2019 Boston Marathon Race Recap

A week later and I’m definitely still riding that post-Boston marathon high! I am still so in awe of how amazing the day felt and how much I fully enjoyed the race experience. It was everything I hoped it would be. I wanted to link you up to my 2017 Boston Recap post because the post race thoughts on Boston at that point resonate with me now. This race is hard to race. I felt lucky I wasn’t out for blood this year, because I would’ve been wrecked. Lowering my expectations and running this race for fun brought back all the love I missed out on two years ago.

 
Can’t be a Boston trip without that finish line shot.

Can’t be a Boston trip without that finish line shot.

 

I wish I had read my 2017 Boston recap before booking things this year, because we did the same thing flying in Saturday which wastes an entire day of travel coming in from the west. I would’ve preferred to get to the expo early, but we didn’t make it after getting in at 5 pm. After checking into our AirBnB, we headed out for a quick bite and stop at Trader Joe’s to gather supplies for our stay.

Sunday - Team Sugar Runs Meetup

The thing I was most excited about for my Boston trip was our Team Sugar Runs meetup and shakeout run on Sunday morning. This was my first time meeting Katherine in person, and we met up earlier on Sunday morning with Paula to get in some time with the coaches for photos together and as an opportunity to connect. We met up around 7:30 am and had such a great hour chatting and shooting. By the time we were supposed to meet up with the rest of the team for the shakeout, it was already pretty warm and race day weather had shifted from what looked like a do over of 2018 to what might be as hot as 2017. Boston doesn’t mess around and really knows how to play with your weather emotions!

 
Team Sugar Runs coaches

Team Sugar Runs coaches

 

Out of the 11 athletes who joined with our team, I had not met 6 of them, so it was AMAZING to see them all in person and get to hug each one of them. One of our athletes, Linaris, was local to Boston, so she took us on a 20 minute running tour of Boston Commons. Afterwards, some stayed around for coffee and I got to check in with each of them and how they were feeling for the day. There was a mix - some were excited, others were coming off of sickness and feeling nervous for the day, but all of them were grateful to be there and healthy and knew that they were about to achieve one of their biggest dreams. It was really exciting to be there with so many on their first Boston trip.

 
OUR TEAM - so much love for these ladies.

OUR TEAM - so much love for these ladies.

 

After our shakeout everyone headed off to either rest, meet up with family, or hit up the expo (me!). I didn’t spend as much time at the expo because I knew I still needed to relax for the long run I had planned :). I got to meet up with my Rapid Reboot family and picked up a poncho for the following morning. Race day called for showers from 6-9 am, clouds from 10-2 pm, and rain again from 2 pm on and temps in the high 50s to high 60s. Not what anyone initially thought it was going to be, but I wanted to be a bit more prepared for the rain and a trash bag functioning as a poncho did the trick.

 
Finally picked up my bib.

Finally picked up my bib.

 

After the expo, I FINALLY met my coach, Tia. Tia and I first started working together in 2017 in my preparation for my first Boston. She has been such a great source of guidance and example of what a coach should be. She’s played a huge role in my decision to continue to pursue coaching. She was actually in Boston this year to run it for the first time! She has an amazing story of her comeback to running over the last several years - I shared a bit about it at the end of this blog post. So we got to meet finally and it was awesome!!

 
Meeting my coach!

Meeting my coach!

 

At this point, the only thing I’d eaten was a granola bar and a latte and it was 2 pm. Not ideal leading up to a long run or race, so we made our way to Boston Public Market because I needed a bagel. Levend Bagelry was highly recommended from some local Boston peeps and they did not disappoint. I had a bagel with cream cheese, apple, and sweet potato (weird, I know, but the best carb loading option!). I also picked up a bagel for the next morning. After this we headed back home to relax and prep dinner, which was pasta with ground turkey and marinara. I finally went to sleep around 9:30 pm.

Monday - Race Day

I got up on race day at 5 am. I got into wave 1 this year with a coveted red bib (made it by 27 seconds), and they recommended getting on the buses between 6 and 7 am. I didn’t want to sit in athlete’s village for too long if it was going to be wet and rainy, so I waited until 7:15 to get on the buses in the hopes of meeting up with some of my team who was in wave 2. I didn’t really think ahead that everyone would be covered in ponchos and plastic so I wouldn’t be able to recognize or find anyone in that shiz. I realized around 7:30 that I needed to get on the bus because it was likely going to be an even longer trek for the buses because the weather was so awful. And it was. We got up to the village around 9 am. It took forever. I made my way straight to the porto potty line. Mind you, my feet were wrapped up in plastic Target bags secured by rubber bands and I was plopping around through ankle deep mud to get to a short enough porto potty line. It was hilarious, but it wasn’t raining, and the sun was actually starting to peek through. At this point, I wasn’t cold or hot, but I was comfortable. After making my way back through the mud pit, it was time to get to the corral already. I walked over towards the next gate and heard my athlete Michelle call my name. I’d brought a FlipBelt for her to wear to carry her gels in and I was so happy to see her so she could use it. We were both in wave 1, so we continued our way over to the corrals.

At the porto potties, we stopped and changed our shoes and socks that were muddy and wet before getting to our corrals. My feet were still damp when I put on my new socks, but I was grateful it wasn’t raining and that I’d made the decision to bring extra shoes and socks. The start felt fast. Nothing like wave 2 when I was there in 2017. I prepared all my athletes for being packed in for the first few miles because the field was so big, but it didn’t feel anything like that. I had space to move and felt my first wave of gratefulness to be where I was - not just running Boston again, but for where I was in the field. I thanked my body for giving me this opportunity. I watched Michelle run away from me as she went to chase her goal and I settled in, telling myself to enjoy the day.

