The Ultra Experience

Here's to the adventures of my life which are usually ultra marathon trail running or backpacking but may include other trips, experiences, thoughts, opinions, or pretty much whatever I want. As co-founder of Altra Footwear my life and adventures seemingly revolve more around developing and promoting the best footwear in the world...and I love it!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Boston Marathon Double


So I got a last minute entry into the Boston Marathon.  I was going out for the expo with Altra and I was able to snatch an invitational entry into Boston.  I was pretty excited.  It was so last minute that I never got my bib # packet before I flew out to the event but I was confident I was in.  I went to check and pick up my bib number the first chance I could...needless to say I was in the last wave in the last coral.  Basically starting in last place.  I also noticed that the buses left at 6:30am and my wave didn't start until 10:40am.  Heck I could run to the start that fast...

And so three days before the event, the idea of running it both ways came into my mind.  I said as much to my partners Golden and Jeremy.  Next thing I know, they are bragging to everyone that I'm running it twice...(thanks guys!?).  So I guess I was committed to doing it!  I tried in vain to get a few people to join me but got no takers.  I got everything prep'd the night before and was generally nervous about having been on my feet for three straight days at the expo.  I've done 25+ marathons or ultra's but never more then 12.2 on the road.  Ended up getting a few hour of sleep and awoke focused on the event at hand.  The hotel lobby was bustling with marathon runner's getting prep'd.  None of whom knew that I was heading out to do the marathon as well...just twice!

I started at exactly 5:30am from Boston.  The temperature was perfect.  I settled into an 8 minute mile and just keep going.  I had to stop several times totally maybe 15 minutes finding directions, then several bathroom breaks (I was well hydrated getting prep'd for the later high temps), then at several stop lights.  Once away from Boston, it was mostly only cyclists so I was nice and relaxed.  I stopped 17 miles in where a friend had dropped some water and food but it was gone.  I couldn't find it anywhere.  I was low on water but feeling great.  Snapped this nice shot 20 miles in:

Shortly thereafter I was able to snag some water at the water stations that were now being set up along the course.  They had also stopped traffic so I was now able to run in the middle of the road instead of the shoulder.  It was great!  The crowd was growing but looking in the wrong direction.  Several people shouted out "Hey your going the wrong direction!".  I didn't stop to explain....

2 miles from the start, the wheelchairs came zooming by...it was awesome watching their competitiveness and speed.  It got me thinking about how lucky and blessed I was to be healthy and able to do what I can.  I look up to those athletes who overcome their adversities very much.  A mile later came the orthopedic athletes.  At this point the emotions came pouring out.  The remaining part of the day became a spiritual emotional experience for me that I will never forget.

I got to the start at 9:30 am in a time of 3:57:01.  I was able to stand at the start and watch the elite females take off.  The excitement was palpable with fans cheering, crowded streets, and runner's darting everywhere getting ready for the marathon.  I was short a few calories and began looking for some food.  I ended up at a corner grocery store where I bought the last 2 banana's in stock and a powerbar.  Downing that I began drinking and taking some supplements to keep up my electrolytes.  Found a shady spot and sat down for 45 minutes watching wave after wave of starters head out of Hopkington to Boston.  At 10:40am my wave began.  Being in the last coral, I passed the starting line at exactly 10:50am.  So begins the official marathon.

LOTS and LOTS of people were heading down the road.  I got to the shoulder and began passing people while trying to stay relaxed.  It was crazy.  Two miles in and it was still packed.  Settling down I watched how nearly every person I passed had written on the back of their shirts something like "I miss you mom", "For Dad", "In remembrance of Jane", "Lets rid cancer", "MS"etc etc etc.  I couldn't contain my emotions.  Seemed the race had a message to tell me.

Still pumping out 8 minute miles I was thrilled to be running.  I felt great.  The endorphins seemed to have no end.  Surrounded by positive minded runners I was engulfed in energy.  Mile after mile I moved forward into the crowd.  I took the time to talk with a few Altra wearers, friends, and strangers.  I then began passing a few of the orthopedic runners-emotions, girls college- exhilarating (wow! talk about loud and intense), mile 13.1- pumped, passing the Hoyts- emotional, and forward. 

Soon the heat was overpowering. I was pouring more cups of water over my head then I was drinking.  The post water stations was covered with empty cups and spilled water.  You had to watch out as everyone slowed, dodged, drank, poured over head, etc.  I only had two gels since Hopkington which I took earlier and was struggling to get my energy up.  Mile 17 was the only gel station...I grabbed three taking them at 17, 19, and 21.  I was slowing down yet runner's were still coming back to me like a meteor shower! 

I kept plodding and heartbreak hill was shockingly tough and steep.  I had run every step and wasn't about to walk so onwards I ran.  At the top I had a burst of energy and surged down the hills.  I was so pumped!  I had a huge smile on my face and kept getting emotional as I watched spectators with garden hoses spraying down overheated runners, random strangers passing out ice and oranges from their homes, medical staff scrabbling to get to struggling runners, and just a general sense of the positivity of humanity.  It reinforanced to me that people are generally good.  However, with 3 miles left, I was tired.  The screaming fans 5-10 deep in places kept me going as I neared the finish line.  I pushed all the way in with an official time of 3:44:25.

It was an incredible experience for me.  I enjoyed every minute.  The emotions of running that far with so many endorphins-factors-experiences was amazing.  52.4 miles in 7 hours 41 minutes and 30 seconds.  Out of 21,554 finishers, I finished 5,331.  Kind of crazy to think that I passed around 15,000 runners!  Recovery has been better then I thought and I will forever look back on what an amazing experience this was.  Altra Blog Write-Up


2 comments:

peter said...

Fantastic.

jun said...

Haha. Yeah man, way to go.