I PR’d by a full 10 minutes and hit the sub-2 hour goal I had given up on over 3 weeks ago. The most unprepared I’ve ever felt for a race, and my best one yet.
It’s okay, you can laugh.
I honestly have no explanation for this. I missed (read: skipped) a lot of training runs. I did not sleep well the night before, nor did I “fuel” my body the way I should have in the days leading up to the race. The course was tougher and hillier than I expected. The only thing I really had going for me was that I made sure that I was awesomely hydrated all week leading up to race day. All the water all day every day.
We did have great weather. It was textbook perfect New England fall, 60s and sunny. The course was beautiful, lined with the amazing foliage us Bostonians totally take for granted. I could go on and on about leaves and sunshine, but since this is a running blog I will spare you my obnoxious Boston pride and move onto the equally fascinating topics of my life on race day and event logistics.
The starting gun was at 8:30am, so roommate, boyfriend, and I hopped in an Uber at 7:30 to head over to the starting line at Franklin Park. By “hopped,” I of course mean begrudgingly dragged ourselves out of bed with a great deal of whining and complaining, leaving only enough time to stand in an absurdly long bathroom line and take some pictures that accurately portrayed our feelings on the race to come.
The porta-potty line really was absurd. Overall the BAA did a great job and the race was very well-organized, but the bathroom situation is/was my one complaint. I have run a lot of races, more than enough to know that runners as a whole are not the most delicate or bashful individuals, and certainly not when it comes to their pre-race bathroom needs. Constant lines of 30-50 runners anxiously tittering about their bowel movements and displaying blatant aggravation at not being lined up for a Wave 1 start, whilst being trapped in a bubble of fecal aromatics with a 100-yard radius do NOT a pleasant morning make.
So, more bathrooms, BAA. Please.
We were warned at the start that the first part of the course was for the most part slightly downhill, but that the remainder was mostly uphill. For the record – they weren’t lying.
For those who don’t know, the full Boston Marathon course is actually much the same – downhill to start and uphill to finish. Naturally, much like when I ran the full in 2012, I could not have paid less attention to this warning.
Amazingly this did not come back to bite me until very near the end, between miles 9 and 11. These two miles are made up of a slight offshoot of the course coming off of a rotary. The course runs straight out and straight back before winding into Franklin Park for the final 2 miles.
Coincidentally, where I epically crashed & burned is also where my little fan section was posted up. It would have been a real shame to not capture this special moment on camera.
The last part of the course is probably the coolest because you get to run through the Franklin Park Zoo. There are neat little trails that go through the different exhibits and past a few of the animal habitats. Unfortunately, I think that being on the verge of cardiac arrest coupled with hip pain a la 80-year-old arthritic grandmother somewhat detracted from the experience.
My most vivid memory was stifling homicidal feelings while trying to pass a walking participant who had evidently decided it would be okay to plant himself in the middle of the extremely narrow path. I am all for walking and being slow at all times, but please, move to the side so the rest of us can finish the torture-fest.
All in all though, it was a really great race. It is in my not-so-humble opinion the best time of year to run in New England, between the temperature and the scenery. The course is really nice, and I think I’ll enjoy it even more next time now that I know what to expect. I’ve always found running a new area to be significantly more challenging than running roads and paths that you are familiar with. This year’s shirts were also REALLY legit, which definitely helps.
Next year I plan on tackling the BAA Distance Medley, which consists of a 5k, 10k, and the half in April, June, and October respectively. Having a race to look forward to always helps with my motivation. Also, more shirts.
Mostly more shirts.