Let’s just start with my husband runs fast. He’s an amazing runner. He grew up a runner. He ran varsity all four years of high school. But instead of running in college, he joined the Marines where he was the company Ironman in Boot Camp. After a running hiatus after the Marines in his 20’s, he started running again when we started dating. He had two major fitness goals: qualify and run the Boston Marathon and qualify and compete in the Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii. One down, one to go.
It took him only three marathons to qualify for Boston. His first marathon was The Monumental Marathon (November 2011) and he ran a time of 3:33:44. His second marathon was the Carmel Marathon (April 2012) and finished at 3:19:36. Third times a charm because his third marathon was the Marine Corps Marathon in D. C. October 2012 and he finished at 3:07:59. For his age group he needed to finish under 3:10:00. That race was what inspired me to run my first marathon (Check out my recap).
After the Boston Marathon bombings last year, Bryan was nervous about getting in because so many more people would be trying to qualify and apply to run Boston 2014. He applied for Boston in September 2013 and after months of agonizing waiting, he got in….by 23 seconds. Meaning if he had ran his third marathon one second slower per mile, he would have not been accepted even though he was under his qualifying standard for his age. The cut off was 1:38 minutes under your qualifying standard. To say he was excited and relieved was an understatement.
We arrived in Boston Friday morning and after settling into our hotel, we had a celebratory lunch in Cambridge and walked around the Harvard and MIT campuses. That evening we went to the Red Sox game, which I was elated about. I’ve wanted to go to a Red Sox game since I was in college and it was finally happening. The game was fun but cold – too cold so we left a little early. Which worked out nicely since we had to be up for my Boston 5K Race the next morning.
Boston Marathon Weekend kicked off with it’s 5K Saturday morning (my race recap). Following the race we went to the marathon expo. Our hotel was connected to the convention center which housed the expo. The expo was an absolute madhouse. I had experienced a big expo at the Chicago Marathon last fall, but this one was even crazier. People everywhere shoulder to shoulder. The Sam Adams booth was a big hit….free beer. We spent an hour or two walking around checking out all the booths and getting freebies. We even saw Hal Higdon again this year! It was Bryan’s turn for a picture with him.
After the expo we went to the Sam Adams Brewery for a tour and more free beer. The tour was very short, which gave us more beer time. From the tour a party trolley picked us up and took us to Doyle’s Cafe for more free Sam Adams. Good thing I like Sam Adams. After all our free beer, we thought we needed more drinks at dinner at Forum on Boylston Street where one of the bombs went off last year. Dinner was fabulous. One of the best dinners I’ve had in awhile. Fresh sea scallops….my favorite.
Sunday was our history day. We walked the entire Freedom Trail starting at Boston Common and ending at the U.S.S. Constitution in Charlestown. The trail itself was only about 2.5 miles. We stopped at all the historical landmarks and had lunch by the Quincy Market. Some of the highlights were Paul Revere’s grave, Paul Revere’s house, and Bunker Hill. After touring the U.S.S. Constitution, we took a river ferry back to the North End area of Boston for dinner in the italian district at Riccardo’s Restaurante. Spectators need carb loading too right? This dinner was also amazing. Great pasta, great wine, and great company since my mother-in-law Connie and Aunt Miriam were with us all weekend.
Monday morning was race day, Patriot’s Day. Bryan had to be up super early to get to Boston Common to catch the buses that take all the runners to Hopkinton for the start of the race since it’s a point-to-point race. So I got to sleep in since I wouldn’t be seeing Bryan until the finish. I watched the start of the marathon on tv in the hotel room and after the start, Jon and I got a late breakfast while tracking Bryan and Anne (Jon’s girlfriend and our friend who was also running) on our phones. We then scoped out a spot right outside our hotel on Boylston Street at around mile 25.8 to watch all the finishers. Our side of the street wasn’t too crowded so we were able to squeeze our way into the front. However, the other side of the street was jam packed with people.
It was crazy to see the professionals finish. They didn’t even look tired. Such great form and speed. It was a little emotional watching American Meb win the men’s race considering the circumstances last year. Now I just had to wait for Bryan and Anne while watching the other freaky fast runners finish. Bryan’s Mom and Aunt were posted up outside of Boston around mile 16.5 to cheer him on. I was tracking Bryan on the B.A.A. app on my phone to know when to expect him. Bryan previously mentioned that he was going to run the marathon at an easy pace – just to take it all in and enjoy it. The hard part was already done, he already qualified. So why not just enjoy the race? But as the race grew closer he upped the ante stating he wanted to run a sub 3:10, another Boston qualifier time. He started in corral 8 of wave 1. The bib numbers were in order of speed which made it helpful when looking for him. I new once the 6000 numbers started running by I needed to start looking for Bryan, bib 7323.
His splits were as follows: 5K: 22:30, 10K: 44:49, Half: 1:35:10, 30K: 2:19:47, Finish: 3:32:46 at Pace: 8:07. He started out on point with a 7:10 pace but the hills finally got to him. He didn’t do any hill training. First we live in Indiana (flat) and second, winter here was brutal. He put in training while also training of his Ironman, but his running wasn’t his focus. But putting down a 3:32 is still a hell of a good time hills or not. I could only dream of running that fast.
I had my camera ready for thirty minutes waiting for Bryan. I didn’t want to miss him. It was his first Boston Marathon and I wanted to capture the moment. I kept looking for red shirts. There were so many red shirts! And then finally I spotted him! I’m getting good at picking him out by his run form too. I cheered and waved my ‘My husband runs fast sign’ so he could see it. He ran right by me in a daze. I knew he was hurting. Most of the time he runs by with a smile on his face, but this time he was serious and looked to be in pain. Again I felt the rush of tears in my eyes. It was such a proud moment to see him run during the Boston Marathon. I wish that I could have actually seen him cross the finish line, but it was impossible to get there with the crowds of people and security. A minute or so after him, Anne finished, so Jon and I attempted to find Bryan and Anne at the family spot, but with all the road closures, security, and people we couldn’t get there. We had all agreed to meet at the hotel if we didn’t see each other by a certain time, but Bryan ended up finding us on the walk back, go figure.
Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to savor the moment and take a lot of pics post race because we had to rush to check out of the hotel and get to the airport for our flight. But I can’t express enough how proud I am of my husband for all his hard work and dedication to qualifying and running the Boston Marathon. It’s such a special race and this year was even more significant. The running community is such a tight nit circle so being able to share this experience with Bryan, family, friends, and all the other runners and supporters in Boston is something I’ll always remember. Boston Strong.