My 2018 Boston Marathon Experience

Boston Marathon 2018, marathon running

I spent about fourteen weeks training for the 2018 Boston Marathon.

It’s challenging to maintain focus for that long and not get distracted. A lot of life can happen over those long weeks of training.

Before you know it the weeks have flown by and it’s taper time. As they say, the days are long but the time is short.

I spent the two weeks before the race assembling and packing my things.

The last week before a marathon is typically the second week of marathon training taper. With more time on my hands I had more time to think. Without the regular fix of endorphins I sometimes became cranky or blue. So even as the miles tapered down there were these other challenges to deal with.

And just when my brain went on the fritz, I had to think and focus on what I needed for race day. Runners often start looking at weather forecasts way before they can be accurate. We can’t help ourselves.

This year things looked bad from the get-go and proceeded to worsen. I’m not sure that any of us could imagine 2″ of rain in 12 hours and 40 mph gusts of wind.

It made the collecting and packing of gear a real challenge!

2018 Boston Marathon Morning

Charles Street divides the Boston Common and the Public Garden. This wide street is where the buses to Hopkinton line up. My official boarding time was from 8:55 to 9:30 AM.

For most races I have to get up at 6 AM and drive for an hour or two. Since my house is only six miles from the loading area I didn’t need to leave until at least 7 AM. I got to hang out at my house, drink coffee and relax.

My colleague Brian Sohns was my running mate this year. In 2017 he was able to get on an earlier bus, so we decided to give it a try. We met at our office around 7:30 and walked to Charles Street in the rain and wind.

We crossed The Public Garden on a sidewalk crowded with hundreds of runners walking in the Boston Marathon 2018 Bus Loading Area, My 2018 Boston Marathon Experienceopposite direction. There was mud and puddles everywhere.

Our bag drop was closest to the finish line, but the farthest from the buses. This was great after the race but not so great in the morning.

The bag drop was well manned and we were on our way to the buses in no time.

To get to the buses we had to walk on the sidewalk inside the wrought iron fence of The Boston Common. This was our first check point. As long as you had just your clear plastic go bag and were dressed like a runner they let you through.

We had the wrong color bib for this group of buses but they didn’t seem to mind. Almost everyone was wrapped in something and almost none of it was clear plastic. I lifted my silver Mylar sheet and showed the guy my running shoes.

More volunteers checked us at the gate where we exited to Charles Street. I tried to keep my bag or Mylar sheet over my bib as much as I could. I did not want to get turned back this close to the buses.

The next volunteer directed us to the boarding area. They had cones and tape to create shoots to each bus. The first few buses were full and we were directed to the row of buses behind the front row of buses.

The buses were lined up and staggered so runners could walk between them easily and board. The driver and a volunteer kept a pretty good count of runners on the bus. Brian and I found a seat in the back where we could sit together and about five more people got on board behind us.

We were so busy talking to each other, checking our gear and eating that we never really talked to anyone else the entire ride.

The foggy windows were open a crack to let in air and keep out the rain.

It rained the entire trip and the windows never cleared. Not being able to see anything and our constant banter made the trip go quickly.

Entering Runners Village

The buses pulled around the back of Hopkinton High School. From the drop off it’s a short walk to the Athlete’s Village. As soon as we got off the bus we were hit by blasts of rain and wind. In no time my running hat was flying across the parking lot. Fortunately I was able to grab it before it got too far away.

Everyone was in good spirits and taking the entire situation in stride. Runners have to be the happiest go lucky crowd in the world. Nothing bothers us and nothing stops us.

Half way to the Runner’s Village and we saw a bunch of people in the woods taking a leak. There were about 1,000 porta-potties in sight! You could almost smell them! We all had a good laugh at their expense. It was comic.

Brian and I were running for Mass General Hospital, MGH. MGH was using Hopkinton Dental as a staging area for our team. Instead of taking a left towards the fields, we headed strait up the driveway to Grove Street and started looking for that dentists’ office.

We couldn’t imagine how a dentists’ office could hold 75 to 100 people. We guessed they would have a tent in the parking lot and hoped it had sides.

It seemed like a long walk in the wind and the rain, but there were other people on the same quest so we felt pretty confident that we were going the right way.

