That said, this race report IS fun and irreverent. If you want a post that speaks to my heartfelt thoughts on the tragedy, go to this one posted last week. But, if you're ready to look at pictures of me with no pants on the toliet and hear stories about drinking beer at 9:30am..... you're in the right place!
Time: 3:33:18 (Beat my horribly easy C goal!)
Place: 9,333 / ~23,000 (both official and unofficial)
AG Place: ?? Not sure on how many were in my AG because they're still sorting out official finishers.
If you look on my sidebar (while not on your phone), you'll see that I haven't ran many races on the east coast. Truth is, I don't know the proper pronunciation of Worcester, I **gasp** prefer starbucks to dunken donuts, and to me the "Jersey Shore" is a pink fruity drink at this sushi place I go to (Delicious!) - not where I go to get my fake tan on and do crunches to work on my "situation".
So, not only was my Boston Marathon trip going to be for the race, I wanted to make it a vacation too. So, I tried to take in as many sights as I could while still protecting my fragile post-stress fracture legs.
The view from my hotel. It looked very....Boston
The finish line was just past the buildings to the right
Other than more Irish pubs than I would like to admit (God bless the Irish Catholic influence), the place that sticks out the most is The Friendly Toast. It was on some show on the food network, so of course you know the food is going to be
Wanted to get a picture of the eclectic restaurant and dude behind me totally got in a photo bomb
We locked eyes and shared a moment.... CALL ME!!
Bananas Foster waffle. LET ME REPEAT: Bananas foster for breakfast.
It could have only been better if I were drinking mimosas and doing something that was french
After eating what I can only imagine to be about 3000 calories, Lesley and I walked from MIT over the the expo across some a bridge over some water. I'm sure both were famous. You can look them up. On the way there, I saw one of the iconic sites along the Boston marathon course. The Citgo sign!
This sign is at mile 25.2 of the course, signifying that you have 1 mile left. It's a fun landmark because you can see the sign from about mile 22 on. Staring at you. Reminding you that you have MORE than a mile left. I freaking hate that sign.
Only can the Boston Marathon make a old gas station sign famous
Once I thought that I had soaked in as many calories as Boston had to offer, it was off to the Expo. Now, I've ran other big city races.... Chicago, San Diego both have 35,000 or so runners. Even the Phoenix race has more than a few. But, I have to be honest that I completely underestimated the spectacle that was the Boston Marathon expo.
Sure, they had all of the crap that you are used to from any random Rock and Roll expo... The Lara bar people were there, Nuun had a booth, CEP Compression was there, Brooks shoes had a massive setup, and there were enough fanny pack / SPI belt manufacturers to store more iPods and running tampons than anyone would ever need. But, most interestingly, there were lots of DIFFERENT booths that I had never seen before... There was more than one coaching booth (McMillian had one), there were about 5 compression sock booths of various brands, etc etc. It was quite simply the most fun I've had an expo thus far.
Did I mention I spent like 3.5 hours there?
Ok, so maybe being on my feet that long wasn't THAT good of an idea, but I tried to make the most out of my time.
MUST BUY ALL THE THINGS
The iconic Boston Marathon Jacket. ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS!
Thing better make my junk look bigger
I need all the help I can get
Took all my will power to not buy Boston Marathon Booty Shorts. Heyyyy
Probably WOULD have bought them had they not been $50
Whatever, I would have wore the shit out of my Boston Booty Shorts
One of my most favorite things to do at Expos is rub elbows with fast runners. I'm honestly not sure WHY I like to do it. Most times I have conversations that go something like "oh, you like running? Cool. I like running too. You're faster than me. Cool. I have a blog. Can we take a picture?" Eloquent for sure. But, either way, on the Saturday before the race I bounced around to booth after booth meeting up with famous people.
Andrew Lemoncello - Olympic steeplechaser.
Would have made the Brit Marathon team if not for injury
Ok, so here is the deal with this next picture.... While I was waiting in line to meet Shalane and Kara, another runner flagged me down and told me that she reads my blog!! That honestly NEVER happens (you know, because...it's just a blog) so I was super surprised. Of course, I told her that we HAD to take a picture and I asked that she send it and tweet me. That was BEFORE the bombs.... and now twitter won't go back far enough so I can find her name. :( soooo I basically feel like a huge jerk right now.
Update: Mystery solved!!! It was Kaprian!
Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan - waited in line for 90 min :-\
Probably the two fastest USA female marathoners right now
Trust me, they think I'm hilarious - totally not for "show"
A very pregnant Lauren Fleshman and I. (mostly a 5000m runner)
She was SUPER nice and has her own energy bar line - Picky Bars
Adam Goucher and I. He has a hot wife.
