Against the prevailing advice, we decided to stay close to the start to save a little money.
We opted for the Hampton Inn in Marlborough and fortunately the plan worked very well. We
enjoyed 5 days in the Boston area with very little trouble getting around. I picked up a 7
day subway pass which we more than got our moneys worth out of. We just parked at the
satelite subway parking and rode into town when we wanted to.
I was a little nervous for the marathon transportation, but it worked well for that too. My
wife dropped me off at the state park in Hopkinton (15 minutes from our hotel) and I rode
the shuttle to the start. Picking clothes for marathon morning was a little tricky. The
weather the whole weekend was cold and rainy and the forecast called for cold but clear
weather to start the day. I packed several extra layers for warmth and a poncho for the
wind and headed out.
The only minor snag of the day came when the shuttle dropped us off right at the starting
line. The athletes village was almost a mile away. I didn't feel any real need to go to
the village but the gear drop busses were located there so I started walking. It was still
cold and windy but the sun was shining bright.
I made a quick trip through the athletes village and located my gear drop bus. I easily
found a port-o-potty, talked to a couple of people for about 30 minutes, donned my necessary
running gear and headed to gear check. I had several layers staged to remove as the run
started but it was warming up so quickly that I stripped down to my base layers and checked
all my gear. It was a warm feeling 45F as we headed towards the start.
Near the start line there was a huge parking lot full of port-o-potties and I made another
stop just before entering my corral. The line here was only about 10 minutes long. This
race by far had the best access to port-o-potties I have seen. I was very disappointed to
still see some people using inappropriate places.
Just as I exited the bathroom the National Anthem started playing. I was very happy with
how all my timing had worked out so far. I know I got up at least 2 hours later than most
of the runners and I had only had about an hour wait for the start. I was feeling strong,
rested, hydrated, bladder empty and confident. Just as I was feeling this emotion the
National Anthem ended and we were buzzed by a 2 fighter jet flyover! My heart was beating
out of my chest and I nearly started running right then. I felt like I could sprint to
They were being very strict about starting corrals and even though I new my fitness was not
good enough for corral 8 I was directed in. It worked OK because there was really no
division between corrals and as soon as the starting gun went off it was basically a mass
start. I walked as slowly as I could manage in the crowd to get a little further back in
the group before the start line. When I crossed the start line I was probably close to
0-5K: 25:46 I had driven the course the day before and I knew that the first 4 miles were
very downhill so I tried my best to go out easy. I settled into an easy pace and proceeded
to get passed by a couple of thousand people. I was a little too fast on pace but I
expected that for the downhill.
5-10K: 26:49 I found a free port-o-potty just after 5K and we exited the rural area outside
Hopkinton and this started the continuous wall of people for the rest of the course. We
passed the Ashland clocks and the Framingham Train Station. My pace was still a little fast
considering my bathroom break.
10-15K: 26:08 Still trying to calm down and slow down. Still getting passed by what felt
like a thousand people per mile. Just kept telling myself I would catch them later. Pace
still too fast.
15-20K: 26:54 We had worked out a place at mile 10 in Natick to meet my family on the
course. They were right where I expected them and we had a quick picture and high five
before heading back out. The crowd in Natick was awesome and my excitement caused another
too fast pace considering my stop for pictures.
20-25K: 27:06 Wellesley College. I was looking forward to this section of the course ever
since I started planning the trip. What a rush this area was. I was glued to the right
side of the road, reading all the signs "kiss me I'm a senior", "kiss me I'm Irish", etc.
High fives were abundant but I resisted the other offers.
25-30K: 28:11 I was over half way now and I could tell already that my pace was going to
bite me, the 100 ft descent into Newton was rather painful on my quads. I stopped at a
port-o-potty and filled up my bottle with gatorade and kept pushing gels and liquids to try
and stave off the pain that was coming in the approaching hills. Considering my bathroom
stop and drink refill my pace was still high. I entertained the idea of trying to keep this
pace to the end....
30-35K: 27:06 Heartbreak Hill. I made the turn at the Newton Fire Station and headed into
the hills. I wasn't sure how my legs were going to handle this area since I had done
absolutely no hill training. It ended up to be my favorite part of the course. I powered
up the hills with no problems and was quite surprised when I hit Boston College and saw all
the signs about finishing Heartbreak Hill! The crowd at BC was by far the best on the
course and as I soared over the top of the hill feeling very accomplished I mistakenly
assumed the worst was over.
35-40K: 28:13 GOING DOWNHILL SUCKS! The next 3 miles were excruciating! My knees were
killing me and my quads were on fire! It was all I could do to keep putting my leg out in
front of me because I knew what it would feel like when it landed. I actually stopped and
stretched a little but that did nothing to help. I finally decided to try and take some
strain off my quads by pulling through harder with my butt/hamstring and not "braking" as
much. This technique got me down the hill.
The finish: I glanced at the watch and saw that my goal of 3:45 was gone. My minimum goal
of 3:49 was still in sight if I could keep moving. I focused on the fantastic crowd,
thought of all my friends (especially the 2000km group) rooting for me and dug a little
deeper. I made the turn on Boylston street and in the last half mile I just soaked it all
in. What a fantastic sporting event to be a part of! I crossed the line in a respectable
Thanks so much to everybody that has supported me the last 6 months. Through my frustrating
injury and 3 months off, and my 3 months of physical therapy and abbreviated training. I
really didn't think Boston was going to happen but I am so glad it did. I really felt you
guys out on the course and it carried me through!
What a memorable run you had! Thanks for sharing it with us. I'm so happy that you met your goal. That's just huge!
Hope your quads and knees recover quickly. (I feel your pain with regard to downhill running.)
Your tribute to the group made me tear up of course.
Go as long as you can, and then take another more step.
Jeff...very nice description and I don't think I'll get to Boston but it is definitely fun to read about. You were awesome..and so close to 3:45 that I would just say "I finished right around 3:45"
Downhill running does hurt and its a good idea to call in the other muscle groups
New Orleans Marathon - 2/24/2013 4:16:32
Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon - 4/27/2013 4:09:56 PR!
Honolulu Marathon - 12/8/2013
Dutchie I go running in the early morning, before my brain figures out what I'm up to.
Run the day, or the day runs you.
Actions determine state of mind - Aristotle
Oh well, and never-the-less, awesome race!
San Francisco - 7/29/12
Warrior Dash Ohio II - 8/26/12
Chicago - 10/7/12