My 2018 Boston Marathon Experience, Brian Sohns, MGHAs we turned into the parking lot we saw a large banquet tent with clear plastic sides! Just what we had and hoped for.

The lady at the door gave us a quick look see and let us in without too close of an inspection. I guess we looked like we belonged there.

As we walked in, the noise level and temperature instantly rose. While it was not hot, it was at least 10° warmer than outside. I was freakin thrilled! They had a heater!

We quickly found a few unoccupied seats, got settled and looked around for familiar faces and what supplies were available. Charities always take good care of their runners.

Final Preparations for the Boston Marathon

The weather conditions totally sucked. No two ways about it. I’ve run in the heat. I’ve run in the cold. I’ve run in the rain and even a thunder storm. I’ve run in snow and close to ‘Nor Easter conditions. I’ll take any of that.

If it’s warm and it rains, you just go with it. You may need to take extra precautions to avoid chafing but a warm rain never hurt anyone.

If it’s cold and dry you can wear layers according to the conditions and just go with it. If it snows, at least you can stay dry.

When you combine rain and cold you’ve got a shitty situation. Any garment that will keep the rain out for four hours will hold in your body heat and sweat. You will literally become a hot sticky mess.

Since you cannot stay water proof for four plus hours, you have to plan on soaking through at some point.

Layers are really the only option. During a marathon in the rain you are going to soak through eventually. And when it’s a cold windy day you need to prepare for the cold.

In the days before The Marathon I planned to wear a long sleeved Under Armor shirt and my MGH singlet. I was running for MGH so I wanted to show it. As the forecast worsened I switched to a t-shirt and then switched again to a long sleeved running shirt. The night before the race I couldn’t find my MGH long sleeved tech shirt!

Sunday night I still wasn’t sure if I would run with my running vest or my MGH running jacket. Monday morning I wore the two long sleeved shirts, my running vest AND the MGH jacket. I also wore a neck gator that I normally wear in freezing temperatures.

I brought a Mylar blanket to keep my shoes dry between the bag drop and getting on the bus. While getting a bagel in the MGH tent I noticed that they had tape. Many people were using it in on their running shoes.

I decided to take two pieces of that tape and use it to hold my Mylar blanket around my shoulders. I figured it would stay on for a mile or two and then the rain would loosen the tape and I’d toss the sheet. I was looking for anything to keep me comfortable for as long as possible.

About an hour before we were to line up I took two Hylands Leg Cramp pills and a salt capsule with a 500ml water. I had another bagel and made another porta-potty trip. It was cold outside of the tent!

With an hour to race time my body had time to process that and I’d have time for one more porta-potty stop.

About 10 minutes before we headed to the start they had us all get together for a group photo. I’m about 6 feet tall, so I usually end up in the back of these photos. Somehow I ended up in front kneeling down.

The photographer had to give instructions a few times. He was taking a series of shots that he would use to create a composite photo of the group. He took the series of shots twice, and my knees were killing me! Next time I’ll remember to stand in back!

My 2018 Boston Marathon Experience

Our group of Mass General Hospital runners left the tent together and joined the other 4th wave runners on the 0.7 mile walk to the start line.

Normally there are all kinds of people at the barricades. People are on their front porch or stairs cheering us on. Not this year. I don’t think I saw anyone out in front of their home cheering for us. The only people at the barricades were BAA volunteers and other volunteers there to collect discarded clothing.

Everyone was cheerful and wished us well. But just about everyone there was there to do a job.

The rain and wind wasn’t too bad as we walked along. It seemed like a long walk especially as we were getting ready to run 26.2 miles.

In the CVS parking lot at the corner of Grove and Main Street the BAA must have had 100 porta-potties.

I like to tell the story from one of my first Boston’s of watching two guys trying to take a leak up against the side of a house.There were thousands of people behind them and the lady who owned the house was on her back deck yelling at them to get the hell out of there! It makes me laugh just thinking about it! Imagine that Maxine lady on the Hallmark cards.

The house appears to be gone now, but CVS has a huge parking lot.

My 2018 Boston Marathon Experience, Marathon RunningBrian decided to make a pit stop and I waited on the street. As I stood there I realized that there were piles of ponchos, jackets and plastic and Mylar sheets in the parking lot. Many piles looked to be a foot or two high. It was unbelievable. I just shook my head at the incredible waste.

