We were pretty close to being the first ones to arrive at the industrial park. Place was empty. So we chilled and broke out the camping gear in the suburban. We tried to create a bit of a trail race environment in this road running mecca of an event.
Eventually people started to arrive, the parking lot filled up and the school bus shuttles got to work transporting the hordes of runners. We were comfortable and relaxed and wondered why people were in such a rush to get over to the start, which was still over 3 hours away. We finished our breakfast, gathered our stuff, used the port-o-lets, changed into our running gear and hopped on a shuttle around 8:00.
Our bus pulled onto highway 495, drove about a ¼ mile and then got backed up in the traffic that was lined up all the way to the Hopkinton exit. It was still several miles until the exit. 45 minutes went by and we inched along not making much progress. People on the bus started to get a little antsy. A bus full of Type A personalities with things not going as planned, can create some tension. As 9 AM approached, the 10 AM start no longer seemed too far away. So we asked the driver to blow down the middle lane and slip back in line by the exit ramp and cut off the other busses that were waiting. She hemmed and hawed and finally gave in to the crowd and did it! She rocked! She easily saved us 25 minutes!
Even with the heroics of our bus driver, we didn’t arrive at the athlete’s village until 9:30. We dropped off our bags at another set of buses that would take our stuff to the finish. We then followed the thousands of runners being herded the mile to the starting line. I had to relieve myself from all my hydrating, but there was no opportunity as we strolled through the residential neighborhood. The police were out in force chasing people and handing out tickets to runners that were trying to ditch behind peoples houses to pee. It was pretty funny. It reminded me of the chase scenes in the Benny Hill show:
Mark and I made it into our corral just as the national anthem was being sung. The clouds were lifting and the sky was clearing (not quite in time for the flyover though, which was a bummer.) With the sun breaking through, the temperature warmed pretty quickly. I flung my long sleeve and was ready to go. The race started and it was pretty cool to feel the mass of runners get underway. I woke up 7 hours ago and now the race was finally starting!! Because of the downhill nature of the beginning of the course you could see the thousands of runners up ahead, which was pretty wild.
Because I had to evade the police before the race, I had to pull up short and didn’t get to finish my business. Mark had to pee too since he never got the opportunity to go before the start. There were many runners ditching off into the woods in the first mile of the race. So we did the same and I was able to finish relieving myself. Ahhh, ok, now I was ready to run!
After the pee stop warm up first mile (8:10) we fell into a nice rhythm of 7:30 /mile pace. My hip felt ok. It was a little stiff, but it didn’t hurt and wasn’t hindering my running at all. So far, so good! Soon the spectators started to increase along the course. The energy from the runners, the spectators and the sun was incredible! What an awesome feeling!
As we cruised along I noticed that it was incredibly congested but that it wasn’t a problem. People weren’t tripping over each other. Everyone was a solid runner and was moving at a consistent pace. Pretty neat.
At around mile 12 a roar could be heard in the distance. As we progressed the noise got louder and louder. Soon we were passing by the cheering girls of Wellesley College. Wow!!! Talk about enthusiasm!! Simple description is this: We were the Beatles and they were excited out of control teenage girls!! I ran down the right side and high-fived about 250 of the girls. That was a lot of fun.
The first half went by in a flash. Mark and I hit the ½ marathon point at 1:38:24 (7:30 pace). I had no intention of going that fast and probably had no business going that fast, but I think I was in a euphoric zone, absorbing the spectacle of the race. It was fantastic!
I think high fiving the women of Wellesley took me a little out of my rhythm. I started to fatigue and slowed a bit to 7:40 per mile for the next 3 miles. Mark and I then hit the Newton hills and I slowed even more. I finally ran out of steam going up heartbreak hill. This is where I felt the effects of my lack of recent training. I’ve only logged 81 slow miles over the past 5 weeks. That’s a pretty wimpy 16 miles/week! (Not quite worthy of an ultra-runner-wanna-be-in-training!) Even though I had to take a walking break, the excitement of heartbreak hill was pretty cool. I didn’t feel bad that I was walking; I just tried to focus on keeping moving as quickly as I could. When I got to mile 21 I was pumped that it was just a 5 mile run to the finish.
But those 5 miles weren’t that easy. I had a couple of occasions where my legs cramped and locked up. So I had to stop, stretch, and massage them a few times. But I kept moving. Turning the final corner onto Boylston was awesome! The finish line in sight, the crazy loudness of the cheering spectators, the sense of accomplishment, the exhaustion… All good stuff!!
It was a little dicey towards the end with the cramping, but I was able to finish and complete the race in a respectable 3:34:27. (8:11 pace) Mark was able to hold onto our original pace, kicked butt and finished in 3:23:09. Nice work!!
Here are my mile split times. Can you guess when I hit heartbreak hill?
After going through the runners chute and getting water, food, heat blanket, my medal, and removing my chip, I met up with Mark, Shannon, Keith and Kourtney. We went over to the Prudential Center, put some dry clothes on, relaxed and grabbed a bite to eat.
Myself and Mark
Our last piece of business was to get back to Hopkinton to drop Mark off at his suburban. While we were getting our stuff out of Mark’s vehicle, a motorcycle cop pulled up behind us. Crap, they were coming to ticket me for public peeing before the race!! But that was not the case, the officer was just asking us how the race went and was looking to shoot the breeze. We chatted with him about the extensive task it is to clean up after the race and the amount of coordination involved in this amazing event. As he repeatedly spit out his chew he talked how he dreads this event each year…
And with that, the 2008 Boston Marathon is in the books.