April 26, 2019 -
The 2019 Boston Marathon was my 5th marathon ever. After couple of half-hearted attempts a decade and more ago, I stopped running almost entirely for several years.So when I qualified and placed 3rd overall in a small inagural event last spring I still didn't trust it. Plagued by doubts (I'm too old, I don't belong with these "real runners") and minor injuries I had little confidence that Boston would be anything more than a blow to my pride.
Fortunately one of my training partners got a hold of me a few months ago and said "Listen, qualifying is the acheivement. Racing Boston is an experience. Enjoy it!". So I let go of any expectations and enjopyed training with my friends.
The week leading up to the race was marked with obssessive weather watching and emails from B.A.A. telling us to expect conditions similar to last year's cold, wet misery. And when I woke up on Patriot's Day it was indeed thunderstorming and raining sideways.
But when I stepped off of the shuttle in Hopkinton the rain had stopped. I made my way to the start corral thinking "Is this really the start of the Boston Marathon?" And it was-so I ran!
I figured my pace was fast in the start becuase of the excitement and the downhill. But at the half I was still running under 8:00/mile steadily. When I heard Mikey's trademark "GO BABY GO!!!" at the top of Heartbreak Hill I realized for the first time that I would PR. When I reached mile 25 I checked my watch and knew I'd break 3:30 unless I tripped and fell on my face (yes-the doubts were still there). I ran the last mile with a grin on my face and did something I've never done before at the end of a race. I raised my hands over my head in celebration.
As Mike made his way to me in the family meetup area, the sky opened up again. The window had closed-I had my best race in the best conditins of the day-time to celebrate. Until next year, Boston!