By: Jake Marcus
So I ran my first Boston Marathon about three weeks ago and it didn’t exactly go according to plan. Even though it didn’t go as planned, it was still an unreal experience.
The week leading up to the race I made sure to do everything properly, hydrating, stretching, and rest. I made sure to get all of my schoolwork out of the way and felt great going into the weekend. However, an x-factor came into play as reports of record high temperatures were beginning to be discussed. I tried to keep it out of my mind and just thought the weather would be exaggerated.
I had a great meal the night before but did feel a little odd. I’m not sure if it was the beginning of allergies or a minor bug that I’d caught but as I went to bed I felt nauseous and had cold sweats/chills. I woke up the next morning around 6:00am and didn’t feel much better but I figured this was just nerves and it would pass by race time.
At 6:30am, my coach Neil Levine, came by to drive me into Hopkinton. Neil helped me out a lot as my high school coach a few years ago and we decided to join together for this marathon. He’s been a great help and always had good advice on how to train, injuries, etc. For training, we did heart rate training instead of by pace or mileage. So, we figured for the marathon we wouldn’t have to worry about pace because I was used to running by how my body felt so the weather wouldn’t be a factor.
Neil dropped me off at the runner’s village in Hopkinton and gave me an umbrella to stay out of the shade. Within about 15 minutes of being there, I bumped into someone I ran with a couple times in New York City, Mwangi, as well as his club, the Dashing Whippets. Everyone sounded like they felt the same about the race that they were still going to go for their goal, but may add a few minutes on. I met a few other people at the start including an ultramarathoner from California who said he once broke his foot at mile 60 of a 100-miler and had to hike three miles out of the woods to find medical assistance. Every time I stood up in the runner’s village my stomach still didn’t feel right and I felt pretty weak. Again, I was hoping this would subside by the start.
On the walk over to the starting line I was pretty popular with my umbrella as all runners wanted to stay out of the sun. The walk over was further than I expected at almost a mile. I continued to hydrate and was feeling ready to go. The race atmosphere was awesome, especially when the elites walked by and everyone cheered them on. People were very friendly and I met a few people who had done over 30 Boston Marathons.
Finally, the race started. I didn’t feel bad during the first half of the race, but I didn’t feel too good either. I went by heartrate and noticed my heartrate shot up to 90% max within the first few miles (the goal was 80-85% throughout the race). Regardless, I pushed on and tried not to think about it. Around mile 15, I began to slow down quite substantially. At this point, the focus was just on finishing. In the next 10 miles or so, I made sure to stop and chat with everyone who I knew and really enjoyed the crowd support. Without the crowd, I most likely would have hailed a cab but I knew I had to finish. A lot of runners were very helpful when passing offering motivational support or helping me along the course. I also took note of the soldiers walking with boots and their backpacks, which was very impressive in itself, not to mention in the weather.
As I continued to walk/jog to the finish line I noticed a lot of people either dropping out or heading to the medical tents. Every medical tent I passed there were a handful of people in. I knew I could make it to the finish line without assistance as long as I took it slow and steady and continued to hydrate. So that’s what I did and was able to push for the final street down Boylston. Despite finishing over an hour and a half worse than usual, I was satisfied to complete the Boston Marathon. I spoke with a man from Alabama after the race that said the weather wasn’t even this hot where he lives. The experience was difficult but definitely a good one. After the race, I tried finding my parents but couldn’t figure out where to go. I walked around for over 20 minutes and then had to lie down on the street for another few minutes to take a rest. I finally found them and felt pretty depleted but it was great to discuss the experience with everyone and I really appreciated the support. Even though I thought I was in the worst condition out of everyone in the room, a friend of mine from Stonehill ended up passing out from the heat. My friends had walked through Boston for a couple hours and she seemed kind of embarrassed about the situation but it was pretty funny.
I want to thank everyone for the support. Without the support there is no way I would have finished the race. It was a great experience and I’m already looking forward to the next race. I have the half marathon for Team Challenge in early June in Loudoun County, Virginia. After that, I am looking to run the marathon in San Francisco with my sister. And possibly the New York City Marathon.
This past Sunday we had a wiffle ball tournament at Stonehill. I was pretty nervous the event wouldn’t be a success but we had 16 teams signed up. Teams started to forfeit due to cold and windy weather but hopefully with better weather we can hold an event like this and have a better final outcome. The Blu Team ended up winning it all.