Boston Marathon Team Thomo recap
An absolutely awesome event…would love to do it again. Scott’s Six-Star Medal Run.
Despite managing an injury throughout the training cycle, I went into Boston feeling the strongest and fittest and most prepared to run a marathon than ever before. I was ready. A PB was a real chance. Scott was carrying an injury too, but we knew we could make it.
We awoke on marathon morning to thunderstorms with weather predictions suggesting the rain would pass, then there would be sun, then there would be more rain with wind thrown in, but the wind should be a tail wind 🙂 Overall, not too bad of a forecast. Bring on the rain I say; the sun is my nemesis.
The start line is in Hopkinton, a 45-minute bus ride out of Boston, so to get there the B.A.A. transport you to the start line by way of yellow school buses from Boston. It was raining when we left Boston, but it had reduced to showers by the time we got to the start. Due to the inclement weather forecast, the B.A.A. made a change to the start line procedure so we precious athletes didn’t have to stand around in the mud getting wet and cold for too long, a lesson learned from last year. After the first two waves took off, waves 3 and 4(ours) headed for the start line (about a 1km walk away) in one big rabble, and rather than have us stand around in the cold and rain waiting for a starting gun in our corrals, we all just wandered towards the start line, and just pressed ‘go’ on our watches when we crossed the first timing mat & started running. It was all a bit underwhelming and anti-climactic, but I appreciated how our health and safety was a top priority.
So we were off. We’d studied the course carefully before the day and had a conservative plan of attack, especially as the first few Kms were downhill. The rain had stopped, and it was warm, a balmy 19ish degrees, so a few Kms in I ditched the raincoat and tried to find my rhythm. 5kms down and I was in need of a wee stop as I didn’t get one at the start area. I picked a quiet stop, short queue -should be in and out in a minute…but noooooo…..not THIS time…everybody in front of me was spending forever in those plastic cubicles, so 5+ excruciatingly long minutes later I emerged and got back into the race. This put me 4 mins behind our goal time, so things weren’t looking good for the rest of the day for a PB, but that didn’t really matter; I just wanted to finish well. For some reason though, I wasn’t feeling comfortable & things were way harder than they should have been. By the 10km mark I realized that the discomfort I was feeling was largely due to my right hip inexplicably and unexpectedly seizing up, and then that evil ball of fire in the sky came out and turned all of the aforementioned rain on the ground into 88% humidity. Ugh!
By 15kms in, I was really struggling. The hip was a real problem and I was suffering with the heat as well, so as much as it shattered me that my race had turned pear-shaped so early on, we had to get this thing done. Enter walk/run strategy: 2min run, 30 second walk for the remaining 27km. I was so disappointed for Scott too, as this was his Six-star run, and due to his injury walking was painful for him…we HAD to finish this by the cut-off and I was holding him back and making him walk.
The run itself is absolutely wonderful, as it has a real community spirit and small-town vibe, as the route takes you through several smaller towns along the way where all of the locals come out to support the runners and boy do they support well! They brought out food, drinks, paper towel, ice, beer, dogs, and so much good-will it was simply amazing. Even the security and emergency services people cheered you on as you passed through their town.
All through our training we were preparing for the series of three hills that start at the 30km mark, and it was really good to get them done. It was such a welcome sight at the 35km mark to see Michael from Travelling Fit waiting for us to give us a much-needed hug and morale boost. Being an international runner with no other family or friend support, Travelling Fit really make you feel like you are part of their family, and a simple gesture like this means a lot, making it so much more than a tour company. They go above and beyond to ensure their clients have the best experience possible.
After the 35km mark, it’s pretty much a downhill run to the finish, and it’s not until the last 4ish Kms where you actually enter Boston. There is a huge Citgo sign you can see from a few Kms away that signifies 1mile to go, and it was so fantastic to get to this landmark which is in the Centre of Boston. This last mile is where the crowds have swollen to epic proportions and lift you to carry you home. When you turn in to the final street the finish line is about 500m straight in front of you and is the most glorious sight. Scott really drew on this support in the final stretch and got lots of extra cheers for his cheeky antics 😉
As we approached the finish line, Scott grabbed my hand and held it high as we crossed over the final timing mat at the finish line. We made it, and most importantly, Scott got his Six-star medal. He was so patient with me throughout and was my voice of reason when I wasn’t thinking clearly. Without him my day would have been a disaster. It’s thanks to him I made it in time. Overall, we were 30ish minutes slower than what we’d trained for, but you get that in distance running; you have to adapt to the conditions and adjust your expectations accordingly when things go awry.
Our sincere thanks and gratitude to those who sent messages of support and cheered us on from afar… and for Travelling Fit for getting us to the start line in the first place.