Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Official Boston Marathon Photos

As promised here are the pictures the professionals took while I ran.  Enjoy because I paid a lot for them!

Not sure who this chick is but if she finds this she'll get a free picture!

I look a little tired 

Friday, April 25, 2014

My Boston Marathon

Finally it's here, Boston Marathon race weekend!!!  I woke Friday with the knowledge that in the afternoon I would have my bib and the journey from Hopkinton was soon to begin.  I decided to take casual friday further than I normally do and wore my Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston t-shirt to work.
Boston Marathon Love all over the back bay
Just after noon Julie arrived downtown and we walked over to WichIt for a quick lunchtime sandwich.  I'm not sure if this place is new, but it's never crowed in there despite the great food and today was no exception.  When we arrived around 12:30 Julie and I made up 40% of the paying customers.  This is much later than I normally go to lunch (because I don't like crowds) and I expected it to be much more packed.  I guess I'll chalk it up to it being Good Friday and many people having the day off.  Once lunch was done we headed over to the Hynes Convention Center to start the fun.

When we arrived the expo it appeared pretty crowded but not much more than when I attended last year.  We headed upstairs for my number and that's when we saw the difference.  The line to get the bibs went down from the third floor down the escalator down the hall of the second floor and halfway back.  The line was moving so we jumped in and spotted anther Children's team member while we were waiting.  We soon found ourselves upstairs where the line continued up and down the hall three times with the help of some airport style roping.  Finally we made it to the pick up area where there was a much shorter lines to grab my bib.

Bib in hand we went over to the t-shirt pick up where I got my "free" marathon shirt and gear bag containing some goodies including a cool Sam Adams/Boston Marathon bottle opener and the official Boston Marathon program.  One of the volunteers handing out our shirts asked about the shirt I was wearing since he's been seeing signs around his house that read "Right on, Left on", so I explained to him that they were the last two turns in the race.  Shirt and bag in hand we stopped for a quick picture and headed down to the expo.

The expo was just as crowded and much much more packed than the year before.  Inside we were greeted by a massive Brooks Running display.  We made our way through to find the company that sells shadow boxes which have a picture, a medal and a replica bib.  We found the shadow box vendor right next to the Balega running socks booth.  Bonus, since I was hoping to hit as well.  We made some quick purchases at both and then went looking for the Adidas shop since we inadvertently entered through the expo exit.

The shop was even more crowded than the expo.  The line to check out weaved its way through the store and you could barely move so we decided to skip trying to get anything and headed back towards the bibs to pick up my "We all Run Boston" poster that I missed coming in the wrong way.  Poster in hand, I had a change of heart and decided to get some gear.  I grabbed a hat for Julie's dad, a shot glass and pair of flip flops for me, and got in line while Julie picked up a hat for her mom.  I also grabbed a marathon coffee mug on my way through the line.  After zigging and zagging through the store out into the expo and back through the store I made my way to the check out wishing I had grabbed a pint glass as well...to late.  Checked out, I headed back to work after a nice long lunch break.

Saturday morning we awoke early to take part in the BAA 5K in downtown Boston.  We drove in and deposited the Pasternaks at a Starbucks along the route before we headed down to the Common for the start.  About 10,000 runners were packed the start and with no direction everyone ended up lining up on the finisher side of the road which created a bit of a problem once the race started but it eventually worked itself out.

The course is very similar to the corporate challenge course which goes up Comm Ave just short of Kenmore Square then back down to the final turns of the Marathon course (see above if you have  forgotten what they are) and down Boylston over the finish line and back to the Common, and spotted some of my Children's teammates along the way.  I ran at a relaxed pace seeing as I have a slightly longer run in a couple of days and finished in a respectable 32:27.  After the race I gabbed my medal and waited for Julie so we could grab our shirts and made our way back to the Pru.  After some pictures at the finishline and a quick shower, the Pasternaks went home and Julie and I headed to the Children's celebration lunch.

The lunch served was just a precursor to the main event, where they passed out awards and recognition and showed some inspirational pictures and the video below.

