Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2017 Boston Marathon

Marathon weekend was pretty epic this year. It was also Easter weekend and Phoebe's half-birthday, which she claims is super important. You're only seven-and-a-half once. My parents drove in from Ohio on Friday. The kids were so excited that they kept asking all day, "How much longer until grandma and grandpa get here?" It was the reversal of the usual, "Are we there yet?" that I hear in the car on our long drives to Ohio. One of my besties, Anika, flew into Boston on Saturday. We were cross country and track teammates at BYU, roommates for a few years, and running partners at Boston a few years ago. Anika is a fast-talking New Yorker, often breaks into song while running, has six hilarious kids and a zillion funny stories about them, and is just super-fun to run with. We both trained with the goal of running under three hours and we hoped to run together.
 On Saturday we picked up our bib numbers from the marathon expo. I also got the opportunity to be a panelist in a "Run your best Boston" seminar. I mostly talked about the course, but also gave tips on avoiding the mobs of kissing girls at Wellesley and using proper running form on the hills.
 Everyone was freaking out about the weather, so someone asked the panelists how our strategy would change with the heat. I gave some awful "just go for it" advice mostly because I didn't want to believe it was going to be that bad. Forecasts throughout the week predicted Marathon Monday would be in the mid-60s, so I didn't think it'd be too bad...
 ...but Marathon Monday came and it was warm. Sunday was in the 80s and it didn't cool off much over night, so Monday morning we headed out the door without much on and we were fine (not a good sign!). We took the train downtown, dropped our gear bags near the finish line, hopped on the bus to Hopkinton, and hung out in the Athlete's Village with thousands of other runners. We eventually made our way to the starting line. Anika and I were placed in the same "first wave" of runners, but were assigned to different corrals. Anika moved back to mine so we could run together. We were in the very back of about 8,000 other runners, so when the gun went off it took us about three minutes to actually cross the starting line. We were sweating in the first mile and by then knew it was going to be a warm one, so we ran conservatively. We went with the flow of runners, trying not to dart around groups from side to side too much. It was so much fun running with Anika, chatting and singing. We drank lots and lots of water and Gatorade and miraculously stayed together even through the crowded fluid stations. We came through the halfway mark at 1:31 and felt good. Around mile 15, we spotted a runner ahead that looked like a teammate of ours from BYU. Courtney was a senior when we were freshmen and we recognized the bouncy stride. We caught up with her around mile 16 and she informed us that she was just "taking it easy." We know better though; we are a competitive bunch and Courtney is one of the most fiery competitors we know. We ran through the Newton hills together, finally coming upon this bunch:
 They waited at mile 19 for hours along with my parents (my dad took all these pictures) and friends from church. When I ran by, I almost missed them altogether.
 Here I come for some high-fives...
 That's Anika in the white shirt in front of me and Courtney in the white tank and red shorts behind me. I wanted to high-five all the kids, but they weren't all lined up conveniently and I was worried I was going to lose my running buddies.
 So I grabbed a waterbottle Scott threw at me and kept going, blowing a kiss on the way. Despite this, our group got separated about a mile later on a hill after a fluid station. We had a backup plan and it didn't involve slowing down (it was called see-you-at-home), so when I crested the final big hill and felt good I let loose on the downhill. I felt really good through about mile 24, then felt the exhaustion setting in. Still, I never hit a wall. I didn't have much of a sprint though. Right as I turned on Boylston Street for the final quarter-mile, Courtney sprinted past me. "I just wanted to get it over with faster," she said afterward. I finished in 3:03:54 and Anika finished about 10 seconds later.
 Victory! We grabbed our gear bags and Anika and Courtney chatted while I laid on the ground for a few minutes and caught my breath. We waddled to the train and got the royal treatment: Scott picked us up at the train station close to home so we didn't have to waddle the last half-mile. After a shower and a massage, we celebrated with Thai food and then took Anika to the airport. We are already plotting our next reunion, hoping to get our other roommates there next time.
 And now for the other highlights of the weekend. Phoebe had soccer practice on Saturday morning. She is super intense on the field.
 And so so fearless. After her game, she dumped an entire waterbottle over her head.
We also had an egg hunt on Saturday. We hid eggs in the park and let the kids find them. I was wondering if Bruce would be too old for egg hunts now, but no he is not. He ran around like a wild child just the same as ever. Oliver and Bruce have birthdays next month: Bruce will be 12!!!! And Oliver will be 4. Time to start party planning...

I'm also planning out what I'll be running next. I'm thinking about running a trail 50K in June, then marathon training while racing shorter distances in July, August, and September before running the Hartford Marathon in October. I ran my PR at Hartford in 2006 and it's time for a return - and hopefully a PR or close to it. I am older but I am stronger and more experienced. I really think I just need the right day to PR again. Hopefully that day will be October 14.

Labels: , , , ,