Monday, April 23, 2018

Boston Marathon 2018 Weekend Recap Day 1: BAA 5k, Meetups and the Expo

Last year after going to Boston, I really wanted to come back for Marathon Weekend.  After Shalane Flanagan won the NYC Marathon, I just knew she would soon announce that she would be running Boston.  That clinched it for me.  I had to come back.  (She was supposed to run in 2017, but a back injury sidelined her after the Tokyo Marathon.)

I started looking at hotels and flights immediately and settled on a schedule similar to last year where I would arrive later on Friday, run the 5k on Saturday, then fly back Monday evening after watching the Marathon.

Shortly after arriving on Friday night I finalized my outfit for the BAA 5k the next morning.

The next morning, the 5k race conditions were very similar to last year, except maybe slightly cooler and so sunny.  It was the perfect morning for a race!  I grabbed my race shirt then walked over to a meeting spot with my Oiselle Volee teammates.  On the way over, I noticed someone was being followed by a camera and boom mic and realized it was Scott Jurek!  It looked like he was doing a quick shakeout before the 5k.

I kept walking while eating my usual Smooth Caffeinator Picky Bar and took a quick picture with the Volee then we were off to the start.  After dropping off my race shirt at bag check, I got separated from one of my teammates who was also running the 5k so I just went ahead and bypassed the lines for the portajohns (my hotel was close enough that I didn't need them, and it was just a 5k.  That's a really short race for me now after my first marathon this past fall.)  Then on my way to a corral I ran into a DC Volee teammate and stopped while the National Anthem was being sung.  After it was over we ended up seeding ourselves further back past the pace to Scott Jurek?  (That's not intimidating at all.)  It looked like he was guiding a blind runner for the 5k.  (Scott is in the yellow shirt.)

Pretty sure I nerded out more this year than last because I recently read his book, "Eat and Run" and he just released a new one about his run through the Appalachian Trail, "North:  Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail."  I didn't approach him though because it looked like he was pretty occupied and from what I've heard guiding blind runners is fun but sounds a little stressful.  Essentially the guides have to guide blind runners through a race and warn them about passing people, any sort of change in terrain including potholes, manhole covers, grates, etc. so they know they need to step a little higher or move to the side.  There are teams all over the country, but the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers the opportunity to match blind runners with sighted runners for the Boston Marathon.

Just like last year, it took some time to get to the start.  And once again I got to see the elite runners finish.  This time, my DC friend and I got to see Michael Wardian finish.  We called out his name and he started to head in our direction. It would've been nice to finally meet him, but we had a 5k to run!

The course was exactly the same as last year so there weren't any surprises.  The course is flat for the most part and close to the halfway point there's a little bit of a hill but nothing terrible.  This year I actually ran the hills even though my mind kept screaming for me stop.  I have done some difficult things in the past year.  This is nothing.  After that hill, you join up with the three lines that measure out 26.2, run across the finish line and back to the start in Boston Common.  I took a couple walk breaks, and after seeing my official time I was kicking myself for the last one.  This year my time was 31:20.  Exactly 19 seconds slower than last year.  Considering how I was/am coming off of a bad case of IT Band Syndrome from my fall marathon, I am mostly happy with the time.

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After the race, I headed over to the Thinking Cup to grab a cup of coffee before getting on the subway back to the hotel.  Once I returned to the hotel I changed into my race shirt, threw a few things into my running backpack and headed back out for the Nuun Ambassador (or Nuunbassador) meetup.  After getting a swag bag (containing this year's Boston water bottle, two tubes of Nuun Immunity, temporary tattoos and a decal) Mike Sommers, the Chief Field Marketing Manager, said a few words along with Chris Heuisler, the lead Run Concierge for Westin Hotels.  (Kevin Rutherford, the CEO of Nuun, was unable to make it this year.)  Then after a filling the elevators of the Westin Copley Square a few times, we were all down in the lobby and we went for a run towards the Charles River.  And seriously, these runners are fast.  I managed to keep up for the first mile or so, but then quickly dropped back because my legs were a little tired from the 5k.  I couldn't believe that the first mile was 9:04!  The second and third miles were a little more my speed (10:45 and 10:54.)

And naturally we had to take a picture at the halfway point.

I'm off to the right in the orange jacket and the purple running backpack.  After we took the picture I hung back a little more because I at least wanted to get a picture of the scenery.  (It was basically the best day of the whole weekend weather-wise even though it progressively got colder throughout the day.)

Originally I totally intended on heading out from there, until Mike Sommers came back and met up with me just as I was headed back into the city.  He ran with me all the way back and at that point, I might as well go back to the meeting room!  I was glad I did because I got to meet other Nuunbassadors (including fellow Marylander Lauren of Breathe Deeply and Smile, another blogger who I've kept crossing paths with but never really had a chance to say hello.)

From there I headed towards Eataly with a quick detour to check out the finish line area.

Because when you get the Saucony x Dunkin shoes, you gotta take at least one picture on the 3 blue lines signifying the exact 26.2 miles of the marathon.

At Eataly I  got a sample plate of 3 dishes to go since I was running late for an unofficial, last minute meet up at the expo with some ambassadors for Balega.  I was so excited for the caprese salad, caponata, and a fragola salad with tuna.  (Fragola is a kind of pearl shaped pasta.)  The whole train and bus ride over the food was just taunting me.  (By this point it was about 2:00 and I was feeling ravenous!)  Once I got to the expo I stopped by the Nuun booth to say hello en route to the Balega booth.  I met several of the employees, received a bag of swag and after a few minutes continued through the expo.  Since it was Saturday, the expo was crazy busy and in the new venue it felt extra crowded. I made it to the Kodiak Cakes booth to try some of their buttermilk pancakes (yum!), over to Flapjacked to try their probiotic microwave muffin.  I also stopped by the Sparkly Soul booth and got a couple new headbands.  By then I was about done with the crowds and ready to sit down and eat my food from Eataly.  So I hopped back on the bus to the T and to my hotel.

Thanks to Balega and Nuun for the amazing swag!!

Where I promptly inhaled the food that was taunting me for 2 hours.  And it was amazing.  And I  relaxed for the rest of the night because after over 30,000 steps I deserved it.

Today has been bananas. So glad tonight is going to be laidback. Started off the day with a 5k (official time: 31:20, 19 seconds slower than last year 🤦‍♀️) Went back to the hotel for a quick wardrobe change and grab a backpack for the necessities (and inevitable swag) then headed out for a run with my fellow nuunbassadors along the Charles (holy cow you guys are fast! That first mile was 9:23!) then went to Eataly to grab some lunch and take pictures by the finish area (including my Dunkin x saucony shoes on the blue 26.2 lines), took my lunch to the expo and stayed for a quick(ish) hello to @balega_international then a quick once around to see what was there. Then headed back to the hotel and inhaled my food. (And it was amazing. The caponata from the gastronomia counter does NOT disappoint!) Now showered and resting with my legs up. Six miles of running and a total of almost 29,000 steps (so far) makes for super tired legs. . . #nuunbassador #hshive #teamzensah #balegaimpi #balegabestsocksever #balegaimpiteam2018 #sweatpink #sweatpinkambassador #bostonmarathon #cantstopmarathonmonday #baa5k #sauconyxdunkin #dunkindonuts #americarunsondunkin
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