Wednesday, April 22, 2015

eliot's 2015 boston marathon race report: guest post

it's a pleasure to post eliot's 2015 boston marathon race report.  of all the various "firsts" eliots's written about here as guest posts - this one is probably my favorite (and it has a great mid-race photo too!) :D

nothing (slight exaggeration) beats running boston!

My First Boston Marathon - #RunsWithASmile - April 20, 2015 - Eliot M. Lee

The gloomy forecast of rain, temps in the low-40’s, and strong 15-20 mph headwinds was not going to put a damper on my first Boston. In fact, once the race started, the raw elements were ‘hardly’ noticeable. Sure, there were times of steady rain, strong wind gusts and unavoidable puddles; but the warmth of the many, many volunteers and spectators spanning the entire course were a clear offset to any discomfort. This coveted first Boston Marathon (my marathon #49) is definitely up there as one of my running highlights as was my first marathon (New York City – November 2008).

I set myself two ‘time’ goals for this race: 1. Have a great time and 2. Finish somewhere around 3:35 – 3:40. My first goal was clearly met; and, the high expectations I had (given the ‘buzz’ of Boston) were far exceeded. As far as ‘finish time’ goes … 3:43:11 … a wee bit off the mark, but, I’m good with it as I can chalk that up to the weather … and to smiling and taking it all in (especially from Wellesley College to the finish).

I ran this one like I run most of my full marathons by targeting a 1:43 first half (+/- 2 minutes). At that point, I usually assess my condition and determine my goal for the second half of the race. I hit Wellesley College a little before the halfway point. I couldn’t resist the creative ‘kiss me’ signs in the ‘scream tunnel’ and went in for a few … more than a few, actually. In total, I think I kissed 25 gals. Surely, they needed to be recognized and rewarded for standing and screaming in the rain for hours … right? That was what I was telling myself anyway. Hehe. This was a PR for me (~25 kisses in about a minute). I was fast and kept good form.

I hit the half marathon mark at 1:45:32. At that point, I knew I would slow my pace closer to 9 minute/miles at around mile 16 through Newton and ‘Heartbreak Hill’ to arrive at Boston College at around 1:20 pm.

As I ran by Boston College, I kept my eyes and ears open for Taylor. Taylor is my first cousin’s daughter. I heard this loud cheer and scream from the side and saw Taylor as she reached over the barrier to ‘tackle’ hug me. She wanted to take a picture with me for her mom and started running along the course at my side. This was clearly the highlight of my day. So, we stopped to take a proper photo.

The rain and wind seemed to stop for the remainder of the race. I didn’t care about pace anymore and the last 5 miles were really a blur. I was simply absorbing the energy from the building crowds as I drew nearer to central Boston. I almost wanted to go slower just to prolong the experience. All I clearly remember was the ‘famous’ Citgo sign … then, making the left from Hereford onto Boylston. As most runners were making sharp left turns onto Boylston still cutting tangents; I went purposely wide, was all by myself and felt like everyone was cheering just for me. Running faster on the final Boylston stretch, I couldn’t help noticing the movement of the colorful flags to my left. Then, seeing the finish line getting closer made me throw my hands in the air. Done! My first Boston Marathon in the books and I think I smiled for the entire 26.2 miles.

I can’t wait to make it back here again.

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