BOSTON 2014.. an epic race to be a part of and the excitement was building in the weeks up to the race! Over the past 5 months I have paced 2 marathon as the 3:55 pacer (Palm Beach and Miami) and then raced A1A at the end of February to a new PR - 3:23:01! So i knew going in to this race that I might well be tired but this race was all about the experience and not worrying about PR's!
Denise and I were impressed by the smooth operation of the bag drop off and bus loading area. Runners were no longer allowed to take bags to the Athletes Village Area so we dropped our post-race bag before we got on the bus and clutched the few things we wanted to eat/drink before the race in our hands. The 1 hour bus ride to Athletes Village was in good spirits.. runners talking excitedly about where they were from.. and their goals for the race. We were bundled up warm as it was cold outside but the bus driver had the heat CRANKING so runners were gradually shedding layers!
It was CROWDED about Athletes Village. We waited in possibly the longest porta-potty line in history! Next thing I knew we were moving down to the start area with the rest of WAVE 2. Some locals had set up a tent with free supplies, band aids, safety pins, sunblock etc... very thoughful and we had a good laugh at the guys a bit further on who offered a last chance to get donuts, beer or cigarettes!
The first few miles of the course is mostly downhill with some rolling hills thrown in for good measure. The crowd cheering was OVERWHELMINGLY loud and was just continuous all the along the course. It felt like I was running doen the finish chute the entire way.! Denise and I ran together.. me doing my best to kep up with her on the downhills (how does she go down so fast?!) and then catching my breath on the up hills as I seem to go up faster! We both spent some time running on the far left or right so we could high five the massive crowds of people cheering us on all wearing their BOSTON STRONG shirts. I have run LONDON, NEW YORK and also BOSTON 2011 but the crowds were insane for this race!
Right before the half way point we ran thru the SCREAM TUNNEL with the Wellsley Girls College. The girls stand and scream while holding signs that say KISS ME I AM BRITISH.. KISS ME I AM MARRIED.. KISS ME IF YOU'RE NOT! etc. Shortly after that I lost Denise. She just dissapeared in the crowd of runners! Not much I could do except keep moving forward... so I went determined to enjoy every second. MY pace so far had been pretty fast but with the Boston course I knew this meant nothing about my finish time! After a while I saw the sign saying WELCOME TO NEWTON.. this meant the 3 big hills finishing wiht the well known heart break hill. I put my iPod on and cranked it.. Ironically the song from Frozen, Let it go, came on. My daughter plays that song about 8000 times a day driving me crazy but right now the line, It's time to test the limit, see what I can do... seemed oddly appropriate! I moved to the middle and focused on my running. I actually felt OK and was passing a fair amount of people heading up the hill.It is hard for us flatlanders to train for hills but I was determined not to walk one step.
After the big hills it is just rolling hills in to the center of Boston and the finish. I was trying to keep close to 8 min miles and used the massive crowd support to keep my energy up. I waved my fists in the air and wooped and hollared! It was amazing. About mile 24 right just ahead of me I saw Denise. We could have been 300 feet part the entire time I have no idea as the course was so crowded. I caught her quickly and could tell she was hurting. She said her legs were cramping. I told her as long as we kept under 9 min miles were going to going to finish UNDER 3:30. that was enough motivation for her to pick her pace up a bit and we pushed ahead tgether. Right on Hereford Street, Left on Boyleson street and there it was the finish line.. the scene of so much chaos and sadness last year. This year full of determination and joy. We crossed the finish line holding hands! SO thriled that I got to be a part of this amzing race!
Finish time 3:28:04