Week 10 Boston Marathon 2015 Training

What to expect at this epic race.

This will be my third consecutive year running the Boston Marathon, so I have an idea of what to expect as far as the course. I like to simulate the course as much as possible during my long training runs. Since the course starts out with four miles of gradual downhills, I begin my long run that exact way. The course is pretty easy going until you hit mile 17, when the uphills begin to form. You don't notice it at first, but then your pace begins to slow. By mile 21 you hit Heartbreak Hill. It's not that difficult of a hill, but with all the downhill running in the beginning, your quads are fatigued, and it makes that climb difficult. Near the end of the race you have your only turns on the entire course: right on Hereford and then left on Boylston and straight on to the finish line. Along the entire course are spectators; about 500,000, if you can believe it! The spectators motivate you along the the course with their signs, cheers, and entertainment. Honestly, there are no other spectators quite like the Boston Marathon spectators. After the bombing in 2013, the spectators are my reason to run and return to Boston every year. After all, they were the ones injured.

 

The race begins quite a bit later than the average break-of-dawn marathons:

Mobility Impaired 8:50 a.m. (50 entrants)

Push-rim Wheelchair 9:17 a.m. (70 + 6 Duos entrants)

Hand-cycles 9:22 a.m. (18 entrants)

Elite Women 9:32 a.m. (40 entrants)

Elite Men & Wave One 10:00 a.m. (7,500 entrants)

Wave Two 10:25 a.m. (7,500 entrants)

Wave Three 10:50 a.m. (7,500 entrants)

Wave Four 11:15 a.m. (7,500 entrants)

 

Due to the late start, you need to adjust your nutrition and hydration. You still need to get up early to catch a bus to take you to Athlete's Village. The bus ride takes an hour, and then you wait another 1-2 hours in the village for your wave to be called. The mornings can be very cold, so it is best to pack some throw away clothes to keep you warm while you wait. Volunteers at the village collect your discarded clothing for donation to local charities. I pack my breakfast and eat it once I get settled as I wait for my wave to be called. Again, I try and keep everything the same, just like it is another long-run day. I eat the same food and drink the same amount of water and coffee before the race starts. There are tons of port-a-potties, so the lines don't get too long. Water, coffee, bagels, Gatorade, bananas, etc. are provided for us as we wait. It is an exciting time waiting but also a little nerve wracking due to the high security. You will notice police, bomb squad, and armed services paroling the village on foot and from above. It is sad, but it's now the norm. 

Once your wave is called you start walking with the flow of runners to your coral. It is like a heard of animals being guided along, and then all of a sudden you start jogging with this huge group and before you know it, you have crossed the starting line. I didn't even notice it the first year. It happened so fast, and I just kept going with the flow of people. The race is very crowded during the first half. It does begin to thin out a bit, but you are always with a pack of runners. At times it is hard to maintain the pace you want because there are too many people to try and pass. I always look for a break and make my move whenever I can.

Best advice, enjoy it! Take in all the sights and sounds because there is nothing like it!  You will remember the finish line chute for the rest of your life! Boston Strong!