Soon we were headed for the start line. We took a right onto Main Street and started walking up hill. They had us walk to the left side of the road. Usually they keep us to the right because another group is lined up to go.

When they move a group into position the announcer gets everyone wound up and a camera boom swings over the crowd. Then they give us the “Go, go, go!” It really helps pump up a pumped up crowd.

Not this year.

I started my watch when we left the MGH tent. It usually takes my Garmin 610 a few minutes to lock in on a signal. With thousands of GPS watches looking for a signal I figured that I’d need the entire walk to the start to get a signal. Remarkably I got a signal almost instantly.

It was a good thing my watch was ready to go. As we walked towards the line we noticed how thin the crowd was. There weren’t a lot of people behind us and we were getting close to the line.

Then I noticed that as people got to the line no one was stopping them. Everyone just started running when they got to the start! I had never seen a rolling start at The Boston Marathon. I’ve never seen a rolling start at any race.

All of this occurred to me all of a sudden when we were about five feet from the line! My little bit of preparation had paid off. We we were running and didn’t even get an official signal!

It’s all Downhill to Boston

From the start line it is down hill for the first half mile or so. The course starts at about 400ft above sea level and ends at just a few feet above sea level in Boston. But it is all rolling hills in between.

Any other year the crowd would have been 20 people deep on both sides of the road heading out of Hopkinton. Between adrenaline, the announcer winding people up, the crowd cheering us on and the down hill, most runners blast out of the start way too fast.

For the first five miles of the race almost any runner feels great and inexperienced runners sometimes think that is how the rest of the race will go.

This year we only had gravity and adrenaline to get us rolling down that hill. The barricades only held bags full of discarded clothing. I assume they are there every year but the crowd blocks them from site.

Even the first half mile in Hopkinton was vacant of spectators. Most people there were BAA volunteers. I was shocked.

As we ran the first few miles Brian and I were really surprised how small or absent the crowd was. There were hundreds of feet of barricade with no one there. I’d never seen anything like it before.

When we got to the first few clearings in the woods, sure enough, there were people peeing. It’s a Boston Marathon tradition! At mile two they had porta-potties and people were in line.

Brian and I hit the 5K mats at 30:05. I hollered back to Brian that we were still on track for a 2-hour half. I tried not to get too far ahead of Brian but with each mile the gap widened.

At mile five I looked over my shoulder and could tell that he was not going to catch up. He was running his pace. We made eye contact and I gave him a wave as I dug into the Framingham Hill.

Brian told me days before the race he was going to run a slower pace and I told him we’d run the first few miles together. I didn’t feel bad moving ahead. We each have to run our own race.

21.2 Miles to Boston

Running a race by yourself is different than running with a buddy. If you’re not a runner it may seem odd to say you’re by yourself while running with thousands of other people.

When you run with someone, someone is always keeping up and someone is always pulling. It may be unconscious, but someone always wants to push the hills harder or run the downhill and flats faster.

Someone is always having a better day. To stay together you have to compromise and usually one person ends up pushing too hard.

When you run by yourself you get to focus on your run and not worry about keeping up or holding someone back.

Boston Marathon 2018 in the RainI’m a hill climber and I can’t help it. Late in this training program I started teaching myself to relax on the hills. I knew I wasn’t in shape to run a four-hour marathon. My strategy was to take it easy on the hills and save my legs for Brookline and Boston. It worked on the 22 mile training run, I hoped it would work on race day.

Running by myself I was able to focus on relaxing my shoulders on the uphills and focus on letting my feet fall and not reach. I was able to pay attention to the mile markers and fueled at 5K, 6 miles, 9 miles and 12 miles. I really had it dialed in for the first half.

I was running my plan.

I remember being in down town Natick around mile 10 and realizing how good I felt. I had been in this place before and the space had not felt as clear as it did on Monday.

At other points in the race and on other hills I was conscious of how my body felt and how different it was than previous years. It was an interesting experience.

I was running slower than previous years and I was doing it on purpose. The Honolulu Marathon had been a disaster for me in so many ways. I had to run Boston differently than I had ever run it before.

As a runner you are always aware of your body. Quite often something or many things hurt. I tried to have a higher level of consciousness this time.

