Mallory Runs Boston

The Race

Dear Boston,

You know how to throw one hell of a marathon.

The start was…weird. There were so many people and we were moving at such a slow pace to get to the start that we didn’t actually go into corrals. We just started jogging up to the start.

The first few miles of the course had spectators but it was pretty light (comparatively). I enjoyed it. Things were going pretty swell: the weather was wonderful, people around me were wearing cool things.

As the course went on, the spectators got heavier and heavier. Highlights: one town had people on little trampolines on the side, bouncing up and down! They were playing YMCA and OF COURSE, when the chorus came, everybody started doing the YMCA. I’m smiling just thinking about it. Later, we passed through a part where they were playing Sweet Caroline and guess what? WE ALL SANG ALONG. It was amazing.

Honestly, I thought Wellesly got outshined by the rest of the course. Maybe the girls were over it by the time I rolled through but I was expecting a lot from this scream tunnel. They were kinda meh. But a lot of people stopped for kisses and the girls were very gracious about giving and taking them.

(And I saw FOUR OTHER PEOPLE wearing shwings. Yeah, that’s right. It’s a thing) 

Then…the finish. The last few miles were just swarmed with people and when I turned onto Boylston, my best friend and our new bff  were RIGHT on the corner. SCREAMING. It was amazing.

And then it was done. I got a medal. I got some water. I had run the Boston Marathon.

Points off: the LONGEST walk to get through the finishing area. And then to get to the family meeting area. Come on BAA. We just ran 26.2 miles, surely you can hand me my food bag before you push some sort of nasty protein mix on me? It was about half a mile to get out of there, another 8 blocks to get around back to the family area.

The Run:

Honestly, the first 13 miles were pretty much on point for me. Everyone says you want to hold back on the downhills and save up your energy for Newton and the last half so that’s what I concentrated on doing. I tried drinking water at mile 5 but ended up with most of it on my shirt. Gel at 8, more water at 10, gel at 13. I hit 13 miles feeling a normal amount of fatigue but was fairly confident about it:

Split for the half was 1:44:35. Perfect.

And then…you guys, I don’t know. A combination of heat and hills and just plain old tired hit me. I hit the wall around mile 14. And I remember thinking in disbelief “no, this isn’t happening.” My legs were just not getting the turnover I wanted. And there were 12 miles to go. Newton was still up ahead. I was not feeling good. My neck was cramping. My legs were lead. For a while I thought maybe this was just a slump that I was going to get out of. Some miles are just like that.

Unfortunately, Boston doesn’t give you an opportunity to get out of slumps. “Course flattens out” my ass. Those are rolling hills the entire way. Little ones but it’s enough. And it was hot: there isn’t really any shade on the course. I started drinking water or gatorade at every other aid station. I was super paranoid that I was dehydrating. I also snagged two ice pops and they were the BEST THINGS EVER.

At some point, my Garmin also got paused and never restarted so guess what? Power save! And then it didn’t come back for a while. So I was disoriented on pace, on where I was in relation to the official mile markers. It wasn’t a nice thing to have happen.

Mile 18 was probably when I gave up on the PR. Again, I didn’t really know how far off my Garmin was (basic math skills at this point weren’t really happening) but I knew my pace was way down.

The hills of Newton were a battle but honestly, I just kept going. Slowly but steadily (I hoped).

I crested Heartbreak and wanted to cry because I wasn’t done and there were MORE HILLS. I didn’t think I was going to make it. Swear to God. People around me were walking and all I could think about was how everyone was getting these trackers on me and wondering wtf had happened.

But I kept going. I saw more people collapsing than I would have liked. I thought one of them might be me at some point. I couldn’t take my last gel at 23 because my stomach was so tight. I just took gatorade when I could. Another ice pop. My feet ACHED.

I started counting down by half miles. And then finally 1k to go. I was turning onto Boylston. My friends were at the corner cheering and I was so close to done.

Coming through the finish chute I was so happy to hit the mat and stop running.  I felt lightheaded and really bleary. I was still worried I was going to faint. I didn’t feel better until I ate the chips in the food bag (that’s why I was so focused on getting it. Cruel, BAA).


Real talk: I know Boston is tough. I know everyone says it’s not a PR course. However, I thought I could outsmart it. Aaah, pride goeth before fall.

And I don’t think I could have changed much. I was trained. My long runs were good. I was adequately fueled. But I couldn’t train for heat (thanks polar vortex) and didn’t train for the rolling hills. I don’t regret my training but I am hungry for that PR. I know I’m capable of sub-3:30. And I want to try that course again.  BUT, I’m not beating myself up about it. Too much 🙂

Summary: Best Race, Worst Run. I’ll be back.

Post was originally posted by Mallory on her blog.

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