Holy shit the Boston Marathon was brutal.
My seventh Marathon and easily the hardest. It may not have helped that the day after arriving and waiting an hour to get through customs, Jason Maybury and I embarked on what would turn into a six hour round trip to Portmouth Maine, to meet Mike Mills for Record Store Day. I was pretty much still jet lagged, and I didn't think we'd really have a chance to meet Mike Mills but I thought it was worth a punt and I'd never take a train ride in the States before. The journey was great and at the other end we got in a taxi and the driver asked us for directions to the store. "We're from Britain.." we said and gave him the address where he still got it wrong, which is a bit shit as Bullmouse Records was about six minutes from the train station.
Being used to RSD in Spillers I was expecting a huuuuge queue but two hours before the signing it was pretty quiet and we were both able to pick up what we wanted. It was amazing and I turned to Jas and said "This might actually happen!" So a pleasant mouch around the store and quiet a few purchases before we joined a queue of around eight people. I'd seen on Facebook that the queue for RSD had started had outside Spillers at 1am, I asked the girl at the till what time their queue had started, 9am. Blimey. After waiting for an hour or so and having a very pleasant natter with fellow queue-ees we met Mike Mills! Lovely man, it was of course over before it began and Jas and I managed to sneak in a cheeky photo with him. Brilliant. With a few hours to kill and a bloke we met in the queue offered to give us a lift to the Old Port part of Portsmouth, which was very sweet of him. A long day, but amazing.
The day before the Marathon I wasn't feeling good. We'd been to the Expo and to be honest I think it all got a bit much. It was crammed fill of peope and was pretty hellish. We got out of there as soon as we could. I should have just got my race number and left, but I thought I should look around a bit which was a mistake. After dropping a bit of weight I'd been 'Carb-loading' for a few days which reached it's peak the day before the race and I was feeling very bloaty, I felt that if you'd stuck a pin in me I was have shot across the sky. So after spooning what seemed to be a mountain of mashed potato into my gob I had an early night.
The day of the race was gorgeous and was a bit of a late start as my start time was 11:30am, which considering I started the Chicago Marathon at 7am is pretty late. After talking to a fellow Taff called Paul who was running it I got on one of the many buses to Hopkinstown and blimey what a journey! It seemed to take for ages, and I so needed a piss at the end that I thought I was going to burst a kidney. The whole day was amazingly well orgainsed but there was a lot of hanging about. When we got to our start Coral there was about a twenty minute walk to the start line, but with that many people there's always going to be some drag.
I had a pace in mind but the first three or so miles were down hill so I did go at a fair crack.I felt good, a few aches and pains, my lower back began to hurt at around mile five, but there wasn't anything major and I felt comfortable at the pace, so all was good.
I tried to take in as much as I could. It was certainly the most scenic Marathon I've ever done and the crowds were insane. One of the signs I saw said "GoNad!" which I presume...At around mile 16 there was a college where the girls were holding up signs saying "Kiss me! I'm..."so I obliged a few girls with sweaty Welsh love. I'd decided to wear a Welsh flag vest, which got a huge amount of recognistion as well as "Go dragon guy!" I also had my name and "Happy Birthday Douggie!" in honor of my nephews birthday which got a lot of shouts.
It was hot and getting hotter and my back was beginning to kill me. I thought I was ready for Heartbreak Hill at mile twenty one but it actually crept up on me at mile twenty. On most occassions it would be a gentle slope, but Jesus it seemed to just keep going up and up and killed my pace. It knocked the snot out of me and upon reflection I don't think I ate enough before hand - just a bagel and a banana, but my stomach hadn't been great before. I managed to lumber on for another three miles but did begin to walk at mile twenty three, I was in so much pain. for the next two miles it was a combination of walking and stumbling, but somehow I managed to did deep and run the last mile and a bit. The noise was amazing in the last stretch and holy shit I've never been so happy to cross a finish line. I got in at four hours and seven minutes which is of course slower than I wanted but it is the toughest course I've ever done and the hottest.
I had to walk back to the hotel which was almost as hard as the Marathon. I felt really bad and had to stop four or five times. I tried to get a taxi back but the bloody driver didn't know where the hotel was.
I felt very ill and thought it was going to be early doors for Darren, but after a punishing ice bath I managed to pull myself together to go out for drinks with the Mayburys and Sian.
A great, mad, emotional race. I'll probably leave the last of the six - Tokyo - until 2016 and the night of Boston I'd already registered for the ballot for London 2015. I never learn.