It wasn’t just about doing a system check and seeing what hurt. It was about assessing my energy level and eating and drinking carefully. It was taking into consideration how my knees felt and how much more I thought they would take. I was constantly making judgement calls.

It was interesting to see a land mark or recognize a piece of road and recall how I felt in the heat of 2014.

When we got to the half-marathon mark it passed almost without notice. There was a timing clock, timing mat, some photographers and a small crowd. Usually the photographers are in bucket trucks or a structure. Without the photographers overhead, it just seemed like another mile.

As I crossed the 13.1 mile mat at 2:14:06 I thought, well at least people know I’m still alive! I missed my two-hour half and knew I was only going to get slower.

Just past the half is the “Wellesley College Scream Tunnel” or what ever they call it. It was less than impressive in 2016 but this year I could hear them as soon as I turned the corner. I was impressed.

I was highly focused on getting to Boston so I moved to the center of the road and barely made eye contact with anyone. The crowd seemed thin but their voices were loud. Well done Wellesley College!

I was now 14 miles into the race and more than half way. My knees had been hurting for a few miles and my legs were beginning to feel it.

In a marathon, the race doesn’t really start until mile 20, and I was only at mile 14. It was time to hunker down and keep to my business.

As I ran along I knew that the Rt 95 overpass bridge was coming. This is the first significant, challenging hill.

As we ran up the hill to the bridge the torrent of water on the right side of the road kept growing. It had to be three feet wide and at least a foot deep. Just before we went onto the bridge we saw water gushing a foot in the air out of the drainage grates! I think everyone muttered “holy shit” when they saw that. It kind of hit home just how much rain was falling. And we were only at mile 16.25.

After the 95 bridge the road continues to climb for another half mile or so. As I was climbing the hill I realized that I didn’t need to walk. My slower pace was allowing me to maintain my energy level.

The Newton Hills

We were now about a mile before the turn onto Comm Ave in Newton. This is where the series of hills that includes “Heart Break Hill” begins.

I stuffed the Cliff Energy Shot handed to me at mile 17 into a pocket and had another Snickers bar. It was time to get ready to climb some hills. My drink bottles were about empty and I had begun taking water and some Gatorade at the water stops.

At the next water stop I took two more salt capsules and a Hyland Leg Cramp pill. I washed them down with a cup each of water and Gatorade.

At the turn onto Comm Ave the street gets very wide, almost like a plaza. I usually stay right to cut the corner as much as possible.

My daughter and some friends told me they would be on the left in Newton or somewhere around Heart Break Hill. In hopes of seeing someone I swung wide and scanned the crowd. Just faces.

As I ran up the first hill I thought I saw my daughter. I continued to stay to the left side and look for people.

After the hill we had about a mile of down hill to Newton Lower Falls I thought someone else told me they would be at the bottom of the hill. So I looked. I was so focused on finding someone that I barely noticed when the road headed up again for the steep climb out of Newton Lower Falls.

This hill at mile 19.25 gets a lot of people. We’ve just run the Rt 95 over pass, the first Newton Hill and it’s past the 19 mile mark.

This second hill isn’t as steep or long as the first hill. But I still had to weave between walkers and almost walkers. At 19.5 miles the race was taking it’s toll on all of us.

At mile 20 I began to look for my running club. I knew they were at mile 21, but I always look for them at mile 20. I felt both disappointment and hope.

I ate another Snickers bar and grabbed two cups of water at the next stop.

Heart Break Hill doesn’t have a sign. I’ve finally come to understand that it is the third hill.

As I pushed up Heart Break Hill I passed more walkers. I knew I was about to stop and all of these people would then pass me, so why bother?

As I crested Heart Break Hill I knew my club was near by. Down a bit of a hill and up the other side I saw the purple pop up tent canopy.

I knew there would be friendly, familiar faces but I couldn’t stop and chat.

As I approached I heard familiar voices call my name. Hands were out stretched with Fig Newtons and Snickers bars. The Snickers bars were still wrapped and I couldn’t open them with my wet gloves so I took two Newtons and then someone opened a Snickers for me.

My stomach had been growling for the past few miles and it felt good to have the Fig Newtons in my belly.

The 2018 Boston Marathon Begins!

Most runners will tell you that a marathon doesn’t really begin until Mile 20. If you didn’t pay attention to pace, fueling and hydration your stores of energy are probably depleted by Mile 20.

