I have the week off from work, and so does Kate so she graciously agreed to come down with me to Boston and help with logistics so I could run the last 14.5 miles of the course, starting at Wellesley. We'd also drive the first part of the course up to that point.
This was a great idea and I learned a lot. I was actually on much of the course two years ago when I helped crew and pace a friend who was running a quadruple Boston to raise money for charity. Unfortunately I had a bad plantar fasciitis flare up at the time so didn't run as much as I would have liked, and plus it was at 1:00am so I don't remember it as well.
We got back in the car and started driving the course. I noted the downhills the first several miles. As many have warned me, these can be dangerous, and I can see why. Race excitement + going out too fast + significant dowhills = trashed quads. I don't want to be that guy.
After four miles, bit of an uphill and then it seemed pretty tame for a while. I noted the small, rolling hills. Emphasis on small. Should be pretty fast going.
|Back-up instructions in case the GPS failed|
I bid Kate farewell and was off. She was going to drive down to the finish and do some shopping while I ran.
I cruised along slowly, with the goal of this run just going at an easy pace. That wasn't hard, given my crappy diet the day before. Felt sluggish at first because of that, but it would thankfully wear off.
I noted the terrain continued to just have very small hills, and went through some really nice looking towns. However, the sidewalks were pretty bad at times, coated with thick, slippery ice which made the going slow. This was a bit aggravating, but so be it. On race day, no sidewalks necessary, as the roads will be ours.
|Newton Hills (before Heartbreak Hill)|
Running along the Newton Hills stretch was nice because there was a side road with only local traffic. I saw many other runners along here which was great.
Got to Heartbreak Hill and reached the top. After that, a nice downhill and I noted the Boston College campus to my right. Beautiful school.
The Garmin course feature saved me soon after passing the campus. I made a left hand turn a block or two too soon, and my watch beeped at me and flashed a message I was off course. I was sure I was on the right street, but who I am to argue with computers. I backtracked and sure enough, I discovered it was right.
Made the left on Beacon and the downhills really got serious here. I mused how it would definitely suck to trash the quads in the first few miles or elsewhere and not have the stamina for this section. Very easy to fly here if one still can do so.
|Citgo sign looms in the distance|
I knew I was coming up on the right turn on Hereford, but suddenly my Garmin was saying I was off course and yelling at me again. Say what?! I was certain I stayed on Commonwealth Avenue, but my Garmin was saying otherwise. This time I would issue a challenge... I fired up my phone and checked google maps and verified I was right. Right at that same moment, I realized the taller buildings were interfering with the GPS signal and not giving me as accurate of a read on my location. Made sense.
Turned right on Hereford and saw several cop cars, firetrucks, and ambulances go by. Huh. Turned left on Boyston and was greeted with something unexpected: smoke, and lots of it. Really thick black smoke right down the street where I was supposed to run. You seriously could not see through it. I stopped and contemplated what to do. A guy on the street told me "you don't want to run through that" as he passed by. I didn't. But I did.
I pulled my jacket up over my nose and ran on. Other pedestrians were doing the same. Turns out a building was on fire a block away. At least it wasn't right on Boyston. As a result, the dense smoke wasn't very deep, and after a block I was through it completely.
Very soon afterwards, I was at the library and found the finish line painted across the road. I lept on to the road quickly to run across it before a wave of traffic came, and returned to the safety of the sidewalk. I called Kate and she was just a block away and we soon met back up. A nice end to the run.
Afterwards, I changed and we got an early dinner and did some shopping. Also had a bit of fun goofing off:
|This guy offered me candy and drove a van without windows|
|Photo booth fun|
AHR/MHR - N/A (wonky data)
Upper 20s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, handheld bottle (water).