I grew up just outside of Boston, in Sudbury, MA and for me going and watching the marathon was an annual tradition. During my younger years I was able to watch my mom and my dad both race and once I got my license I was the one driving my siblings around to cheer on my parents. Running Boston was my dream when I started running in 7th grade and my dream was to be the first American to win it and first local to win it. My high school XC and track coach, Pat McMahon, got 2nd in Boston back in the early 70's, running a 2:14 or so. So, for me Boston was always very important to me.
Once I got into triathlon my dreams of winning Boston were put on the back burner and now that I am 35 they are gone, but I knew that if I got the chance I wanted to run. My mom has run in 28 consecutive Bostons and this year my brother decided to run as well, so I ended up saying what the heck I want to run as well.
During the early months of 2018 I added in some more long runs and more marathon pace efforts, which are just about 70.3 triathlon run pace. I felt like I was in shape to run 2:35 or so, but the weather turned out to be a bit crazy.
Having grown up in the Boston area I know that it can snow anytime in April, my sophmore year of high school we were outside practicing for our first baseball game on March 31 in 70 degree weather and on April 1, we got a blizzard. This year was not quite that bad, but honestly snow would have been better than what we got.
The days leading into the race were perfect, but race day it was 34 degrees, with 20+ mph winds from the northeast (aka a headwind for the entire race) and cold rain. When we woke up the car had ice on it. Deciding what to wear in that situation is quite tough and there are two ways to go... wear a good amount of clothing and be a bit wet, but a bit warmer, or wear almost no clothing, be a bit colder, but not quite as wet. I chose to stay warmer and wear extra clothing.
The whole marathon experience was quite surreal for me, being on the other side of the rope was so different, but so amazing. We were able to stay warm until we headed out to the start line. I walked down to the start with my friend Tim Don (who is recovering from breaking his C2 the day before Ironman World Championships) and we could not believe how cold it was.
Waiting for the start was the hardest thing, we were outside for 30 or so minutes before we even could start and it was raining pretty good. I had some extra clothes on and once I threw those off it was almost game time.
I started off feeling fine, the first 5k of Boston is mainly downhill, so the goal is not to run too fast. Once everything settled down I was running right about the pace I wanted to run. The headwind was annoying, the rain was not that bad, but it was quite cold. As we made our way past miles 6 and 7 I knew the roads well and was feeling pretty good. As we got towards halfway I was beginning to feel a bit soppy with the extra clothes, my family was there to see me and I thought about throwing off my wet clothes, but once you take off clothes if you get cold it can get back, so I decided to keep them on.
After that things started going bad, I hit halfway at around 1:20 which was great considering the weather, but soon after around mile 16 my hamstrings started to tighten up. I tried to stretch them, but nothing seemed to work. I could no longer full extend my legs and it was not a good feeling. I spent the rest of the race managing them, having to stop a few times to stretch and walk, it was not the way I wanted to run.
I got it done and finished in 2:59:40, much slower than I wanted, but was so happy to have it done and have finally run Boston. I will be back and I will run faster.
I ended up getting diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring strain a week later, so I am happy that I did not try to push much harder after the hamstrings tightened up, or it could have been much worse.