As many of you have heard by now, the 2018 Boston Marathon will go down in the books as one that will always be remembered for the intense weather conditions… it was the coldest Boston Marathon in thirty years! Maybe you ran, or knew of someone that ran! Here at =PR=, we had several of our amazing staff members run. We would like to share some insight given by our very own Kim Isler! Kim has worked at =PR= Reston for almost 7 years. She started running later in life and hasn’t looked back since!
Meet Kim and read about her experience at the infamous 2018 Boston Marathon!
I began running in 2005 when my last child, the fourth, was 4 years old and I had time to run by myself. By 2009, I was racing every distance except the marathon. In 2010, I met a group of avid runners (still my current training group and dearly beloved friends) who trained regularly each week together racing many of the local PRR races and the marathon distance. They persuaded me to train for a marathon and that is when I also discovered Potomac River Running. I took the leap and joined PRR’s spring Distance Training Program. Later that fall, I also joined PRR’s race team. My first Marathon was the Shamrock Marathon at Virginia Beach 2011 where I qualified for the Boston Marathon 2012. In 2011, I also began working part time at PRR in Reston and began coaching cross country at my children’s school. Between 2012 and now, I have raced most distances but have also had my fair share of injuries to the ruin of many anticipated marathons. However, my joy of running and racing continues to be encouraged and inspired by the camaraderie of friends both at the Potomac River Running store and with my daily training companions. I am grateful. Here’s to Boston 2019…let’s hope the weather is a bit more favorable!
Knowing what weather conditions were, going into Boston, what were your initial thoughts prior to arriving?
I was very excited to see the temperature would be in the mid-30’s at the start. Perfect temperature! However, as race day approached, the rain and wind became bigger factors in the conditions and I began to worry about how to stay warm and hit my goal pace. I didn’t get really worried until I arrived in Boston on Sunday with horrible weather.
How was the atmosphere and conversation among other runners at the Expo?
I arrived in Boston on Sunday and headed straight to the expo. It was 26 degrees, sleeting, and the north-east wind was quite strong. I was rather anxious at this point as I was very cold. Many of the participants I was with at the Expo were expressing the same anxiety. The main concern of the day was how many and what layers to wear?
Many runners either dropped out or could not finish due to the conditions; however, you did finish and ran well. What were some last minute adjustments you made in preparations that made a difference ?
1. Securing my cap with a headband and bobby pins from the Boylston Street CVS to ensure it would remain in place and keep the rain out of my eyes
2. Handwarmers for my gloves from the Boylston Street CVS
3. I duct taped the tops and sides of my shoes to keep my feet warmer and drier. It worked for the first few miles of the race!
4. Last minute purchase of a thicker 2nd layer that zipped up around my neck found at the Boylston Street Marshalls. The store was pretty wiped out from other runners doing the same thing. Regrettably, the zippered jacket was not designed for long distance running and left quite a sore on my neck that I later discovered in the shower…ow!!
5. Fearing I might need a face mask from the wind/cold, a friend cut the legs of her spandex pants into pieces for me and several others to use. It did keep me warmer; however, it too caused quite a bit of chafing across the back of my neck. I discovered that sore when I was in the shower also…ow, again!!
How were you mentally before and during the race?
Before the race, I was quite anxious about staying warm (windchill in 20’s-low 30’s with a driving rain in the face) and fighting the wind (gusts up to 35mph mostly headwind). The start at Hopkinton was like a wind tunnel. I was very unsure how the conditions would effect my pace. Once I started running and had passed mile 2, I was able to dispose of my plastic poncho that I could not bear to take off at the start. After mile 7, my legs finally warmed up. I felt good, relatively speaking, throughout the rest of the race. I would break the race into segments to better tackle the distance mentally…the next water stop, my next Gu intake, the Wellesley Yell Tunnel, the Newton Hills, my husband at mile 21, the Citgo, the final run down Boylston, and the warmth of a shower waiting after I finished.
Did you experience any specific physical ailments during the race and, if so, how did you overcome it?
In miles 5 and 6, my right quadriceps muscle was hurting terribly. I wondered if it was because my legs were still pretty cold. I pulled back on the pace and hoped it would go away. I was not sure I would be able to finish. I was so relieved to find that somewhere in miles 6-7, it did in fact dissipate and never reoccurred.
What shoes did you wear and why did you wear them?
I wore the Nike Vaporfly 4% and absolutely loved them! I purchased them due to the full length carbon plate embedded in the shoe which propels the runner forward. On tired legs, the carbon plate would serve me well. The shoe is also very light weight (my shoe size around 6 oz.) and well cushioned. It was designed for the marathon distance. It performed beautifully even in all of the standing water and rain.
If others marathoners were faced with a situation similar to this year’s Boston Marathon, what would be some advice you’d like to give that you found helpful?
Boston weather can be so unpredictable. Many people wore plastic bags with the arms cut off to protect the core. Others wore shower caps over their caps to stay warmer. One runner told me he wore latex surgical gloves under his gloves which kept his hands dry and thus warm. All of these are great ideas…sometimes we need to get creative especially at the last minute! In hindsight, I would have invested in a much nicer pair of water resistant, thin, gloves. My gloves were a bit thick for warmth but so water logged that I had trouble opening my GU’s, grabbing water at the stops, and dealing with my zippers. Other than that, I would say embrace the less than ideal experience and allow for flexibility in your goal time. Hot or cold weather (and I was there in 2012 when the temperature reached 87 degrees), this race is a phenomenal experience.