Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon

The weather prediction for the Boston Marathon was predicted to be the worst weather in the 111 year HISTORY of the race. Temps in the lower 40s, heavy rain, 30 mph headwinds and 3-5 inches of rain expected over the weekend. Bad, bad running weather to say the least!

I awoke way to early, a combination of nerves and jet-lag, the morning of the marathon at around 4am. It’s always a good idea to get a great nights sleep 2 nights before a marathon for that exact reason. The wind and rain was so noisy and irritating outside that I had to put on my iPod to drown out the impending weather.

I arrived at the pickup place at 6am, 4 hours before the start of the run. Rain still coming down. I boarded the bus and arrived soon there after at the athletes village. Tents were set up to shelter runners from the rain and cold, but only enough tents for about 7,000 runners, not the 22,500 runners scheduled to run the race. The weather was so bad that almost 2,500 runners didn’t even bother to pick up their racing bibs. The rains continued right up to the start of the race. The atmosphere was dampened as runners just waited and waited for the race to actually get underway.

Finally, they began moving runners to the start line. Minutes before the start, the rain picked up one last time, almost as a last hurrah. Then, the race was underway. The 111th Boston Marathon had begun and very soon into it… miraculously the rain stopped! All this forecasted rain and wind just seemed to suddenly stop. It was still chili but not cold.

The tempo was fast, downhill for the first bit. The pace was fast, but I held back. I settled into a fast pace, hoping it wasn’t too fast. I always like to buddy up with someone running my pace and I did that, locking on with a man who had a GPS watch which he was using to monitor his pace. The course eventually went by a couple of universities where university students were lining the course, screaming for the oncoming runners. As I approached, it sounded like a football game was going on, they were so loud. The crowd, obviously thinned by the weather, was so enthusiastic and helpful. Pound for pound they were one of the best marathon crowds I’ve ever witnessed. At about the 15 mile mark, as is usually the case, I could tell that I had started at a pace that was faster than I could handle. I began to back off my pace in order to just hold on and finish in a decent time. Then came the infamous ‘heartbreak hill’, nearly a ½ mile hill at the 20 mile mark. Many runners began walking ½ way up. After running so far and so hard, it’s so difficult to push up and over that spot. I always begin to question my sanity at about the 20 mile point. “Why am I doing this? Is this pure insanity? Who in their right mind runs this far!” Usually there is an onslaught of runners walking at this point, but This Was Boston and the most dedicated runners in the world were running here. The walkers were few and far between.

As the race wore on, I began to feel coldness in my hands. My extremities begin to loose mobility towards the end of the race. My fingers try to open to grab a cup of water or gel, but they don’t respond as usual. Finally, downtown Boston was in sight and I knew the end was near. Then it was onto Boylston Street and the finish line was in full sight. I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:34. A respectable time.

Running the Boston marathon was a dream come true to say the least. Especially coming in the middle of my Peace Corps experience, coming home to the United States and staying with my friends Al and Kate. It was an experience I’ll never forget and will count as one of my greatest life achievements.


At 18 April, 2007, Blogger rmingle said...

Congrats on running the marathon, Pervis.

At 19 April, 2007, Blogger borderst said...

Congratulations! The weather was terrible here in NH, too.

At 23 April, 2007, Anonymous Jennifer Noble said...

Congratulations! I was in NYC that weekend and the weather was awful on Sunday.

At 25 April, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, very impressive what you did in Boston! Congratulations with your achievement, certainly something to remember and to look back on with a smile. Great to read this story! And I think the rain didn't stop suddenly, they say in holland...you get what you deserve!
Petra (formerly Ntungamo, now Holland)


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