Also, I've heard he is/was a pretty good 5000m runner in his day
I met lots of other good runners too. Meb Keflezighi was there as well as Kathrine Switzer the first female to run the Boston Marathon.
At some point before the race we went over to the finish line to see the freshly painted banner on Boylston street. I still get somewhat emotional thinking about this. In fact, from this first picture, I'm standing very near where the 1st bomb went off. ANYWAY, I had a bit of a "moment" with the finish line and told her that I'd see her in a few hours.
Screw terrorists, the finish line is AWESOME
You didn't think that I was going to KISS it, did you? Gross (That's what she said)
Besides, I don't kiss on the first date.
After my day bee-bopping at the expo (do the kids still say bee-bopping? Is that still hip?), my legs were fried. They were soooooo sore and tired. Other than compression socks and ice, the only thing that I could think to do was drink away the pain. So, that is what I did... with little fancy Port Wine glasses.
Little glasses make me feel HUGE!
They also make me feel slightly feminine
Well, I mean more than normal
On day two of the expo (yes, day TWO) I mostly just wanted to meet up with twitter buddy Matt. Which, I did! It is always awesome to meet people face to face that I interact with online. Of course, the downside to that is that they find out that I really AM as boring as I promise I am. Sucks for you!
The three of us went to a Boston Marathon Legends seminar hosted by Runner's World. The seminar was just OK, but I got to meet the Editor in Chief of Runner's World: David Willey! As you can tell from the picture below, Dave sort of looks like Captain America. Let's just say that he dipped into the deep end of the "good looks gene pool".
Dave and I. He even smelled good.
Smelled like a mixture of sawdust, tender touches, and oh my god I miss him so much
So, I'm not sure if you heard, but the Boston Marathon isn't just a kick ass expo in a fun city. Turns out, you actually have to run. UGH.
It is a point to point course starting in a sleepy town 26 miles west of Boston. The course zigs and zags and honestly is not all that flat. The first 5 miles are downhill and miles 18-21 are uphill (the dreaded Newton hills...the third of which is Heartbreak Hill).
The thing that makes Boston unique is that the marathon start isn't until 10am - and it is on a Monday! I have to assume that the late start is mostly to accommodate the crazy long bus ride to the starting line from downtown Boston. Seriously, I'll bet it took nearly an hour to get there. The bad news is that I got really sweaty on the school bus. The worse news is that, like every other race, I didn't wear deodorant. BUT, the good news is that the time on the bus allowed the coffee to kick in. And, well.... here you go.
Taking care of business. Yes, with these kinds of picture taking skills, I WILL take your wedding photos
Since I was in the first waive of runners, I had a bit of time to kill at the "athletes village" (Boston likes to make you feel important so they give things special names) so I took a few pictures and met up with some other runners. It was a bit humbling to be sitting chatting with a few sub 2:40 marathoners as well as a few other sub 3:00 guys. Oh well, one of them
Yay! I can take panoramas with my iPhone
The first half
Note: I paid for all of these, but they weren't "ready" yet... annoying
Will replace when they are!
|I bought these, will replace when avil|
The last month of running has been rough. Probably more rough than I have said on my blog. There was stress fracture pain, shin splints, and leg cramping that lasted days after I finished running. I hadn’t ran more than 13 miles in over 3 months. So, just getting to the starting line of the race was a victory in itself. That said, I knew that I could run the first half at my old long run pace, so that is what I had planned to do. 7:30 pace for the first 13 miles.
Like I said before, the first 5 miles were all downhill. You basically lose 250 or so feet, which for a road guy like me is not insignificant. All of the books that you read have big bold letters saying “Don’t go out too fast or else you will stop in your tracks at mile 20 and get trampled”. So, I tried REALLY hard to stick to my pace and not go too fast. Since I started out in my normal 3:04 qualifying corral, this meant that I was passed. Weee doggies was I passed. I was running 7:30s, but was being treated a bit like one of those people walking at mile 10 of a marathon. “Keep it up buddy, looking good!” This essentially happened for 11 miles. BUT, I felt good and was running my race.
Miles 6-13 - Yay! More running! Well hello Wellesley College girls with "kiss me" signs....
These miles flattened out a bit which was a nice change. This is about the point that I expected my shin splints to start showing, but they didn’t!! I’m not sure if it was the runner gods shining down on me or the fact that the race was later in the day, but honestly? I didn’t care. I was too busy chugging along sweating. You see, for some reason I thought that it would be a good idea to wear long sleeves. Look, I’m from Phoenix. If it gets lower than 50 degrees, I’m considering wearing gloves. So, the upper 40s at the start were grounds for a full on hat/gloves/long sleeves assault. The more I ran, the more I noticed that I was the ONLY person with long sleeves. Oops.
