Running the 121st Boston Marathon (Road to Boston) The Final Report

I made two mistakes... one, I laid down. Bad idea... Two... I tried to take my shoes off.. another bad idea..

This became very apparent when my left calf seized up, causing the most excruciating pain I have ever felt! Screaming like a baby in front of about 100 people around me though didn't seem to phase me one bit!

Meanwhile,  Heather was quietly dry heaving on the other side of the walkway. No one even noticed!

I am such a baby when it comes to pain!


Well, not yet!

Our vacation started with heading up to Norfolk on Friday night... we had a 5:50 AM plane to catch! ....With United Airlines! I was just worried we might get the beat down if the plane was overbooked! 

We left the Outer Banks around 2:30 PM to head up, catch some dinner and hit the sack early! 
Cruising through Currituck we noticed the crop fields filled with these beautiful and bright yellow flowers! Heather mentioned it would be cool to grab a photo in the midst of all those flowers! Being spontaneous.... we stopped! Frolicking through the field for few minutes we clicked off a few selfies! :) It was a fun time!

Field Frolicking!

We made it to the hotel and settled in for an early bedtime... alarm was set for 3AM!

We arrived in Boston around 9 AM on Saturday and Uber'd to our hotel... The Godfrey, right in the heart of Boston, Just outside the Common area! We were way to early for check in but we thought we would see if they could hold our bags so we could head to the expo!

We were joking around with Shawna the front desk clerk for a minute about them maybe getting our room ready and she asked us to hang out for a few, that they might be able to get it ready.... But then she called me back to the desk and asked if I would mind if she upgraded us to a studio room for no extra charge!!! Hell no I wouldn't mind!! This is what we got.... Sweet Room! and we trashed it by the time we left!! :) But this is totally how we left it!! ;)

The Godfrey Hotel

We settled our stuff in and took off for the expo. It was about mile down the road so we just decided to walk! The weather was awesome, in the 70's! 
The route to the expo took us by the the Boston Marathon's finish line and there were hundreds of people milling around, taking photos, checking things out, etc!

There was a lot going on! The streets were packed!

...and we were starving!

A cool little Irish Pub named Solas sat right there by the finish line so we decided to have lunch and a cold beer sounded pretty good too at this point! It was a great lunch and the beer was cold! We left happy and content!!

Solas Irish Pub

We passed by and kept heading toward the expo site! When we arrived... or  rather stopped in the line to get in.... we were about a quarter mile from the door to get in! It was a crazy long line to get in and once we got in, then we had to get on another line for the packet pick up. This line went pretty fast! 

It was finally official! We had our bibs for the 121st Boston Marathon! It would be my 22nd marathon and my first Boston. It was Heather's 9th Marathon and her 2nd Boston! Yup! I am with experienced company! I know how to travel!! :)

Bib number 10931!

She's Got it!!
Showing off our Bibs!

We entered in to the expo and headed right to the Adidas store to check out the celebration jackets... these are the jackets you see people wearing who qualified for Boston at various races throughout the year! I really liked this years colors! They were not cheap though with a $110 price tag.. but hell, this is Boston.. You have to get one! 

Heather decided against the celebration jacket and went with a storm chaser jacket instead. It was darker and looked really great on her!  So she grabbed that instead! 

We were lucky enough to catch up with our [virtual] running partner and great friend Emily right at the check out before heading into the general area of the expo. We chatted for a bit and then we headed our separate ways for the meantime!

We navigated the expo and got the hell out out of there.. our legs were killing us! We had a marathon to run in a couple days and we've been on our feet all day!

But not before a walk over to the local running store! Heartbreak Hill Running Company. A cool little running store. Lots of apparel, good shoe selection and a really nice owner! We chatted him up a little bit, bought a couple of his logo hats and Heather got a racer back tank with the Heart Breaker Logo on it.. a Broken Heart, if you will! She decided that she was  going to wear that on race day!

Sunday brought a trip to Quincy Market! We both had our first hot buttered lobster roll and heather got picked by a street acts to assist in his show! I got most of it on video!! he was great but Heather made the show awesome!! I'm sure he'll be inviting her back!! :)

Ready to kill this lobster roll!

