April 16 , 2012 - the day was too hot for racing, sunny and 70's at the start, rising into the upper 80's.
During training my goal time for this race was 3:30 - requiring an average pace of 8 minutes per mile. I finished with 4:30:29, 45 minutes slower than in 2011.
There were many warnings from the BAA about the hot weather. They recommended only highly trained runners participate and to abandon time goals. And they offered deferment/guaranteed entry for next year.
By midway my quads were hurting and any slight downhill stretch was painful. The Newton hills from miles 17 to 21 tired and slowed me even more. About mile 20 it seemed I was no longer sweating. Before arriving at each water stop my arms would be dry. But I felt ok to continue. No headaches, dizziness, shaking. No serious cramping. My skin recovered from a pinch test for dehydration. I considered checking at a medical tent but didn't want to risk them taking me off the course. I had invested a lot of effort to get this far and didn't want to leave without finishing and getting the medal. It seems foolish now as I put these stubborn thoughts into words.
For a long time I had been looking forward to the end of the hills where family and friends were watching. I made sure I was running as I approached the spot in case there was a camera was ready for pictures. Finally I arrived, found them near where I expected at mile 22 and stopped to talk with Rose and Keith and the others. Rose offered water to pour over my head - I suppose I didn't look so fresh. And then I went on to face the last 4-something miles.
More run-walk effort made slow progress. I realized if I could or would run more, I'd get done sooner. At last I reached the final mile with only 2 turns before I could see the finish a few blocks away. I managed to run without walking from the end of Boyleston the last whatever that is (half mile?) at a little under 9 minute pace. I felt some emotion welling up as I ran along this last stretch in front of big crowds making big noise. Crossing the finish gave simply a feeling of relief.
This marathon was difficult in such a different way than others I've run. The conditions were the biggest challenge, not the distance or a time goal. Early on when I realized I had to slow down to manage the heat, I surrendered any time goal. When I checked my watch it was either to see what the total distance was or out of curiosity over my ever slowing pace. My goal was only to finish safely. Even that was not easy.
Even with this year's challenges, I am still very glad to have done the Boston Marathon. There was awesome support over the entire course from race workers and spectators acting as unofficial volunteers!
5k splits recorded by BAA:
0:26:21, 0:54:07, 1:22:21, 1:52:50, 1:59:12, 2:25:18, 3:00:31, 3:38:49, 4:15:58
mile splits from my watch:
829, 828, 824, 821, 844, 858, 916, 917, 904, 900, 944, 1001, 942,
1007, 1103, 1012, 1149, 1130, 1123, 1142, 1305, 1142, 1239, 1147, 1108, 1103, 348 (828 pace for 0.45mi)