Tuesday, May 1, 2018


See also:

What It Was Like to Run the Boston Marathon in a Freezing Deluge (NY Times)

Harsh weather turns Boston Marathon into a punishing slog (Boston Globe)

Is today the worst weather in Boston Marathon history? (Boston.com)

In any case it's been *quite* the experience and I certainly have plenty to say about it! In fact, I have so much to say about different aspects of this race and the entire trip that it makes the most sense to break it up into a few different posts. Otherwise, I'm going to end up with a 40-page treatise that no one's ever going to read.

First things first, though: Race Report! I'll do logistics, etc. later; this one is going to be mostly just about my actual race experience & how it went, other than the lead-up you need to set the stage.

The Collective Weather Angst Part

Ten days or so ago it hadn't even occurred to me to start looking at the weather (because like what difference does it make until it's time to start packing) but while emailing with my coach about my shitty training & iron issues (which is a whole other post in itself), he'd mentioned that the weather looked favorable, and I mentally went, "Phew, well that's one fewer thing to expend mental energy on!"

I didn't really think about it again until a few days later when people in my Boston Marathon Facebook group started panicking, and even then I just could not muster a lot of angst about a little rain. ("You want to talk about rainy windy miserable marathons?" went my battle cry. "I was at CIM 2012, motherfucker. Let's *talk* about rainy windy miserable marathons! Hand me my arm warmers.")

As the days went on, though, the forecast steadily worsened, and eventually it seemed like we all had no choice to admit that, no, these conditions would not be the ones any of us would have chosen. As of Sunday morning I was still waffling about what to wear; should I go with my track record of always wearing a tank or crop top & never once having been cold in a race in my life, even the December monsoon year at CIM? Or should I play it safe as so many of my compatriots seemed to be doing, & wear tights, a longsleeves, & rain jacket, & risk being a bit warm rather than end up hypothermic?

In the end I went with shorts, a hastily-purchased technical rain jacket, wool ski socks with normal tech socks over them, gloves, & a hat, & decided that was as good as it was going to get. (On the shoe front, I abandoned both of the other two choices I'd been considering & went instead with my Saucony RunShields, which are not waterproof, exactly, but a lot more water resistant than regular running shoes.)


I was encouraged, though, when I left my hotel room around 8am & it felt a bit warmer than the day before, with little or no wind & just a faint drizzle. I had my big, warm, Goodwill rain coat with a big cozy hood & fleece Goodwill pants & was completely comfortable as I dropped off my gear bag & headed to the buses. It did start to rain fairly seriously as I got closer, but I was obviously doing much better than many of those around me shivering in thin plastic ponchos.

Gear check

Plastic, plastic everywhere...

My plan was to wear an old pair of worn-out running shoes to the Athlete's Village & bring my RunShields in a plastic bag, but it did NOT occur to me that if the throwaway shoes got wet & muddy, that would almost certainly mean that my socks would be wet & muddy as well. Sure enough, both my water resistant shoes and both pairs of socks were thoroughly soaked through before I even set foot on the bus. Womp womp.

The Refugee Camp Part

Around 9:50--so nearly an hour & a half after getting on the bus, and an hour before my wave's start time--we pulled into Hopkinton. I'd been chatting with the woman next to me (it was her second Boston, but her first was 31 years ago!) & as the bus parked, we looked out the window and thought, "Wow, it doesn't even look like it's really raining here." Heh, WRONG; as soon as we got off the bus everyone was once again huddling under their ponchos & throwaway umbrellas. It was also a surprisingly long walk from the bus drop off to the Athlete's Village, a solid quarter mile or so, at least, so it was nearly 10 by the time I got there.

I don't know what I expected at the Athlete's Village, exactly, but it was a complete mess due to the weather. There was one massive tent, but even massive tents don't feel that big when 7,000-8,000 people are trying to huddle under it. The field on which the tent and port-a-potties were pitched had long since degenerated into a giant mud pie; the only way to even get there from the sidewalk was to carefully pick your way down one of the many mudslides and hope you didn't fall on your ass.

I remembered someone saying later, "Oh my god, it was like being in a refugee camp." And I immediately thought, "Eek, how inappropriate." Another little part of me, though, quietly thought, "But kind of..."

