My First Boston Marathon – Race Recap

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post but I just felt like I had to recap this huge race. Who would have thought I would qualify for this iconic race? I did track and field in high school but I was a jumper/sprinter and had no endurance whatsoever. I was one of the girls who dreaded long distance runs and would sometimes hide behind the bleachers in practice so our coach wouldn’t see us to get out of running, haha. I’ve come a long way and I’m proud to say that I just ran the Boston Marathon.

Leading up to the race, the weather showed rain, wind and temps in the 60’s. I was afraid of the higher temps since I wasn’t used to running in temps that warm. On Monday morning, I woke up around 6:15 am. I could hear the rain pelting outside and I was glad I had got a free poncho at the expo. I drank water, ate my usual bagel with peanut butter for breakfast and got ready. I was out of my hotel room around 7:50ish. From the 11th floor of the Boston Park Plaza, I waited for the elevator and was greeted by more people with ponchos. There were a lot of people in the lobby and it was nice seeing so many others heading to the buses. I was glad I wasn’t far from the Boston Public Garden and Charles St. where we were to load the buses. I was in wave 3 corral 5, so I was scheduled to load the buses starting at 8 am. It was rainy and windy. My feet were already wet even though I had shoe covers, but they weren’t waterproof, which I should have tested. Oh wells, I was kicking myself for not bringing my extra old shoes to wear first. But there was a quick check to make sure those going through had bib numbers and then I was heading to one of the buses with someone waving a green flag in front. I was glad to get on the bus pretty fast to get out of the rain. The bus ride seemed long and I ate a Health Warrior Chia Bar and a Stroopwafel along the way. I chatted a little with the guy sitting next to me who was from Mexico. It was his second time running the Boston Marathon which he ran last year. Once we arrived at the Athletes’ village, I was happy the rain had stopped and I got a quick pic. I just followed the crowd and decided to get in line for the bathrooms. It was muddy in some spots but not too bad.The lines were super long. I was so glad to see my friend Angie who spotted me in line.918779_287327548_XLargeWhile in line, it was about 10:15 am when I took my UCAN fuel. Then, pretty much after I went to the bathroom, Angie heard on the intercom for everyone to start heading to the start. Good thing she was with me because I didn’t hear it. Apparently, we were supposed to have left earlier but due to the long bathroom line, we didn’t realize. My wave was supposed to leave the village at 10:15 am, whoops.We did a little jog and warm up while heading to the start line.Getting close to the start there was a nice banner – “There’s Only One Boston And It All Starts Here!” I was getting excited!At 10:55 am, we were off. I couldn’t believe I was starting the Boston Marathon! Woohoo!Since I started later, there was a lot of weaving to get going at my desired pace. Supposedly if you start on time with your wave, you are grouped with similar paced runners so it’s better. For this race I decided to use a pace band from FindMyMarathon.com as a guide like I did in my last marathon. Coming into the race, I wasn’t sure about my goal time but decided on 3:36 to follow as a guide. I picked the conservative start, even effort band.Mile 1 – 8:33 – I was feeling good but it was hard to get going with so many people so there was a lot of speeding up and slowing down to zig zag through. Miles 1-6 is mostly downhill and besides the first mile I was pretty close to the band for those miles.
Mile 2 – 8:12
Mile 3 – 8:14
Mile 4 – 8:00
Mile 5 – 8:20 – Got a pic entering Framingham.
Mile 6 – 8:11 – Miles 6-10 were relatively flat. Still feeling good. I was hi-fiving with the crowd. So fun!
Mile 7 – 8:09
Mile 8 – 8:15 – It was cool to run with Angie for the first half of the race. In the beginning I lost her a lot since we were weaving and then I’d see her again. Had to take a running selfie 🙂 Mile 9 – 8:12
Mile 10 – 8:17
Mile 11 – 8:15
Mile 12 – 8:08 – I think it was just after mile 12 and the gal next to me said, “Do you hear that?” and I was like whoa, it was the Wellesley College girls screaming. The scream tunnel was coming. It was fun to see all the girls out cheering and their signs. Mile 13 – 8:17 – Still feeling pretty good despite it being warm. I decided to refill my Simple Hydration Bottle with Nuun around 13.4 miles. Before that I was taking Nuun every couple of miles and using pretty much all of the aid stations to dump water on me or drink some. I did try some Gatorade Endurance as well once my Nuun ran out.
Mile 14 – 8:23 – I was pretty close to the band splits but this mile was off most likely due to the stop to refill.
Mile 15 – 8:20
Mile 16 –7:59 – Entering Newton, I knew the tough hills lay ahead. It was rough!
Mile 17 – 8:48 – There are four hills in Newton with the famous Heartbreak Hill after mile 20. These were hard! My legs were just not moving fast enough and the heat was getting to me. The crowds were awesome though! I did take my UCAN gel I made after mile 17.
Mile 18 – 8:53
Mile 19 – 8:26
Mile 20 – 8:55
Mile 21 – 9:41 – My splits were way off the pace band and I was just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. The hills were a killer. I was wearing my awesome AfterShokz headphones for added motivation from my music. It’s nice because I could still hear the crowd with them on!
Mile 22 – 8:49 – I wasn’t sure when I finished Heartbreak hill until I saw signs. At this point I knew the tough part was behind me and was hoping I could pick things up but it wasn’t happening. I was struggling.
Mile 23 – 9:02 – Somewhere there was someone with a hose and oh my it was cold, but so refreshing and felt so good! So thankful for that and all the thoughtful cheering spectators!
Mile 24 – 9:37 – I think it was after mile 23 when my right quad got tight and felt like it was going to cramp. I didn’t want to stop running so I hoped to run it off but it was getting harder. It just got worse and I ended up walking for a little and then tried to run again but then my calf cramped too. So I walked and ran a couple of times. I remember walking with some guy who also cramped and said each time he tried to run he would cramp. I decided to try again and left him when I saw the Citgo sign.
Mile 25 – 10:41 – When you reach the Citgo sign, there’s a mile to go. Mile 26 – 11:52 – I was happy to be running again even if it was slow. It was time to enjoy what was left of the race.Mile 26.44 – 9:39 – So happy to finish this epic race!!This race didn’t go as well as I hoped but it was amazing nonetheless. So grateful to just be a part of it. 30,000+ runners started at Hopkinton and ended in Boston. I was one of them! HUGE thanks to the volunteers and spectators who truly make this race such an awesome one!

