Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston: Boston Memories 2019

by Kim Milton, Lauren Carnahan, Meg Louden, Joseph Sullivan, Karen Dolge, Michelle Davis, Bruce Lee, Dave Dunham and David Troischt

Kim Milton

This year marks my sister and I’s 14th running of the Boston Marathon. After running cross country and graduating from Siena, we made a goal to run Boston 10 consecutive times as that used to allow you to get into Boston for life without qualifying. While they discontinued that perk before we finished our 10, we still continued our plan. There is something about Boston that just keeps you coming back, the spectators are amazing, the weather is unpredictable and the camaraderie of all the other runners makes Boston fun and exciting.

Marathon Monday started with pouring rain and a thunderstorm. Luckily we stayed dry and the rained stopped before we headed to the start line. We have always tried to run Boston together and help push each other along the course. This year’s race we planned on starting a little slow as there was warmer weather predicted for the second half of the race. The crowd and excitement of the race as usual pushed our pace a little faster than we were aiming for but we both felt good and continued on. It did get warm towards the end so we drank more than normal at the water stops and avoided dehydration.

The crowds and cheering got larger as we approached the end which is what makes the last couple miles of Boston so special. We ended up close to our Boston PR despite the questionable weather. After the race I got a massage, met up with my family, and cheered on the runners still finishing. Already excited and looking forward to next year’s Boston!

Lauren Carnahan

LaurenGlowingFINAL.jpgBoston 2018 was a horrific experience for me. So horrible, that my medal still sits in a plastic bag, in a basket, and not hanging with the rest of my other medals. The weather, my time, and the struggles I faced are something I’d like to forget. In fact, I don’t remember half of the race because I was so cold and hypothermic during and after the race. The goal was just to finish because of the conditions. The memories of being so cold during the race and sitting in the medical tent after the race, still haunt me. After months of hard work, I didn’t even BQ at Boston 2018. When I got home, I was disappointed in myself and wanted revenge. The next step was to run Buffalo in May, a race that was near my hometown. I did and BQ’d with a PR. I was ecstatic! Over the next few months, I continued my regular training (I marathon train pretty much year-round). As I moved into October, I raced the Marine Corps Marathon with my best friend and PR’d again (we both did), taking 5 minutes off my previous time.

So here we are, Boston 2019 and the training cycle. Training for a spring marathon is no fun. The 20-mile treadmill runs, the cold temperatures, 2 months of sickness, and the unknowns for race day. The training is done, and you approach the day to see your hard work pay off.  Race day, my redemption. I was ready and feeling good. The rain cleared at the start, the sun came out and the temperature was in the 60s throughout the race. My best friends were there along the course to cheer me on. A little after halfway, I felt myself start to tank, but I knew that it was partially because of fueling and hydration. I fueled and drank as much as I could along the way, stopping for a few moments (even 30-45 seconds at a time). After Heartbreak Hill, I felt myself get a second kick and I knew that I had to get going when I saw the Citgo sign. As I took a right on Hereford and a left on Boylston, I turned up my wheels, crossed the finish line, and began to sob. A new PR was set of just over 90 seconds- 3:13:18.

I waited for my best friend to cross the finish line before I got my medal. After she crossed, we got our medals, and it began to rain. That night was a full-on celebration with our running group-The Boston Buddies. I’m so grateful for a wonderful Boston experience and for those who have supported me in my running career- thank you! I’m looking forward to all the upcoming experiences that my running has to offer.

Meg Louden

This was my first year running the Boston Marathon and what an experience it was.

The morning had thunderstorms and high winds, but lucky the whole morning ran very smoothly even with the rain. My husband drove me over to the finish line around 7:30 that morning so I could check my bag and get on one of the Marathon buses to bring me to the start of the race. It was a long ride but it was fun listening to people’s stories about last year’s race and the previous Bostons they have run.  

Once we got to Hopkinton, the rain stopped and we unloaded the bus and walked right into the Athlete Village. It was a muddy mess but I found a nice dry spot in the second tent and I hung out until Corral 2 was called. Once my wave was called, we walked about maybe a mile to the start where they had a lot of Porta potties. I went into one line and then once I was done I ran around to another one just in case. And just like that we were off.

It was a warm and crowded start but the cloud cover was nice. I think the sun came out around mile 13 or 14. This had to be one of the hardest courses I’ve run, with it being a lot of downhill and more uphill than I thought. At one point I had no idea if I could finish the marathon but I knew my body could do it because my coach gave me a great training program.

