2011 Boston Marathon Recap

Yes, this is the latest race recap ever, but it’s finally posted nonetheless. I always try to write my recaps right after every race, when the memories are the freshest (and rawest). But it is what it is, and this will be a recap a little bit more removed.

I’m going to spare you all the race day lead-up stuff, except to say that I ran and traveled with my friend Lauren and the poor girl did a lot of traveling to get to Boston. But we were together for a lot of it, so that made it better. I will say that we stayed at The Boston Park Plaza and the location was extremely convenient. I got a great deal on Hotwire, so no complaints about the price either (although I did book the room back in May 2009!).

So anyway – we did the whole expo thing the day before and checked out some of the swag, but we were kind of tired. So we bailed early, relaxed at the hotel and then had a nice pasta dinner with some friends. Riding the jam-packed T was an experience that I’d like to soon forget, but I digress.

Anyway – on to race day! It just so happened that our old running coach (not officially our coach, but he helped out the team A LOT) from high school was staying in our hotel two doors away from us! Well, he offered to give us a ride to the start so we wouldn’t have to take the buses at the crack of dawn. Obviously, we accepted this generous offer, and so we got to sleep in a little bit. But still, it was an early morning.

We were up and took care of all our pre-race activities (you know the drill) and then we met up with Jerry (coach). We hopped in the car and away we went to the starting line. We headed straight to the start instead of the Athlete’s Village because we weren’t getting there super early and didn’t need to wait around for hours. We went right to the start area and were thrilled that we got to see the professional men and women start their race. They started a solid half hour before all of us “regular” runners.

As this was going on, Lauren and I were doing some last minute fueling with Gatorade and Gu Chomps. But we cut ourselves off early enough to hit the porta potties by the starting line one last time before line-up.

And then slowly, all the other waves began to line up and my nerves really started kicking in. I was supposed to be in one of the waves before Lauren, but I decided to just start in her Wave and corral so we could run together. As they called our wave to the starting area, we began shedding our “throw-away clothes.” I was rocking a nice Christmas sweater, previously purchase for an ugly holiday sweater party, so I had no qualms about tossing it in the bag. Plus, I read beforehand that all the clothes that are left behind are gathered and donated to the needy. I’m very glad they do that.

So in we went to our corral and started walking up the hill (yes, there is a hill you have to go up to get to the actual starting line) to reach the start. And once we crossed the line, we were officially running The Boston Marathon!!

My first thought during the first mile – “This is  mayhem!!” We were shoulder-to-shoulder and could barely move. There was no way to manuever around anyone, we were just traveling as one large mass. At times, Lauren and I were squished together or pulled apart by the crowd. It was crazy, but there were also SO many people cheering for us on the sidelines. It was so invigorating to have so much support. The first few miles were a little frustrating for me because it felt a little claustrophobic, but our times were pretty good:

Mile 1 – 8:43
Mile 2 – 8:27
Mile 3 – 8:07
Mile 4 – 7:59

However, after that fourth mile, Lauren told me to slow it down. Apparently, that is something which is hard for me to do during the first part of a marathon. I tried, but my speed just kept inching back up.

Mile 5 – 8:18
Mile 6 – 8:16
Mile 7 – 8:10
Mile 8 – 8:25
Mile 9 – 8:20

Just before Mile 10, Lauren told me that she was not feeling good at all and that we needed to really slow down. A few seconds later, we heard people screaming our names and turned to see Lauren’s two sisters and families on the sidelines. They had said they would be closer to mile 12-13, so we were not expecting to see them for a while. We all hopped around and said hello and then we took off again.

But things were not going well for Lauren–she was in pain and it wasn’t easing up.  We started slowing our pace a bit.

Mile 10 – 8:38
Mile 11 – 8:46
Mile 12 – 8:33
Mile 13 – 8:59

By the time we reached the half marathon point, she was not a happy camper. She said something to the effect of “I can’t believe we’re only half way and I feel this bad.” I felt really bad for her because we all know that feeling of pain and the dread of all the miles ahead of you. We continued to slow and I continued to try to help her to push through it.

