My singular goal to qualify for Boston was finally achieved by getting older, combined with getting a PR. This was my third time running this marathon and each time has been a PR. Since I will be 60 before the next Boston Marathon, my qualifying time went up from 3:40 to 3:55. That's the difference that allowed me to qualify. Otherwise, I still would have taken 4 minutes too long. As it is, I qualified with 11 minutes to spare, giving me a pretty good chance of actually running in Boston for the first time on April 16, 2018.
The weather couldn't have cooperated any better. First, I was worried about the cold (and I was shivering at the start line, especially after they asked us to put our drop bags in the truck.) Then I was worried about the heat, but it cooled off just in time for the race. (I think it as about 70 when I finished the race.) Then I was worried about the wind, but it came before and after the race, but very little during the race. I guess I was just worried and anxious in general because I didn't want anything to go wrong after all the preparation I put into the race.
All went just as planned, other than needing a two minute potty break. I drank and drank and then stopped at 3am before heading out for the bus stop. Then, I visited the port-a-potties twice before the 6am start and filled up on water again, thinking I would sweat it off quickly, but I think it was too cold to sweat at the start of the race. I was looking for an available potty at mile 7, 9 and 11, before finally finding one available at mile 13. After that I was fine.
My goal at the half way point was to stay behind the 3:40 pacer and to cross the13.1 marker at 1:49. Instead, I passed the 3:40 pacer at mile 13, took a potty break and then I could never find him again. My second target was to cross mile 21 in 3 hours, leaving plenty of time (45 minutes) for the last two miles. I got there a little ahead of schedule (2:57:35), mostly because I was trying to find the 3:40 pacer. The last 5.2 miles, I slowed down to an 8:54 average pace, which wasn't too bad, especially considering that I started cramping up at mile 24, which was my slowest mile at 9:27.
But the moral support was incredible to help me pull it out to the end. Elisa, Alma, and my wife were there to cheer me on at multiple points along the path, which gave me a surge of energy each time. I was also motivated by chasing other runners along the way.
I feel great about the results. I will train again for Boston next year. After that, it doesn't matter.