Boston Marathon 2015: Race Recap

I will detail the other parts of the weekend (pre-race & post-race) in Boston, but most importantly, I thought I should start this blogging again with the most important part of the actual weekend – the Boston Marathon!

Angela and I woke up at 5:45am, which is probably around the time we’d have to wake up for a marathon with a normal start time, so it was very weird that this one didn’t start until 10:25am (for our wave at least).  We quickly got ready, each bought a bagel from the hotel lobby, and headed downtown.  We had to bring our bags to the gear check at Boston Commons, but we were not going to be taking the BAA sponsored buses to the start.

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Instead, after we dropped off our bags, took this selfie, and answered a few questions from a man working for the Boston Globe, we headed to another hotel to meet the other runners from my training group in Cincinnati.  The group organized a private bus to take us to Hopkinton, which I think helped calm my nerves a bit being around a bunch of girls I knew.

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We went as far as we could on that bus, then boarded another bus to take us to Athlete’s village…after getting scanned by a metal detecting wand.  Security was very tight.  Once in Athlete’s Village, our first stop was to the porta-potties and then we found a nice plot of grass to lay down our towels and sit and stretch out for a bit.  Lucky for me, Angela is a physical therapist, so she professionally stretched me.   Maybe I will do her taxes for free next year in exchange for her stretching services.

Soon enough, it was time for Wave 2 runners to head to the start.  It seemed like a somber march…not as much excitement as I’m sure there would’ve been given better weather conditions, but everyone was just trying to stay warm and dry I think.  We used another set of porta-potties, shed our layers, and tucked into corral 7 and before we knew it, it was time to go.  The start felt a little anti-climatic, I think because we were so far back and couldn’t see the actual start line when the horn blew and there was no overhead banner signaling the start line, just the line on the ground, so it came up quicker than I thought.

So that was actually a lot of things to say and I haven’t even gotten to the race yet, so here we go.  Angela split her watch every mile, so that is the data I have, along with the official 5k splits that you all were getting texted (because I assume everyone was getting those).

Miles 1 – 6:  7:59, 7:49, 7:42, 7:29, 7:43, 7:33

These first few miles were fairly relaxed – getting going, checking out the scenery.  Right when we hit the 5k is when it must have started raining, because I remember saying that to Angela as we passed the 5k checkpoint.  We were dry up until then…cold, but dry.  The amount of men stopping off the side of the road within the first quarter mile of the race to pee was entertaining.  I don’t remember anything too eventful during these miles.  The route was more rural than I expected at the beginning, because I was told there were people lined the entire way, so I assumed that meant the first few miles as well, but that was not the case.  There really weren’t any people until about 4-5 miles in I think…rain being a huge factor in that too I’m sure.  And I’d rather have no people in the beginning if that means a lot throughout the rest of the race, which there were.  I remember thinking the 5k and 10k splits were slightly slower than when we ran the 2013 Chicago Marathon, but I wasn’t too concerned.

Miles 7 – 13:  7:37, 7:37, 7:32, 7:36, 7:40, 7:27, 7:34

There was quite a mix of feelings regarding running during these miles.  After about an hour of running, Angela said it seemed to have gone by fast and felt like only 10 minutes, but I did not agree so that worried me a little.  I took a Gu at mile 7 (or wherever the water stop was around that point – somewhere between 7 and 8).  I don’t think I had even taken water up until this point…something you don’t think about when it’s cold, even though I’m sure my body was dehydrating itself.  But I never felt the sweat or felt thirsty like I do during hot runs.  During miles 7-9 I was doubting my ability to make it to the halfway point at this pace and thought I might need to slow down.  But then the Gu must have kicked in and given me energy, because 9-13 felt easy again.

Half Marathon: 1:40:18

After we passed the halfway mark, I was feeling good and half jokingly/half seriously asked Angela if she was ready to negative split this bad boy.  I had wanted to be between 1:38 and 1:40 for the first half and expected to be because I always have a tendency to go out fast and was told that the Boston course lends itself to a fast first half.  But I guess we controlled ourselves appropriately.

bm2015(Photo cred to Aunt Sonja, who took this one around mile 22.5)

Miles 14 – 22:  7:35, 7:47, 7:32, 8:01, 8:09, 7:57, 8:13, 8:30, 7:57

My feelings towards gunning for a negative split changed rather quickly, probably around mile 15 or so.  The rain was worse around this time I remember and my quads were completely numb, part from cold and part from running I believe.  But I thought maybe it was better that they were numb as opposed to feeling pain.  I took another Gu around mile 15, and that again helped once it kicked in.  Dianne told me that the worst hill was one of the first in Newton, right after a fire station.  So after I passed that fire station, it was quite a struggle to get up that hill, but at the top I told Angela what Dianne had said and that made us feel more confident that the worst of it was over.  Of course, we still had Heartbreak left, but I wasn’t as concerned about that.  Angela and I got separated somewhere around mile 19-ish I believe.  She was getting water through a water stop and I lost her for a few miles…I was too afraid to stop and wait because I thought I’d never get started again so I just kept on going assuming she’d catch back up.  Heartbreak Hill was bad, but I think I had built it up in my mind so much that it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  And I wouldn’t let myself walk while going up it because that’d just be so cliche.  I tried to take another Gu right after Heartbreak Hill, but my hands were too numb for that to happen.  Instead, I just made sure I got in a lot of Gatorade.  From about 20-22, I was feeling pretty confident I could fly through the rest and there’s no such thing as hitting the wall.

Miles 23 – 26.2:  8:40, 8:00, 8:22, 8:21, 1:57

But then the wall came.  And it came very hard on my poor legs.  I stopped to walk through a water station (the first time I stopped running) around mile 23 and Angela came cruising by.  This was much different than in Chicago, when I stopped to walk through probably 5 water stations from mile 18 to the finish.  The last 3 miles were just a fight to stay with Angela because she was rocking it now.  She definitely could have gone faster, but waited for me to catch up so we could finish together :)

Finish: 3:26:20

Angela ran a PR!  I was a few minutes off of my Chicago time, but given my training, the tough course, and the weather, it went just about as well as I could have hoped.

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And then we were really really really cold.  The end.

8 Thoughts on “Boston Marathon 2015: Race Recap

  1. Sonja on April 27, 2015 at 6:49 pm said:

    The goal was not to get the back of Colleen but she ran by so fast, I almost missed her! The weather was about as bad as it could be- rain, wind, and wind chills in the mid 30s. It was an incredible race to watch despite the conditions!

  2. Shereen on April 28, 2015 at 10:03 am said:

    Great job, Colleen! What an amazing achievement! I hope you’ve recovered and are relaxing now :)

  3. Congrats on your race!! Given the conditions, I think it sounds like things went really well for you – and you ran Boston! SO exciting :)

  4. That’s a great finishing time especially when you consider the weather. Congrats!

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