Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 4: Race Day!

The 113th running of the Boston Marathon had 26,000 runners and 2 American hopefuls for the win; Ryan Hall for the men and Kara Coucher for the women.

The closest race in history can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Yfoz-lzx-0

Now, back to us mere mortals! I have a couple of thank you's to start.
- www.newbalancetoronto.com for some great shoes and kit!
- www.race4kids.ca for the inspiration to suffer! Please take the time to read about our cause and Donate here please - it is an important cause.
- Super-duper domestique Meredith for her unwavering support!
- Family, friends, and the team at Wells Fargo Canada for their patience in my chasing of dreams!

Boston is a monument in sport, and unchanged course from Hopkinton into the city, growing alongside the booming sport of running. Morning we take shuttle buses from Boston Common to the race start then wait for 2.5 hrs to get running. Once the F-15's fly over at 1200ft. the race starts its descent from Hopkinton to Ashland, keep downhill to Natick, a few little rollers keep you occupied, then past the halfway point before "the tunnel of love" in Wellesley. From Wellesley you run into Newton, make your first turn of the race and hit the famous Newton hills which is 5 miles of up, down, up, down, then up Hearbreak hill. From Heartbreak there are some rollers into Fenway, then two more turns before the finish downtown.

I was right on track at the half way to run my goal of 3:12 with a 1:35. My right quad was acting up but my mind was focused. Things were good and given my training I was pretty pleased. I kept noticing that I was passing people but that everytime I would crest a roller all I could see were people ahead of me! At Wellesley we can hear the roar of the women's college. Founded in 1870 because Harvard did not accept women, Wellesley is focused on providing women a high standard liberal arts education. They say, "to provide an excellent liberal arts education for women who make a difference in the world". Very cool...back to the race...the roar can be heard from a 1/2 mile away and gets progressively louder until you see the banners that say "GET YOUR EARS READY" and then there is a 1/2 mile of screaming students each with a banner asking you to kiss them! Yep - kiss them. Hence the term, "tunnel of love"! Rest assured Meredith, no stopping, I was far too busy-:)

After that amazing experience we run onto mile 17, turn right and hit the hills. Each on their own are not hard, each after one another between 17 and 21 miles is. I came out of Heartbreak hill feeling energized and still on pace. I had to stop for my second bathroom break, downed some coke and a gel, and followed the game plan. Up the tempo and GO!

Holding on, holding on, pass more people, keep going, keep attacking, 1 more gel, give 'er...this "racing" lasted about 7K.


5K to go the lights went out.

2K to go its a death march.

From 3:12 to 3:18 pace just like that. I love racing, roll the dice and give it your best shot. I am pleased.

Finally finished and sufficiently drained the ritual of finding clothes bag and family begins. We take the red-line back to hotel (where I have to say the locals are very gracious, free ride, give up their seat, ask how I enjoyed the marathon etc. all while I smelled REALLY BAD!)

Get cleaned up and downstairs for a few guiness before Meredith suprises me with a wonderful steak dinner at Morton's over Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet. Great way to end an amazing experience.

In closing, this race is a monument for a reason. The city of Boston embraces this race, every town had 5 to 10 people deep on the streets, the Red Sox fans leave Fenway park and hit the streets to cheer. Frat boys drink beer at 11am to cheer you own. The final 15K there is not a spot without people cheering. It really is unbelievable. And to close downtown completely for Patriot's day and hear no one complain is really a tribute to how Bostonians live. Kind, salt of the earth, east-coasters.

An amazing experience, thanks for reading.

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