The crowd was awesome the whole way; they really do help keep you moving.  I was able to find my husband twice which was great because I lost one of my Huma gels right at the start and I knew he was going to be at the NUUN Hydration tent around mile 18 armed with extras gels just in case I needed them, so that helped ease my mind. I did more weaving through people than I would have liked but my mind and body were on a mission. Turning left onto Boylston I gave it all I could and came across the Boston Marathon finish line with a time of 3:16:17!!! This was a huge PR for me because when I ran the Chicago Marathon this past October I ran a 3:21:47 (and that was a flat course). I cannot wait to take on Boston again in 2020 and see what my body can do. Now it’s time to rest before I start training for the New York City Marathon in November.

Joe Sullivan

Click on picture above to see video

Watching the weather reports a few days out was quite concerning. However, the night before, they were calling for a gap between lines of storms that would allow for great running conditions. They were right! At the outset, the weather on the starting line was ideal. My training had gone almost perfectly so I was glad Mother Nature was rewarding us. The goal was a Boston PR, which would mean running sub 2:55. I knew my training had me in a position to do much better than that but you don't jinx it by talking about it. I kept it in the back of my mind, however. As the race progressed, I managed to sustain a pace that would allow me to come close to a reach goal of sub 2:50. I knew that would be hard to do on a tough course like Boston but sometimes things come together. As I ran through the Newton Hills, my pace wasn't faltering too much so I hoped to be able to push the last 5 miles to the finish line. My quads were pretty toasted, however, so all I could do was hold the pace at a point where I thought my quads wouldn't completely seize on me. All I thought about was getting to Boylston to share this amazing day with my wife, Kelly. When I turned off of Hereford onto Boylston, I found her immediately and all pain dissolved. Boylston was a big celebratory sprint. Although I could watch the unimaginable 2:49 reach goal disappear in front of my eyes, a 2:50 at Boston is more than I could've hoped for.  I knew I was surpassing my time goal, I just didn't know where I was place-wise. I was running with hundreds of others that were holding my pace. It was a great day, overall. I can't wait until next year. Maybe I'll be 60 seconds faster?? 

Karen Dolge

The 123rd Boston marathon was my 15th Boston. Each time I run Boston, I learn something about the race and myself. This year I learned to not trust the forecast. When I first started checking the 10-day forecast (yes, I’m one of those obsessive people), it called for 100% chance of rain. I had flashbacks to last year where I could not control my shivering and felt like I was going to bite my tongue off. At 6 am when I left the hotel to head for the marathon buses, I was hit by strong wind gusts, torrential rain, and thunder. Only difference from last year was the temperature was about 20 degrees warmer. Once the gun went off, it stopped raining, the sun came out, humidity was still there but it turned into a glorious day to run.  Within the first mile I ditched my hat, gloves, and arm warmers. 

My most memorable moments this year was high fiving a boy in a wheelchair that was being pulled, but pushed, by his dad. His face lit up and he was cheering us on. Another memorable moment was passing the marine that was crawling the last stretch to the finish on his belly. Many people wanted to help him, but he insisted to finish on his own. Truly an inspiration!

As far as this year’s race for me, I learned how to run again. That may sound really weird because it is. I’ve had an injury over the past two years where I trip and fall flat out on the ground for no reason! Completely flat smooth surface, bam, I’m on the ground. Not every time, but enough to be concerned. After many blood tests, MRIs, EMGs, cat scans, xrays, and bloody knees, nothing was resolved. This past November, I met with Doctor Shatynski who introduced me to Ray Webster of Positive Motion Physical Therapy. Ray got me back on my feet, literally, and not only did he get me to the start and finish line, but 20 minutes faster than I thought I was going to finish. I’m so truly grateful for them as well as all the support I have received from my running family.

Looking forward to more new experiences at my number Sweet 16 run, Boston 2020.

Karen nailing it at the HMRRC Marathon

Michelle Davis

As Boston got closer, I was getting more and more excited! I was finally feeling great!  My training was on the conservative side to ensure no re-injury of my calf and to get my body used to running long again. My first goal was to finish, second was to run around 3:45, third goal was to maybe run a 3:30. I had no idea what I was capable of running, but thought it could be around 3:45.