Then were were given the inspirational story of Jack Hoffman told by father Andy followed by some wonderful words from Silver Medalist for team USA, Meb Keflezighi.  Andy was first and told the story about how Children's treated Jack for a brain tumor and the difference they made in his life.  It really brought home what we're running for and I was a little teary eyed.  Even if man code requires me to say it was because I sat on my keys, it wasn't.  Next came Meb who told of some of his early childhood in Africa and the lack of healthcare there.  He told us of his 2012 run in the London Olympics.  There he was ready to drop out half way through the race with pain and blisters, but then he fought through it because he was running for the USA, running for us.  He persevered and kept moving up from the middle of the pack, to the teens and eventually finishing 4th place.  He was the only American to finish the marathon in that Olympics, and left us with the message "remember who you're running for".  We got a quick group picture with him before heading back home for an early Easter dinner and some relaxation.

Meb Speaks

Team Picture with Meb
Easter Sunday was passed at home with my feet up, while Julie and her parents made signs for the next day.  After some meals filled with carbs, lots of iced tea and water it was an early bedtime in preparation for marathon Monday.

Motivational signs made by Julie
Motivational Sign made by Drew
Kasey gets into the marathon spirit

Despite dozing early, the anticipation of race day wouldn't let me go to sleep easily and when I did sleep I awoke with nightmares of forgetting my shoes which were hung around the doorknob below a note that read "shoes".  The alarm went off at 3:45AM and I grabbed a quick bagel with some peanut butter and got ready.  The cab arrived a bit early and I was on my way to the Westin Copley...for a block before we turned around because I had forgotten my phone and then I was on my way for real.

I arrived at the Westin just a little before 5AM and was directed to bus number 1. The original plan was once the bus is loaded it would go to Hopkinton but BAA decided they would rather have us all roll up at the same time so we had to hang out on the bus until 5:30 when it finally left for the start line.  The sun was just over the horizon as we exited 495 towards the center of town when our bus pulled over and we were told that we needed to get off this bus and on to another one.  Apparently our bus was smoking the whole way and security didn't want a bus that could soon catch on fire in the secure area.  With that we boarded new bus which gave some friends a good chance to give me crap about the Yankees sweatshirt I was wearing.  A few minutes later, we pulled up to John Warren Masonic Lodge.

My teammates messed with my shoes (which I remembered) while I was gone
For those of you keeping score that's 3 Miles for Miracles trips this year and three bus issues.  On our 17 miler we took our team picture and started our run before the third bus showed up.  On our 21 miler the third bus broke down before leaving the parking lot and limped its way out to Hopkinton.  Finally the trip out to the starting line with a smoking bus.  The hospital team was great at logistics through this whole experience. I can't praise them enough for the great a job they did from start to finish.  Coordinating 360 runners from everything from distributing singlets to bus trips as well as supporting fundraising, they truly did a wonderful job.  If they did the actual maintenance on the buses themselves I bet they would have run just as smooth!

Arriving around 6AM meant that I had about a 5 1/2 hour wait to get to the start line.  I passed the first hour or so watching TV, chatting and eating a bagel before I went outside to take it all in.  I headed down to the start line, then over to the other side where there were several vendors and food stands were set up along with TV crews and VIPs.  I didn't stay too long on that side for fear of being blocked from coming back due to the heightened security.  There were police from all branches; I saw Marshals, Secret Service, Military Police, local police, state police from MA, NY and ME, not to mention the snipers on the roof of the building next to us.
Where am I looking?
As 8AM approached, I headed to the start line to catch the beginning of the mobility impaired division which was the official start of the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Then I headed back to the lodge and tried to catch a glimpse of the elite runners warming up.  The highlight was Shalane Flanagan who everyone thought was the USA's best chance at winning the Marathon.
Shalane warms up faster than I sprint
The children's team soon gathered and we got last minute instructions on how we would be able to get into the corrals, race officials let us in at the front of the lodge rather than making us walk to the back and lineup everyone else (see what I was talking about with those awesome logistics), and when we had to meet to warm up.  That done we headed out front for a team picture then back back inside to catch the start of the women's race on TV while we made the last preps before we got ready to set off on our own journey to Boston.
Where's waldo with blue and yellow
The Team watches the woman's race start

Eleven o'clock arrived and we started our warm ups then began the waiting game as wave number three made its way through the start.  Once they were through the start line the barrier was opened and we were let into the corrals.  We didn't have to wait long for the starter's gun to go off and our run to begin.

