Another Boston in the books! As much as I love Boston, the one thing that bugs me is that it comes and goes so fast! We just broke into the 50's this past week and already my spring marathon is history. Luckily I have a lot coming up this summer to look forward to and my fall marathon can rest comfortably on the backburners until July/August. Anyway, Cliff notes version of Boston... Race Number: 5012, Starting Position: Corral 5, Official Time: 3:05:02, Overall Place: 1,542/22,519
Race conditions were nearly ideal as I made my way to Boston Common to catch the bus to Hopkinton. Elizabeth and I took a cab to the buses and managed to get into a relatively quick moving line. In about 15 minutes we were loaded up and on our way to the start. When we finally made it to the athletes village (after having been lost and dropped off a mile from where we were supposed to be), we quickly made the decision to take refuge in the "second" athletes village, which was a lot less crowded and seemingly a bit more relaxed. We hung out with some of the runners from the Massachusets chapter of Team In Training until it was finally time to head towards the corrals. We peeled our sweats, lathered ourselves in sunblock and bodyglide and dumped our bags on the baggage buses, which were neatly lined up right outside of the school. Liz walked with me to my starting corral and wished me luck. I still had about 1/2-hour to kill so I did some light stretching and a lot of pacing around. I snuck out of my corral to make one last bathroom stop with about 5 minutes to spare. From my corral, I heard the starting gun go off and it was time to go. At first, I didn't move at all but after about 15 seconds the crowd started to walk, which shortly turned into a slow jog until finally the official starting line crossed under my feet and I was officially on the clock.
The downhill start at Boston is so dangerous because it's so tempting to fly down that first hill. However, on this day, the crowd wouldn't let me go any faster than about a 7:20 pace, which was the time of my first mile. My pace band had me going 6:34 for mile 1, but I didn't fret. I figured I could make that up slowly over the next 15-16 miles. I believe mile 2 was dead on and I was feeling confident of my ability to pace myself per my pace band. I started off wearing a light racing cap but peeled it after about 4 miles. At 10K I felt really good and was already thinking ahead towards the Heartbreak series of hills. I tried to keep my mind occupied by listening to nearby runners or simply eyeing runners up ahead to see if I could keep up. A few miles back I had passed the 2 "jogglers" who were aiming to break the world record for joggling. I was still on pace as I came into Wellesley College. The girls were out in force but not as loud as last year. Last year at this point I was desperately searching for a port-o-potty, but not this year. I cruised through the 1/2-way mark on pace for a 2:58. Although this was promising, I knew it'd be tough to maintain pace through the hills and then finish nearly as strong as I started. After Wellesley, the only thing left to do is prepare for the hills as they were only a few short miles away. I swear as soon as you see the sign for Newton, a hill appears! This time it was clear to me... the first hill of the Heartbreak series is the worst!! My splits fell off as did my legs. I crested Heartbreak and re-focused. I knew it was going to be very hard to clock 6:40's at this point so I just ran as hard as I could without looking at my clock too much. I passed Boston College and could see the famous Citgo sign up ahead. It was still about 2 miles away but it was a beautiful sight nonetheless. The crowds at this point really started to thicken up and helped to carry me through the final miles. At about the 25.4 mile mark, just prior to the new hill, I saw up ahead of me Rick and Dick Hoyt. I couldn't believe it! I had caught them despite their 1/2-hour head start. I was dreaming about seeing them in action and there they were. I pulled even with them and yelled some inspirational words in their direction. They didn't need to say a word. Just the sight of that man busting ass for his son was enough to get me through to the end and finish on a high! The turn onto Hereford and then on to Boylston was just as amazing as I remember from last year. I soaked it all in and managed to spot Teresa in the crowd near the finish! When we met in the family meeting area a few minutes after the finish, Teresa handed me a single pink rose and a big hug! I nearly cried because there are so many "moments" at Boston that I will cherish forever! This was surely one of them! My time qualifies me to come back again next year but I'm hoping to run my sub-3 this fall in Chicago and will use that time for my entry into Boston 2007.