This was not one of my better run races; not by long shot. I’m not really upset by that though.
First the basic facts:
This was my second Boston and 12th marathon finish.
Finish time of 3:28:52 was my third fastest marathon and a minute faster than last year..
My PR from last fall was 3:17:53.
Goal for Boston was 3:15.
The weather forecasts a week or so before the race was predicting conditions very similar to last year: cold, wet, and significant headwinds. As the race got closer this started to change to warmer temperatures but still wet. The prediction for winds were pretty varied but in the couple of days before looked like it would be a tail wind. I wasn’t too happy about temperatures in 60s but thought that with the cloud cover, some rain and tailwind it might be okay. So what happened with weather? It was actually pretty nice at the start; it felt almost cool, it was cloudy, not much wind. Unfortunately, the temperatures only got warmer and at about the halfway point the sun actually came out. (Note that it did rain later but by that time I was walking from my hotel to a bar to meet my running club buddies.)
I picked a pace band at expo for my goal time (3:15). This wasn’t a generic pace band with even splits (7:26) but rather, considered the downhills and uphills of the Boston course. My pacing for the first 15 miles was pretty close. I knew the Newton hills would be hard but was hoping that I could grind through and recover and get back on pace for the last five miles. Unfortunately, I started to struggle mightily on the hills and ended up taking walk breaks on the third hill and on Heartbreak hill (miles 20 and 21). By the time I got to Boston College is was in survival mode and taking a walk break every mile. The upside (?) was that I had plenty of company.
I may have been in 3:15 shape but just not in 3:15 shape for a warm Boston day. The decision to go for a significant PR at Boston was certainly bold but I already had a BQ (minus 17 minutes) from the Marine Corps Marathon last fall so I felt like I was playing with house money.
The upside of a “nice” spring day was that the spectators were really out in force. I was really in awe of the number of spectators out last year in that miserable weather but this year there were at least 3 times (or more) out there. The singlet I wore to race included the Maryland state flag and I got a lot of cheers for that; it was really nice to hear “Go Maryland!” and “Terps” throughout the day.
I probably could feel upset and frustrated about not hitting (or even coming close) to my goal. I’m not. I was last year (which had a similar story) but I think that I so enjoyed the process of training for the race that the race result wasn’t the most important thing. There are a couple truths: you can’t control the weather and the Boston course is tough. I would have loved to have run a PR (or even just decent race). Hopefully, if all goes well this summer, I’ll be toeing the line at the Marine Corps Marathon ready to run a new PR. And next April I’ll be back in Boston.