Once I finished, it began to rain and got super windy. I even saw porta potties being blown to the other side of the road. But I was glad I saw my friends at the end. Woohoo, we did it Mariah, Shannon and Angie! Official time was 3:50:42. It wasn’t a PR or a BQ but it was a finish. Isn’t finishing what matters most? I earned my unicorn medal. When I ran my first full marathon in 2015 with a time of 4:26:33, I didn’t think I’d run the Boston Marathon. Look at me now, it still seems pretty crazy to me, but dreams do come true. Running has really given me more confidence and strength in knowing that what may seem impossible is actually doable. It may take some time but if you keep working at it, you’ll get there. This was my 7th marathon, and it was such a memorable one. But of course I couldn’t have done it without the support of my awesome family! Huge thanks to my hubby who came to Boston with me and puts up with my running habit! Thanks to my parents who took care of the kiddos while we were gone! Also, big thanks to my run coach, Dawn! She’s coached me the last couple of years and has helped so much in getting me to Boston. I do hope to run Boston again. Until then, happy running!

My finish line video courtesy of hubby.

8 thoughts on “My First Boston Marathon – Race Recap

  1. Huge congrats Sherry! You did an amazing job in tough conditions on the toughest marathon course I’ve ever run. Glad you soaked it all up. It is so epic! Much like you I was a sprinter. I was SO NOT a distance runner but with a shift in mindset it can be done!

    Liked by 1 person

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