Once inside the tent, I was shoulder to shoulder with everyone else in Wave 3 trying desperately to stay warm and dry. As veterans had advised me, I'd brought a trash bag to sit on & plenty of snacks/lunch; I'd been told to expect to be there for an hour or two and to be sure I ate enough to account for the fact that we'd essentially be running through lunch time, just as breakfast is wearing off. With people so shoulder-to-shoulder, though, finding a place to spread my trash bag and sit was impossible. Some folks had managed it, but also it was so muddy that a lot of the trash bags were just getting trampled on & mashed into the mud anyway.

Since my wave was starting in 50 minutes & it was only maybe a 20 minute walk to the start, I knew I would definitely NOT be hanging out there for hours as I'd expected, but I was a little bummed about having stand up for another half hour while I tried to eat & change my shoes.

So, I was kind of shocked when just a few minutes later the announcer called for my wave to head over to the start. Wait, what now? Don't we have like 45 minutes? I knew that it was a good mile walk from the AV to the starting line, but it certainly wouldn't take 45 minutes. At that point I panicked a little & immediately started munching on pita chips, just to try to get something in my stomach before I absolutely had to start making my way over.

I knew I wanted to hit the port-a-potties before the race start, but there was no question of getting to the ones in the AV; not only were the lines atrocious, but in between them and me was a maybe 20-yard-wide lake of mud and I just did not see how I was going to negotiate that with all my stuff, and if I just abandoned my stuff now, I'd have to change into my race shoes and then 100% definitely trash them on the way to the port-a-potties & back. I knew there were plenty on the way to the start, though, so I decided not to worry about it yet.

Finally, at about 10:15, I had a last handful of pita chips, changed precariously into my race shoes, thanked the Kinvara 7s that I'd qualified for Boston in a year & a half earlier for their service, & left them on the field in Hopkinton.

You got me to Hopkinton, & here in Hopkinton I leave you!

EXCELLENT, now that I've got some fresh, dry shoes on I'll just--welp, nevermind.

Because the field itself was complete slop, all the runners heading for the start had to crowd up on the narrow sidewalk, which meant we were shuffling along like a herd of cattle; meanwhile the rain picked up & the wind gusted, & I was once again extremely grateful for the real, actual winter coat I was wearing. Volunteers all around us started calling for people to remove their layers & put them in the donation bags, but I was absolutely determined not to take mine off until someone forced me to.

I made the best of it by continuing to live-Facebook the whole thing:

Shuffling towards the start corrals...

During this shuffling time we had to go through a few different security checkpoints where they checked your bib, which was tricky and inefficient given that we were all wearing 47 layers of clothing. In not too long, though, the sidewalk opened up, and you could actually start to move easily toward the corrals.

Something I'd been looking forward to about Boston was all the spectators lining the roads and cheering, and I was a little sad that that probably wouldn't happen as much due to the weather, so I was a little surprised at how many people did turn up at Hopkinton to cheer as all the runners made the walk from the AV to the start. It was a looong walk and I knew I still had to hit the port-a-potties, so I used that opportunity to jog a little big & try to get warmed up. Unfortunately the port-a-potty lines by the start were still pretty long and I had to wait in them for so long that I actually missed the wave start, & the Wave 4 runners were already walking up when I finally started to jog back up towards the start.

Now, here's the thing about the Boston Marathon starting line, though; it's SMALL! Just a strip of paint & a timing mat across a two-lane road with maybe a three-foot-high painted bullard on either side. Especially if you've missed the actual gun & people are just going, you could very easily miss it & not even realize your race had started. (My official time was actually a good chunk of seconds slower than my Garmin time, so it would not surprise me if I actually did this.)

After nearly tripping over it I turned & shouted to the cops to my right, "Is that it?? Is that the start??" And they shouted back, "That's it! Go!" So I frantically started trying to strip out of my clothes as people went charging around me. (My proud Boston moment, I thought to myself.) Alas my clothes were already so soaked, as were my shoes and socks, that my efforts to pull them off were quickly becoming comedic. Thankfully the cops had my back. One of them yelled, "Turn around!" I did, and he yanked my coat off and threw it to the side; the other grabbed my torso from behind while the other one yanked my pants off one leg at a time. (Does it get any prouder? I think not. I only wish I'd gotten an official race photo of this moment.)

