Boston Strong that was the theme of 2014! After the awful bombing attacks of 2013 (which I ran that year also) The running world and city of Boston came back stronger than ever and put on one amazing event!! I have run Boston 6 times and nothing was like this year. The excitement the massive crowds, the over the top security etc….
So when I got injured during a 20 mile run on Feb.15th I said to myself I need to be Boston Strong! I need to figure out how to heal and how to run this marathon. So for the next few weeks after that day I could not run, could so some biking and swimming but not running. I spent days going for massage, chiropractic care, you name it I was trying it. Then I had a MRI and they found that my faucet joints were pinching nerves that shoot into my left glute and that my discs had some pretty bad degeneration. I was also dealing with some pirformis issues.
So really I was running in pain and having lousy training right up until the race. My final runs the week of the marathon were the first time I started saying hey I might make it through this thing? And that was thanks to Josh at OSR and his understudy Matt who worked some PT magic on me and found some things out of whack in my hips that were pulling on things.
So my training sucked and not to mention the Polar Vortex, but Boston Strong I was determined to be and so come race day I had no expectations just to finish! (my goal was to break 3 hours also) The weekend kicked off flying out Saturday morning with a bunch of my good friends who I coach. One thing that always makes Boston so special every year is that as a coach runners want to make it here, and so I work with them and help them qualify and then once they make it I share in the journey of coaching them for the race and then racing it with them.
The Boston marathon expo.. was out of this world crazy busy this year! I have never seen it like this and the “official” Boston gear was so picked over and sold out by the time I got there it was a huge bummer. So we all bought the jackets, enjoyed what we could before the crowds wore us down. That night we ventured into the North end and had a fabulous Team dinner at a great little Italian joint.
Sunday morning (Easter) a few of us woke up and went out on the streets for an easy 3.5 mile shake out run that I even lead them on the final mile of the course. That really got the juices flowing and everyone was getting excited now!
After that Andrew and I took a cab and drove part of the course mostly checking out the Newton Hills. That was quite fun and helped give Andrew perspective on the course.
Race day: Like the past 5 Boston marathons I have run the morning kicked off meeting up with the Life Time Run group and boarding a bunch of busses to the start line. But this year things were much different because of security and where the busses had to park and how it was not easy to leave and come back to this area etc… Then when it was time to leave the bus and go to the start corral you were forced to go through “Athlete village” and then were held up by security again and you were released to your start corral based on your wave and corral number. This to me was a royal pain in the rear and took me out of my rhythm. But once I got down to the corral area I was able to find space and get into my normal warm-up routine.
The marathon: well like I said earlier this year I had no time goal and no real expectation of how I would do? I was not even sure if I would run pain free or not. I did know that no matter what I was going to finish and finish Boston Strong! So the gun went off and away we went, I did all I could to hold myself back and try to keep my pace slow so I stayed in the 6:03 mile pace range and held that pretty steady for 10k but then I was like I need to slow even more so I did and so on I went the longer the race went the more I slowed and by the time the Newton hills came I was shot! Between the heat of the day and strong sun (52 degrees to start and 70 by finish) bright sun and a new sunburn! And being out of shape things were not feeling good. I think some dehydration was setting in but mostly what was setting in was lack of training, and especially the lack of tempo and speed work. Anyway I just kept pushing on with quads screaming at me some slight pain coming from that faucet joint area into my low back and a lot of just being whipped by the heat of the sun. But during the entire race no matter how I was feeling no matter what my paces were doing I stayed positive and strong. I was focused on getting my finisher medal that day no matter how long it took! The people of Boston were amazing!! The crowds were insane!! So loud it was like an ACDC concert or something I was loving the energy in the air and that truly powered me on this run. If this course was dead and quiet I think I would have died out on those hills and never finished. So thank you people of Boston! I just kept breaking down the race into small segments, chucking along the best I could. The frustrating thing was my heart rate was low my breathing was relaxed and easy but my legs were just screaming at me! (That is a clear sign of not enough hard tempo miles and training the legs to flush lactic acid build up) once I saw the 1k to go sign and was going up commonwealth so close to making that turn onto Hereford I was getting excited! Sure my legs were dead and I was not running so fast but my heart was pumping full of excitement because there is nothing like that run down Boylston street to the finish line so I gave it all I had! Again the crowds were louder than I have ever heard in my 5 previous runs here. Once I crossed the finish line I was done fell over a volunteer caught me got me in a wheelchair and away to medical I went.
Medical is a typical place for me to end up because no matter the day I only no one way to compete and that is to run myself into the ground. Lying in medical I said my feet feel like they are on fire and have for the last 10-12 miles. So they took my shoes off and then quickly said don’t look and we need a podiatrist. So here comes the foot DR, I had one huge massive blood blister on my little toe on the right foot. They drained it and cleared the fluid from it and got me bandaged up. it was painful and nasty!
So Boston 2014 was over my finish time 2:56 one of my slowest times in a marathon but still sub 3 hour, I have run Boston 6 times now and all 6times have been sub 3 hour marathon. That is something I’m pretty proud of!
The post race party was great dinner and drinks with these amazing and inspiring athletes I coach was the perfect ending to a magical day on that 26.2 mile course!
The city of Boston is a special place and every Patriots day I plan to be there running in the greatest marathon in the World! I thank all the volunteers and people who help put on this event and make it so special for us runners. April 21st 2014 will truly be a special day and weekend I never forget, it was the day the runners took back their race and the city of Boston took back their city! No living in fear!
Congrats to all of those who left blood, sweat, and tears along the course! Congrats to you for having the courage to come and run and to fight through whatever adversity you may have faced. Congrats to you for crossing that finish line!
I love the Boston marathon! And I can’t wait for 2015!
Nice work Meb!! The greatest American distance runner!! He is a great role model for sure they way he runs to win! His heart and guts is exactly what I preach to those I coach.