Boston Common all the way out to Hopkinton, and the athletes village. At this point there was a bit of rain around, nothing to serious, and it looked like it was going to clear up as the day went on.
I must admit, I cut the bus ride a bit fine, and had to jog to the start coral with about 5 minutes to spare before my start time!
And just like that it was Go time!! Off we went, and once again, I was running the Boston Marathon.
The first 2 – 3 kms went by pretty quickly, and i found myself settling into a comfortable pace. This pretty much continued for the next several kms, as my body went into auto cruise mode. I was hitting my paces, and my body was just enjoying the pace with no issues.
I chatted with a few other runners and enjoyed spending some time with a guy from Aussie who was running at a similar pace. Then for no apparent reason at around 18 kms, my left calf seized up solid!!! it was so bad I stopped and went and sat in a porta potty to massage it for a minute. The next few kms were a case of testing my calf and adjusting my pace to suit. Eventually I found running 10-20 seconds slower per km was manageable. and as I was still within a sub 3 hour marathon window even though I was going a bit slower, I decided to sit at that for the remainder of the race.
The plan was then to stay within my time window to come in around somewhere between 2:55- 2:59. As the day went on, the sun came out and made life a bit easier as I prefer the heat to the cold. Coming through the Newton hills around the 35km mark I knew that the rest of the course was pretty much an easy run into downtown Boston, and if my calf behaved for these last few kms, I would get this done.
As always, the crowd support along the length of the course was outstanding, and as you get closer to the finish line they crowds get bigger and a lot louder. I gotta say the roar of the crowds in those last few Kms always gets me, and as you turn onto Boylston street it’s hard not to feel a little overwhelmed.
The highlight of my race was seeing my girl Fran cheering for me about 100 meters from the finish line, it was just the push I needed, and I crossed the line in 2 hours 57 minutes.
After collecting my medal and my gear bag I went in search of Fran. Having that hug together after crossing the finish line means more than anything to me. The support from a partner who is also a runner means so much, we both understand the months of training and sacrifice, the setbacks, the injuries, and those rare days when it all comes together.
So once again, Boston did not disappoint, the city and its people are amazing, the race organisation is second to none, and as I mentioned earlier, this place holds a special place in my heart.
Thank you to all the special people we met, the other runners and their families, my sponsors and the brands that support me, the race organisation, the volunteers, the Boston police dept, the event and expo folks, and of course, the people of Boston for making this one of my all time favorite races, period!