"Have a great race!" they shouted, and I was off.

But enough preliminaries; on to the main event.

The Running Part

I have to say, the start was definitely the most magical part of the race for me. That was one of the few times were I had one of those "HOLY SHIT THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!" moments; there were so, so many spectators out in the pouring rain, cheering so loud, like rock-and-roll-show-guitar-hero loud, and all the runners around me were cheering, and hell yes, I high fived every god damned person in that first mile till my hand was sore.

"BOSTON MARATHON, BABY!" someone shouted, and all the rest of us shouted and clapped as well. You'd be running, and glance over at another runner, and they'd look at you and nod like, We're running the Boston Frickin' Marathon!, & you'd look back at them and nod like, FUCK YEAH WE ARE! At that point I didn't care how much it rained or how windy it got or how far the mercury dropped and I don't think much of anyone around me did either. Every now & then the sky would open up, the rain would come pouring down in buckets, and I swear to god every single one of us cheered. Mother Nature was freaking PISSED and we were 100% here for it.

Since you can't really tell exactly when or where race pictures are taken, let's assume this one was near the beginning, since I look pretty strong & happy still. (Note: It wasn't; you can tell by the patch of bloody skin on my thigh. D:)

Like I mentioned in my race plan, I knew to expect that the first 5-6 miles had a lot of deceptive downhill in it and many a rookie (& veteran) Boston Marathoner had blown their race by getting carried away by the adrenaline and how easy it is to go fast there, blown out their quads, & not known it until they hit the Newton Hills & realized they'd blown their race 15 miles ago. In this way, I think it benefited me that I ended up starting not with my assigned corral (2, qualifying pace ~8:00-8:05/mile) and instead with the further back corrals (qualifying pace more like ~8:30ish). My training had been poor and there was definitely a headwind, so I wasn't shooting for a particular pace so much as I wanted to run comfortably fast for a while and just see what numbers popped up on my watch. So, I was rather stunned when I found myself thinking, "This feels pretty easy, let's just hang out here for a while & see what happens," & looked at my watch to see I was running 7:15 pace. EEK!

I kept trying to slow and trying to slow and still kept seeing 7:30-7:45 on my watch; not being delusional enough to think, "LOOK IT'S MAGIC I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS FOR THE WHOLE RACE!," I just kept trying to relax, watch my breathing, and shoot for something that felt like not pushing but also like not being lazy. I had told Don the night before that I really really did not want to be out in the weather for more than 4 hours, and if I could manage that, then I'd be happy; since I seemed to be averaging around 8:30 pace without too much effort, I decided to try to stick to that unless it started to feel really bad.

    Mile 1: 8:26
    Mile 2: 8:30
    Mile 3: 8:35
    Mile 4: 8:17

Course Observations: Miles 1-4.

  • The downhills are nowhere near as extreme as I had been led to believe; it was pretty much like running downhill in GG Park and my quads had absolutely no issues with it whatsoever at 8:15-8:45 pace.
  • It is NOT just downhill; in fact, I think that section of the course is much more accurately described as rolling, as there are plenty of short uphills as well. (In fact, it reminded me quite a lot of running CIM.) It's just that it's net downhill.

After that first section, I have to say I felt the "Boston magic" wear off a bit; there were definitely still plenty of spectators almost the whole way, which shocked me, but the landscape was sort of nondescript, & the roads really felt like any other number of roads I've raced on. On the other hand, it wasn't awful, either; there was definitely a little headwind and definitely some rain (occasionally punctuated with heavier rain) but really nothing--NOTHING--like what I'd been worried we might face. I was doing gels every 3 miles as I always do, & that sort of helped things tick along like any other race. (I did start to feel my hamstrings & glutes getting achey around mile 9-10, which was sort of "Yay, using glutes & hamstrings! Better than quads!" but also "Oof, yyyeah, definitely have NOT been in the gym enough lately.")

The Wellesley girls were somewhere around mile 12 or 13, I don't remember exactly, and it was kind of nice to see that there was a pretty solid contingent out there in spite of the weather. (Some runners even paused for a kiss!) I will say one of the nice things about Boston was that there are all these various little landmarks along the way that you've heard of & can look forward to, & that helps break up the race a little.

