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7- Boston 2016

 
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Joined: 23 Jun 2005
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Location: Anywhere I need to be Sonny's Wingman

PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:40 pm    Post subject: 7- Boston 2016 Reply with quote

My Boston

This story began in June 203, when I decided that training for a marathon would be a ďgood ideaĒ. I had no idea that it would become such a large part of my life for the next 13 years or that I would one day run the Boston Marathon. I didnít start running with the idea or goal of running Boston, but simply an interesting pursuit to occupy my time during the summer of 2003, when we were pregnant with our first child.

Fast forward a few years and the times were making large drops and it started to become a ďpossibilityĒ; that I could actually run the Boston Marathon. Then, in January 2009, I slipped and dislocated my ankle. Sitting in the snow that day, I wasnít sure that my running career had any more days left. Through hard work and good surgeon and some luck, I slowly whittled my times back down to striking distance. Unfortunately, during this same time period, the Boston Marathon was becoming more and more popular with record speed in registration. For these reasons, the Boston Athletic Association decided to change their registration process and tighten the standards another 5:59.

Finally, in October 2014, I qualified at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, 13 days after missing my time by 50 seconds at the Grand rapids Marathon.

The ensuing year and a half has been without the pressure of any training and I began my training in January 2016. Training in Chicago at this time of year is not easy. You have to be prepared for a lot of treadmill running or running in the cold/snow. I donít mind that, but with the shorter days, it becomes a logistical issue of getting the miles in. I went into the training with a mindset of training to complete the distance, rather than a particular time. However, Iím not hardwired for that type of though process, so I had a goal of not having my worst marathon time and anything less than 4:00 would be acceptable. I ran one 20 miler and very few other really long runs. I did my 20 miler a few weeks before taper and felt pretty good. We went on vacation the following week and when I came back, I planned a 16-mile run. During that run, my right leg never felt good. My hamstring and piriformis were acting up. Neither were issues during y training and I couldnít identify any activity on vacation that would have injured my leg. Be that as it may, I at least had 2 weeks of taper to recover, which I hoped would be enough time.

The weekend leading into Patriotís Day (the Monday running of the Boston Marathon) was hectic. My sonís Destination Imagination team made it to the state finals, which happened to be Saturday. I had a lecture in Northwest Indiana Saturday morning. So, My wife went with my older son to his competition and I had the two younger kids. We had separate flights originally due to the uncertainty of when my sonís competition would be completed. (BTW, they made it to the global finals!!). Because my sonís competition was early in the day, we all ended up on the same flight, which was delayed a few hours. Finally, we made it to Boston and checked into our hotel in Cambridge. We stayed at the Residence Inn Cambridge, which is adjacent to the MiT campus and 2 blocks from a red line T stop. Itís away from the chaos of downtown Boston, but close enough to get places without difficulty. I would recommend it highly. In addition, it has a kitchen (stocked) , so I can have my pre race meals without difficulty.

My sister and father came in from Texas. My mom is a CPA and couldnít make it due to tax season duties. We took an Uber to the North End for an Italian meal with my family. The meal was ok and we walked to Mikeís Pastry, which , as expected, was very crowded. The kids were cranky which made the long line so much fun. After purchasing some cookies, we took an Uber back to the hotel. The plan for Sunday was to go to the Expo.

Sunday

After eating breakfast at the hotel and meeting some friends who were also running and staying at the same hotel, we took the T to the Finish Line area. It was really sinking in that this goal of mine was a reality. We walked on Boylston towards the Hynes Convention center and picked up my bib and shirt. The standard issue shirt is a nice technical long sleeved shirt in the classic blue/yellow colors of the Boston Marathon. We then hit the Adidas store for other items. I had been warned that the expo would be crowded and that some items would be scarce by Sunday. For this reason, I had been monitoring the Adidas website for months and had purchased many items ahead of time. Some items were no longer available (backpack), but most were still available. I bought some items not sold on line (pint glass, coffee mug, water bottles, etc.), but for the most part, I was very glad I ad done my shopping online, with the 15% off coupon. The expo has a lot to be desired, having been to the Chicago Expo. The organization is poor and the vendor area is overly cramped and makes one not want to spend time buying items. This should be a motivator for improvement, since an expo where a runner doesnít want to walk and spend money defeats the purpose. My kids were very excited to be there and go to the expo. My daughter has no memories of seeing me in a marathon. My last Chicago was 2013. She was 3 years old and developed food poisoning the night before. She didnít come to my out of town races in 2014. This was her first marathon she has any memory of. She was there in 2010/11/12, but she was < 1 yr., 1 yr. and 2 yrs. old at the time)

After the expo, we walked back up Boylston (making sure not to walk across the finish line) and contemplated a place to eat. I had really wanted a Boston Visor, and found one at Marathon Sports. Our friends Bob and Jen were at a Marriott nearby so we thought we would walk over there. On the way, my kids spotted an Au Bon Pain, so we stopped. However, I have an ABP in my hospital and the thought of eating at a place I have eaten every week for the past 12 years, was not my idea of a great lunch. After lunch we headed back to the hotel and rested, prior to Dinner. We met our friends David and Randi and their kids as well as Bob and Jen for dinner at an awesome Italian place in Somerville. The food was great and 13 of us ate for almost the same amount that 7 of us did a day earlier in the North end. After, dinner, we went back to the hotel. I started getting my gear ready and the nerves started to become real. Anita convinced me to carry my phone, which is not my usual style.