Happy Girl with her Lobster Roll!

Later that evening we met my good friend Jason, Emily and her husband Mike at a restaurant called the Tip Tap Room! Jason is an air marshal and spends more time in the sky then he does on the ground! He called me a week before Boston and said he was going to be landing in Boston on Sunday and that hopefully we could get together! It totally worked out and we had a blast!! It was a quick visit bit we had a great time!!

Outside the Tip Tap Room
From Left: Shane, Heather, Emily, Mike, Jason

Heather outside the Tip Tap Room

Our pre race dinner later that night was some take out pasta we got from around the corner from our hotel. We basically scarfed it down sitting Indian style on the floor. I didn't feel like I ate a whole lot before I felt full! We cleaned up and went to bed! Big day tomorrow!!

Race Day

I'm pretty sure the alarm went off at 5. We needed to get up, get ready and be out the door by 7 to walk down to the commons area and be ready when they called us to get on the bus from Boston to Hopkinton. When we arrived at the bus area, it was just waiting game until we got called. Again we caught up with Emily and then by a crazy chance in hell.. we saw Pete! Twenty-six thousand people and we saw Pete.. he almost walked by us but I saw him and called his name! Just crazy!! A short time after that we saw Amy and Brittney! Yes! We had a good representation from the OBX in Boston.. 10 in all, I believe!

From left: Shane, Pete, Emily, Heather

A short time later it was bus boarding time! We jumped on and and when the bus filled, we were off! I broke out the phone a did a little Facebook Live!! I never do that... but this was a special occasion!!

Out of the bus it was a good walk over to athletes village! This wear all the runners congregate, use the port-a-johns and pretty much just hang out until their wave is called! We hopped  on the bathroom line because, yes... we all had to go. The lines were everywhere and some were really long. We managed to find one that was relatively short! Once we got through the line and did our business, the secret among seasoned Boston Runners like Heather and Pete is that once you come out of the port-a-john, you just get right back on line! Just in case you have ot go again... you're already on line! We did this twice but I never had to go again after that first time... And I even grabbed a coffee there too!!

Athletes Village

Heather & Emily in Athletes Village

Heather and I drank our UCAN and finished it up shortly before our wave was called!

We said goodbye to Pete and Emily, wished them a great race and we were out! It was quite the walk to the start too... but on the way we saw a guy with a big sharpie marker so we stopped to see if he would share! he handed me the marker and just said to give to the next guy! I wrote "Heather" down her left arm and she wrote "Shane"down my right arm.  I ended up writing some names on other runners before handing the marker off to some one else! Both Heather and myself were in Wave 2. Heather's qualification (3:27) got her in corral 7. Mine (3:19) got me in corral 3, but since Heather and I were running together, I jumped back to her corral.

The race was about to start and it was 68 degrees! This was going to be a very hot run to Boston!

We edged up as the first corrals were released and before you know it... the race has started! Hands on our Garmin's to make sure we start them as we run over the timing mat!

Two marathon attempts, 40 weeks, 1600 some odd miles, roughly 240 hours, some 35 thousand feet of elevation training and a whopping 21 minutes off my best marathon time...

I am running the Boston Marathon!! This is AMAZING!!!

And I am running it with my passion partner and my best friend! There is no one else I would rather be running this with right now and no place I'd rather be!

The beginning of the course is just completely downhill. The decent can totally wreck your quads early on so it's best to keep your pace modest at this point. Never over run the down hill especially this early in the race! we were feeling good none-the-less!

But the heat was apparent!

We ended up running primarily on the left hand side of the road throughout the course. Heather, having her name written on her left arm, was getting all kinds of crazy shout outs!!

"Go Heather!!"
"Go Heath-eerrr!!"
"Go Heathah!!"

Over and over again she was getting the love!!  ... and every time she did, she give a little "woo-hoo" as a thank you of sorts!! Love for Me? Not so much! Oh.. My name was written on my right arm! The only people seeing my name were other sweat-laden runners who, if were going to say anything to me, might be.. "get of my way, man"!!