Miles 1-6 (7:38, 7:18, 7:29, 7:47, 7:40, 7:31)

I ran with music the first time and it is such a different race without music. The first 4 miles are awesome seeing folks just outside their house, drinking beers, handing out oranges, etc. There’s also a few dry patches between the houses where its just quiet runners figuring out their day and how things will pan out. Ricky told me he’d be at the 10K mark to get some shots of me in Framingham. I had stopped to use the bathroom twice already - I don’t even remember drinking that much water, but I knew I wanted this part of my day to stop. The cloud cover was still protecting us as we made our way into Framingham. I heard my name and recognized some friends from the LA running community who were out there to cheer on some of their friends who were racing. It was so awesome to see familiar faces! Shortly after seeing them, I cross the 10K and hadn’t seen Ricky. The train stop was on my left so I figured he’d be there and just stuck to the middle. I finally saw him! Another burst of energy and smiles.

 
So happy to see Ricky! Feeling good at the 10K

So happy to see Ricky! Feeling good at the 10K

 

Miles 7-13 (7:21, 7:49, 7:32, 7:37, 7:34, 7:29, 7:14)

After getting through Framingham, I need to pee again. I told myself this was the last time (thankfully it was), and that was my slower mile 8. Between mile 8-12 I chatted with a girl who’d been running next to me for a while. She said she was out here to have fun after coming off an injury and her main goal was to high five as many kids as possible. Giving the kids high fives was the highlight for sure. Ricky told me he’d try to be in Wellesley around the half way mark, so I got excited as we came up on it. There’s a quiet patch just before Wellesley which makes the girls screams that much more deafening as you make your way there. This had to be my favorite part of the race and its crazy that I barely remember it from 2017. I high fived so many girls and they were so excited I was hitting 6:50 pace and almost got knocked down by the force of their hands! It was insane and I blew them all kisses before I left. Never saw Ricky (bc he didn’t make it here).

Miles 14-21 (7:35, 7:38, 7:22, 7:46, 7:47, 7:27, 7:38, 7:49)

One thing I also blocked out from 2017 was the hills. When I first ran it, I felt like they never ended from mile 16-21. It all felt like it was uphill. I was also delirious from the heat, but the hills really aren’t that bad!!!! I can’t believe I’m saying that. They’re definitely rollers. I took the downsides faster and just focused on maintaining effort on the uphill. Like I said, I never really looked at my watch, so I was surprised by the consistency of my splits at this stage on the course. I saw the same sign I did in 2017 that let me know I’d reached the top of heartbreak hill.

Miles 22-26.2 (7:10, 7:22, 7:05, 7:14, 7:00)

I’d gotten all of my fuel in at this point and was feeling solid. The 7:25-7:45 pace has felt pretty good on most of my easy long runs, so this pace did feel comfortable and I was happy to see that it still felt comfortable after the hills. And then I just wanted it to be over, but I still had juice. My legs were tired and my hamstring had been acting up since around mile 14 or so. I wasn’t really sure where my time would end up at this point, but you also enter Brookline here and the. crowds. are. f*&^ing. AMAZING. No more dry spots and they are all legit going nuts. I felt the energy getting sapped from me. I remember reading something from Kara Goucher where she said she runs up near the crowds when she needs some juice, so I ran right next to them and used their energy. I started to see the Citgo sign start to appear, but I also knew this is where things could start to go wrong and I needed to be patient with how good I felt. I reminded myself not to get selfish (which I clearly forgot at mile 25 dropping a 7:05). The blue line finally appeared and I knew how close we were. I saw the turn onto Hereford, once I made it there I picked it up and kept smiling. However, once you make the turn onto Boyleston, you kind of have a ways to go haha! There’s about 600 meters left, so I hauled ass to make the turn and the finish line still looked sooooo far! I kept pushing though. I just wanted to be done now. I still felt great. I started to tear up and then heard my parents yell my name (which is insane bc if you can hear anything but cheering here, whoever is yelling is loud - thanks Dad!). I saw them, waved and smiled, and then booked it.

 
Left on Boyslton. Very different face from 2017.

Left on Boyslton. Very different face from 2017.

 

The Finish

I couldn’t stop smiling. I was also so thirsty. Paula shared a few weeks ago not to take in water too quickly after a workout because it doesn’t get absorbed and can upset your stomach and lead to further dehydration, so I sipped it as slowly as I could. I made my way to the family meeting area and found Ricky and my parents waiting. I was so happy to finish with a 3:18. I wanted to be in the 3:15-3:20 range and felt so good about getting an 8 minute course PR. I was planning to meet a few of my athletes after and was happy to be there for them for a few successes (Tara and Katherine with a 40 second and an 8 minute PR respectively) and some disappointments. The weather was hard to race in and I felt lucky I wasn’t out there to race.

 
TeamSugarRuns
TeamSugarRuns
 
TeamSugarRuns
TeamSurgarRuns
 

Final Thoughts

Boston is still hard. Hell, marathons are hard whether you race them or just run the distance. I made a decision to run this race again because I needed to enjoy it without the pressure of time goals - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. I had so much bitterness and resentment from 2017 that it was challenging to be excited about this race for others. I’m being super selfish with my body though taking the risk of running Grandma’s in just 7 weeks and I recognize that. Based on my history running races so close together and my knowledge as a coach, I do not recommend this at all. Only time will tell if the risk is worth it, but I’m glad I got what I wanted at Boston - MAGIC. I left Boston feeling excited not just because of the experience I had, but to continue training and that tells me I did it right. Thank you to everyone for your support on race day and to my athletes for making this race even more special. I continued to think of each of you on the course with me during the race. Boston 2019 may just be my favorite race yet and I’m so grateful I had this opportunity.

J