The body absorbs calories at a fixed rate per hour. If you have relied mainly on the glucose stored in your body and not allowed your body to absorb more calories, by mile 20 you will hit the wall.

Some runners hit the wall at mile 18. Elite runners can get through a race with just a few sips of sports drink. If you watched the Boston Marathon on TV you saw the elites grab a water bottle at two points on the course. But they are only on the course for a little more than two hours. Des Linden won in 2:39:54.

For the rest of us who are out there for four or five hours, proper fueling is essential.

By Mile 20 all of your injuries are acting up and you may have acquired new ones.

Between the aches and pains, depleted energy and a realization that your dreams may be slipping away, the last 10K of a marathon are the most challenging.

I hadn’t run a sub 10 minute mile since mile 7. Mile 8 through 16 were mostly sub-11. Shalane Flanaganmade her pit stop at mile 7. It’s reported that she was in and out in 30 seconds. Absolutely amazing.

I made my pit stop at Mile 9. I wasn’t sure if I really had to go or if it was just the cold. I knew that I wanted to start taking water at the stops but the idea made my bladder squirm.

At mile seven I started watching the porta-potties. At mile seven and eight there were people in line waiting. I wasn’t going to wait in line.

At mile nine there wasn’t a line so I pulled over. A woman went in just as I got there. While I untied my shorts I hollered to her to lock the door. Another runner could have run up and tried to jump in with her.

I had so many layers on and was so cold I wasn’t sure if I was pointed in the right direction. Fortunately I was okay. Getting all of my layers back together took way more time than I wanted.

Including my wait and getting repackaged, my pit stop took 2:41. If I had been going for a Boston PR that stop might have made the difference. With the pit stop, mile nine came in at 11:58.

From Mile 17 on all of my miles were 11 minutes plus with a 12:40 and a 13:07.

The 12:40 was Mile 21 when I stopped at the Melrose Running Club water stop. After that stop most of the course was down hill with a few minor hills. I decided to run the down hills and see how I felt at Mile 22.

At Mile 22 we had some more downhill, so I kept on running. Then we hit the uphill passing Boston College on our way to Cleveland Circle.

I made up my mind to press on up the hill and run through Cleveland Circle. At BC the crowds were really building. At Cleveland Circle they were larger, though not as large as usual. Still, how could I walk?

After Cleveland Circle Mile 23 was coming up, so I had to run to the next mile.

At Mile 23 I told myself I only had about 5K to go, so keep going.

As I ran these last few miles I compared how I felt at that moment to how I had felt in previous years. I was amazed to realize that I felt good enough to keep going and not walk.

I had the energy and determination to keep going. Often at this point in Boston I need to take walk breaks. Sometimes they are only a hundred yards or so but I just can’t force my self to run. I knew that if I walked my muscles would tighten up and running again would be very difficult. The fact that I was soaked to the skin and it was cold would have made running again even more difficult.

So I kept running at a slow pace. Mile 23 came in at 11:29 and Mile 24 came in at 13:39. I had to walk when I got to the water stop and getting started again had been difficult. But I did get started again.

Mile 25 came in at 11:39 and mile 26 came in at 11:44. I managed to run a pace of 10:46 for the last 0.46 miles to the finish line.

Finishing the 2018 Boston Marathon

As we came down Beacon Street towards the I-90 overpass I was struggling. I had been cold and soaked to the skin for over four hours. I was so focused on finishing, on keeping keeping on, that I didn’t pay much attention to the crowd.

I ran in anticipation of the I-90 overpass. The rise is only a few feet, but this late in the race it might just as well be a mountain. All Boston Marathon Runners can tell you about this bridge over the turnpike.

I had anticipated a nasty gale blowing down the turnpike, but it turned out to be not that bad. At least compared to what we had already endured.

After the bridge it was the run to Kenmore Square. We were so close! Somewhere on this piece of road, the the One Mile to go sign appeared. I love that god damned sign! Even if my knees are blown out and I’m bleeding, I can make it one more mile!

As we ran through Kenmore Square I noticed the brick pavers but did not fear that they would trip me, unlike my last Boston. There was a crowd but the weather and our late arrival had thinned them considerably.

