Monday, April 23, 2018

Boston Marathon 2018 {Race Recap}


Time: 3:25:57
PR by 2:30
Course PR by 17 min
My 3rd BQ by 14 minutes!

On April 16 I ran my 16th marathon. It was by far the most miserable/brutal/emotional race I have ever experienced. 

When we left for Boston on Saturday morning, marathon Monday weather was predicted to be 50’s with feels like of 40’s and rain/wind. I thought- cool, My singlet and shorts will be perfect. Saturday evening/Sunday I saw the forecast was revised to include snow, and temps 10+ degrees cooler. Now we would be facing significant rain and wind, with feels like of low 30’s. I started freaking out. I wasn’t prepared to run in conditions like that- I had throwaway clothing but nothing that I could wear for the duration of the race which would keep me warm and slightly dry. We went out with our friends on Sunday evening, and I told them that I was  10% on DNS. That the cold would be too much for me. They reassured me that my training was solid and that I would be ok. I felt nervous, but agreed. 

Race morning, I woke up and had my trusty belvita and got ready, layer by layer.   L and I walked in the rain down Boylston towards the finish line. I just kept thinking to myself that the race would be a challenge, but that I’ve trained my ass off and I cannot let this opportunity slip away.  While the conditions were far from ideal, it was still so much better than last year- because it was much colder. 

We passed the finish line and all I could think to myself was how I hoped that I would see it again in a few hours and not feel so shitty that I’d end up in a medical tent. I really wanted to go to dinner post race and enjoy myself. We met G and P past the baggage check and continued on to the buses. We walked together and laughed at how absurd the weather was. G and L were saints for walking J and I to the buses in the rain. We hugged and said our good byes and J and I walked the remainder of the way together. 

The entire hour long ride we chatted away. About our training, our race plans, and our future races. We noticed snow on the side of the road as we got closer to Hopkinton and laughed. We pulled into Hopkinton after seeing loads of police lining the route- standard now. Especially since it was the 5th anniversary of 4.15. We got off the bus and were directed into the school- we looked at each other in disbelief. We we really going to avoid the athlete village!? We used the restrooms and then were immediately told to go to the village. Our hearts sank, but as soon as we went outside into the ice cold rain, we started laughing again. We walked through thick mud to the village- a guy next to us slipped and fell on his back. We got into a tent and immediately found a place to sit on some mats which had been abandoned. We were cold and wet but in incredibly good spirits. 

We sat for a while and got our stuff together. The plan was to change shoes/remove the throw away layers closer to the start line- where there wasn’t any mud. We got up to head to the start about 30 minutes before our 10:50 wave start. It’s a long walk from the village to the start- I believe it’s just shy of a mile. We saw all sorts of ingenious ways runners were trying to stay warm- from plastic bags over shoes, to duck tape on shoes, to garbage bags, to shower caps, to latex gloves- I’ve never seen so much creativity in one place. We were all in survival mode. We were all in this together. 

J and I hugged and said our goodbyes close to the start. I got emotional because I was so scared of what the next 3+ hours would hold for me. I discarded my 2x pants, and my 2x long sleeves and opted to keep the garbage bag on- for at least a little bit. I changed into my dry shoes and socks. It felt amazing to have dry feet temporarily. I fumbled with my iPod which was wrapped in a mcgyvered plastic bag + hair ties and stuffed my cell phone + 5 SIS gels into my huge pockets. I walked to corral 3 and laughed. Today was going to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever done. 

I got into my corral- hung around at the back like always and drank one of my gels. A photographer took my photo, and I got my iPod ready and tried to psyche myself up as much as I could. I was about to run my 3rd Boston, and 16th marathon. Instead of cursing the weather like nearly everyone around me, I thought about something J said to me- “we are lucky to be able to do this.”

We inched our way to the start and before I knew it, I clicked my Garmin to start recording my run and I was off. Immediately I thought how crowded it was- and how densely packed everyone seemed to be. I couldn’t pass people at all. It shouldn’t have been that shocking to me because we were seeded with people who qualified with similar times. I just thought people would take off a bit quicker due to the downhill. 

In the first few miles I saw a golden reteriver holding Boston Strong flags in his mouth. I nearly lost it. 

I continued to run an even pace and tried to cut through the crowd whenever a spot opened. I felt oddly calm and like I was out of body- watching myself from above. There was always a constant drizzle and wind. Then every 20 minutes a significant heavy band of rain and wind would come through and I would laugh to the point of almost crying. The cold rain + 30mph wind stung my skin. I was soaked to the bone and also had to keep pulling my shorts up since they were heavy from my phone + gels and the rain. My hands were completely numb within a few miles- it was so difficult to pull my shorts up and get gels out of my pockets. 

Around mile 6 the herd got thinner and I was able to start running a little faster. I knew at this point I was on track for a PR and was excited to see what I would end up with. I had decided pre race that my goals would be #1 have fun. #2 don’t end up in the med tent. #3 PR. I had no idea how the cold, wind and rain would affect me, but I knew I was in great shape and that I shouldn’t waste this opportunity. 

