Boston 2017

by Joanne on April 19, 2017

This race was #7 consecutive Boston run.  I put in the miles but not the hills nor the speed work so my confidence was lacking to the point of not wanting to run.  The weather looked good and I had a friend to run with this year so there really was no excuse.

As usual, we drove in on the Saturday.  Then things got different.  We missed our exit to Hopkinton where we typically drive along the course.  We were lost and didn’t get back on course until Wellesley.  After about 5 miles, the course was closed, so we had to get to Boston by an entirely different route.  We also skipped our usual stop for lunch at Morse Tavern (another habit over the last 6 years).

Easy check in at Copley Marriott on Huntington (the same hotel we stayed at in 2013, the year of the bombing).  We changed and left the room at 4:30, headed for Boylston Street.  We didn’t hit the expo but took pics at the finish line with sun glasses volunteers were handing out. Took selfies, posted and waited to see ourselves on the big screen. Hashtag #beboston.


We went into Marathon Sports and I bought my jacket and visor. Again, off the usual routine where I buy my jacket Sunday at the expo.  Ted tells me I’m way to superstitious!

Saturday Night: We ate at Atlantic Fish.  Good but pricey.  We were there at 5:15 and it was packed. They were not able to seat us until 6pm. We had a glass of wine which was potent after not eating since breakfast.  Dinner was outstanding and worth the wait:  Swordfish, potatoes, wonderful fluffy bread, and broccoli.  A stop at Starbucks then off to our hotel.

Pre Race Jog in Boston Commons at 6:15 am.

Beautiful day! 60 degrees, sun shining.  It was a day to smile and relish life.  I took selfies, spoke to a guy walking his German Shepherd called “Rex”, and watched all other runners and walkers this beautiful morning.

Boston Commons1 Boston Commons Carousel Ducks in Easter attire Washington

Went over to the finish line for another selfie. I wondered if the elite athletes check out the finish line before they run?  Did THEY take selfies??!!

After Ted returned from his bike ride, we ate breakfast at the hotel which was a shared bowl of oatmeal with raisins, egg white omelet with spinach, tomato and goat cheese, dry rye toast.

Off to the expo:

We had a great time this year at the expo. Ted bought a bike helmet (go figure – Boston marathon and there are triathlon sponsors!).  We spent about 1 ½ hours before heading off to Starbucks for an iced coffee and to eat that sweet potato cooked at breakfast (11:45 am).  We walked to Newbury St. to find lunch and decided on a small place called The Roost.  The view from where I sat was not pretty.  I starred down the pants of a huge man revealing just as huge plumbers crack.  Lunch:  salad of simple greens with cucumber and grilled shrimp. 

The day was just to gorgeous to head back to the hotel so we walked to the Charles River where we sat on steps by the water watching ducks enjoy the day and kayak tours fight the current.  Beautiful sun shine but breezy. 

Charles River Charles Ducks

Dinner at Lucca Back Bay.  Italian cuisine but unfortunately for me there was meat with just about every entrée.

Pre Race Day Meal:  Green salad with gorgonzola, candied pecans. Halibut with a side of fettucine, dry with just parmesan cheese. Ended our night with a tall coffee from Starbucks. Tried to get to sleep by 9:30 but that didn’t work.  It was a restless night.


68 degrees with a 13 mph wind.

It was about 70 at the start with sunshine. It would reach mid 70s and cool down as we ran into Boston.  

Alarm was set for 5:45 am so I could get up, eat 1/2 a bagel and move around.

Marathon Fuel:  ½ honey grain bagel at 5:50 am. Clif bar at 6:50 am. 5 Hour Energy at 9 am. And ½ a banana at 9:30 am.  Along the course: 3 chomps at mile 4.  GU gel at mile 7, mile 12 ½, and 18. 

Hydration: Water at every rest stop, drinking and dumping on head, neck and wrists (pulse points). Began Gatorade after the half (13.1) then alternating with water at every other water station.

Left the hotel at 7:15 am for the buses and was able to board bus at about 8 am. We didn’t arrive at Athletes Village until after 9 am.  I wore a sweat shirt and sweat pants over my running tank and shorts.  The extra layer kept me warm during the gusting winds at Athletes Village.

Porto Pottie stop first. Walked to upper Med Tent to meet my running partner, Shirley.  

We talked as we waited in the porto line then it was time to go to our corral.  Both of us questioned our conditioning so we weren’t in a rush to get up front. We started easy.

Mile Splits:  9:15, 9:08, 9:17, 8:58, 9:34,9:11, 9:12, 9:29, 9:23, 9:20, 9:59, 9:49, 10:23, 11:07,10:28, 10:20, 12:31, 11:54, 10:47, 11:15, 11:03  .. at this point Shirley and I ran our own race… 7:58, 8:23, 8:22, 8:38, 8:58.  *I proved to myself that starting slow works.  I had so much left in the tank, those last 5 miles were almost effortless.  Good note to self for all future marathons!

I had fun running with Shirley.  Yes, it was Boston but going into this race, I was not excited and needed the support from a running friend. Shirley was struggling with coming off an injury so her conditioning was questionable.  We got lost in conversation during those initial miles of Boston.  We saw Shirley’s family at mile 7 and 15, stopped for pics and hugs then continued on.  Shirley and I split half way up heart break hill.

At this point, I felt great. I wasn’t suffering from the heat like a lot of runners. We had been running slow so I still had a lot of energy and took off after leaving Shirley which can be seen in those last five mile splits.  So, yeah, my net finish time was slow but this race and the way I ran it FINALLY convinced me that it pays to take it easy in the beginning of a marathon.  My kick/take off was to late in this one but I wanted to run with my friend.  Next time, I’ll take it easy and then kick in around the half.

Finish line march through medals, heat sheets, water, food….

My feelings about this year’s Boston (#7 consecutive Boston Marathon and #25 marathon overall) are mixed. Sure, I’m bummed I didn’t run under 4 hours but I’m thrilled to have had so much in the tank for the last 5 miles AND (most meaningful to me) being able to run with a friend.  To think I was so close to not even going this year.  How I would have regret that decision!

Net finish time:4:18:30.

Next up…yes, there is another marathon in my future AND another Boston, St. George’s Marathon in Utah, early October. Hoping to improve my qualifying time of 3:51 for Boston 2018 but either way, Ted and I are in Boston next April for the 122nd running of the Boston Marathon. YA- HOOO!

A reminder to self for next year:  Winter training is tough and you’ll feel burned out but stick with it, have confidence in your training, you’ll have more regrets if you give up than if you continue on to race day.


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