Still running, still being chased by the lady in the red latex gloves. (Latex gloves were super on trend in this race.)

My pace slowed a little during this section but not dramatically. Another thing that started to happen was that as my socks and shoes became completely saturated, my feet started to slide around in my shoes. This was particularly uncomfortable on the downhill sections--my feet felt like they were sliding into the toe box & ramming my toes against the front of my shoes, which got more and more painful as the race went on, so I definitely was not taking advantage of the downhills as much as I would have otherwise. (In retrospect, thicker socks would have been better.)

    Mile 5: 8:37
    Mile 6: 8:29
    Mile 7: 8:28
    Mile 8: 8:38
    Mile 9: 8:34
    Mile 10: 8:46
    Mile 11: 8:55
    Mile 12: 8:48
    Mile 13: 8:50
    Mile 14: 8:56
    Mile 15: 9:02

Course Observations: Miles 5-15.

  • This section continued to be very rolling, with lots of short up- and downhills. None of them are very steep or very long, but if you're not used to constantly rolling terrain, I would definitely make sure you train for it. Again, to me it felt a lot like running CIM, except that the hills in this section were maybe a tiny bit steeper and/or a tiny bit more frequent. I felt like my normal routes through SF & especially GG Park had me completely prepared for them & I never struggled on the uphills at all.
  • I had a hard time running tangents because people were so crowded together, even halfway through the race, that when you looked ahead it almost just looked like a giant crowd on the road standing still. It was hard to see which way people were turning so a bit tough to know which side of the road to aim for (though this was also partly due to not being able to see through the rain).

Up until around this point, I had been pleasantly surprised by the weather and by my race, & was totally fantasizing about getting back on my Boston Marathon FB group & being like, "So guys. Can we all agree that we were all worried about nothing?" Yes, there was some wind and you had to work harder, but it was nothing--NOTHING--like the wind at CIM 2012. Temperature-wise I was completely comfortable, and even the rain was just not that bad. (Though, it is worth mentioning that I run hot & was definitely glad I'd opted for the rain jacket rather than a tank & arm warmers or a longsleeve shirt.)

Somewhere around mile 16, though, a lot of things took a turn for the worse. I had been taking gels every 3 miles & feeling fine, but around the time we passed the firehouse I started to feel really nauseous which has never happened to me in a race before. I felt like I had a brick in my stomach & like I might be sick at any moment. My stomach started to feel really bloated, and my flip belt was making it worse. These were the Newton Hills, so my pace would have slowed a bit anyway, but this was also around the time that the headwind really started to pick up and for the first time I felt like I was really fighting the wind. So, between those three things, I suddenly went from holding a solid sub-9 pace & feeling like I had this thing in the bag to seeing double digit paces and just hoping I'd be able to keep running & not barf on anyone.

    Mile 16: 8:54
    Mile 17: 9:24
    Mile 18: 9:25
    Mile 19: 9:05
    Mile 20: 9:16
    Mile 21: 10:05

Feeling shall we say less than 'Boston Strong.'

Course Observations: Miles 16-21.

  • Guys. The hills. They're really not that different than any of the other hills that came before; they're just a little longer (.3-.6 miles). Sure, my pace slowed a bit but to be honest I actually felt better going up than going down due to the issues with my wet shoes & socks.
  • There will be a lot of people cheering from this point on. I FOUND IT INCREDIBLY STRESSFUL! Prepare your mind to deal.

Life was never good after mile 16. (Actually, no, that's not 100% true, but we'll get to that.) I felt sick & the wind sucked & the rain sucked & honestly I was like, "Eff this shite, who even wants to run the Boston Marathon anyway, this is some bullshite right here." But then I'd start running through the simplest, most efficient ways to get back to my hotel from my current position, & they all involved continuing to run towards the finish line.

Much worse than the Newton Hills, in my opinion, was the GINORMOUS DOWNHILL that came after. I was pretty convinced that my toenails were already completely bloody and/or fallen off, so at this point I was like, "Ah, god, no, WHYYYYYYY." It sucked mightily, for that reason and also the aforementioned nausea. It was just awful. I kept trying to pull my Flip Belt up higher around my waist and also to not vomit into the headwind and neither of those were really working out super well for me. In the end I couldn't hold it anymore and threw up a grand total of 4 times between mile 20 & the end. Just orange gel & bile everywhere. I kept hoping that after each time I would feel a little better but I never did.

