Wednesday, April 24, 2013

THE 2013 Boston Marathon Race Report

This race report is a bit later than I had originally planned it to be published. I honestly wasn't in the right headspace to write a fun, irreverent race report until now and I felt like people had a bit of Boston overload - maybe still do.  I didn't need to add my snark to the mix.  For that matter, I was so busy that I barely had time to sleep let alone have fun.

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!)
Pace: 8:09/mile
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

Like any good vacation, activities centered mostly around embarrassing people around me because "hey, I'm not going to see these people again" food.  The food in Boston is amazing.  Nothing particularly stands out, all that I know is that I did plenty of "carb loading" the form of Boston Creme pies and wine. Also beer. Also, I drank a few port wines. Also, I think my liver hurts.

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 strange and "fancy" good.  It was a fun eclectic restaurant on the MIT campus that had more hipsters and skinny jeans than a fixie bike convention.

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
Maybe like smoking and being rude?

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.


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,'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 stole brought a sheet from their hotel that we sat on and kept warm.

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
Miles 1-6 - Downhill!! Boston!! Running!! YAY!!

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
Miles 14-21 - Things are going good... Oh crap a hill... GAH... ANOTHER hill... #^$)*#$!+%

The strategy for the second half of the race was always to not poop your pants have as much fun as possible.  Walk the aid stations whenever you had to, but essentially make the most of the situation without hating life afterwards.  After the boost of screaming 18 year olds (wait, is that creepy?  That might be creepy.) I ran the next few miles letting myself really enjoy the fact that I was running the race of my dreams.  It was by this point that people FINALLY stopped passing me and I was able to find a good groove amongst my 3:25ish pace brothern.  That is – 45 year old men and females.

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. :)

Miles 21-Finish! - SO.MANY.SPECTATORS.

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 more 18-21 year old girls cheering people who were having some fun watching the marathon.

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.... so, basically it was like any normal Saturday night in my bedroom! Heyooooo  

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

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

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! 


Emily H said...

The photo of you on a hill includes a guy wearing a long sleeved shirt! So many lieeessss. ;)

The video of you being interviewed is kinda hot! Gotta love an articulate and sensitive man.

kimert said...

Amazing recap!! Love the pics, you make running a marathon look easy! Congrats to you.

Kelly said...

Great recap! I'm glad it was a good trip in spite of everything. And hey, it was Boston!

Running On Candy said...

I already loved your blog but this is my favorite post ever. Bonus was to get to put a voice with the words :)

Michelle said...

Awesome post, love it! Love your race photos.

"Smelled like a mixture of sawdust, tender touches, and oh my god I miss him so much" -- ahahahaha!!! I'm using this in conversation first chance I get.

Crystal said...

If you were wondering...As I read this I hear your voice in my head. It's bizarre. But anyways....

I was completely captivated by this Adam. I'm so impressed by your will and determination, and your photography skills whilst in a Johnny on the Spot.

It's people like you that are able to perfectly narrate an experience, that make me want to run more. You captured it all. I felt like I was there with you, which was unfortunate at times. ;) I'm pretty disappointed you didn't get the booty shorts. Heeeeyooo!

Keep on running. Keep on inspiring. I may never BQ but I can always dream.

Crystal said...

You know that you're funny when I made my husband pause the show he was watching like 10x so I could read aloud an excerpt.

Kate Geisen said...

Fun to hear your voice. I know it wasn't the race you wanted, even before the bombing, but that's yet another reason to get back there.

Fallen said...

What a great recap. I had so many memories flood back because in September of 2011 I was in Boston with my sister and we were staying in the area of the finish line for the marathon. I love that you say you will run it every year if you can. My hope is to one day run it. I have a few years till I am ready, but I will still run it.

Sweet and Savory by Sarah said...

Great job Adam...on running Boston and on your great post about it! I personally like any person that puts beer as a priority in their life. You need to do a race in Wisconsin so you can have some spotted cow!

Decadent Philistines said...

1) It was really fun to meet you for like ten seconds at Pat's Run - I'm glad you made it back safely, and next time, we'll have a beer afterwards.
3) TWSS jokes are the best ever.

Hannah said...

Yay! Great recap, very YOU, and hope you get back there again soon.

Army On the Run said...

That was such a great post. You had me laughing and wishing that one day I will BQ. I can't imagine you being boring!