Monday

Boston is a point-to-point race with a waved start. I was in wave 2 of 4. Each wave is split into different corrals. I was in Corral 6. Gear check for Boston is at the finish. Thus, whatever you take to Hopkinton, where the race begins, has to be carried back or left for donation. My wave began at 10:25, and my buses were set to leave Boston Common between 6:40-7:10. I left my hotel just around 6 am and took the T to the Arlington Stop. The gear check was just outside the exit of this stop and I walked over to the Bus loading area. The ride was about 40 minutes. There was a lot of time for reflection on what this day meant to me. After arriving at Hopkinton, I went to Athleteís village and walked around for a few minutes. I took a few pictures and then walked toward the start area. The charity I was running for, Boston Medical Center, (BMC) was sponsored by the Santander Bank. The bank had made several locations open for the marathon. One bank location was just a few feet from the start line, which is about a ĺ mile walk from Athleteís Village. This offered me a place to sit, indoors, with a bathroom and food/drink provided by the sponsors. I met a few other runners, most of whom are local. The charity had a Pasta dinner the night before and the keynote speakers were Jake Gyllenhall and Jeff Bauman. Jeff was a victim of the bombing in 2013 and Jake is playing him in an upcoming movie. One of the biggest fundraisers on our teamís son was severely injured in the bombing. He has raised over 100,000 for the Boston Medical center, where his son was cared for that day. I sat there for about an hour. I was the only runner for the BMC in wave 2. They were all in wave 4. Thus, I left, alone, going to the start. The energy of Athleteís Village is nice, but itís a big field and waiting, in the elements would not have been so great, had it not been unseasonably warm, in the 70s. Sitting outside for hours in cold or rain would not have been fun, but would have been part of the lore of Boston. As I was at the start line, you could see helicopters overhead, scanning the crowd. The security has obviously been on high alert since 2013 and many of the rules are new since that race. I was warm at the start, which is never a good feeling to have at a marathon.

Race

The beginning of the race is a steep downhill. I have read many articles on race strategy and they all say that you seal your fate in the first half of the race. There are many downhills and those lead to running faster than planned. This takes a lot out of your quads and then your legs are trashed before you get to the real hills after mile 16. From the first mile, I knew that my right leg wasnít right. It was hard to reel in the pace, despite knowing the course strategy. I went through the first half in about 1:57, I believe.

The first half of the race is a meandering straight course through the suburbs of Boston. Through towns that have been in existence for hundreds of years. The people of these towns really get into the race and keep you motivated. Iím not sure if they ran this race in the suburbs of Chicago, that there would be this type of crowd support. I canít say that I remember great details during this portion, except it was warm, there was a headwind, and I was getting passed a lot. My time to get into this wave, was based on my qualifying time. The speed I was running, would not have gotten me into this corral. At some point, I decided, that my goal of 4 hours was not realistic and I started to try and enjoy the experience. I hi fived a lot of kids and waved to the crowds. I had planned to see my family around mile16-17. They were taking the Green Line as far as it goes (Woodlawn?). I had that to look forward to. In addition, I was told to enjoy the girls of Wellesley and their ďenthusiasmí. The roars of those girls are heard a half a mile away. They are certainly enthusiastic, as advertised, and if one wanted to partake, could get as many kisses as you could handle. They provided a boost to my energy level. After Wellesley, I got some Pickle Juice from the BMC tent and then saw my family. I stopped and chatted and told them they could take their time getting to the finish line. My legs were trashed and I was employing a walk/run strategy on the hills. I would walk up about half a hill and then start running to the crest and down hill. My quads were on the verge of cramping, but I never got to that level, because I was walking so much. When my speed increased, I felt good for a minute or so, but then my quads would remind me to slow it down. I got to Heartbreak Hill, and due to the many other hills, I honestly didnít know that was the hill, until I saw signs saying ďNo Heartbreak HereĒ. There are many downhills, but they donít seem to offer me much relief from the hills. Since the race, I have said to many that I was not able to really train for Boston in Chicago. You have to run a lot of miles on the hills. Itís not doing a 5-mile hill workout that will prepare you. You need real hills and downhills. Then you need to run 16 miles on these hills, and then hit some real hills. Thatís what it felt like. AS I got closer to Boston, the iconic Citgo sign come into view. You pass Boston University as well during this phase and get a boost from the students, but nothing like Wellesley. AS we enter Boston, I start to get a wave of emotion. I want to finish strong, not limp across the finish. I start saying Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston, over and over again. I see Hereford and take out my phone. I want to preserve the end of this race in my memories. I turn on the video for the remainder of the race. I see my friend Bob at Exeter and Boylston and then cross the finish line. I am relieved it is over. It was my worst marathon time, by a long shot. 4:21:xx. I walk the finish area, trying not to cramp. I get my medal and look at it, knowing that there was a lot of sweat and tears and breaks that happened for this to occur.