One of the more “fun” things of the race was the Wellesley College girls. I have no idea why a few hundred 18-21 year olds with “kisses for PRs” signs at one point decided to cheer along the course and scream at the top of their lungs, but I wasn’t complaining. Sadly, I didn’t set a PR, so there were no kisses for me, right? ;-)
All in all I hit the half right at 1:40 which is where I wanted to be.
The sad times
|This was UP one of the hills. Blarg|
The strategy for the second half of the race was always to
Oh, but miles 18-21. There were hills. Yes, there were hills... They weren’t big hills. They weren’t even all that long hills. But it sure would have been a lot nicer to hop on a moped and drive to the top of them. Where is THAT marathon?
The only thing that made the hills bearable was the mopeds crowd support. Not only at the hills of Newton, but literally along the ENTIRE course. With the exception of a few miles at the start, people lined the ENTIRE course. Starting at about mile 18, there were people 1 and 2 deep the entire way. It was amazing. The support that the city provides the race is completely outstanding. That said, the hills freaking sucked and I walked like 2/3 of them. :)
As you can tell by my splits in the picture above, the last 5 miles were a bit of a slog. The lack of training because of my stress fracture was REALLY showing. When your “slow” goal is 7:30 and you run a 10:00 mile, you’re starting to drop some significant time. This is really when the crowds are a bit annoying. I just want to take a bit of a breather and no fewer than 30 people are telling me how awesome I am! Honestly I wouldn’t want it any other way. Speaking of, at some point along the course (I think along these miles) we ran by Boston College. They were honestly much louder than the Wellesley girls. I’m not sure if it was because they had 2 hours more beer in them or what, but it was nice to do know that there were
Just so you don't all of my pictures were good, they weren't
Like, at all
I’m really trying to remember more about these miles. I know that there was screaming, lots of sweating, pain (on the bottoms of my feet - I think because of lack of miles), I was exhausted....
I can tell you that, in spite of my oxygen depleted memory haze, I will never forget making the left turn onto Boylston Street. The crowds were deafening, I got chills, the pain in my feet went away. I was finishing the Boston Marathon.
I really shouldn't look this fresh at the finish line
Me at the finish line ~2 min after I finished!
I'll admit it, I LOVE this picture. I look proud
AFTER THE RACE:
Tuesday after the race the city was still in a state of shock about the bombs. But, I was determined not to be afraid, so I continued seeing the city. (In hindsight, since the jackasses that did it were still roaming the streets, probably not the best idea.) Anyway, Tuesday had one thing and one thing on the agenda: start drinking beer at 9:30am. By that, I of course mean the Sam Adams brewery tour!
They were doing something to the brewery so I didn't get to see that part
Blah blah, free beer!
One of the coolest things that the brewery has done the last few years is brew a "26.2 Boston Brew". Of course, it was delicious. PLUS, because I brought my marathon bib, I also got a free pint glass! Score!
Mmmmm, running.. I mean beer.
Marathon swag and beer swag in a display case
This is basically a wet dream for me right now
In all honesty, I did do a few touristy things while out and about the day after the race. It was somewhat scary because there were AK-47 swat dudes on a lot of the corners, but I suppose that just means that we were extra safe. Either way, I didn't let that spoil walking the freedom trail for what seemed like 20 miles and snapping a few pictures of buildings that were older than I can comprehend.
As if finishing the race wasn't victory enough
It had JUST OPENED!!
Two days after the race (Wednesday), everyone that I had met up with had gone home so I was left to wonder the city. So, when left to my own devices, I had to options: Go back to Sam Adams and drink more beer.... or catch up on work. So I played hipster for a bit and hung out in a coffee shop. There wasn't any poetry or smoking, but I did "snap" when people said anything I felt was cool.
All I needed was thick rimmed glasses and a Mac
that day I did a lot of wondering around downtown near the bomb site. I got as close as I could and paid my respects of sorts and did a lot of inward thinking. Happy to be safe, sad for those who were not, but thankful that I had so many fond memories to squish out the bad.
Commonwealth Ave in Boston. The trees were in full bloom
So, after that VERY long report (longest post ever?) I wanted to leave you with this. When I went to see the finish line on Wednesday after the race, I was interviewed by a local NY TV station. I can admit that I was near tears the entire time - but I meant what I said. I would run the Boston Marathon every year if I could. So, I guess I best get going on re-qualifying!