And while that was going, I was continuing to marvel at the crowds. The Wellesley College girls were absolutely roaring by the time we ran by. It was the loudest screaming I had ever heard in my life. And for a solid 8-10 miles of the race, we must have been near someone who had “Vegas” written on their shirt because that’s all we heard was “Let’s go Vegas, Come on Vegas.” I tried to find the person, but couldn’t spot him/her anywhere around us.

Mile 14 – 8:51

Just after mile 14, Lauren said she had to go to the bathroom. In our previous races, we took water or Gatorade every two miles after about the 4th mile, but in this race we seemed to be taking water almost every mile, which I think was a little too much. We ran about another half mile and then she spotted a porta-potty and I stood off the side waiting.

Mile 15 – 9:40

After she came out, we started running again. But no long after she started experiencing a tight pain in the back of her leg. Finally, she told me that she was going to have to stop. I thought about it for a minute and realized that if I stopped again, I might not start back up. I was feeling some pain and wasn’t sure I could continue running once I took another break. I felt awful and did not want to leave Lauren. But in races sometimes, there comes a point where you and your running buddy have to make that decision. She told me she would be fine and to go. I decided that continuing on was my only option.

Mile 16 – 8:37
Mile 17 – 9:43

I said goodbye to Lauren, we made a plan for where to meet-up afterwards, I wished her good luck and I kept running. I felt awful as I left her behind, but I knew that I had to press on.

I was a little lonely running it alone, but the crowds around me were amazing. They really kept me going.

Mile 18 – 9:24
Mile 19 – 8:41
Mile 20 – 9:11

Once I hit Mile 20, I knew that there were supposed to be some major hills coming up, so I prepared myself. We started to incline and I pushed myself a little hard.

Mile 21 – 9:33
Mile 22 – 9:09
Mile 23 – 8:56

And then just like, I was passing Boston College and seeing  a sign that said it was all down-hill from there. I was so confused. The big hills I had been dreading weren’t that big at all. They were more like rolling hills . I guess having done my training in runs in Central Park on those rolling hills really paid off. I was thrilled that the homestretch was ahead of me. Just three more miles.

Mile 24 – 9:25

By the last two miles, my feet were on fire, I could feel a gigantic blister on my toe and my legs were heavy and dragging. But then as we got closer into the city, the crowds became even more intense if that is possible. It was so awesome. I looked around and took it all in.

Mile 25 – 9:19

As I got closer to the finish, I noticed that if I pushed just a bit, I could make it in under 4 hours. So I pushed and pushed ahead.

Mile 26 – 9:03
.43 (I ran it a little longer) – 3:40

For a grand finish of: 3:53:08!!

Hurray!! I ran the Boston Marathon and finished in under 4 hours! It was such an amazing feeling to finish that race. I can’t even explain it. I immediately called my husband (I had my phone around my waist in my SpiBelt) to tell him the good news. I also told him about Lauren. He was checking our status online and kept refreshing the screen until he finally saw that Lauren finished as well! I felt so relieved.

I made it through the thousands of people, got some food and snacks and then headed to our hotel to our meeting spot. After we took a quick shower at the hotel, we were then on our way back to the train station to head out. I limped my way to the station (I had an utterly nasty blister), and proceeded to eat an entire Snickers bar Lauren gave me. We made our way onto the train and back to NYC, and FINALLY up to my apartment where we crashed HARD.

All in all, it was an amazing race. The hype is well-deserved. Having only run smallish marathons in the past, the Boston Marathon was completely overwhelming and exciting and something that I will NEVER forget. I doubt I’ll ever make it back there, now that the qualifying times are changing. But that’s alright with me. Once was enough-it was a run I will cherish forever.

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3 responses to “2011 Boston Marathon Recap

  1. Pingback: I’m Going to Run a Marathon in 3 Days | Eat, Read, Run

  2. Pingback: Easter Dinner Success! | Eat, Read, Run

  3. Pingback: My 2011 Boston Marathon Memories | Eat, Read, Run

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