The morning of Boston was rainy and warm. I was dreading any type of rain because of the previous year, but I couldn’t change the weather and was going to run no matter what. At the starting line I could already feel the humidity and my full stomach from breakfast. Alyssa Risko and I had our plan and we were ready. The first 6 miles were on track and felt great. Around mile 7 we saw our cheer squad which gave me a boost, still feeling good. Shortly after that I really started feeling the humidity and my breakfast. Then I realized I probably ate too much (I hate the late marathon start). I turn to Alyssa and said “I don’t know about this.” Thankfully she said the same and that she wasn’t feeling good either. We slowed down and even stopped a few times. We saw our cheer squad again right before the half way point. That gave me another boost but I knew it wasn’t enough. That’s when I realized I was not going to make 3:45. The second half of the marathon kept getting worse. The sun came out, I was roasting and felt like I was going pass out. I was going back and forth in my head about quitting and why I should keep going. The reason for me to keep going outweighed why I should stop. I decided to walk when I needed and run when I could. I was going to get to the finish line no matter what. The finish line signified more than a finish of a marathon. For me, it was end of my calf recovery and I was ready to put in 100% effort. But first I needed to get to Boylston. It was the worst marathon I’ve experienced, but that medal meant so much more. I am ready for what’s next!

Bruce Lee

This is my second time running Boston. Last year was my first and because of the awful conditions, it seemed unfulfilling to me. This was the Boston experience I was looking for. I had a specific goal of a time under 3:15. This would give me a BQ of 5 minutes. I ended up with 3:13:13 and I’m more than happy with the result. Many runners were bothered with the humidity by mid-morning. Luckily I dressed appropriately and was ready for it. For Boston 2020, I look to improve that time now that I am much more familiar with the course.

Though not a PR, Boston 2019 will go down probably as my most important race ever.

I intend on signing up and hanging again with the Boston Buddies.

Dave Dunham

Well, I did Boston this year since it was 30 years from my first Boston. In 1989 I finished 17th in 2:22:03. I've done 51 other races of marathon distance or longer since that race but this was my first return to Boston. I (semi-jokingly) state that I'm on a 30-year schedule and plan to come back again in 2049 when I'm 85. I think it is important to have long-term goals! In the nearer future. I'm planning on doing a marathon early in 2020 with the goal of running under 3 hours (I've only run over 3 hours three times). If I do that, I'll have run a sub-3 in 5 decades (80s, 90s, 00s, 10,s and then 20s).

David Troischt

David (right) with his brother Taylor, who ran the race with him

This year was my 2nd consecutive Boston Marathon and my 7th marathon overall since I got off the couch and started running 5 years ago. I have started dabbling in other activities like triathlons as well and did an Ironman 70.3 this past fall in Lake Placid. My true passion is running however. If you had asked me if I thought I’d ever run the Boston Marathon back when I started running I would have laughed at you. I could hardly run 5 miles at that point without walking part of it. I learned however that you just never know what you are capable of until you commit to it and give it 110%. It’s the second year in a row, I was blessed to qualify for Boston (at the Mohawk Hudson Marathon) and run it with my brother Taylor which was an experience you just never forget. Last year I had trained very hard leading up to the race and was going for a PR but the cold rainy weather got the best of me. Despite the weather I had a strong race going until mile 22 when I lost feeling in my foot from hypothermia and from that point forward it was a jog/walk to the finish for a time of 3:31:17. It was a disappointment for sure, but it still was a memorable experience as there is no other marathon like Boston. This year leading up to the race I unfortunately had a number of injuries that didn’t allow me to have much training time, so I went into the race with much lower expectations. I set a goal time of ~3:25 which I wasn’t sure I could obtain given my limited training.

The morning of the race it was raining hard as we boarded the buses on our way to the start and Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton, but shortly before walking up to the starting line for the wave 2 start it cleared and became warm, sunny, and humid. Quite the opposite of what we had expected. So most everyone wardrobe strategy changed as clothes were shed at the start of the race. Surprisingly I felt strong during the early part of race and decided to “go for it”. With the warmer weather and humidity, I took a lot of fluids at the water stops and continued to dump water on my head whenever I could. After Heartbreak Hill I was going strong until I began to struggle the last 2 miles and it was a fight just to stay upright and moving forward in route to the finish line, but the strong crowd support and my stubborn determination got me there. I ended up with a 30 sec PR of 3:16:05. My brother (who also grew up in the Capital District) had an incredible race as well and finished with a PR of 2:43:56. Boston 2019 was a memorable experience for sure and I’m hoping to be fortunate to have more like it in the future.  I also have to give credit to my running group at the Clifton Park YMCA; to the Boston Buddies; and to my family and friends who have been supportive.  Boston Strong!!

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