2019 Boston Marathon Recap
Well, this year was different than 2017 in many ways. First, I used the traditional transportation provided by B.A.A. which was definitely an experience. First off, it allowed me to sleep in an extra hour. But then I had to walk through pour raining, which I also expected for during the race as well. But you know what? I smiled as I walked. Because I didn’t care that my shoes were soaked and that I was getting wet. I was having the truest Boston experience, I felt.
I got on the bus around 7:30 [having 7-7:45 window to get on the bus for my wave 2]. We sat on the bus for about 10 minutes waiting to leave, and they were hot! Everyone had their ponchos on, and it was getting humid in the bus, fogging up the windows. But I got to meet the woman next to me, from Canada. She was running her 7th Boston marathon and does this as cross training for cross country skiing and road cycling! She only runs Boston, and NYC marathon once, but just Boston every year. She comes to Boston all by herself to run too. No running group. No family. Truly inspiring.
So started to take off and the bus took about 1 hour to get to Athlete’s village. Luckily it seemed to rain while we were on the bus, and my fingers were crossed that it would get it all out of its system before we got to Athlete’s village.
We got to the village and for some reason, they always let you off like 0.25-0.5 miles away from the entrance to Athlete’s village. Now the village is by the high school and it’s mainly paved as the roads around the builds are paved, as this is important if it ever rains before your Boston Marathon. But if you have to use the restroom, all the porta potties are in the grass, or mud pit. Like suction your shoes off mud. So my recommendation, that I got from someone last year, was to wear throw away shoes and socks so then I could walk through all the puddles and mud I wanted then throw them away once I was done with the restrooms. One thing I will do differently if rain is in the forecast, is to wait until the official entrance of to the start corrals, i.e. leaving the High school parking lot, to change shoes and clothes, if needed. I didn’t have any problems with mud once I changed to my racing shoes and socks but I could’ve left on my throw away shoes a little longer just in case there were puddles.
The walk from the village to the start line is about a mile long. Now some people try to do their warm up mile [yes that is a thing even for a marathon] in this mile, but remember it is crowded so you have to dodge and weave. Be careful! Last thing you want to do is hurt yourself while warming up just before the marathon. Definitely not enough room to do striders, so if that is something you want to do, I suggest doing that outside Athlete’s village before you enter the village. Also, there are no porta potties so make sure to go before you begin your walk to the corrals [this has happened twice to me now, because my race day nerves make me have to go more often].
Once in the corrals, you don’t wait too long. One of the things I like about Boston is there are no pace groups. So everyone just is in their qualifying time corral together, no matter what current fitness is. For me, this year, my fitness was not at my qualifying time, and that was okay! I just reminded myself of that and made sure not to get down on myself as runners pasted me as we started. So that’s my piece of advice: stick to your plan. Trust YOUR plan. No one else around you knows that plan.
So the first few miles are down hill and just through suburbs, so not big crowds, but they are true residents of the area or dedicated cheer groups who traveled all the way to the start line to watch their athlete’s start the most historic marathon in the world. There will be some runner’s that jump to the left of the road onto a paved sidewalk to try and get around the crowds. I suggest not doing this as it is easy to twist an ankle or get bumped in by another runner. Stay on the road
After the first few miles it starts to flatten out a bit and also become less crowded. You can settle into your pace and just relax. The first half is the easiest, and not just because it is the first part, but because it is mostly downhill. That’s why it feels so fast, but many runner’s, myself included in 2017, go out too fast and then you pass them after the first hill comes up J Once again, trust YOUR plan.
For me, like I said I had to pee as I walked to the corrals, so started the race with a full bladder. Thought maybe I could run through it, but around mile 7, I jumped into a porta potty.
My reflection on the first half is that I need to maybe slow down a bit as I could’ve gone out faster than my body was ready for. But I felt like I was holding back for sure.
After jumping out of the porta potty I felt a little different. Maybe it is there were I stepped wrong and messed my ankle up. But it felt harder to get back to my original pace, not cardiovascular but just my leg turnover.
From mile 7 to the half way mark, which is where I told myself to hold back until then, legs felt difficult to turn over and I knew any chance of a good time was slipping away. So I continued to high-five kids and smile as I ran. And I considered DNFing, but I knew my crew was at mile 22 so I wanted to make it to there.
The entire rest of the marathon was a run walk situation. Stopping in each med tent, asking for ibuprofen or Advil, of which they said they could not give me. Just getting the pain spray at each tent as I went by was what kept me going to mile 22. But it also was the best part of the race for me. [I got some Ibuprofen at the 3run2 cheer station and after 1 mile, it kicked in and I felt great! Like a new person].
I saw so many cheering fans I knew from all over the world: from Take the Bridge to Heartbreakers to people who didn’t know me, but just understood Three Run Two stood for Chicago. This made all the difference in this year compared to 2017, where I only had my family cheering me on. I smiled and winced a little here and there. But I am thankful for the experience I had during this Boston Marathon, no matter what happened.