Boston Marathon – Worth the effort

BUCKET LIST item complete. The Boston Marathon: Best race of my life! That’s odd for me to say given that “Competitive” would be the word I’d choose to best describe me and this race was anything but competitive for me. But to run the most legendary and exclusive marathon in the world …and do it with 2 great friends, Allison Manning Van Tassel and Geraldine J Walker, was the most FUN I’ve ever had at any race. And that includes when I won a triathlon in my 1st season doing triathlons.

Overall time: 3:49:05 Avg pace 8:44 1st 15 miles: Pace 8:59 Last 11 miles 8:34 Negative split the pace by 25 seconds per mile over the toughest part of the course!. Happy to finish strong.

Injury/Training – In retrospect, maybe straining my hamstring in mid-January was a good thing! It made me appreciate when I CAN train even more. Helped me tune in to signs that I might be over doing it. And allowed me the chance to just run this race for the fun of it…like a Victory lap…instead of trying to beat my previous time & re-qualify for Boston @ Boston. With only a 10 mile run and two 15 mile runs in the 3 weeks prior to race day, no hill training since mid-Jan and no taper, I’m VERY happy with just being able to complete my 2nd marathon and to finish the way I did on Newton & Citgo Hills.

Fun! – In the truest sense of the word. Usually not one of the first words I’d associate with a race, but this race was SO much fun! No pressure to win age group or place in top x overall. No hard time goals given my injury in Jan. Running it with 2 great friends. And The Boston Marathon crowd was AMAZING. That will truly spoil it for any other race (save one).

Epic – I bought a great book called Boston, a Century of Running : Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Boston Athletic Association Marathon. It’s out of print but easy to find. I’d recommend buying that & reading it. Gave me a great appreciation for the history of this marathon, providing great insight as to how women snuck on the course and were finally given the right to run it the same as men, had great tales of overcoming obstacles, great battles (Beardsley vs. Salazar), etc. Made running through Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton and the finish on Boylston Street all that more special.

Best Parts
1) Running with great friends Allison & Geraldine! Two beautiful ladies who made me laugh and enjoy the whole race weekend. Fun times at the Expo, Italian dinners & DESSERTS!!!, walking around Boston, prepping & running the race, free massages afterwards!, and ending it at Fenway Park & Cheers. A weekend & race day I’ll never forget!! Love ya, ladies!!!
2) Boston Crowd – Just WOW. Young and old lined a majority of the 26 miles. Creative, fun, and always cheering. Other race crowds beware because this is a high bar setter.

Race Notes
Newton Hills – I drove the course on Sunday. I was a little surprised that the famous 4 Newton Hills, including Heartbreak Hill, weren’t as steep as I had imagined because they didn’t look very steep or ominous. But it did make sense what I had heard/read that it’s not so much the steepness of the hills as opposed to where they come in the race.
Citgo Hill – This hill seemed actually the hardest of all. Probably due to the fact I had no 20 mile runs in training and no hill work. This was near the end so I had tired legs.
Final stretch turning off Commonwealth, going up Hereford St before turning down Boylston was amazing. Soaking in the wall-to-wall crowd lining the street, packed bleachers and the famous Boston Marathon finish line. Still pinching myself I got to run this marathon.
Wellesley Scream Tunnel – You could definitely hear the ladies’ high pitched screams giving fair notice what was ahead. Though I didn’t kiss any of them, I did give/get a lot of high fives and gave many behind my back. One woman was leaning WAY to far over…I got distracted so I lost a few seconds there! grin emoticon:D
Boston College – Actually to me, the most spirited cheering section along the course. Great turnout from the college boys & girls. A long section of high fives behind my back and I caught a rose that someone was holding while my hand was behind my back. So I took the rose and clenched it between my teeth and ran that way for a while. It made me feel like an Ohio State player who had just beaten Michigan to qualify for a trip to the Rose Bowl! Go BUCKS!!!
Mini Trampolines in Natick – I had a BLAST being silly during this race and I was probably at my best during this short section in Natick. They had probably 10 mini trampolines on the side of the road with kids/people bouncing on them. So I “Bounced” from one to the next giving them high-fives as I past. They really got a kick out of that & so did I. Sure wish I had a video of this or me passing Boston College.
Stolen Popsicle bites! Someone was handing out popsicles so I grabbed one. I was holding it up kinda like a torch & the crowd was laughing. Then a runner came up, grabbed my hand and bit off the top! We both laughed and she ran on….then I saw her get an ice popsicle….so I waited until she just finished a bite and was holding it up…and I grabbed her hand and took a bite from her ice pop!! We both laughed and I said “Have a great race!”. What fun.
Favorite signs: Run Fast, I just farted. If a marathon was easy, it would be called “Your mom”! Free bum punch (pinch?), Free hugs (missed it though), Hey Random Stranger – Great job!
Free massages & footwork. Great post race massages, short wait and even had podiatrists available to evaulate & treat your feet/toenails. Great service at a great (FREE!) price.
After party at Fenway Park! Now that’s a nice after party!. Got to go in the Red Sox dugout, see the famous Green Monster, etc. Icing on the cake!

THANKS!!! I did not get to Boston on my own. First of all, I want to thank J Heydt Philbeck for planting the seed in my mind that I could & should try to qualify for Boston. He believed in what I could do before I ever thought it was possible. I wouldn’t have ever run a marathon if my brother Brian Lehr hadn’t peaked my interest in triathlons and coached me to a very successful 1st season in triathlons. Coach Brooks Doughtie of All Out MultiSport has challenged me, been a great friend, and does more than a triathlon coach should be expected to do…and he does it with a great heart. Thanks for getting me as ready as I could be given the hamstring injury! Friends and training partners like Allison, Robert, Geraldine, Elite Team members, IOS riders & runners and fellow IOS & Grasshopper triathlon club friends. It’s such a blessing to be involved with people like you who are overcomers and keep going despite many obstacles. If you have a dream to qualify/run Boston one day, I truly hope you do. It will be so worth it. Let me know if you need my help in any way. I’d love to see you do it!!