I am partial to the small, quaint marathons. But Boston is my exception. Boston Rocks. It is the best. It is my favorite marathon.
Boston fans, you are the best. I am also not a fan of big crowds, but again, make an exception for Boston. The crowds are awesome. Cheering, supportive, enthusiastic. Cheering for everyone participating. What a great feeling. I get all goose bumpily thinking about it.
My family and I drove from Waukesha to Boston. We arrived in Boston on Saturday afternoon. After checking in to our hotel, the Best Western Terrace Inn, we rode the "B Line" down to Hynes Convention Center to packet pickup and the expo. The expo was huge, and the lines were very long, but everyone was in good spirits. Got my official marathon jacket, got a fleece, and some 3/4 length tights. I am one of those superstitious types, so any Boston 2009 apparel would have to stay in the bag until Monday afternoon. I wouldn't even cut the tags off.
Sunday, weather and time permitted, and we got to do some sight seeing in Boston. We started the "Freedom Walk", but soon got chilled, and opted for a trolley tour. After our tour, we headed to the pasta feed. The pasta feed line was very long, but moved surprisingly fast. The meal included the traditional pasta with red sauce, salad, a pasta salad, bread and... macaroni and cheese. Yum! This made my day. I have often said that I have the palate of a 12 year old boy, so this was a very welcome treat for me.
We returned to our hotel, watched some tv, checked some emails, and just lounged around, very relaxed. I actually got some sleep that night. Almost too much. I found out later that I had inadvertantly set the alarm for 5pm instead of 5am. By some miracle, I happen to wake up at 5:16am on my own. Wow, that was too close!
I enjoyed my pre-race meal of a bagel and Diet Coke. Husband (webmaster Bill) and I took the "B Line" to the start busses with a couple we had met at the hotel. The woman who was running was my age, and close to my pace, and it was very nice to have some company for the ride to the start.
After a brief stay in Athletes Village, we headed to our start corrals. My qualifying time was 3:49, so I was in corral 18. Never heard the start, we simply started running. Husband Bill would be at about mile 3 taking pictures. Saw him there, with son Danny too.
At about mile 4, someone in the field yelled "Bill Rogers is right there" We all started cheering, and he pulled over to the side to shake a few hands. One was mine. That was REALLY cool! I got to shake running legend Bill Rogers' hand. Wow.
Somewhere around mile 8 or 9, I felt a little but yucky for a short stretch. I knew that friends and family were tracking me on the internet, and using the AT & T Athlete Alert text messaging thing. So, by this point, they knew what my starting pace was. I felt a little nervous, and worried whether I'd be able to hang on to that pace.
I thought about my running friends back home. Thought about Bob, who was supposed to be there, but was injurred. Thought about Dennis, who I've been running most Saturdays with since December. Thought about Greg, who recently ran a 3:36 in Indianapolis. Don, who broke 4 hours for the first time at Lakefront. Louise, who I haven't seen in too long. Jim A, recovering from an injury. Chuck, who is going to run Grand Island this summer (my second favorite marathon). I thought about the whole group and recent gatherings: the year-in-review party, running at the Pettit National Ice Center during the winter, and the Root River Parkway, and the Nordic Trails and Ice Age Trail.
I tried to tell myself, "Yes, I can do this, let's go." I started feeling strong again. The crowds were awesome, the sun was awesome, the volunteers were awesome.
The headwinds were noticeable, but I tried not to let it bother me. Tried not to think about it too much. I watched the crowds, and enjoyed lots of gentle hand-slaps from kids on the side of the road.
Heartbreak Hill gave me a little trouble, and I felt the wind there. I did that mile in 8:19, but followed that with a steady 7:35 pace. Saw Bill and Danny at about mile 23. I was feeling really strong from mile 22 to 25. The crowds were so supportive. By mile 25, I was tired and ready to be done, but kept my same pace.
I had been carefully tracking my splits on my watch for every mile, but the overall time on my watch is too small for me to see while I am running, and I cannot add up all the mile times in my head, and the clocks on the course are for Wave 1. When I crossed the finish line, hit Stop on my watch, and looked down and saw 3:26:11, I got a little choked up. I resisted, but wanted to just grab anyone near me, and say "Hug me, I just had a 21 minute PR!"
After collecting water, gear, food, finisher medal, heat blankie, I headed to the family meeting area. After a short wait, Bill and Danny arrived to meet me, and bring me back to the hotel.
We left Boston Tuesday morning, and drove straight through to Waukesha, arriving home at 4am Wednesday. Tired, sore, very happy, and wearing my Boston 2009 apparel.