I trained for this race. Again, seems like a simple statement that would seem pretty obvious because it's referring to a marathon. But I don't normally train for marathons. I just run when I feel like it, as fast as I feel like running, and try to fit it into a schedule with two jobs. For whatever reason, sometimes the planets align and I run hard and feel good during a race. This time though, I really wanted to break three hours. It was a very doable goal considering my time from last year: 3:00:37. It was a PR by over 10 minutes but having the nagging 37 seconds made the PR bittersweet.
I had specific training runs that were done on certain days to make sure that I was ready to run fast and once again gain a new personal best. Hopefully one that started with a two...
As the race neared I was sure I was ready. All my training was done at a pace well exceeding the 2:59:59 pace and I was thinking I might be able to pull an even better time than just squeaking by under the clock.
Then race day came. I woke up to temperatures around 73. Last year at the same time, the temperatures hovered in the 40s. We had gotten emails the day before warning of record temperatures and the race officials even allowed us to defer until next year if we wanted. I knew it'd be toasty but still didn't think as much of it as I probably should have. Just standing in the waiting area waiting for the race to start I had already begun sweating just wearing a tank and shorts. By the time the race started at 10 am I was already pouring small streams of water on myself to keep cool. I'm not sure what the official temperature was at the start but I'd guess around 80.
I decided rather than gunning all the way, I'd just relax and roll for the first half. I didn't want to do anything stupid, so I didn't push. Not even a little bit. I sipped water, sipped gatorade, took my Enduralytes on schedule, and without even trying was staying right around the pace I needed to. People around me were looking rough. Normally, I don't see people walking before the halfway mark, but Monday, they started walking at 10k. I guess somebody passed out a bit behind me and the person directly behind me started yelling, "Medic!" We all passed the word up the field until we saw the golf cart ambulance rushing past us.
The half mark came perfectly timed at 1:29:58. And I was still feeling relaxed and not like I was pushing it even a little bit. But the morale around me spiraled downward. People were complaining like crazy about the heat.
After 15 miles I was still around my target time but started to feel a little tired prematurely and my legs felt surprisingly heavy. I ate another gel and went back to feeling fine, though, the effects didn't last long. After 19 miles or somewhere around there, it was pretty obvious the heat was taking its toll on me, and I slowed dramatically. I did my best to keep running, and to keep my nutrition under control but after another couple miles it was pretty clear this was not the day I would break 3 hours. I crossed the finish line cramping and tired in 3:14:20. Pretty far off from what I wanted to do. Oh well, the rest of the Boston trip with Katie was awesome.
Some numbers on the day:
It was the hottest Boston ever
The winning time was 2:12 and change, 10 minutes off last year's 2:03
4,000 dropped out before the race started
Another 500 or so deferred until next year
About 1,000 dropped out during the race
Roughly a tenth of the field ended up in the emergency tent
150 or so went to the hospital by ambulance
3 were still in critical care as of yesterday
And one had to be revived.
...I think I'll take the missed PR