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Nathan Brown running the Boston Marathon, Boston MA

Boston Marathon: The Race of my life

Well I have finally returned from Boston! The marathon was a first class event, an amazing experience, and the race of my lifetime! Just to clear some things up, this is just a race re-cap with some commentary on the days before, the expo, and the race itself. I will also be posting about the actual city of Boston and the “wicked” good time my family had later this week, but today it is all about the race! It might get a little long!

Expo/Pre-race prep

Upon arriving in Boston on Saturday my family made the pilgrimage to the finish line and expo area. First I went and picked up my packet! It was a very exciting experience!

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The Expo was very overwhelming for me. I started to get a little anxious in there with all the people! There were a lot of great products! I got to pick up some Janji Kenya split running shorts! I also ran into one of my running heroes Michael Scott from Run Nerds Rock

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After the Expo and R&R in the Hotel I was able to spend dinner with the ambassadors from Skora Running where we talked shoes, race strategy, and this carb-loading thing Tad and I were going to use. Meeting Brian, Tad, and Jeremy was a highlight of the trip! Tad, Jeremy and I were even able to sneak off for a shake-out run on Sunday!!

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Sunday was a different experience for me as I tried the above mentioned carbo-loading technique that Tad shared with me. I drank a liquid mix of dextrose sugar, no-salt, and lime juice. I didn’t eat that much. I rested most of the day minus taking my aunt down to the finish line so she could check it out and a little meet up with some Facebook running friends!!

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Despite the looming race and the predicted weather I felt rather relaxed on Sunday surrounded by my family and feeling totally prepared.

Race Day

Bus ride and Athlete’s Village: The race experience has to be divided up into segments. In the early morning I left my hotel and walked over to meet Jeremy and Michael at a predetermined rendezvous point. There was a lot of nervous energy but we tried to keep the conversation off the race which was just fine with me because I was way too wound up already. The bus ride seemed to take forever but we finally arrived at athlete’s village. Being out there early meant easy access to port-o-potties! I was feeling light and ready. My feet were frozen even with the throw away shoes, but I was ready to get this thing started

Start Line: I made way to the starting line by myself. I needed to so that I could comb over my race plan that I had discussed with coach Kyle. The race strategy went something like this: don’t do anything in the first five miles that would ruin the last 10k. I knew that if I ran smart I could really crush the last 10k and maybe run under 2:50, with the goal time of 2:48. Despite the fact that this was the biggest race of my life, I felt unbelievably calm.  There is a first time for everything!

First 13.1: The first few miles of Boston barrel down hill! I was so focused on navigating the crowd and not sprinting that I didn’t have time to think about how incredibly intimidating this whole experience was. I mean a small town boy from Lovington had just crossed the starting line mere minutes after the world’s best marathoners. Miles 1-3  were a blur of high-fives, smiles, and trying to find a rhythm. All throughout the course I tried to high-five and thank as many volunteers, spectators, and police officers as I could. I think I filled a pretty good quota in these first 3 miles! I tried to keep a moderate pace in the ebb and flow of the road through these incredible Massachusetts towns. Despite the cool weather, biting wind, and rain there were people lined up shouting encouragement, holding signs, and offering refreshments. I was trying to take it all in while staying focused on the race. The first signs of crack in my armor came about now. But it wasn’t in the physical, or mental part of the race. At around mile 10 was the first time I cried. I am not sure why, but I started to feel overwhelmed as I cruised through mile after mile. Around mile 12 I was rocked back to reality by the women of Wellesley. They are loud, they are intense, and they are a lot of fun. I made my way to the opposite side of the road to allow the single men to move toward them in search of a mid-race kiss, but I did allow myself to be powered along by their incredible energy. I crossed the half-way point feeling quite relaxed but a little nervous because I knew Newton was just in front of me. Here is a photo at the 15k point. I feel relaxed!

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Into Newton: I had read enough to know that there was a huge drop at about mile 15 before you hit the 5 miles of hills in Newton that began with an overpass and ended at Heartbreak. I was feeling very good at 15 miles and I decided to make a run for it. I have said on numerous occasions that Coach Kyle had built a machine and now it was time to test it a bit. In the downhill from mile 15-16 I laid down a 6:05 mile. I knew there was no turning back I just started to hammer the hills of Newton, my race was going to be made and broken here. Honestly I didn’t even know I had gone through the overpass “hill”. But I was aware of the other 3.  I would grind up the front side and sprint down the back. The hills threatened to steal my legs from me.  I struggled up Heartbreak. But at the top of the hill I felt like a man renewed. I flew down the back of Heartbreak. The hills were over and I was feeling stronger not spent. This photo was captured coming down the hill at the firehouse, I am almost smirking as I realize the race strategy is working.

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On to Boston: The last 5 miles into Boston were a mix of pain and exhilaration.  I was clipping off six minute miles and pushing hard for home. Mile 23 of the Boston marathon was my first sub-6 of the entire race. The rain and the cold were keeping me from overheating and I was doing a pretty decent job of staying tucked out of the wind. I was officially on the pain train and I was going to ride it all the way to Boylston street.

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Right on Hereford/Left on Boylston: The last time I remember not crying was shortly before I took that epic turn on Hereford street. I had started to feel unbearable pain in my legs and my body was giving up. There was less than a mile left and I didn’t know how I was going to make it one more step. Running Hereford is the longest couple of blocks in marathoning, but then you take that epic left turn onto Boylston,

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Finish the race: I ran at a 5 minute per mile pace and below according to Garmin the entire length of Boylston. I was giving everything I had left. There was nothing left to hold back for now. I expended every bit of energy I had left. My legs were cramping, my body was tired, I was cold and wet, and I was bawling my eyes out! I raised my hands as I crossed the finish line in 2:46:45. I had pushed hard and finished the race! I had done everything I had come to do in the Boston Marathon!

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Post Race:

After the race I walked back to the hotel. I drank some water, coffee, and some beer. I laughed and cried and thanked my family incessantly! Later I met my virtual training partner Jeremy from Runningdad.com and my new friend Kate from Running on my mind for a few beers. I was walking on air and sore calves! It was an incredible experience!

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Facts and Stats

These stats are brought to you by the official Boston Marathon App. I ran my first half in 1:25:09 and my second half in 1:21:36. My overall place was 627, I was 606th among males and I was 529th in the Male 18-39.

5k splits

5k: 20:45

10k: 40:54 (20:09)

15k: 1:00:55 (20:01)

20k: 1:20:49 (19:56)

25k: 1:40:25 (19:36)

30k: 1:59:55 (19:30)

35k: 2:19:14 (19:19)

40k: 2:38:11 (18:57)

Finish 2:46:45

 

5 Responses

  1. Incredible job! Boston was the best running experience of my life, I’m so glad you had such an amazing time, especially given the tough weather! Congrats!

  2. Eli Sapharti

    I am so incredibly proud of you. Not only are you an amazing athlete, but you are a great human being that has taught me more about life than you think. You earned your place in this race. I couldn’t be any happier for you! I look forward to continue training under your guidance and following in your footsteps to accomplish greatness!
    Congratulations again coach BEAST!

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