Panorama of the starting area
I started with Nick, one of my teammates.  We started off way too fast I knew it was too fast but it wasn't crazy fast miles one and two around 10:15. I felt great I had the adrenaline, rest and training going for me.  People lined the course cheering and I felt that with their will I could keep going even if I did go about a bit fast.  After mile two I stopped to tie my shoe and lost Nick but picked up Sarah and Jill from the MFM team.  I ran with them through two more faster miles before I slowed down my pace.  I grabbed my first Gu and tried to conserve some energy.  As I made my way into Ashland, I kept and eye out for the Pease/Bowles clan, but wasn't able to locate them so I kept on pushing as the course took me into Framingham where I also missed the Grays and the Temper/Fernandes crew.  Another low point of Framingham was no one offering wings outside of the Chicken Bone.  Forget orange slices I want some boneless buffalo wings (bone in wings wouldn't be realistic for a race)!
Entering Ashland

Entering Framingham
Pru replica
Around mile 7 I started to feel a bit sluggish.  I had recently taken my first salt pill but from the start line to mile 13 there was zero shade.  An hour plus in the sun and the rising temps started to take its toll so I started to pull back a bit more, still I was way ahead of my 5 hour pace and still feeling pretty good.  By mile 9 I was really starting to struggle and by the time I took my next salt pill at mile 10 I was having doubts about 5 hours even though I was almost a full mile ahead of my pace.  I kept chugging hoping that I could push through since I had a similar experience on the same part of the course during the 21 miler.

When I hit the scream tunnel at Wellesley I was starting to feel pretty good again thanks to the lovely ladies lining the course and I had a pretty fast mile even while stopping to meet some of the women of Wellesley College.  All of the talk of the scream tunnel was overblown though.  It was great and the women were very friendly but it wasn't nearly as loud as advertised.  Sorry ladies.

I thought that the college was half way but it's really just around mile 12.  Not being as far as I thought took a toll on my psyche and that fast mile through the college did the same to my body. Even getting two cups at all of the water stations, I was getting dehydrated.  By the time I hit the half way mark I had dry mouth and felt a bit dizzy so I started mixing the running and walking.  I was a tough choice because I knew that I was probably putting my 5 hour mark out of reach if I stared walking this early despite being ahead of where I wanted to be time wise. I was worried that if I didn't, I would wake up in a medical tent.

About a mile later, I found my co-worker Andy, and was grateful to stop and talk to him a bit.  He saw me at the lowest point in the race and he probably thought "what the heck is this guy doing?".  In less than 5K, I hit my personal cheering section with the Children's team cheering group so I pushed on ahead.  I hit 95 and was greeted by the cars below honking their horns then pushed up the hill towards Newton-Wellesley hospital.  Just past was Julie with her parents and our friend Archana with her mom.  I tried to put a brave face on but even Julie admitted later that I looked bad.  I stopped to talk to them for a second and pick up the Gatorade and Gu they brought.   After a couple of swigs I started jogging again telling myself that if I was going to walk up the hills then I was going to jog to the firehouse.  I made the turn at the firehouse and started walking, drinking my Gatorade.
my cheering section

Putting on a brave face
I really liked this part of the course the best when I did the 21 miler a few weeks before.  I walked this first hill and part of heartbreak hill.  The miles in between I tore through so using that experience to guide my strategy, I was going to walk up this hill then try and run most of the miles in between.  By the time I was done with the first hill, I was feeling better and as I started running my coach Sara was there to take me a bit farther.  I pushed on talking with her for a while as she told me that Meb had won the marathon for the men and Shalane had not (I had heard earlier that they both won).  After running with her for about 10 minutes and giving the Gatorade time to work its magic, I was feeling better.

As I made my way up the hills of Newton the crowd continued motivate the runnders.  I looked over and saw my teammate Sarah at a medical tent.  I stopped to see if she was OK and she said that she had stopped to grab some salt but they only had Doritos so she jumped back in with me.  We ran walked but mostly ran to the base of heartbreak hill.  With two of us pushing each other we seemed to be doing pretty well.  Heartbreak hill was the slowest part of the marathon for me, but once we finally made it to the top, we started running again.  Shortly after Sarah stopped at another tent to see if they had salt (she did great and finished not long after me) and I made my way through BC.

