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Boston Marathon 2012

Back in May 2011, I accomplished something that I never thought I would be able to say I did. I ran my first full marathon, 42.2km, and qualified for the prestigious Boston Marathon! I chose to run the Mississauga Marathon on May 15 and was blessed with some of the best race conditions ever.

For most marathoners, the Boston Marathon is the holy grail of racing. You must qualify to run Boston, and to qualify, you must run a fast certified marathon (for me, my time to qualify was a 3:40:00, but I managed to pull off a time just shy of 3:35)! For qualified athletes, the opportunity to run this race is an honor.

The course, regardless of being surrounded the full length of the way by spectators, is challenging. A net downhill race, but is combined with rollers and the most known elevation gain by the running world – “heartbreak hill.”

This year, Boston was hit with some unprecedented heat. Warnings were sent by the BAA to all participants and the option to defer their race entries to 2013 was given (in 116 years of the Boston Marathon, this was a first)! Although the choice was there, runners who had trained for this day did not choose this route. Like me, I have waited for this day for almost a year and have been depriving myself of all unhealthy food for months!

On race morning, standing comfortably, in Boston Common at 6:30am wearing shorts and a tank top was sure signs of a hot day ahead. By race start (10:00am-10:40am), the sun was already pulling sweat from the pores. I was in wave 2, so my race start was 10:20am. Waiting in the start corrals, I knew that today was not the day for a PB. My original goal was a 3:30, but as planned the night before, I decided to run conservatively.

The heat hit record breaking highs of 91 degrees and left many runners to seek medical aid or to DNF. Even some of the most elite of athletes pulled out or chose not to run due to the heat.

I started off in Hopkinton with just under a 5 minute pace. I hit all the water stations, and threw water on myself at every half mile. But by 5km, I realized that I still needed to adjust my pace. By 10km, I decided not to worry about my watch and to just run by feel. As acquired from the BAA results, you can see how my pace continually slowed via my splits.

5km – 24:17
10km – 54:04
15km – 1:26:25
20km – 2:00:40
Half – 2:07:48
25km – 2:35:58
30km – 3:12:56
35km – 3:47:51
40km – 4:20:35
42.2km – 4:33:38 

I took the chance to try and absorb all that running the Boston Marathon had to offer. Passing Wellesley College was a thrill, the girls there are loud and crazy! But I found running by the Boston College was even better! Just before the biggest hill at Boston, I met a guy that said “Heartbreak is coming up. You qualified and trained to beat it. Will you run up with me?” It sort of felt like a mini-date, but that was a highlight in my race for sure! I ran the full length of Heartbreak Hill with a random runner and we congratulated each other at the top before picking up our paces and losing each other on our 5 mile descend to the finish (no – he hasn’t called since…).

Along the course was an immense amount of support. Spectators gathered with their water hoses, coolers full of ice, cold sponges, water, gatorade, oranges, bananas and more. Amazingly, the 42.2km’s was packed with fans that helped pull along the runners from Hopkinton to Boylston Street – an experience in itself.

The finish shoot at the race was another highlight. The marathon record was set here! Tears have flowed and accomplishments have been made. This finish line has seen more runners than probably any other race! The feeling of being surrounded by thousands of people, elite racers, and accomplished athletes is incredible. I always get asked “was it worth it” (you know, all the training, the lifestyle changes, the food choices, etc). Its an easy answer, especially on days when you are finishing the most prestigious of races – “YES!”

For all runners that were out there at the 2012 Boston Marathon. I take my hat off to you, unless you were there, you may not realize just how much of an accomplishment this race was just to finish.

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One comment

  • JUST FINISH. Parting advice from my Dad. Words of total wisdom.

    Congratulations on your first Boston. This was my first as well. My report is brewing and should be up this weekend. Stay tuned to TeamRF!

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