 The miles flew by and soon I was nearing the scream tunnel of Wellesley. I made a point to go to the right side and high 5 the gals spectating, and kissed one one on the cheek. This gave me a huge pick me up and pep in my step. I drifted back to near the center of the road and kept my head down and continued on. 

I passed the halfway in 1:40.xx and thought “wow- I just clocked my 3rd fastest half ever. I’m on track for a decent PR.” But that it also meant I’d be in the rain for another hour 40ish. I tried to keep a positive outlook on the day- I knew the moment I started complaining that I would break down and put myself in a position that would likely require medical assistance. As long as I kept moving, I would hopefully be ok. 

It felt surreal to be passing people the entire race once the road opened up around mile 6. It made me wonder if people were just treating Boston as a victory lap (and didn’t train as hard for it) or if they were injured, or had simply thrown in the towel and were just going through the motions to finish. The mood at the expo/ interactions with other runners pre race indicated that many had already called it a day before the race even started. I also have no doubt that the conditions played a huge role in slowing people down- it was incredibly brutal out there as we battled 30mph headwinds along with the cold and rain. 

Every mile I passed after the halfway made me happier and happier. I usually go out of my way to high five people and interact with the crowd- but during this race I just tried to conserve energy and get to the finish. 

Once I got to 9 miles left, I felt elated. Single digits! And just over an hour of running left until I could take a hot bath! The hills didn’t bother me. The rain and wind took my mind off of everything else going on. There were a few spectators along the hills this year (thank you November Project Boston for coming out in full force!) but otherwise it was pretty empty. Last year the hills were lined with spectators. 

I felt like I was alone in this race. I felt detached. I was happy I brought my iPod this year- hearing my playlist and singing along helped pump me up and take my mind off the conditions slightly. 

I made the decision to take the garbage bag off just before mile 25. I wanted good finish line photos! Until then, if I saw a course photographer, I would make sure my number was visible. I figured 10 minutes of running without my trusty bag would be ok. When I took it off I instantly felt much colder. I was already soaked- but I underestimated how much it was keeping me warm. 

With one mile to go I spotted G and we high fived. It was so nice to see a familiar face out on the course! I can’t imagine what it would have been like to stand in this garbage weather for hours on end. I told L, to not even bother coming out. It wasn’t worth it to see me run by for 3 seconds. Right after I passed G, I saw some members of the Boston PD, and said thank you to them and became ridiculously emotional. I couldn’t control the ugly cry- and it was so hard to breathe. 

I got myself together and pushed towards the finish. As I was making a right on Hereford a girl got too close to me and clipped the back of my shoes almost causing me to go down- I grabbed onto the back of the girl In front of me and stayed upright. 

Left on Boylston. I could see the finish down the road. I ran near some of the photographers and found a nice empty spot in the middle of the road to trot it in to the finish. I started crying as I approached the sacred finish line. I’ve never been so overcome with emotion like this before at a race. I was crying uncontrollably. It was so hard to breathe. After a few minutes I got myself back together got my heat blanket, and collected my medal and water. 

My hip flexors were in an incredible amount of pain once I stopped running. I never have problems with them- so I attribute it to being tense from the cold. My left hamstring was also feeling tender. I shuffled slowly back to the hotel and was able to text L something about where to meet-it was so hard to text while shivering and shaking. While walking through the mall a girl asked if I had run the marathon. I said yes. She said it is a goal of hers but that she doubted she could ever do it. I told her (through chattering teeth) that she could certainly do it if she wanted it. That my first marathon was 5:30 and with consistency I’ve taken 2 hours off of my time. If I could do it, anyone could. 

I met L near the lobby of our hotel and gave him a huge wet hug. I was so happy to see him! Once back in the room I took an hour long hot bath and after- finally felt back to life. Hearing that Desi had won was icing on the cake to an amazingly challenging day. I was just shocked that I didn’t find out she had won while on the course. Maybe my headphones were to blame?

A few hours later we went to dinner at Row 34 with G and J and ate some of the most delicious seafood ever. I also had a couple of beers. We talk about our races and had a fab time. Post Row 34, we went to Bukowski to continue the celebrations. More beer was consumed as well as tater tot poutine- J and I were starving. I’m usually not hungry after marathons, but I’m sure being in the cold made me work even harder than normal. 

Post race thoughts- I’m really happy with how everything went considering the circumstances. My goal going into this cycle was to not be in fear- I trained for an aggressive goal and told people about it. I wasn’t scared of failure. I know without a doubt that had the weather been favorable, that I easily would have run 10 minutes faster. To see Desi run 17 min off her best time made me realize just how heinous the conditions actually were. I’m at peace with Boston now and will take a few years off to focus on other goals. 

Splits 2017 vs 2018

Other thoughts/observations:

•IPod wrapped in plastic stuffed in sport bra. No ability to select music. Didn’t bother me. 

