In reflection Boston 2018 was probably one of the most enjoyable days I have had on the course (this was my 24th Boston) . I had great fun with friends. Lots of laughter at the conditions and finding the biggest puddles. But it was nothing for the runners like what it was for anyone giving course support and I thanked so many Monday. At least we were moving and generating heat. It’s fun to think about what we learn too. It’s never too late to learn when you experience something different. In 30 years of running marathons…..this was different.
35 degree temps, driving rain, and a 30 mph headwind is the perfect recipe to supercool the body, unless you wanted just to jump in the Charles River instead. According to the Boston Globe 2500 runners including 25 elite sought treatment in the medical tent, mostly for hypothermia. Over half of the elite field, including many pre-race favorites, failed to complete the course. 95% of the citizen runners finished though, maybe that tells you something. Most finishing times were off by 10 to 15 minutes. Desi Linden showed her grit to win in 2:39 which is 15 minutes slower than the normal winning time. Equally gritty Yuki Kawauchi humbled the field finishing 10 minutes off the usual winner’s time but 4 minutes up on the closest challenger. I ran 3:04 for my slowest marathon ever but in retrospect proud of my own grittiness and a little smarts that day to keep me from the med tent.
Here are some things I learned:
- Trust the forecast and get the right gear. Tech shirts will not repel the rain so a good running jacket or at least a vest is a must. I used an awesome jacket by ON Running.
- Your baselayer is gold. The critical strategy is keep your core warm and dry. The best I have found is from a made in the USA company XOSKIN
- The new Altra Vanish is a great minimal shoe with superlight upper that does not hold water
- A hat, gloves, and even a hood for the rain is critical.
- Put some sunscreen on your face if windy. Try this. Keeps the cheeks warm and happy. (Thanks James Munnis for this one)
- Do everything you can to stay warm and dry before the start: bags over shoes, throw away poncho and layers, trash liners, its all good and will be recycled.
- Consider a little extra calorie and warm drinks before the start, your body burns extra fuel when maintaining heat.
- Whatever you do keep moving. Moving keeps the heat generated. Stop and you will start shivering.
- Gels freeze solid. So do not rely on them.
- UCAN and VESPA prerace can sustain you through the whole race so you do not need gels. I took no calories on the course, just some UCAN electrolytes I had in jacket pocket and a VESPA mini.
- And most importantly use the steely perseverance of the runners I shared the stories above.
- Recover quickly to the warmth! I found a post race sauna and after 15 minutes of 190 degrees was ready to resume life again.
- And for fun if you are low carb runner and wine lover like myself Cab load the night before the race (see pic below) and Carb load with UCAN the morning of the race 🙂
Here is the day in pics