I looked down the road and saw a line of police. It looked like they were blocking the Mass Ave underpass. I thought that maybe the rain had flooded it and we wouldn’t have to deal with that hill.

No such luck. They were at Charles Gate East and West keeping an eye on things. My perspective was off a bit!

As we ran under Mass Ave, no one let out a whoop like they usually do. Everyone needed every last breath to keep their legs turning over. We all had our nails dug into the bottom of the barrel at this point.

As we went down the hill I dreaded running up the other side.

Many of us were barely running as we ascended the tunnel. It was a struggle.

But soon after we emerged from the depths, we could see Hereford Street! The Golden Corner!

I tossed the last of the juice into the engine and made my way to the corner. I started looking around at the crowd on both sides of the street. I even picked up my pace a bit.

A wave of joy came over me and a big smile spread across my face. I was going to make it!

As I turned onto Hereford Street I was with only a handful of runners. As I looked up the street to Boylston Street I smiled that it looked like such a hill. Then I felt sad when I saw the mountains of ponchos, Mylar and plastic sheets pilled on the road. Yet again, such waste. I was too tired to be pissed off.

Hereford Street was packed with spectators. For the first time in the race there seemed to be a lot of people.

As I got near the turn onto Boylston Street I came upon a hand cyclist. This poor guy had started about two hours before I did. Talk about heart!

As I ran past the piles of crap discarded by previous runners I worried that one of this guy’s wheels would slip on a tarp. Or maybe a plastic sheet would wind around one of his wheels. What was he supposed to do if that happened?

He was barely making any forward motion. I knew what I was going through. This guy was using his arms to finish a marathon. I was using my legs. I didn’t have half a breath to give him any encouragement, and I doubt he needed any.

My 2018 Boston Marathon Experience, Boylston Street, RainAs soon as I made the left onto Boylston Street the wind and the rain blasted me. It was at-least as bad as any other part of the race and possibly worse.

The rain was torrential and the wind must have been 30 MPH. My Mylar sheet was plastered against my body. As it had done with every other gust of wind during the race, the Mylar sheet kept the wind from whipping through all of my other layers.

I have no doubt that without that Mylar sheet I would have gotten hypothermia during the race. Like many others, I would have had to drop out of the race.

Something that I kept after a race and most people tossed saved my 2018 Boston Marathon.

The finish line seemed like it was a mile away. The wind and the rain made it feel like I wasn’t making any forward progress. I guess you should relish the finish of a marathon like this, but I just wanted it to be over.

I ran on and on and it seemed like the finish line didn’t get any closer! Eventually I got to where the bleachers were, and there wasn’t anyone sitting there! I felt like I was late to the party.

2018 Boston Marathon Finish Line, Marathon Running, RainAs I approached the finish line I made my way to the left side of the road. No idea why. Why not? The super structure had an electronic sign on it this year and said Wave 3 and 4.

Check out this Video taken on Boylston Street

It felt so good to cross that finish line. I knew that my friend Meg Michaels was on the left giving out finisher’s medals and I wanted to see her. There’s nothing like seeing a friend at the end of a marathon!

After a quick hug I was after water and my food bag. Then I proceeded to stager towards the bag drop tent. They were pretty good getting my bag and I headed out of the security area.

Apre 2018 Boston Marathon

MGH had an after party of the Boston Sports Club (BSC) on Boylston Street. They told us that Mass Eye and Ear also had an after party at the BSC. I missed the fact that there were two BSC on Boylston Street.

As I looked for any BSC no one seemed to know where either one was. After wandering around in the cold rain I ducked into a Panera on Boylston Street. I found an open table and sat down. Through my foggy glasses I tried to find the email with information. My fingers were so cold that sometimes my phone wouldn’t do anything when I tapped it.

I was obviously cold and shivering. Several awesome people asked me if I wanted anything. I’ve experienced the kindness of strangers on Marathon Monday before. It is such an affirmation of humanity and decency. I barely looked up to say no thank you to these incredible examples of humanity.

I hope I didn’t come off as a jerk. I was freezing and trying to hook up with people who could help me. The people who could help me were right by my side.

I finally found the BSC at 505 Boylston Street and headed in that direction. A Boston Cop told me I could cross the security area, but no one could come with me.

