I ran the Boston Marathon this last Monday, April 19th. It was an amazing race, and I am very happy that I made the decision to go and run. Scheri and I arrived on Saturday evening and began our site seeing early Sunday morning. We started by taking the bus and the T (the metro system) to the expo, picking up our numbers, race shirts, and Boston Marathon goodies. Quickly after, we jumped on a double decker tour bus to start our round of the city. This tour has 20 stops and tons of buses, so we could get off and on as we choose, stay as long as we like, and then catch the next bus every few minutes. This was a great way to see Boston and I highly recommend it. It also included a boat cruise of the Boston Harbor. What a bonus! We saw all of the sites such as Harvard, Cheers, Boston Common, parks, shops, and more. We were worn out when we arrived back at our hotel after 7:30pm. We worked out our plan for race morning and went to bed early.
Monday morning began with an express bus ride into downtown Boston. This only took about 12 minutes. We proceeded through a long line in which they boarded thousands of runners onto the buses. After arriving downtown around 6:30am, we waited for a while and did not board our bus until 7:45 or so. The bus ride itself took quite a while and we arrived at Hopkinton High School (the start area) around 9am. We only had an hour before the race started and 20 minutes before we had to get into our corral. AND we had to go to the bathroom and drop our bag. After all of that, we walked into our corral with about 10 minutes or so to spare, and we took a few pictures and soaked it all in. It was a perfect day!
The race began, and we started out at a faster pace, like we suspected. The first 6 miles were around an 8:30 pace. (Our hope was around a 9:00 mile pace on average.) I felt pain right away, but it really set in around mile 4. In most cases, I feel the pain around 17 or 18, so this wasn't the greatest sign. I told Scheri a few times that I wanted her to leave me at mile 16, which was our prior agreement prerace. She did let me know that she probably was not going to. My Garmin turned off (battery died) at mile 12, and we were at an 8:37 average, so I knew we were slipping. From 15K to 20K we averaged 8:49 per mile, so we were actually more on track. However, I knew hills were coming and I really feel the tear in my hip on the uphill, and the stress fracture hurts on the downhill. I had stopped talking back at mile 8 and had concerns about being able to stay with Scheri the entire time. We reached mile 17 and began a series of hills. 25K to 30K was ran at a 9:40 pace. I asked Scheri to go so many times, but she kept motivating me along. Before I knew it, I thought if I can hang with her until mile 20, I can push it out. With 7 miles left, she informed that we had to do 10 minute miles in order for us to make a sub 4:00 marathon. I didn't think I could it. It sounded impossible. I was having spasms in almost every inch of each of my legs. I was drinking as much Gatorade as I could in hopes of helping, but they only got worse. I took a gel every 4 miles, and each time she would say what I had to do, I would pick up my leg through a cramp or spasm and hope that I would be able to pick my leg up again, and again, and again. We made it through the hills, and I knew the crowds would only get better and the course would get flatter. (Flat is actually what I needed for my injuries.) Even though 30K to 35K is flat, I am only able to maintain pace, not speed up, but glad I did not slow down. (I only realize this as I write this blog.) We make it to 23 miles, I finish my last gel, and I am worshipping every timing clock we pass. I knew Scheri was hoping for a sub 4 hour, and I wasn't going to be the one to hold her back after all of this. She hasn't ran a marathon over 4 hours, so it was more a fun thing, than an actual goal...but still important. I maintained pace from 35-40K. This felt like a 7 min. mile, and my effort level was a 10 the entire race. We turned the corner, where we could see the finish in the distance, and Scheri said, "We have 4 minutes, do you wanna walk?" I hadn't walked yet and I knew better than to think we had any extra time. The finish line was not THAT close. I pushed it hard with everything I had left, which wasn't much. (Apparently-it was just a 9:23 mile or so.) We crossed the finish line and I collapsed. I didn't have another step left in me. A doctor quickly checked me and verified that my hip was not broke, so I maintained a stress fracture on 26.2 miles of asphalt. My tear hurt more than anything, so I got a bag of ice, my crutches and bag, and headed to the park to rest. I finished! I went to Boston to finish the race, and I did it in 3:59:13. Not too bad considering I have a hip stress fracture and a labral tear...
The point of the marathon for me - to push myself beyond what I think I think I am capable. I succeeded. I finished!