2023 Boston Marathon: Race Day!

Sunday, the night before the Boston Marathon, I was getting so amped up with all the ‘good luck’ texts, I had to turn on do-not-disturb at 7pm just so I can quiet down. Night before races are already super hard and Boston Marathon was no exception. I had trained a lot harder for the qualifier and the plan for Boston, was to stay consistent and respect the distance. TL:DR, it was a gorgeous day out (though with headwinds and downpour)! Hearing about the cheering crowd and experiencing them are totally different! Here’s my Strava activity:

Boston Marathon: Getting to Hopkinton

The original plan was for my 21yo to give me a ride to Hopkinton, but I started freaking out with the traffic, congestion, etc. Luckily, I got introduced to the Tufts Marathon Team coach Don Megerle (coaching Tufts for 51 years!) who graciously offered me to ride the Tufts bus to the finish line and then take the BAA buses. That worked out pretty well!

I hopped on the Tufts bus at 8am, which got me to Boston Common by 8:40am. I don’t think I’ve seen this many school buses in one stretch!

Had my poncho on as it was drizzling a little and once boarded, the bus left around 9:00am. Struck a conversation with Claudia, who was from Columbia and a 62 year young grandma! This was gonna be her first Boston as well and was shooting for a sub-4:00. With her broken English and my broken Spanish, we had quite the conversation going!

The coach had warned me that I would literally have to get off the bus and start running and he was pretty accurate. The bus pulled into Hopkinton at 9:55am and I started to slow jog through the crowd to Corral 5 and prolly spent a minute before starting to run! Talk about perfect timing.

Off we go!

I’ve never run in such a crowd before (both runners and spectators) and adrenaline was on high. We were all in the “I’m feeling so awesome” phase of the marathon. A quick stop at a potta potty on mile 1 and kept the pace pretty relaxed. Overcast, a little drizzle, high humidity, I wasn’t sure if the water on my face was from the sweating or the rain.

The first “milestone” was at mile 9 at the Tufts Marathon Team tent where I told the coach I’d stop and say hi to him. My son also drove out with a couple of friends to cheer me!

I was popping gels every 40 minutes and everything just felt relaxed. Was keeping an eye out for mile 16 downhill followed by the series of climbs to the heartbreak hill. As I passed the half way point and kinda in a trance, I was snapped awake by the students of Wellesley College. Holy smokes, they were loud, prolly the loudest bunch along the course. I caught a number of signs that all started with “Kiss me because I’m a …”, completed by “senior”, or “cute”, or “catholic”, or “vegan”, etc. I was laughing as I passed them.

Right past the mile downhill before mile 16, popped another gel and down came the rain. The wind picked up and we were all soaked in an instant. I was worried about nipple chaffing, but there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it. Just stayed consistent and worked the hills and just when I thought I’d reached the bottom of heartbreak, I saw a big banner that said “congrats on summiting heartbreak“. Huh, okay then. Mile 21, just 5 to go. The long downhill felt pretty good, though I could feel the early signs of cramping. Shortened the strides and hoped it would go away.

Saw my friend Preetha who lives in Brookline in the spectators, said hi, and kept moving. Walked a little bit while grabbing one more gatorade (most I’ve drank in a race – humidity?) and I could see the Citgo sign up ahead (mile 25!).

Even if I wanted to walk now, the crowd wouldn’t have let me. Turned the corner on Hereford and then Boylston, and there was the finish line. I was just all smiles and crossed the finish line in 3:38. I was expecting to land somewhere between 3:30 and 3:45 and was pretty much on target. I prolly walked just for a 100 yards or so for the full length of the marathon and that felt pretty good!

Boston Marathon: End Notes

I was shivering pretty bad, despite the thermal blanket. Since I took the Tufts bus, I didn’t have time for gear check. With so many runners, decided to take the T out for a couple of stations where my son would pick me up. Boy, the stairs down to the Arlington T was much harder than Heartbreak! Just when I was telling myself how efficient the subway was, there was a mechanical failure. Had to walk out to Park station, realize there’s a 30 minute delay, walk back up when finally my son was able to pick me up.

The day after, my euphoria is still pretty high, and I’m mostly just grateful that I was able to qualify and run Boston Marathon before my son graduates this May. This one’s definitely special. For now, I’m happy to go back to the trails and run for a while with no watch, pace or goal in mind. Looking forward to that. Happy trails!

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