Saturday, April 22, 2017

Boston Marathon 2017

This whole past week has been a whirlwind and a blur! But let me start with a week ago today. Last Saturday, April 15, Mrs. Marathon and I traveled back to the north for the Boston Marathon once again (read about last year's Boston Marathon here). We flew out of Raleigh in the afternoon, had a layover in Newark that night, then flew into Boston pretty late on Saturday. We got our rental car, headed to our hotel, and hit the hay!

During our layover/dinner break in Newark
Sunday was a fun adventure day of exploring the expo and the downtown area around the convention center. We didn't really want to wander far so we wouldn't get lost, and so I could save my legs a little. After picking up my stuff, eating lunch, and meeting 2 Olympians (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) we headed back to the hotel and rested, then ordered in dinner (room service!) and went to sleep.

Shalane Flanagan (who is an Olympic Marathoner!)
doing a Runner's World interview!

We met Shalane Flanagan!

We saw Galen Rupp (bronze medalist in the Rio Olympics Marathon)
doing a shakeout run on Sunday down Boylston Street!
He was just walking down the street and I asked if I could get a picture!
Also pictured: the shoulder of ALBERTO SALAZAR
(Galen's coach/world class long distance runner!)
Monday morning, I got to sleep in compared to last year when I had to get on the T (subway) by like 5:00 AM to catch the shuttle from the finish area to Hopkinton. However, since we rented a car, I got to leave the hotel by 7:30 to make it to the start line by 8:30 to be ready to be called to my corral by 9:15 for a 10:00 start.

A friend saw me in the crowd at the start line on TV!

Fast forward, I get lined up with my corral and the gun goes off. The masses of people are released and we were off! The first few miles felt pretty good. I was running a 6:30 min/mile pace, which isn't crazy fast for me, but in my head I knew I had to slow it down to about a 7:00 min/mile pace to save something in the tank for later. I knew I was approaching some hills, and so I managed to slow down to about a 7:15-7:30 pace and kept trucking. I figured that eventually my body would warm up and I would then be able to speed up. However getting to the half marathon mark, I was very tired and my legs had felt every mile. I just did not feel comfortable at all. So at this point, I was happy that I had dialed the pace back, but at the same time, I was feeling a little upset since I was hoping to feel a lot lighter on my feet and a lot faster. I continued to wait for the surge of energy to carry me to the finish or that runner's high that everyone talks about (spoiler alert: didn't get one).

I had kept up with my nutrition really well before the race started and during the race, hydrating with Gatorade, water, and Skratch. But unfortunately, every single mile beat me up. I felt every step that I took. I never caught a break from it. I usually zone out and keep up with my pace no problem, but after about mile 16, I knew that the fastest way to the finish line was just following the people in front of me. And so I did. All I wanted was to cross that finish line and be done. I know it doesn't sound like my normal attitude, but under the circumstances, this was a success that I didn't give up. I only walked at 3 water stops, and even though I was debating stopping at a medical tent, I knew I couldn't. I had to finish, and I had a flight to catch at 5:00 PM, with a return rental car at 3:00 PM. At the rate I was going, I was going to finish after 1:00 so I knew I didn't have much wiggle room. And fortunately, I guess, if it wasn't for this schedule I had to keep, I probably would have lost that last little bit of motivation I had left. I just could not find my groove during this race. As I ran, I just told myself I was proud of myself that I was even there. I don't say that very often, honestly hardly ever. But I was the one suffering and I was the one running, and I couldn't help but to look up at the sky and say "Thank you,"  because of the privilege I knew I had. I was just proud of myself for keeping on keepin' on.

I saw my wife on Hereford St!
Fast forward to the finish. I crossed the finish line in 3:19:12. I grabbed my medal, my food, and my mylar blanket, and I was THANKFUL! However my body came to a halt and then I felt everything: my legs, my stomach, my whole body was rebelling against those 26.2 miles I had just completed. It felt like I walked a mile to the family meeting area (ok so it was maybe half a mile, max) and then the nausea kicked in. I finally made it to the family meeting area, sat down, and waited for my dear wife. The whole time I was waiting (which was almost 45 minutes due to the fact that she had to walk all the way around the finish line area which was several blocks!), I was hunched over resting my head on my arms which were resting on my knees, just waiting for SOMETHING to um, come out of my body. And once the missus made it to the meeting area, we spotted some porta-potties and let's just say I felt better. To quote the girl who came out of the porta-potty beside me, "The guy beside me was like barfing!" And I agree with that. A lot!

Finish line!

My mother-in-law took this of me on TV, crossing the finish line!
So then we embarked on our 2+ mile trek back to the parking garage. Yes, 2 miles. At LEAST! Big city parking is crazy! We made it to the car check in at the airport right around 3:15 and made it to the airport and through security with about 30 minutes to spare. Then we loaded up the plane (after a couple of gate changes and a slight little delay) and took off for HOME! We got to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport at 7:30, which put us getting back to our home sweet home in Bassett by 10:00 PM. It was a great trip, even though it was very quick and I had a tough race. We still enjoyed ourselves with an amazing weekend. It was awesome to be a part of the whole Boston Marathon experience once again!

Fast forward to today. We both did a race up (and down) some mountains! Tune in to our next post! Coming soon(ish)! But for now, more pictures from the Boston Marathon taken by Mrs. Marathon who was spectating along Hereford Street right before Mile 26!

Women's winner!

Jordan Hasay- 3rd place overall, first American woman,
and it was her debut marathon!

Olympic Marathoner Desiree Linden!

Men's winner

My BFF Galen Rupp (2nd place overall)

Olympic Marathoner Meb Keflezighi 

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