Pat said...

great race report. It was fun to read since I just put down $267 to run NYC in November.

Sue's Ramblings said...

Fantastic read! Glad you made it to Boston and I hope you'll be there again next year.

ajh said...

Sounds like you made the most of your trip. Great job in the race following your weeks with no running!

Jamoosh said...

So many comments; so little time.

It's "be-bop" with one "e"

Long sleeved shirt? Seriously? I am not giving you a pass because you are from Phoenix.

Glad you got to do this and have a fantastic memory for life.

ltlindian said...

Great job and great recap. I love your perspective and they way you tell the story. :)

Running Librarian said...

Great interview :) I also a little afraid for Dave..wondering if you got the restraining order from him yet? lol Love reading your race reports! They always make me laugh.

Courtney said...

Screw terroists for real. I am so glad you wrote this report the way you did. Btw, are you embracing Dave? ;)

Carrie said...

Great post! My very first thought when getting to your first race pic was, "yep, he's from Arizona...sporting the long sleeves!"

Redhead Running said...

I can't believe you wore long sleeves for 40*!!! No pass for you, every runner knows to dress for temps 10-20* warmer then what it is outside.

*shakes head in disapproval at you*

That said, congrats on your victory lap! I know it wasn't what you had hoped it would be time wise, but who cares, you got to do it all the same and no one can ever take that away from you. You were IN Athlete's Village! You kissed some barely legal girls at Welsey! You saw and eventually ran past THE Citgo sign! You made THE turn on Boylston!!!!!! You earned a UNICORN!

Runners Fuel said...

Great post, Adam!

Steph @ Steph Runs On said...

This is a great post Adam. Though, I'm really confused about the whole long sleeve thing. Seriously? I thought you were smarter than that!

kaprian said...

The video and your sentiments put a lump in my throat, and this recap wonderfully captures the spirit of the weekend and the race. Thank you for sharing!


P.S. I'm your mystery reader/super star! :) (@kaprian)

Jen said...

Excellent race / experience recap. Love it.

Very much enjoyed it -- except for the part that said, "another runner flagged me down and told me that she reads my blog!! That honestly NEVER happens (you know,'s just a blog)"

I raise the bullshit flag because that's exactly what I did to you in San Diego - like a crazy stalker fan - And you can ask Lesley - she was there

Just sayin'

Sarah said...

I'm not a runner (yet), but I teared up a bit when you described taking that left turn onto Boylston. That had to be one of the most amazing moments of your life. It makes me want to start running right now instead of waiting until I lose more weight. :)

Matt G said...

Thanks so much for a great race report! This too was my first Boston. I didn't get the result that I wanted either, but the experience was like nothing I could have dreamed of! I noticed you were #4596. Crazy, I was #4597! Hope to run it again next year as well. It will be an epic event!

Mike said...

Cool interview Adam! Love the race pics too. I thought of your race picks Wednesday when I was running in 35 degree weather with rain/sleet and a stiff headwind. I was thinking, my face looks like like some of Adam's race photos with that "this hurts bad or maybe I'm trying to poop" look :-).

TriGirl said...

This was such a great race recap. You're definitely one of my new favourite writers :)

Zaneta said...

Ok, I just want to get some clarification... Your "proud" picture... proud you ran Boston or proud you figured out how to use a porta pot? ;)
All joking aside, it looks like a great experience and even though you didn't hit your A-goal, you still did great for not being able to run as much leading up to the marathon!!
Also, LOVE your finish line video! A Tad boring though! ;) ok ok... i kid! ;)

Missy said...

Great race recap.
It was nice to read something funny and entertaining. Things have been a bit dark and I think it's time to turn it around.

Trent (Scott) Lorcher said...

Two things: (1) I read the whole post. It was freaking awesome; (2) 10-minute mile? Welcome to my world, bitch!

MotherRunner said...

Good job on the interview buddy. Great recap. Glad you did the race, and that you're home safe... onto the BQ.

Al's CL Reviews said...

Great job!!!

Love your recap

SF Road Warrior said...

OMG I <3 this race report sooo much! I am more excited about you having run Boston than I have ever been about any race I've run! If I ever do run it, it will take a lot of restraint for me not to steal all your jokes. :)

Also, you have the best photo bombers of any race report ever. Nice job!!