What a day Boston 2012 was! Even with all the dire warnings about the heat, I don’t think it was anything anyone could really get their heads around until they were out there. I know that certainly applies to me.
So here’s how it went down: My original plan, before the heat warnings, was an 8-min. pace for a 3:30. Once we learned how hot it would be, my plan became adjusting that to a 9-min. pace. I started with two other friends and what did we do? Went out at about an 8:20-something pace. For my friends, that seemed to be working. For me it was fine for a couple of miles, but by four or five, I was worried. My heart rate was up, I was hot, and worst of all, my legs were already tired. How is that possible? I don’t know, but it was freaking me out.
I dropped back from my friends at that point and slowed down the pace. This felt better, but I can’t say that there was ever a point during this race where I felt good. But I did manage to do some things right, which is what got me through it. For one, I took on water and gatorade and every single aid station. For two, I realized that I needed to adjust my gel intake from a mile schedule to a time schedule. I also decided not to look at my splits–I’ve done that before in marathons when I started slowing and it’s really demoralizing. Not knowing how slow I was actually moving was a great move for getting through.
Let me tell you–there was no shade to be found out there. Not a single cloud in the sky, not a leaf on a tree to provide cover. The sun was for me, the toughest part. And the highest recorded temperature was 89 at 12:30 in the afternoon, a couple of hours before I even finished. You could feel it, trust me!
It was around mile 10 that I got it into my head that I was going to finish, no matter what. And from there I just did the “survival shuffle.” There were times I wanted to walk (ok, many times!) but knew it would hurt more. So on I went and finished with a personal worst of 4:19. You’d think that would really sting, but honestly, it doesn’t. I am happy I found the fortitude to finish.
The B.A.A. did a great job managing the heat. Out of the 27,000 slated to start, 4,500 took deferrals, bringing it down to 22,500. Of that number, only 120 ended up in the hospital. I personally only saw a handful of people have real trouble out there. I did see tons of walking–in the last few miles, probably as many people walking as running. But all in all, I think people managed the heat really well. There were misting tents out there, the water/gatorade was plentiful, and the crowds offered tons of extra help in that regard also.
I’m really happy today. This has been a fantastic weekend with my amazing friends–I am so lucky to have this group. We have laughed non-stop and enjoyed every bit of it (except that 26.2 mile part). I wouldn’t trade it for a minute, even with the craptastic conditions. Congrats to all who finished yesterday–it was a badge well earned.