10 Things I Think About The Boston Marathon
I think that there is no point in worrying about the weather for Boston. It’s impossible to predict, I spent the whole week before praying for a big tailwind so that I could break 2:30 and achieve eternal happiness. The forecasts were wildly inaccurate, we ended up with Goldilocks weather, not too hot, not too cold, not too humid, not too windy, almost perfect.
2. What Language is That?
I think that I’m better understood in Spain than in Boston, they haven’t a clue what I’m saying. Who’d have thought that a margherita and chips could be misinterpreted as a cocktail and crisps, thankfully Sean was there to translate. Unfortunately Sean wasn’t there when I went to get my pre-race haircut in SuperCuts. I ended up with a secondary school bazzer, at least it was only $19, way cheaper than Berlin.
3. Pleasant Wagon
I think Viv’s bus made the day so easy, getting to the start in Hopkinton is a little tricky, everyone else has to get on a Simpsons style school bus in the city to get to the start 26 miles away. Viv knew some guy in a running club so we got a luxury bus ride to the athletes village and could stay on the nice bus right until the end. Everyone else just gets kicked off the school bus to wander around the athletes village drinking and eating stuff that they shouldn’t.
4. Beat Viv Badly
I think that it was very important to beat Viv badly today, Viv is a very kind man, a gentle soul with a delicate constitution and many grievous injuries, however I still had to beat him very badly as I had told his son that I would. I sat beside him on the nice bus to psych him out, I showed him my low heart rate and told him my plan, 18x5:55 then 6:10s home. I think he was rattled, he sat behind me while we did our mile warm up probably practicing what he was going to do in the race. I was a little worried as he’s very good at hills.
5. Up the Ivory Coast
I think that I should have brought my orange sunglasses with me. I left them behind in the morning as the rain was bouncing off the ground when I was leaving to get the Uber to the bus. Instead I wore an Irish flag headband that I bought at the expo. I’m not sure about the look, it probably would have benefited from sunglasses but I did get lots of shouts. “Up the Dubs”, “Go Lee Valley”, “You got this Italy”. At least no one thought I was wearing a pair of knickers on my head.
6. Wellesley College
I think that the Boston course is a lot like the Cork Marathon course except that there are people on the course shouting. Cork is very similar, 16 flat miles then 5 miles of rolling hills with four flat miles home. Perhaps we could create our own girls of Wellesley college with nice signs in Cork, one guy in front of me stopped to kiss five girls, he said it was worth it, I’m not sure if he’d have stopped in Cork, “cmere boi, I wanna shift ya” probably would have scared him away. I didn’t stop.
I think I’ve been converted to gels, I took three today, they definitely help especially with the post race badness. The yellow lemon and lime Cliff ones they gave out on the course were almost nice. I’m not sure if it’s placebo but you definitely feel stronger a few minutes after a gel. I’m attributing my lack of apocalyptic badness to the gels too. Gels are great, everyone should take gels, I’ve always been of this opinion.
8. Strava Destroying Hills
I think that the hills of Boston are very bad for Strava, they ruin your splits, make it look like you blew up, it’s very annoying, I prefer Berlin where you can just cruise and have nice even splits with a nice graph. I knew I’d lose time to Viv in the five rolling miles so I tried to bank some time over the first half. I think I did ok on the hills, never got too far beyond 6:30 pace. I’ll never be a mountain goat like Viv, I’m more like a horse, a bad horse.
I think I should have beaten John Toldo, it’s amazing that you go all the way across the Atlantic to end up racing a guy from a few miles down the road. He passed me at about 10 miles at which point I assumed that he was gone for the day. Then just before Heartbreak Hill he came up behind me and told me that he was after decommissioning a portaloo, I thanked him for this information and we continued on. We stayed together for the next 4 miles right until the last corner when for some reason like a useless greyhound I took a wide outside line around the last corner. He put 15 seconds into me in the last 0.2 of a mile.
10. The Greatest
I think the finish of Boston has to be the best experience in running, it’s better than Berlin even with the Brandenburg Gate, the noise is incredible, you can almost feel it, I’d love to run it everyday. The entire event is incredible, a great day out, worth every dollar that they shake out of you, especially when you get to beat Viv very badly, like I said I would and did.