Race Report - 2016 Boston Marathon

4/18/2016 09:24:00 PM

Team Nuun
I had never run Boston, so when I got a qualifying time of 3:02 at the 2014 Rocket City Marathon, I couldn't wait to sign up. I know, I know, initially I said all I cared about was a BQ, actually running the race wasn't that important. I guess I was wrong about that one. Luckily, my wife agreed to come along. Would not have been the same without her there. We were able to split a room with a couple of our friends (Kelsey and Andrew) just a couple of blocks fro the finish. Andrew knew the area and chose the hotel, which was perfect.


Anya and I flew in from Huntsville Saturday around noon and took an Uber straight to the hotel. After a quick check in, I put on my running shorts and we headed just a half a mile from the hotel to a Janji popup store for a meet-up with my Nuun teammates. Nuun had organized this meet-up for a quick get together and a short shakeout run. Just minutes after we all gathered, Chris McDougall walks in to the store to get ready for a book signing. He arrived early and introduced himself to the group. He was accompanied by the legendary Tarahumara runner Arnulfo, who was offering handmade huaraches for small donations to fund his running adventures here in the US. Of course, I couldn't resist to buy a pair for my wife.

Met the legendary Arnulfo...
After catching up with Sean Meissner, Emily Smith, Jody L. Stoops and Aleksandra Todorova, I had the chance for a nice chat with Chris McDougall, who ended up turning me on to yet another cool running documentary, Beer Runners, check it out now on Vimeo (NFI)!

...and Chris McDougall, who wrote the best running book I've ever read
I ended up missing out on the run, so we headed back to the hotel, changed into some regular clothes and headed to the Expo to drop a paycheck or two on some Boston Marathon swag, 'cause we all know it didn't happen unless you've got the swag to prove it. It was a mad house, runners and non-runners alike, shuffling through the expo shoulder to shoulder, grabbing items from racks and tables on their way to the checkout lines...and me right along with them.

And this guy keeps popping up at the same events as me. First Desert RATS, then UTMB, now Boston. I think I have a stalker. JK, Sean, I'm a big fan!
We went through the same exercise again on Sunday to pick up Andrew's package. Anya started to feel a bit under the weather, so I gladly joined her going back to the hotel to get off my legs and rest. We met up with some of our friends and teammates for a nice Italian dinner Sunday night. Of course you can't have Italian without a nice glas or two of red. Afterwards, we headed to Mike's for some amazing cannolis. I'm not sure how I did it, but i only devoured one of my two and saved the other for after the race. Once we arrived back at the hotel, I laid out my racing kit and laid down for the night.

Andrew and I headed to to the shuttle buses on the other side of the Boston Commons park right around 5ish. Although we were part of the first wave, we wouldn't actually start the race until after 10AM. Basically, you take a 60 min bus ride and then wait at the athlete's village for a few hours, drinking coffee and water and eating bagels and bananas. Here, we met up with other Fleet Feet racing team members and chilled until it was time to head to the actual start line.

This guy has run Boston 8 times already.
I really had no plans or strategy for this race other than try to maybe qualify for next year's Boston. As it turned out, the race would be quite warm, so finishing with my dignity intact was the main goal. I started at a conservative pace as I hadn't really trained for this event. I was prepping for a gnarly 100 miler in May, so running long distances at marathon pace hadn't really been on my training plan. A conservative pace should get me to the finish in 3:18, giving me 2 minutes of cushion when the time came to apply for next year's Boston Marathon.

The atmosphere was electric as I arrived in my assigned corral and before I knew it, I was running in the Boston Marathon. Right from the start, the streets were lined with enthusiastic spectators, cheering loudly and wildly. This would not let up for the next 26.2 miles. I have never experienced a marathon race like this, absolutely amazing.

One Mile to go.
I was able to stay on pace for the first 16 mile and did not fall off pace too badly, but I did slow down a little. I managed to run the often dreaded infamous Heartbreak Hill. It was more of a shuffle than a run, but I kept moving. My pace wasn't quite as steady anymore, but I tried to hold on to that BQ. Unfortunately, with about a 5K to go, I realized that 3:18 was just not in the cards. I figured, maybe I can get 3:20, that would still be a BQ, even though I would probably not be able to get in the race for next year with that time.

My first and hopefully not last Boston finish.
I ended up crossing the finish line in 3:21, elated to have finished my first Boston. It wasn't until much later that evening after dinner and a couple of beers that a friend informed me via text message that I probably BQ'd. I went online again to verify. Only then did I realize that my new age group, 45-49, actually allowed for an additional 10 minutes rather than the usual 5 minute jumps. Wow, first a finish, now another BQ! A perfect day, indeed. I can't wait to do this again. Yes, I prefer rugged trail races, but Boston is a different story.

One happy camper, with another BQ.

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2 comments

  1. Great write-up, Martin. Congrats on the BQ!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great write-up, Martin! Congrats on the BQ!

    ReplyDelete