Monday, May 21, 2012

Boston Day 4 - Marathon Report

I'd been dreaming of running in Boston for a long time. Nothing was stopping me was an awesome feeling! I felt so kick-ass like I never before. This whole city was looking alive. Friends back home were also pouring in their awesome support!

My morning started with a light 2km jog down to the red line train. Carl and I figured the $20 shuttle from the hotel to the gathering spot wasn't worth the moolah. 

Easily I think over 300 buses streamlined Park Street to take us to Hopkinton.  I was impressed how the buses came 25 at a time and continuously picked up the crowd of over 20,000.

I remembered getting off the bus with a big sweat. It was already a sizzling 26 degrees Celsius. Oh my, it was going to be a tough day.

The start with the 9 corral systems was unique and seemed to work quite well. I started in corral 6 and started about 5 minutes from the gun time. These corrals were secured and closely monitored.

It was hard to settle into a good pace. I was constantly yo-yo-ing with the massive crowds - something I wasn't used to for the entire marathon. There were a lot of runners. And there were even more crowd support on both sides of the run course. Even the non-runners came out to show their support.

My first 5km was a good indicator that I wasn't going to stick to my 4:20 pace. It was a scorcher. The aid stations always started with water then gatorade on the right hand side and then the same again on the left hand side. Each mile ticked away quickly with each aid station with drinks getting warmer and warmer. I think the peak was very close to 30 degrees Celsius. 

It was only by kilometre 10, I was comforted to see the crowd bringing out the bags of ice, freezies, oranges and even little cups with ice. I definitely appreciated the awesome support because the warm water at the official aid stations wasn't doing me any favours.

At the halfway mark, came the famously loud scream tunnel with incredibly cute girls from Wellesley School all lined up (many had signs saying "kiss me"). Contrary to popular belief I didn't take any of their offers but I did had to dodge at least 3 guys trying to get a smooch. It was a very bizarre scene - it definitely made me laugh.

The crowd support was giving high fives along most of the route. If you ever needed a turbo boost, there's nothing better than running by hundreds of screaming fans willing to give you high fives. The downside, I couldn't dare stop running no matter how much it hurt.

The killer Heartbreak hill wasn't as bad as it was famously known for. This hill was at about the 34km; however, we needed to run 3 undulating hills before even getting to Heartbreak. Heartbreak was no big deal, just another bump before the finish. These hills were great for my confidence. I was able to pass a lot of runners here. I seem to run better when there are massive crowds.  

As I got closer to the city, I remember making two final turns to get onto Boylston Street with a final 3 km stretch to the finish. These last 3 km were amazing, I could hear the loud cheers perhaps even a few notches higher than the stream tunnel through Wellesley.  

I was fist pumping at the finish (official photos to come!). The dream was complete! I did it, I FREAKING DID IT!! Runners at the finish line were literally collapsing in front of me. I couldn't catch them as I was having a hard enough time to stand up myself! Okay, maybe I was too busy fist pumping...

 I have some pretty bad tan-lines. Don't laugh!

Later that day, I met up with an old friend, at a runner's bar named Crossroads. I just couldn't resist, I had to get the real Boston Creme Pie.

The BEST part of the trip! =)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Boston Day 3 - Two Very Fine Schools and Two Very Fine Treats

The next morning, off to Harvard!

Havard has an annual average of about 7.2% acceptance rate. It might be hardly worth applying.

The Old Yard is turning 375.

The John Harvard Statue is famous for its three little lies (hint hint that's not really him)!

Then it was off to the Legal Sea Foods, one of Boston's most popular restaurants! Very Fine Treat #1: Clam Chowder was in the works. Full of clams and potatoes and my favourite - CREAM!

Fried clams with fries was a little ambitious on the day before the marathon. The waitress wouldn't let me substitute the fries for the clam chowder; hence, the decision was a no-brainer - I had to get both.

Fancy light fixtures caught my attention.

You won't find this in Harvard.

From Harvard's pretty Harry Potter look to MIT's almost unfinished improvised look. I got the impression a delinquent randomly drew up these geometry to rebell against the rest of historic Boston.

When we found our friend Liam and we sure didn't mess around. We found the highly tasty Very Fine Treat #2: Boston Crème Pies (albeit the mini-version without the exterior creme and cocoanut) at the Quincy Market where Carl and I had originally pass by in our Freedom Trail Run.


Yes these weren't the full sized ones, but who were we to nick pick. These were fabulous. I ate most of the top layered pudding first, realizing it was all cake on the bottom (I was told I was eating it all incorrectly).
More to come on the real one...this was only the mini version. Carl, Liam and I ended up sitting on this bench all day for nearly 4 hours catching up (and smelling the wonderful horse poop seen in the background). I was too tired to walk after a few days of travel. The marathon we planned on tacting on was also the next day. NBD!! =)