It's fair to say that my performance at Boston didn't live up to my expectations but I enjoyed the experience none the less.
Here are a few scattered thoughts/memories from the day:
Since I was staying in Providence I had a friend attempt to drop my off in Hopkington. Due to my poor navigation we got off at the wrong freeway exit. Roads were shut down and we going absolutely nowhere. I had no choice but to walk all the way from the freeway to Hopkington (about 3 miles). No bus would stop and pick me, or the other people walking, up. Not the way I wanted to start my day but I don't feel it played into my poor showing.
Around mile 8 things started to go poorly. I felt great up to that point and was hitting my splits, not letting the hills draw me into a faster pace. I don't know what caused me to be flat on race day, but things just weren't clicking. I decided to slow my pace down for a few miles and see if I got through the rough patch and got a second wind.
At mile 12, heading into Wellsley, I decided to shut it down for the day. I was going to finish the damn race but I was going to try and enjoy myself. I was feeling poor and didn't feel like pushing it to the edge was worth it when even a 3:10 didn't look like it was in the cards. Slowing down and soaking up the atmosphere was the best decision I made all day.
The crown support blew me away. A few stretches in particular really impressed me:
Of course Wellsley is one of them. I'd heard all about it and pretty much knew what to expect but it's different when you experience it first hand. There are two cheering sections, one through campus with the screaming college girls and one through town. Every student had a sign that read something to this effect, "kiss me I'm a senior" or "kiss me I'm from California". It was pretty funny...there were definitley some guys taking them up on their offers - I was not one of them :). Regardless, the energy from everyone in Wellsley really gave me a boost of energy.
Newton was another section that was really neat. This is home of the infamous hills, the last one being coined "heartbreak hill". People come out in hoards to encourage the runners up the hills. You saw a lot of runners struggling here and the crowd couldn't have been more enthusiastic. I ran up every hill, in pain, with a smile on my face - the crowd was just too awesome to not be loving every second of it.
Boston College was another great section of the race. I was doing a lot of walking here...not proud of that but I was cooked. Boston College was a lot like a Buckeye tailgate party. You could tell that everyone had been up since sunrise drinking - lots of plastis cups. They were super enthusiastic and supportive of the runners. I was run/walking with my friend Jerry at this point and we seemed to be pretty popular. I had a shirt that read MIT (pretty convienent acronym) and my friend Jerry had his name screen-printed on his shirt. Since we were walking I think we got a little more "encouragement" from the crowd to get our buts moving. It was like a football game, the crowd would pick a runner and chant in unison, "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry, Jerry" on and on. Again, I couldn't help but smile.
Of course the last mile was magical. That damn Citgo sign taunts the runners for what seems like forever. You know that once you pass the huge sign you've got a mile to go, but you can see the darn thing from like 2 miles out. When you climb the hill up to Fenway the crowds got to get really packed and loud and all of a sudden you crest the hill and the Citgo sign is there. I was elated, releived, and for some strange reason my hamstrings and back gave me a momentary reprieve from the cramping. I took advantage and ran the entire last mile, high-fiveing everyone along the way. It was a great way to cap off the race.
So my time sucked (by my standards) but I enjoyed ever second of the last half of the race. I'm really glad I slowed down and let myself enjoy the race instead of running myself into the ground and being in agony for the last 1/2. I'll come back to Boston to try and improve upon my performance but I've got no regrets about my first Boston.
Expect to see me do a better job about keeping up with my blog during the summer months. As I gear up for the summer ultra's I'll have a lot more to write about. Hope to see you all on the trails soon!