The Newton Hills are, well, hills, but they're pretty indistinguishable from any of the other dozens of hills we've already gone up and down and up and down. At this point a lot of runners are walking.
Halfway up Heartbreak Hill I stop to check on my taped foot (taped because I have PF/PTT, both of which are killing me). It feels like the tape is doing something funky down there which isn't helping the aching feet situation. I pull off my shoe and sock and see that the tape is still in place, though it's not exactly stuck to anything. I figure as long as it's not rolling up it's better than nothing. I ring-out my sock, which is now all stretched out and baggy, slip on my shoe, and continue the climb. At this point all the time spent stopping to get ice and water and Gatorade and ring-out socks really doesn't make a difference.
At the top of Heartbreak Hill the course narrows with spectators moving into the street, in places 10 deep. As we pass Boston College things get a little crazy, and I don't have the mental or physical acuity to deal with it. Four college students leap over the fence lining the course and start running and giggling. One young woman, wearing flip-flops, falls about 5 feet in front of me. I veer around her as she jumps back up to her feet. "That's really not cool guys", I yell at them. The police lining the course have NO control. Two more college students jump the barrier and start running with a female friend. A cop yells, "get off the course!!". One of the boys yells back "We gotta run with her. We gotta run with her." The cop let's them go.
As we head downhill into the final stretch with Boston in sight I feel chills. Is it emotion or heat stroke? At last I can see the Citgo sign and I know that that's a good thing though I don't remember why. What mile are we on? My thighs are so tight and heavy.
The last miles are a blur. I see runners, very fit looking runners, lying on the ground being tended to. Oh, to get this far and not make it all the way, I say to myself! It's too scary to think about. The last two miles through the city are baking hot and the air is entirely dead still.
We turn on to Boyleston and there's the finish, in sight but still .4 mi away. Tunnel vision consumes me. Must get to finish...must get to finish. I see nothing around me, my eyes totally focused on the goal. I'm aware of the crowds but I'm completely unaware of any runners around me. I cross the mats.
Sent: 3:06 PM Mon, Apr 16 Msg: At 03:06 PM: Athlete Alert. Caolan Macmahon @ Finish. Time 4:25:41, Pace 10:07
I'm done...finished...toast...stick a fork in me...My second slowest marathon ever (first slowest was in Boulder in 2009 - 86 degrees). All I can think is: It's bad but not as bad as it might have been.
****************************** So what's the take-away here?
I think I ran this as well as I could have given the conditions. I didn't cramp up, that's good. I 'ran' the whole way though I really really wanted to walk many many times. This is something that's important to me - it's a personal thing. I learned a lot from my previous experiences and I used that here.
So here's the thing - Now I want to run Boston again! I didn't think this would matter, but now it does. I want to run it in better conditions and really experience what I feel I missed. I missed the marathon because it was more an exercise in survival and toughness then actual running. Sure, I guess I experienced the spectacle of the Boston Marathon, but I didn't really get to RUN Boston. Unfortunately I also failed to get a qualifying time, which I firmly believe I could have done handily had the situation been different. Since my next marathon is in November (NYC), it seems that 2013 is out for me :(
But now I have a new bee-in-my-bonnet, so I guess I should thank the weather gods for giving me new purpose in my life. Or, maybe not
"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." Martin Luther King, Jr.