I hobbled across the street and headed for the BSC. In the windows I saw signs for Mass Eye and Ear and figured I was home. I thought MGH and Mass Eye and Ear were in the same club. At the time I didn’t realize there were two BSC on Boylston Street.

The Mass Eye and Ear folks welcomed me with cheers when I walked into the lobby. The lady manning the door said, “well you have the right bag over your shoulder, so come on in.” She was also kind enough to direct me to the elevator! What an angel!

When I got down stairs I explained my situation and another beautiful human being asked me what I wanted to eat and directed me to the hot coffee. I told her, what ever you have.

Someone gave me their seat and I sat down holding my coffee to warm my hands. Soon the kind angel returned with a banana and two halves of different sandwiches. I inhaled the sandwiches and wanted to ask for more, but I was a party crasher.

I hung out for about a half hour, thanked my gracious hosts and started looking for a cab.

Getting Home

Before the race Uber made a big deal that they were giving discounted rides to Marathon runners. That sounded great to me. Any ride sounded great to me at that point.

I walked down Boylston Street towards the finish line where I saw an Uber tent when I was finishing the race. The tent was empty and being cleared out! I was freezing cold and Uber was gone. What exactly did they think they were offering us when they made a big deal about discounted rides?

I headed to the Family Meeting area to try and find an open street, but found none. So I left the meet up area and headed to what I thought was an open corner.

I opened my Uber app and thought a car was on the way. I was standing under the canopy of a store on Dartmouth Street. It was cold and raining out and I was in running gear.

The driver called me right away and said the area was closed and he couldn’t pick me up. He cancelled the ride and it looked like another driver was on his way. He also called to cancel.

I was so pissed at Uber that I was ready to cancel my account. I mean WTF? No one thought that streets would be closed and maybe they should direct people to an area that was open?

No one around me was from Boston or knew shit about Uber. I was in one on the trendiest neighborhoods in Boston and no one lived there or knew anything about Uber?

Boston Marathon 2018 ExperienceSince I couldn’t stand around and wait for hypothermia to set in I decided to use dead reckoning and head for Cambridge.

So after running 26.2 miles and walking around Boston several more, I had to walk from the Back Bay, across the Longfellow bridge to my office in Cambridge.

I mean, what the fuck was I going to do? The rain was pelting down and I was freezing. It really was an insane thing to do but I didn’t have any cash because I was going to use Uber.

I entered my building through the gym and took this photo. It doesn’t do justice to how miserable I felt. A volunteer at the finish line had to help me get the BAA poncho on.

After taking a leak and warming up a bit I headed for the garage and drove home.

 

 

2018 Boston Marathon by the Numbers

Boston Marathon 2018 factsBoston is the most famous marathon in the world and the Holy Grail for all marathon runners. People come from all over the world to run this race. Even back of the pack runners who get a number by fundraising for a charity come from all over the world.

I’ve run 16 marathons now and eight of them have been Boston. There is just something about Boston that makes any runner give just a little bit more.

It takes a lot for someone to drop out of Boston. It does happen and in 2018 the drop out rate was 50% higher than usual. Check out this graphic for some stats. Click on the photo to read an interesting article with more stats and back ground on the race.

American women took the top two spots and seven of the top 10 finishes! Remarkable.

Des Linden won at 2:39:54! We are all so proud of her!

American men took six of the top 10 spots and Shadrack Biwott came in third place at 2:18:35.

Yuki Kawauchi of Japan won the men’s race at 2:15:58.

Run well My Friends,

Andy

Author: OmniRunner

9X Boston Marathon finisher, 17X marathons total. Sharing my love for running and the fun adventures and lessons that come with it. Helping non-profits increase fundraising and new runners celebrate their First 5K.

6 thoughts on “My 2018 Boston Marathon Experience”

  1. Andy, it was amazing that you finished so well – you are an determined runner to have finished/survived those conditions. Keeping that Mylar blanket was a good thing, you may not have been dry, but the wind at least was minimized a little. It was disappointing about your Uber experience and having to walk that much after a race in those conditions sucks big time. Again congratulations and a you done good for ya.

    1. Hi Jack,
      The Mylar blanket made all of the difference. All of my layers were soaked through and the wind would have whipped right through them.
      Being a bit of a pack rat and keeping that sheet made all the difference.

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