I like to imagine this one was towards the end, because the look on my face really just says "I've barfed four times in the last hour, it's all over my gloves, & I can't feel my feet anymore except for the stabbing sensation where I presume my right toenail used to be."

Those miles were dark ones for me. There were non-stop people absolutely screaming their heads off & all I could think was "Guys, I still have an hour left to go at this rate & I cannot keep up this emotional pitch for that much longer, could we all just take it down a notch plzthnx."

See also: "If one more person yells YOU GOT THIS!!!1!1!! at me, I am going to effing punch them in the neck. 2012 called & it wants its questionable-to-begin-with catch phrase back. Think of something new."

See also: "KEEP RUNNING!!!" "PUSH PUSH PUSH!" "GOOOOOOO!!!!" Look, dudes, I'm out here because I have to be; if you are standing out here in the effing rain & wind & near-freezing temps, I immediately know one thing about you & it's that you have questionable judgment so if there is one thing I don't need from you it's advice.

See also, at mile 21: "YOU'RE ALMOST THERRRRRREEEEE!!!!!" Fucking no, asshats. I expect this dumb-fuckery at regular marathons but at this one, if you are still out here in this god-forsaken sufferfest of a downpour at two in the afternoon, it's because you either a) know someone running so should know at least a *little* about marathons, or b) you live here & you do this every year; in either case, you really, really should know enough not to yell at people running a marathon that they're "almost there!!1!!1!" at mile 21. Like. Just, no.

At this point, I was pretty much a zombie. There was no room left in me for, like, *emotions* or *feelings* or whatever; all it was was knowledge that the quickest way out was through, and as long as I didn't stop and kept moving forward, this race had no choice but to eventually come to an end. You hear about people magically chanting "Right on Hereford, left on Boylston!!" to the extent that it's on effing T-shirts and hats and whatever else, but all I could think about when I saw that sign was, "OK, maybe try to get the last bit of the puke up now & maybe then it won't end up in your finish pictures." Then I made the turn on to Boylston and saw the the finish line, and my only thought was, "Wow that is WAY too far. Completely, unacceptably far." I think I was expecting maybe a tenth of a mile or something but it's probably more like .3, because you pass the mile 26 marker after the turn onto Boylston. The crowds were deafening but all I could really process was "Keep moving legs, just keep moving legs," and yet the finish line just did not seem to be getting any closer. I finally passed the mile 26 marker and thought, "SO CLOSE!! IT CAN'T POSSIBLY GET ANY WORSE!!"

And I shit you not, as soon as I had that thought, the sky opened up and the already pounding rain became a veritable geyser.

BUT STILL, I was about to cross THE BOSTON FRICKIN' MARATHON FINISH LINE! I had to DO SOMETHING! Something appropriately dramatic and celebratory! I did manage to throw my arms up in a kind of half-hearted Rocky double fist pump, but the rain pelting me in the face made it hard to look up.

Not too terrible, right?
    Mile 22: 9:42
    Mile 23: 9:55
    Mile 24: 9:59
    Mile 25: 10:19
    Mile 26: 10:20
    Mile 26.2: 3:20 (9:31 pace)

Look at those near-perfect positive splits. Coaching services available, act now!

Course Observations: Miles 22-Finish.

  • The Newton Hills end at the mile 21 marker almost exactly, but know that they are followed by a pretty serious downhill. Be ready for it!
  • In fact miles 22-24 were almost painfully downhill, mostly because of my wet socks & shoes & the state of my already banged-up toes. This is part of why you should train downhills just as aggressively as uphills.
  • Mile marker 24 to the end is just beautifully flat. If you train & execute well, you could really light it up and sprint to the finish. (If I'm lucky enough to run another Boston, hopefully I'll be able to appreciate it more!)
  • This was the first major I've run, so maybe it's par for the course, but (similar to the start) I found it extremely unclear where the actual finish line was. There were a bunch of different timing mats on the ground and the actual finish arch is fairly wide. So my finish sort of went "WOOOHOOO I RAN BOSTON, throw up hands, wait am I actually finished now? Do I keep running? Should I stop my watch?" So I probably ran a little extra because I wasn't completely sure.