•When the iPod wires popped out of my shirt around mile 9 it was Insanely hard to stuff them back into my shirt due to numb hands

•Chaffing from my shorts where the seam hit my legs. 4 dime-quarter sized spots where the skin rubbed off. I had no idea until I got back to the hotel and L asked “are you bleeding?”

•Feet intact not a single blister or hot spot. 

•Nose bridge in significant pain due to the hat putting pressure on my glasses during the race. 

•Felt like an out of body experience. I went on auto pilot and just ran. 

•saying thank you to all the service members I ran near. 

•I stayed positive the entire time. I continually thought “this all you got Mother Nature!?”


Sis Gels- 1 pre race, then miles 5,10,15, couldn’t open the one I planned at mile 20. 

Ran with Sis electrolytes until the half (500ml)

Drank water at every other aid station starting at mile 16. 

MRC blue singlet
Coeur shorts with huge pockets
Boston Rabbit Hat
Blenderz glasses
Arm warmers
Garbage bag until mile 25
Nike Zoom elite shoes
Pro compression ankle socks
Saucony mittens. 

Takeaway- I should have worn my nice nike jacket because of the low temps. I also should have figured out a way to keep my hands warmer. 


  1. You and this recap are BADASS. Huge congratulations to you!!! I'm totally not crying (oops, yes I am). What a tough, amazing and emotional race! It sucks that the weather was such crap but damn, you did not let that stop you! I'm so glad you were able to trust in your training and stay positive, and I love J's perspective that you guys are lucky to have that chance, even in the worst of conditions.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words! And thank you for all the support and encouragement over the last few months. Gah now I’m tearing up, who’s cutting onions!? I knew going on that having a positive mindset was important but hearing J say that we were lucky to be able to do this Facebook me more perspective and meaning.

  2. You are so tough! It is so cool and just inspiring as hell to read this, particularly after reading your training ligs, race recaps, and the like for a good probably 5 years now. You worked hard to be ready to compete at Boston, sure, but you also worked so hard to get there in the first place. It's so, so cool to see. It sucks that the weather was just batshit, but I'm glad you had an otherwise really positive experience. Thank you for sharing it every step of the way! You're amazing and made me cry, too! (Your finish line pic especially!) xox

    1. Thank you so very much! You are inspiring as hell and I thought about you during the race. It just reinforced the whole “lucky to be here” since life is so fragile and you never know what’s around the next turn. You are amazing as well xoxo

  3. Wow, what a race! A finish in those conditions, not to mention a PR is spectacular! Yes, you could easily have run 10 minutes faster if the conditions were more pleasant, but you gave it a gutsy run and came out with the best performance you could considering the conditions you were given. The fact that you passed so many runners who were just going through the motions is interesting. At first I would have said that I personally would have run at to near my marathon pace as possible just to get done and back to some place warm. Then, I thought that maybe some might have thought that due to the non-PR-friendly conditions they would use this as a training run for a revenge marathon later? Who knows? Anyway, glad to hear that the trash bag kept you warm for the race. It might have been a completely different experience if you had left it at the start line! I think you picked a great time to take a break from Boston because how can you top that one?! Congrats again!

    1. Thank you so very much! It was a crazy day! It was encouraging to PR in that mess- just reinforced that my training was solid and that I was on the right track to get close to 3:10. Yeah- it was weird to be passing people the entire time. There were a few women who I ran with for a bit- but other than that it was carnage. Like you, I didn’t feel the need to back off- I knew the wind would slow me down, but not enough reason to justify abandoning any goals. It just was weird to experience that. Maybe there was a revenge marathon in their future? I saw a lot of people who were hurting due to the cold. It was a very tough day.

  4. I am feeling emotional just reading this! I can't imagine going through this experience and not crying after.

    Huge congrats on your PR!!! I am so proud of you. And proud of your attitude. That is what you have to do when you have sh*t conditions like this. You can't dwell on it too much - that affects your race. You gotta plan and go for it. And now you know you need that jacket and different gloves (the latex kitchen ones?) if you EVER have to run in this sh*t again. Hopefully not.

    Do you feel like your out of body experience was flow? Or was it more just a survival thing? (I am always researching flow, so I am curious.)

    When I saw how crappy the weather was going to be, I immediately thought the elites were gonna have historically slow times. So again, that you still kicked a** and PR'd when that was happening?! BRAVO!!!!

    The pics tell so much of the story. I can't believe how freaking wet it was that day. Gawd. What. A. Mess.

    YOU ROCK!!!! :-*

  5. I'm so impressed with your run and even more with your attitude. It took me over 30 marathons to realize that I'm lucky to get the chance/be able to run. I sat and watched the rain and wind and thought - what would I have done? I hope I would have been as tough as you! Way to get after it!

  6. Congrats! I love your attitude and your determination. Those were horrible weather conditions and kudos to everyone that ran in them.