Given the under delivery at the scream tunnel, I was not prepared for BC.  I wanted to stop running and take a rest but I couldn't.  Both sides of the road were filled with screaming kids.  It was so loud it was almost uncomfortable but it pushed me along.  Shortly after I heard my name being called out to my left and there were Justin and Tammy.  I walked and talked with them a bit until the police yelled at them to get off the tracks which was a very good thing because a train was just about to hit them..

I started back down comm ave feeling really good.  I wasn't going to break 5 hours and my legs hurt but I was going to finish then I turned right towards Cleveland Circle and couldn't believe what happened next.  The best thing I did was write my name on my shirt followed closely by not wearing headphones.  I was in the middle of a little lull.  There weren't many runners around and all of a sudden everyone was screaming my name.  "GO DREW YOU GOT THIS!"  "GO DREW GO" "DREWWWWWWWWWW".  I looked over and said "Am I winning the marathon?  You guys are awesome."  Buoyed by that I turned to the corner and found Julie and her crew just past the Dunkins.  I handed off my fuel belt and headed for home (figuratively speaking of course).
Feeling better at Cleveland Circle
As I made my way down Beacon people lined both sides.  I shortly overtook team Hoyt who was walking most of the course as they took in their last Boston Marathon.  I wanted to stop but gave them space to get the cheers they deserved.

About half way through the last leg of my journey, I found Purvee and Deven there to see me (and others) run.  A little later on I found another co-worker, John, found me.  I was doing a combination run walk more than I needed to, so that I could enjoy it and take it all in.  As I made my way, I enjoyed taking pictures as the Citgo sign made an appearance and Brookline became Boston.
Entering Boston
As I made my way over pike I started running for the last time looking around as I made my way through Kenmore passing the "1 mile to go sign" looking for my Midnight Rider peeps who attended the Sox game earlier in the day.  Even though I was 5 hours in, the spectators had been standing there even longer than that.  Still they were packed in with barricades bowed into the street as people reached for high fives.  Finally I came to those last two turns and I made a right on to Hereford and then a left onto Boylston I slowed down a bit (if you can believe that) to take it all in.  I took out my phone and recorded a bit this last section.  I crossed the finish line in 5:14:02 becoming a Boston Marathon Finisher.  It took more time than I wanted but the end result was the same.

Making my way under the photo bridge I thanked volunteers and spectators alike as I was presented with my medal, grabbed some water and was placed in a heat cape.  I continued down Boylston and took the first exit on my way to the Westin to meet up with my crew.  The Westin was so accommodating giving the children's runners and their families a private elevator up to our 7th floor staging area.  I grabbed my bag and cleaned up before heading down to decide on food.  I hadn't eaten since 10:30AM and it was about 5PM now so I was a bit hungry.  Everything near the finishline was packed and I decided we should take the T back over to Cambridge, pick up the car and either eat at Tavern on the Square (without a shower) or at Millers Ale House in Watertown (after a shower).

We made our way to Back Bay station where runners were let on to the T for free and then entered the waiting train which was being held at the station (delays on the MBTA that's shocking).  The train filled up and after a 5-10 minute wait we started moving.  Two stops later I didn't know if I could stand much longer as I was feeling dizzy and Julie said I was pale.  I made it to Downtown Crossing and was able to sit and compose myself.  After a few minutes we went upstairs where Julie bought me another Gatorade and a giant KitKat bar.  We called an Uber SUV to take us back to Watertown for a shower and dinner with a 26.2 from Sam Adams.
Kasey Poses with my medal
Before I leave you I just want to tell you one more story about marathon weekend.  While eating lunch at the Miles for Miracles celebration I got to talk with other runners and patient partners.  I was talking with a mother of a patient partner who's daughter had a heart transplant at the hospital.  When she found out that I had no connection with the hospital she was so appreciative that I would run for the hospital.  Even when I went up for the group photo with Meb she thanks Julie again for choosing to help her daughter and the rest of the kids treated at Children's.  Its people like that and the story of her daughter that made this such an inspirational team. I really wish I could qualify and guarantee myself a spot on this team every year.

If you haven't done so already please consider making a donation to the hospital either through my page here (the website isn't working now but should be up soon), through one of my teammates who hasn't met their goal yet or just a general donation via milesformiracles.org.

Once I get my official race photos I'll share them too!

Segment Pace
Overall Pace
13.1 Mi
26.2 Mi

Overall: 28,411 out of 31,931  Division: 5,412 out of 5,911  Gender: 15,948 out of 17,575