Daniel Bray, Senior director of Engineering here at HireVue, ran in the Boston Marathon yesterday and has shared his thoughts on the race throughout.
He finished strong and we want to give him a huge shoutout. Way to go Daniel!
Thanks for all your kind support. It was an amazing experience. I finished in 4:24:55. Met some amazing people and was there to support Boston in 2014 —the first year after the bombing. Pretty special.
Here’s the longer version:
My account of Boston - “We run as one”
The Boston marathon yesterday was a wicked awesome, wicked hawwd experience! With the bombing, last year, I decided 2014 was the year I would finally go and run Boston -- to celebrate liberty, unity with the people of Boston, and because in the past I had qualified 5 or 6 times, but had never actually run it. Time to actually do it.
I qualified in Sep 2013 at the Big Cottonwood Canyon Marathon in 3:24.48. But had run infrequently since the passing of Eli, gained weight, and our lodging reservation we made last October fell through as the house owner moved out of Boston in January. I decided not to run after all. On a whim, two weeks prior to Boston, I ran a 18-miler weekend run, felt pretty good and began to reconsider. The next day I asked Ben Martinez about staying with his in-laws in Boston, as, at this point, there is *no* lodging available within 20 miles of Boston this year for the marathon especially given the anniversary of the bombing. Ben lined me up, his kind in-laws graciously offered to let us stay with them in Salem. And, that afternoon I made flight reservations.
Monday morning: Drove from the house at 6:20 am. Then took the subway at 6:40 a.m. into Boston Commons, hopped on the marathon bus(es) for an hour ride out to the start in Hopkinton. Hanged out in Hopkinton for another 90 minutes until the second wave (of four) started. Started running at 10:33 a.m. Yeah, it was a pretty long day before the marathon even started. A significant amount of this time was spent standing in line for the port-a-potty, then repeating the process 2 more times until race start :)
Lots of runners with the names of the four people who died in the bombing last year written on the back of their shirts, or in marker on their arms etc. And, as we ran through the suburban neighborhoods, there were many garage doors with large hand-written signs on them remembering and commemorating these four. It was very moving.
Everything in Boston is wicked! Of course, if you watch 30 Rock, you already know this, as one of Jack’s erstwhile girlfriend is from Bawston. The crowds are everywhere and contiguous along the entire course. Everybody is yelling and encouraging -- albeit rather gruffly. “Hey, Hey Beeard! Run Hawwd, Run wicked Hawwd!” I was also called “Hey blue shoes” frequently with the same encouragements.
The weather was in the low to mid 60’s, which is about 20 degrees warmer than ideal for running a marathon. But there was a slight breeze and also I poured water over my head at every couple miles which helped a lot.
Kids. Children were everywhere on the sidelines anxiously holding out their hands for a ‘finger low-five’, or frequently setting up their own aide station and holding out an orange slice or a small water bottle. It was amazing. Many of the runners spent a lot of time and detours to high-five as many kids as they could who held out an extended hand. Parents hold up their toddlers and helped them reach out. A local runner along side me tells me the kids are out there for the duration of the marathon doing this. By the time I finish, my garmin shows I have run 26.7 miles. I attribute that extra .5 to greeting the kids. It was wicked awesome.
Mile 6: Fast, easy pace, mostly downhill, averaged around 8:40 pace, but heart rate still low - around 150 bpm.
Mile 11: I pass Dick and Rick Foyt, a father and son team where Dick pushes his son in a custom wheelchair. This will be their last Boston, and they are going pretty slow. The crowds are screaming and yelling and cheering -- almost like a wave as they approach.
Mile 13: Wellesly! The famous Wellesly college girls are lined up in force. This year due to security, they only have them on one side of the road, rather than “the tunnel” they created in past years. They are 3-4 deep behind a fence barricade along the road, and the police are strongly in force, standing every 100 yards along the fence to keep the girls on their side. (Throughout the race there was a law enforcement person probably every 400 yards it seemed.) These girls are the sirens of the marathon, who “sing” so beautifully, only to drown you if you fall for their enchantments. Every other girl is holding a placard. The universal theme is “Kiss me!” . Kiss me and you’ll run faster. Kiss me and you’ll win! Kiss me, my bodyfriend isn’t here. etc etc. Towards the end of this section, one girl had a large sign that read “I heart beards!” She spotted me a 100 feet away and she and her posse of 4+ other girls started screaming, pointing at me, and motioning most vigorously for me to detour over. I grinned from ear to ear and waved as I continued on. Runners told me prior to the race that you get this surge of adrenaline running through Wellesly. I was sure I would be immune with my advanced age and years of running experience. However, I looked at my heart rate after passing through this section, and it was up by 7 bpm.
Mile 15: Easy Button dude - A guy has a Staples “Easy Button” mounted on a placard that is about 18 inches in diameter. Runners are detouring over to push it. I also succumb.
Mile 16.5: I pass 4 guys running together who each only have one leg. (I think they’re wounded warriors military, but not sure) I’m starting to feel the pain of the marathon and seeing them with their artificial limbs, helps me put my relative discomfort into perspective.
Mile 17: Bostonians are bad at math: After the 17 mile mark, I heard a few times “You only have 10 miles to go.” Hmmm, I only signed up for 26.2. This is the exact opposite of running a marathon in Utah where people exaggerate your circumstance to the favorable -- “You only have a mile to go!” is what people will tell you at mile 23 of St George. Bostonians are realists.
Mile 18: The heat, dehydration, and now the hills kick in. My heart rate is now running around 165. I walk portions of the hills. Miles 16 - 21 have several hills. Heartbreak hill at mile 20 climbs back to the original altitude of the start of the race. But downhill from here, Boston College students are out in force yelling at the top of their lungs “You got this!” “Beeard, you got this!”
Miles 21 - Finish: But the last 4.5 miles are flat or down. My lack of training now haunts me. My heart rate is a reasonable 163, but my legs are out of zip. I manage a 10:30 pace to the finish. For the last 4 miles I see 5 runners on stretchers or prostrate on the street with medical around them. Some of them are all scraped and dirty on the side of their body as they apparently simply slumped over. I pass one of them less than 100 yards from the finish. The heat, humidity is hitting people. I salvage a little bit of pride in the fact that I’m still upright and running and within sight of the finish line.
But now the crowds are even more unreal, and their cheers echo and reverberate through the corridor of tall buildings as we turn onto Boylston street for the last 3Ž4 [sic] mile of the marathon. This is the area where the bombing occurred, and it is so powerful to see the city and the people ‘take back’ this race.
“We own the finish line.” was a mantra we heard and saw often.
It was true.