"Wooo-Hoo!" ..oh sorry!

Then we started hearing something else.. the crowds were noticing Heathers racer-back tank with the "broken heart" on it...

"Go Heart Breaker!" they yelled! or "Go Hotbreakah!!" if they happened to be local!!

Heather was eating this up! She loved it and it gave her motivation!!

And motivation was running out for me quick.. the heat was intense and I had no idea as we approached mile 11 how hot the temps had risen but... holy hell it was hot!

I had been grabbing 3 cups water at every aid station (they had one at every mile). two to pour over me and one to drink! We were taking a little bit of gatorade at every other one just to get some electrolytes back in us... we kind of forgot about the detail! :)

Truth be told, I was struggling! I started feeling it around mile 11 but was pushing through! Heather appeared to be doing great! I felt like I was holding her back. She knew I wasn't doing well. She could have pressed on but we had said all along that we were running this together and that mean finishing it together too.

We really didn't have a any time goals, we had also maintained that we were here to enjoy this marathon and not race it! We may have a had a few goals up our sleeve, secretly... but with the heat.. it's just hard!

My perceived effort was getting harder and by mile16 or so.. I was running out of gas and we still had 10 miles to go! that's like another hour and a half of running!

Shit man!!

Paces through mile 16

At mile 20 was the infamous "heartbreak hill", a long gradual incline portion of the course that's just known to wreck runners as they approach the last 10k of the marathon.

I was three quarters up it before I even realized we were on it! Heather was behind me at this point only because she had been slowing down to take water at the aid stations.. she caught up to me and for the first time, we stopped to walk a little.. heather said she wasn't feeling good either.. we were both struggling at this point! and still 6.2 miles away from the finish line!

We pressed on!

Heather said "okay, I can still qualify for Boston 2018, lets make sure we do that!"

I was hearing her but I was nervous! I was unsure!

We were still clicking along at an okay pace but we were walking more now. Picking places along the course to start running again or stop to walk again!

We were getting closer. I was looking at my watch. thinking about Heathers BQ time and factoring in our pace and what our pace was  going to need to be.

I hate math! And I hate doing it while I am running!!

But the result of the equation was good news! If we could maintain a 10 minute pace or under she would qualify. This was not going ot be a problem.. we still a had some sub nine's under out belt.

I was suddenly feeling confident...
I was feeling sick too! But at least I had some confidence mixed in!

"Right on Hertford, Left on Boyleston" as the shirt reads!

This when you see me smile! the last two turn before crossing the finish line!

That right on Hertford is quick, Hertford is a short road, so that left comes fast!

Once on Boyleston, we had a little ways to go! The finish line was small and in the distance!

We kept moving and picked up our pace.. or at least we thought we did, it would end up being my slowest mile at a 9:30 pace! I didn't care though..

Heather and I grabbed each others hands as we approached the finish line! With our hands held together, raised up over our heads... we crossed the finish line of the 121st Boston Marathon!

I felt amaz.... no! I felt dizzy! I felt like I was going to drop at any moment, passing out amidst thousands of people! I saw a medic with a chair. I sat down for a minute! I needed salt, badly! they didn't have any!

I got up from the chair and we got our medals and other goodies before making our way out of the finish line shoot! Heather grabbed a space blanket and I did not! It was very long walk to get out, the walk of torture I am going to call it! but we finally made it and it suddenly got very cold.

I was now freezing! My shirt was drenched from water and I am regretting not grabbing that space blanket!!

Either way, we caught up with Emily finally outside the finish line area and hung out for a bit and then someone grabbed a photo of us!!

 right after we finished.

We said our goodbye's to Emily but would later meet them out for dinner! Heather and I walked back to our hotel and freshened up for a little fun before meeting Emily and Mike! We wore our Boston Jackets and dawned our medals!! We wore them proud that night!

We earned them!

Heather and I at Legal Crossing after the race!

At the Boston Marathon Finish Line!

Spending some time at Cheers!


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