My Own Duel In The Sun
April 24, 2012 5 Comments
By now, most of the world is aware that The 2012 Boston Marathon was one for the record books. Highs of 30+ degrees Celsius its toll on all of us that day. My training companions and I dreaded the forecasts the week prior and in the end, we threw our goals out the window and ran smart. On race day the plan was to run for the experience and a not make it a day of personal bests. Except, Nir, the strongest hot day runner I know, who was close to his PB with a very impressive 3:16! I am glad Nir survived to tell the tale because lord knows, had I tried to tough it out like that, I may have crossed the finish line, but it would have been in a golf cart like I saw several dudes…with a respirator attached…or worse.
We had a great pre-race meal at a nice restaurant in little Italy. I rested well the day before, I felt great. It was frustrating knowing what awaited us the next day. Still, we tried to enjoy the moment. It really was a good time all the same. Just – not perfect. Wouldn’t it figure, I slept like a baby.
Marathon morning was warm from the get go. I met the boys and we walked to the buses, with our wives in stride so they could get a glimpse of the excitement. Everything went smooth – quick to the busses, we caught a good line and were on our way. No traffic, and boom, we’re there. This will never get old.
The atmosphere in Athletes village did not have the same lustre and excitement of previous years and I assume I was not alone in feeling like a lamb must feel when on the way to the slaughter. I could almost hear a drone of cattle like moos. Nah - it was all in my head. We soaked up the sun (some were smart and sought shade!) and before we knew it, they were calling us to the start. I started almost last in Wave 1. Only 10 bodies followed me through the chute. I was in no rush. As our corral shuffled past the start line, the thrill of running the Boston Marathon set in and for the first half of the race I felt, that despite the heat, I could maybe salvage a decent time so I bombed down the hill that makes up the first mile. This was easy!
I made to the 20k, Wellesley Girls School area, on pace for 3 and a half hours and felt like the day may not be a bust after all. Alas, this did not last much longer. The intense heat got to me and I diligently slowed my pace considerably. Then, darkness set in on other side of Heartbreak Hill. The top of Heartbreak is about 33k, and from there until 38k I did my best to embrace the crowds, the aura, the history and tried to ignore the inevitability that I was heading for a rough finish. By 38k I decided a run-walk approach may be the only way to finish. I was feeling extreme nausea and the urge to purge, which apparently I should have tried to do but that’s another story. I felt the tingles one gets just before passing out. I refused to believe that heat stroke that was setting in and an attempt to run to get it over with around 40k was stymied as the world closed in on me and I nearly dropped as I headed up the rise at Fenway Park under the blazing sun. I actually turned around and found some shade, and sat down on top of some folded tables that had once been set out to hold the Elite’s beverages. This rest stop lasted over 3 minutes but rejuvenated me enough finish the final 2k, albeit mostly walking. I mustered up a run to get to where family awaited just past mile 25. What a sight for sore eyes they were. I considered hanging out with them for a while but for some reason, I still considered it important to not let the clock tick away any longer. My string of sub 4 hour marathons was about to come to an end. Not including my 2 Ultra-Marathons, this was marathon number 25 and it would be the first one over 4 hours. It was a case of “Right on Hereford, nothing left on Boylston” – But after all that, the finish line of the greatest marathon there is was a joy to cross. Boston 2012 was over. Time to move on and remember that we ran one for the history books.
I can not say enough that the hot weather tainting our race was not the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination. The good times we had, with the great friends we share our adventures with will remain etched in my mind forever. Plans for next year are already in place!
Now, I can’t forget the ones who make it possible for me to run marathons. My heroes, my support crew, for so long, all through training. Thank you! Congratulations to them for their great efforts in the 5k race preceding Boaston’s Marathon. Sarah’s 18:50 earned her a repeat of 1st place in the 19 and under women, and Cam’s 19:51 was good for 7th in the 14 and under boys! I had the added pleasure of joining Anita on her quest for a 5k PB and I look forward to doing it again.
So, a week later, and I have accepted and moved on. I hope I have saved enough with all the walking, to recover and run well at the Toronto Marathon on May 6th. Cooler temps, my own bed, my PB course. It looks good at this point. Only time will tell.