Friday, December 10, 2021

My first Boston Marathon! Race Recap 10/11/21

Boston Marathon Race Recap

I did it! I ran the Boston Marathon this year for the first time and in person! Last year it was cancelled due to Covid and I ran the virtual race, but thankfully I was able to get into this years race with a good enough buffer that I had from when I ran Revel Mt. Hood in June of 2019. I was so grateful to get in to this iconic race, and this year's 125th Boston Marathon was the first time taking place in the fall making it even more special. Not only that, but my sister and friend Lenora also got in, making it even more memorable.

I flew out of Sacramento Friday afternoon, stopping in Los Angeles, before taking the red eye to Boston.
I got into Boston early Saturday morning and met my sister at the airport. We checked into our hotel, the Boston Marriot in Copley Place. L
uckily they had our room available early so we were able to shower before heading to the expo. I highly recommend this hotel. I reserved the hotel through Marathon Tours and got a great rate. The hotel is close to the finish line, along with the expo and great restaurants and shops. 

We had some time to spare before Lenora arrived, so we headed to the expo. We first had to show proof of vaccination so we could attend the expo and race activities. If you did not have proof, you had to take a Covid test. Showing my vaccination card was fast and easy, and they provided me with a bracelet to wear all weekend.

There were so many photo opportunities. Here are some we took at the finish line.
The expo was at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention center. Getting my bib and shirt was pretty fast since when we got there, it wasn't busy. Saturday morning is probably one of the best times to go if you want less crowds.
The adidas store was nice but other than that, sadly there wasn't much at the expo. A bit disappointing but understand due to Covid and the crazy year 2020 was. I'm just grateful the race was happening. Still lots of photo ops though.
It was so good to reunite with our friend Lenora. She was running too and it had been a long while since we've seen each other. More pics from the expo. 
Sunday morning we went for a shakeout run on the path along the Charles River. Such a neat path to run!
A cool thing we were able to do was if you bought a finisher jacket, you can add your bib number to the sleeve. Love that we could personalize it and that it was also free.
More fun photo opps.
My flat runner for the race. We thought it would be fun to wear matching outfits. We even ended up wearing the same shoes. :)
RACE DAY (MONDAY) - It was nice not having to get up crazy early for this race, but this would be my first race that started late morning. We were in wave 4, so our bus loading time wasn't until 8:45am.
It wasn't a far walk from our hotel to the Boston Public Garden where the bus loading zones were. We were loaded on the buses around 9am. 
The ride was kind of long and we even stopped somewhere for a bit to wait. Not sure why they stopped us but the bus parked by a school and we sat for a bit before continuing on to the start line. We didn't get to Hopkinton until about 10:20am. Once we got off the bus, we walked a little bit to get to the porta potties.
There were a lot of porta potties, which was great. It meant we didn't have to wait in line very long. 
After the bathrooms, we headed to the start line. BAA did a rolling start this year due to COVID. We were allowed to start whenever we were ready, which was really nice because that meant there was no waiting in a crowded corral.
I was so excited I was actually there and that I was going to actually run the Boston Marathon! According to my Garmin, we started our run at 10:44am. We all planned on staying together. It was me and Lenora's first time and we wanted to soak it all in. 
The run started out amazing. I felt really good. I knew the course was downhill for about the first 5 miles or so. We were all feeling great.
Sorry for the photo dump, but my sister took so many good shots on the run. :) 
Some pics are from the race photographers, Marathonphoto. 
I felt pretty good the first half of the run, but started to lose steam after the halfway mark. Going through Wellesley College was amazing. The crowds and screams of encouragement helped get me up the hill. 
The Newton hills around mile 17 leading up to Heartbreak hill were killer. They were so hard for me. Living in Davis, there are no hills other than the freeway overpass so I was not prepared. I really should have gone somewhere to train on hills! Least I know now. I felt really bad for my sister and Lenora because I know I was holding them back. Also, I'm not sure where on the course but, I saw a photographer and decided to do a jump and when I did that, it was not good for my left calf. Kinda felt like it would ball up. Slowing down helped.
We ended up walking at every aid station starting at mile 17. I really needed that break.
I was still able to smile throughout those tough miles. I couldn't help it with the amazing crowd support along with my sister and Lenora encouraging me onwards.
There's the Citgo sign! Just one more mile once we pass it.
Boston Marathon Citgo sign shot
I was so happy passing the sign. Meant we were almost there. However there is still another challenge when we go under Mass Ave., there's a nice decline but you gotta go back up. It's in the last half mile but any hill is tough at that point. However, when we finally get to Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston, it was an amazing feeling once you were on Boylston. 
It made me think of my journey to Boston, the never imagining I could even get here to maybe actually having a chance, to actually getting the qualifying time, yet not going in 2020 due to COVID. But here I was, finally running the race. I made it. I was so emotional, I even got caught on camera doing the ugly cry. 
The cheers all the way to the finish line made me feel like a rockstar. Hearing my name being called out right before I finished was icing on the cake. Such an unbelievable experience as I crossed the finish line with my sister and Lenora.
Boston Marathon finish line!
This shot was taken right after we finished. We didn't even have our medals yet. I was so happy that we finished and I got to experience my first Boston with Sherry and Lenora.
I finished in 4:11:39. Not quite the time, I was expecting even though we wanted to enjoy it. I was actually hoping we'd get under 4 hours but those hills really did hurt me and I even had some calf cramping issues the last few miles. On Boylston, I remember telling my sister that I had to slow down or my calf would ball up.

Here's some shots with our medals. 
Such a cool medal!
Boston Marathon Medal 2021
Boston you are an amazing race and I am so grateful to have ran it this year. I really do hope to come back so I can redeem myself on those hills. There were more hills than I was expecting. All throughout the course were ups and downs, even before the Newton hills. At least I know what to expect now. Boston, I really do hope to come back and next time I'll be ready to race!

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