The Freezing-To-Death-&-Crying Part

So yes, I was excited to finish, but mostly because I felt so sick and the rain was getting worse and my toes felt like they'd been stepped on by an elephant. As you'd expect the finish line vibe was mostly "CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FINISH but no seriously, keep moving, there's 20,000 people coming behind you and probably half of them have hypothermia." I was never cold while I was running but with the rain and wind getting worse it was only maybe a minute or so after I finished & was walking down the chute that I started to feel uncomfortably chilly. Absolutely the thought of that medal was most of what had propelled me toward the finish in those last few miles when my stomach was trying to destroy itself, but very quickly after finishing the most interesting thing to me became that poncho I was promised.

Someone yelled "WATER!" & handed me a water bottle which I found ironic as I was still being pelted by the stuff; internally I was like, "OK but where are the ponchos?"

"KEEP WALKING!" shouted volunteers, which I did, because that was clearly the only way to get to the ponchos. I mean the medals too, yes, but mostly the ponchos. This was also around the time that the post-marathon whole-body pain-fest started to set in (probably made worse by the cold) and I started to really question how far I was actually capable of walking.

A few minutes later I got my medal, and I'm actually surprised at how semi-functional I look, considering everything that happened next.


(Update: You know how they sometimes go back & add new photos later? I recently found this gem in my downloads page, which I have to say MUCH more accurately reflects how I remember feeling!)

no but seriously **WHERE** are the frickin **PONCHOS**????

I kept walking and walking and walking for what felt like forever until I reached the area where volunteers were finally, blessedly handing out ponchos and, big surprise, runners were absolutely swarming them. By this point I was in so much pain and shivering so violently that I couldn't even get the poncho on & the volunteer finally just put it on me one limb at a time like a limp animal; her deftness at this task suggested that perhaps she'd already done this a few hundred times today already. THANK YOU, VOLUNTEER. I was naked and you clothed me.

Our post-race reunion plan had been to meet at the big letter 'K' sign; after much deliberation the night before, I had decided to leave my bag with a small towel & some dry clothes at the gear check rather than leaving it with Don, thinking it would be much quicker to get it there than it would be to fight my way out of the finish area & make it over to the reunion area. The trouble was that in order to get to the gear check I had to walk pretty far away from the reunion area, wait for someone to find & hand me my bag, & then walk all the way back to the reunion area, which I was beginning to think was at best a really bad idea and at worst impossible. Everything hurt & I was colder than I ever remember being in my life, my clothes--including socks, shoes, & gloves--were completely soaked through, & it was still about 40F, pouring rain, & howling wind.

A lot of this time was a blur; I remember shuffling my way up to the gear check, getting my bag, & then just standing there in the rain trying to reason through what to do next. There was no where to change, not even anywhere dry that would make putting on dry clothes even really useful. I also realized that the dry clothes I had brought were woefully insufficient given the conditions. I had a shirt, pants, socks, & rain jacket, but no dry shoes, and no way to get out of my ice-cold shorts & sports bra, which were most of what was making me feel like I was sitting in an ice bath.

A bunch of runners were huddling into the tiny little medical tent, which was a mix of people with actual medical issues & others like me with mild hypothermia desperately looking for a place to change out of their soaking-wet, ice-cold race clothes while medical volunteers constantly chased them back out again. Again, I remember just standing there, completely at a loss for what to do, and in so much pain I didn't think I could make it to the reunion area. Irrationally I remember thinking, "I have to call Don & tell him to come get me," never mind that he wouldn't even have been allowed in the finish area, and even if he was, I'd have to walk back out anyway one way or another. I realized I couldn't feel my fingers and pulled off my soaking wet gloves, then debated whether that had just made it worse. I tried calling Don and, big surprise, couldn't get through, I'm sure due to everyone else in the finish area trying to call someone as well.

Eventually I kind of just started lurching around in a daze, more or less in the basic direction of the reunion signs. There were a bunch of race medical screeners watching the crowds of runners like hawks, occasionally grabbing someone & shoving them into a wheel chair to be taken to a warming area. (Apparently my friend Katie got grabbed--apparently they ripped her clothes off, put heaters all around her, & made her eat hot broth until she stopped shivering, then sent her on her way.)