After getting my gear, I walk a block to a Santander bank on Arlington Street where my kids were waiting. The BMC staff was awesome. They had a popcorn stand and food and a warm place for my kids to sit while they waited for me. We had some food/drink and then took an Uber back to the Hotel. Our friends, David and Randi were staying a day later and let me use their room to get showered. We met Bob and Jen at their hotel down the street and had a drink. I was told to have the Sam Adams Marathon brew, and that has been something I was looking forward to for along time. We ate some dinner, headed back to our hotel and took an Uber to the Airport. At the airport, the United lounge staff didnít need to check any credentials for entrance. The Boston Marathon Medal around my neck was enough for entrance. The city embraces the marathon and I got a lot of congratulations during my short time post race. I wore my medal on the plane as well. We left Boston around 8 pm and arrived in Chicago around 9:30. Our carís battery had died, but fortunately, the OíHare parking lot staff jumped us quickly and 3 tired kids were not crying for long.

All in all, I am thrilled that I ran this race. I am definitely someone who has always enjoyed the process of the marathon (training) more than the race itself. I wasnít 100% for this race, but even if I was and the weather was perfect, etc. this would be a course ill suited for me to run a fast time. The city really knows how to welcome runners and with the exception of the poorly organized expo, I have little to criticize.

I donít know if I will care about qualifying again. Itís too early to tell. Iím not even sure what my marathon future is. I like running, but I am not sure I want to keep seeing my times inevitably slow. I havenít plateaued yet (Iím not counting Boston), so I could see myself seeing how low I can get my PR. However, it is harder and harder to train the number of hours I need to in order to improve. For now, I know that I do not have a Fall marathon planned. More than likely, if I get back into running marathons, it will be Fall 2017.

Many of you reading this have been part of my journey from the beginning in 2003. I thank you for all your support and encouragement. I couldnít have done this without that support. There were many disappointments along the way and I needed people to put things into perspective for me. I am grateful beyond what my words can express. I am also eternally grateful to have a family that supports my running.
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lori



Joined: 23 Jun 2005
Posts: 3370
Location: Where you're not

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 12:15 am    Post subject: Re: 7- Boston 2016 Reply with quote

Omg.. so fun coming back here to read a report. I couldn't even remember how to respond!! Doc, congrats on getting to Boston and running. I'm honored to be a part of the crowd that followed your journey in getting here. I regret not taking the day off and heading up to Boston to share a tiny bit of this day with you! Thanks so much for sharing with us.. I miss this place and reading these reports!
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littlewally and farnk



Joined: 23 Jun 2005
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Location: club 337

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doc,
First off I LOVE that you posted HERE!! It all started here (kinda) and I love that.

Getting to BOSTON is almost more fun then running but there is nothing like the feeling of running BOSTON.

Congrats to you!
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leannNO



Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Posts: 1353
Location: way down yonder in New Orleans

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bravo! And thanks for posting here -- brought back a lot of memories.
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Judy Denver



Joined: 03 Jan 2006
Posts: 4123
Location: Mile High City

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 8:10 pm    Post subject: Well done, my friend! Reply with quote

So glad to read a real race report - it's been too long! And I (and I think tons of others, as well) feel that I've been with you all along your journey, with your good training cycles and then race day disappointments. I am *so* very happy you qualified and got the full Boston experience (sans, bombs, natch Smile ).

It sounds like things continue to evolve at Boston. I was surprised to read that gear check is now at the finish. That's different. (1L - when did that change???) But it also sounds like so much is the same - all those things I love (and miss dearly, especially reading this report) about Boston: the fans along the course, the scream tunnel in Wellesley, the Boston College students, "right on Hereford, left on Boylston", the way the people of Boston completely and totally embrace the race and the runners. Thanks for recalling it all and letting me live it again through your eyes.
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tom



Joined: 25 Apr 2006
Posts: 2332
Location: Northwest Indiana

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats, Doc. I know you earned this one. Very proud of you for continuing to chase the dream and ultimately reach it!
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