JackRabbit: Once you saw the weather forecast, what were your expectations of the day?
Jorge Almeida: I was definitely expecting a tough race, but I felt prepared prior to the start because I had run a marathon in the rain once before, and this time I felt I had sufficient layers and a handy rain poncho.
Kelli Christensen: The early predictions were rainy and 50’s, so I ordered a rain jacket and figured it wouldn’t impact my performance all that much. In fact, while I was not excited about the rain, I did like the idea of cooler temps. Once we got there, the weather kept changing, but I knew it was my year to run Boston and decided I was going to make the best of it no matter what.
Did at any point you consider not running on Marathon Monday?
This never came across my mind. I had already worked so hard to get there so I was for sure going to go through with it.
The only time I considered not running was standing in the start corral waiting for my wave to start. The wind was whipping, the rain was driving down and I was starting to think I’d never make it a mile, let alone all the way to the finish line. But, once we started running, I stopped thinking about that and just concentrated on completing one mile at a time.
Talk us through the pre-race morning compared to other marathons.
I was more conscious about the need to hydrate because I’ve learned in prior races that just because it’s not hot or you’re not sweating (due to the rain) people tend to forget to hydrate – yet it’s still important! I was also more appreciative of the volunteers and people supporting us at the start because they were out in the bad weather with us!
We took the subway down to Boston Common where they were loading the pre-race shuttles and it had already been raining for quite a while. The first thing I noticed was how many school buses were waiting to take us all to Hopkinton. There were buses as far as the eye could see. We dropped bags at gear check, trying to avoid puddles and mud. The volunteers were amazing and super excited, which helped me keep a positive outlook. The bus drivers were great – they had the heat on high in the buses and it was a welcome reprieve from the dreary morning. The bus ride felt much further than 26 miles. Everyone on our bus was pretty quiet. When we got to the Athlete’s Village, the rain was coming down harder and I noticed small piles of snow everywhere. They had two tents set up, but the ground was soaked and there was wet, slippery mud everywhere. Lines for the bathrooms were long and once you finally got in, it was raining in there too! We worked our way to the middle of the tent and set up a waiting area with garbage bags. It was so unbelievably wet and windy, it seemed impossible that they were actually going to start the race, but then they started calling the waves. There were a lot of serious faces in the tent we were in and I don’t recall much talking. I think everyone was focused and trying to stay strong. I imagine the Village would have been a lot more fun had the weather been nice and dry.
You were running essentially in a shower! What did you wear and really, did any of it keep you warm/dry or protected? Did you care?
I had two layers of long sleeves, a hat to protect my face from the rain, double gloves and the rain poncho. I didn’t feel that cold at the beginning and I was definitely trying to keep as dry as possible (which was a tip I was given) and I even avoided stepping in big puddles of water on the road, but by the time I reached mile 5/6 and the rain got worse, I gave up and didn’t care anymore. I was already drenched and while the rain poncho helped, my sleeves were wet and so were my gloves. At that point, I clenched my gloves and water just dripped and poured out.
I planned to run in capris, a tank top and rain jacket. I also had gloves, sleeves, a visor and sunglasses with clear lenses. I brought toss clothes and wore throw- away shoes anticipating the wet conditions. When we were in the tent, I changed my shoes and socks, and added a garbage bag over my clothes, hoping it would make the walk to the start more comfortable and put a knit hat over my visor to keep my head warm. I anticipated tossing the garbage bag and hat, but ended up keeping them on the entire race. It didn’t take long for everything to become water logged. There were rivers of water running down the streets and even if I managed not to step in a puddle, someone next to me would and my shoes would fill with water. I shed my sleeves and sunglasses at mile 17 and my gloves at mile 20 because they were completely soaked and not helping anyway. I think the garbage bag and the hat helped me keep heat in because while I was definitely cold and wet, it did not really impact my ability to run. I know many runners had to seek medical help for hypothermia, so my outfit may have looked goofy, but it worked for me and made it possible to keep going.
The thing I found the most challenging was getting to my nutrition. It was under water soaked layers and my hands were so cold, I had to completely stop and really work to fish it out of my pocket. I stuck to my plan even though it was challenging and time consuming because I knew if I didn’t, I would jeopardize my ability to finish. The other funny thing that happened was that my number belt became so waterlogged it stretched out completely and was falling down around my knees. Again, because my hands were cold and numb, I had to stop and ask a spectator to help me wring it out and tighten it back up!