I'm not really sure how but somehow I managed to navigate my way through the streets and crowds until I saw the big K sign and spotted Don, who had been trying to call me. At that point I couldn't really talk or make eye contact or really do anything other than shiver uncontrollably & desperately clutch my wet poncho around my body.

I had no idea what to do but he steered me into a nearby bar/restaurant which was packed with wet, shivering runners. It had a big fire pit in the middle and I huddled as close to it as I could get, along with a bunch of others. I peeled off my wet layers as best as I could & put on the warm ones, though that only did so much given my still-soaked-and-ice-cold sports bra, shorts, & socks. We stayed inside for a little longer until finally I told him that I just wanted to get back to the hotel & into a hot shower as soon as possible. There wasn't really any good way to get there besides walking and it was a good mile trek, but I still felt super thankful that we'd booked a place that you could walk to from the finish.

After walking back to the hotel, showering, bandaging up what could reasonably be bandaged, and a few hours of vegging out on the hotel bed while the storm continued to rage outside, we met Katie (who was also running) and Layla for dinner. Both of these amazing ladies moved away from the Bay Area a while back & this was the first time I'd seen them since then. Such a treat! We all bitched about the race & weather & gorged ourselves on tasty New England comfort food, beer, & cocktails.

Whew! Are you still there? And that was the short version!

As soon as I have time I'll write something about the logistics of traveling to & running this race as an out-of-towner, what we did & how it all worked out.


  1. Wow!

    As a 2012 CIM survivor (and that wasn't that bad) I can relate up to a point. Fantastic job to hold on and finish the race. I have read your 'right to be disappointed' post, but I will say Congratulations!

    Also a great write-up - I lost 20 mins of work productivity, but worth it!

  2. Great report. I have friends who also ran this year, and for me the stories just don't get old. It was a real battle just to finish. Tremendous effort on a terrible weather day. I applaud your tenacity.

  3. Congrats on finishing and surviving. But I have questions! What caused the bloody leg? Where were you when you learned Des won?

    1. Ugh, the bloody leg was just good ol' fashion chafing. But like, the worst I've ever had. It's a good 10 inches across & still in pretty bad shape. D:

      You know, I don't even remember when I learned about Desi! Don probably told me after. I got some VIP passes to the grandstands so he almost got to see it (I think he did see the 2nd place woman) & also got to see the awards ceremony & got video of me finishing. So that was cool. :)

  4. I have so much to say! Maybe I'll email you. For now though - you're a badass. What an experience.

  5. This was a good read. The last few miles sound absolutely awful for you.

    One thing I missed - did you fall down at some point? (blood on your thigh that you noted in the picture).

    I ran it also, and I'm still ticked that the ponchos were't the very first thing they gave us. I threw away the water bottle they gave me in disgust.

    1. Ugh, no, it was just chafing. Really, really, *really* bad chafing. Stupid rain. :-/

      At least it was a nice poncho!

    2. Yes, it's a really nice poncho. I usually reuse heat sheets, but I think I may keep that one as my "Boston Jacket"

    3. Hah! I love it. Me too.

      I mean. It's got VELCRO on it!!

  6. That sounds...terrible. But congratulations on your first Boston! It's a doozy, for sure! I feel like this is a story that will instantly connect you to another runner for decades to come - "Were you at Boston 2018?" "Me, too!"

  7. I loved reading this and reliving some of my Boston race. I actually think I earned a small badass card that day, lol. And I can’t wait to go back next year. I stayed at a hotel really close to the finish line, and thank god I did! I was shivering so badly that a hotel employee had to unlock my room, and then I spent an hour in a deep tub getting my body temp back up to normal!


  8. You definitely need the shirt that says 'I Swam from Hopkinton To Boston'. It's out there, google it :) everyone who finished Boston 2018 is a bad*ss in my book. I did spectate, as usual, though somewhat unusually I was wearing what I'd wear to go winter camping. >.< (And people who yell 'YOU'RE ALMOST THERE' at mile 21 deserve to be punched, really.)

  9. JFC, that was epic! Now you get to say you’ve run in CIM 2012 and Boston 2018 - major badassery right there. Congrats again!