Things didn’t go as smoothly as I wished prior the big day!
1. I was coming down with a sore throat two days prior to take off. It’s funny that I still have the same soreness with less intensity now as I write this post. I don’t know what it is because it just stuck and hasn’t worsen.
2. We flew a red eye on Friday and arrived on Saturday at 6am ET. It was a horrible plan which deviated drastically from my original wishful thinking. My little guy wouldn’t sleep until 4am ET and sang “Happy Birthday” non-stop for hours on the plane. In the end we slept for only 2 hours that night!
3. Carbo-loading was probably slightly over and out of controlled as our hosts brought us to restaurants that were too delicious and tasty. I might have gained like 7-8lbs.
4. Travelling with the entire family and some enthusiastic hosts isn’t easy, I had probably walked too much around town! The pre race dinner was interesting but I wouldn’t do it again. The wait was horribly long with too much standing on the feet!!!
5. The night before the race I somehow got too nervous and wouldn’t sleep until 1am and woke up at 4am.
RACE DAY MORNING
I got up at 4am and went out for a 10min shakeout run at 415am. I think I’ll do this for my future runs as it calms the nerves!
I am very grateful for how the whole day turned out but I did find the pre-race arrangement a painful ordeal! First, the weather was horrible on the day with ~30km/h of head wind, cold rain and a temperature of about 5-6 degree celsius.
For us Wave 1 runners, we’d need to board the school bus from Boston Common at 6ish and be dropped off at Hopkinton at 7ish until 905am before being marshaled out for a mile walk to the start. For two hours, 7000s of us were all cramped in the tents. Some later comers were left to stand outside in the rain. Even worse for the unprepared, they were already in their singlet freezing. I was put on several layers of clothings and still shivering. There was absolutely no time and space to stretch or do any form of warm up. The good part, I was with Ben and Yuki (who flew from Tokyo with injuries and later walked a 5h10min to finish!)to pass time and later bumped into Katherine at the potty line up!
From Start to 10K
The road was narrow and it was packed! I ran easy at about 4:10’/K.
The pack thinned out after 10k or so. Running here was easy as my body was still warming up and settling into a good groove. Finding a good pack to run with in this race was easy.
11k to 25k
I felt slightly impatience after seeing too many times my pace was far from goal pace. I sped up a little and latched onto faster groups. I blame my Garmin for showing a slower pace.
The course was great and the crowd was loud and supportive. As you can see in the splits I attached I ran few Ks under 4’/K. I knew this was the stretch to push just a little.
The weather fluctuated often with strong head wind and cold heavy rain, I knew it wasn’t the day for the original 4’/k pace. I just stuck with a group that ran at about 4:05-4’/k pace and felt pretty good most of the way.
I ran well in the last 10k or so and knew the upcoming big drop was up and more so the series of terrible hills. I ran easy down the steep hill and cruised slightly under 4’/k. I lost a gel at the start and took one of the Cliff gel from the event. It was by far the worst thing I have ever tasted. It was so thick you couldn’t imagine!
The first Newtown hill was long and kind of steep. I ran with an easier effort and just focused on the people in front of me. I did the same with the following hills. I think after running the hill before Heart break I felt something funny with my quads and my left calf. I changed my stride and gait a little. It felt like a long stretch between that hill and Heartbreak. I probably asked more than few runners if we had run it already. The crowd at Heartbreak was huge and very loud. I knew it was my last grind. So many runners faded and walked there. I passed Katherine there as well. I slowed down to about 4:30pace and knew it was ok as long as I didn’t hit the wall.
There were signs everywhere held by spectators at the top of the hill saying it’s time to go all out! I slowly eased back into a faster pace and latched onto a Black Lungs runner. We ran at about 4:10-15pace.
At this point of time, I just focused a k at a time. My mind was feeling tired at 37k but I reminded myself to be strong and pushed through it with the last 5k or so. My calf acted up few more times but never went into a cramp, thankfully. I think throughout the race it was my forearm and fingers that actually cramped up a little…funny and weird! Good thing I didn’t need these muscles too much to run fast!
The last five Ks was hard on the mind. The weather was still horrible with stronger head wind and heavier rain. I just made sure I was with a pack the whole time and wouldn’t run alone. It was unfortunate to see numerous runners to drop out at that point of time.
Once I reached Boylston St, I knew the end was near. I sped up slightly. I think at 40k or so my time was 2:40ish and doing a quick math in my head even if I ran 5’/K for the last 2k I’d still PB. So I ran without paying too much attention to my Garmin.
In the last 500m or so, the crowd was deafeningly loud. I just roared and held my hands up to the finish! It was a strong beautiful end! Viola! It was a personal best of 2:53:45 and ranked in the top 5%!
Funny, the toughest stretch of this Boston Marathon was the final stretch of more than a mile walk back to the gear check at Boston Common. Few runners collapsed and required medical attentions. I stopped in the middle of the road because my foot was cramping up. The medics were concerned and ready to offer me a wheelchair! It took me a good few minutes to continue. Everyone cussed and cursed big time. It was actually quite funny. Everyone looked so pasty like a zombie. The weather was probably at its worst since the day began.
Please also read my post on “The Guide to ‘Everything I know’ About the Boston Marathon” if you plan to run the race.
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