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Boston Marathon 2016 Race Report - Matthew Liaw

The Boston Marathon is a race that invokes memories and dreams of glory.  It has been 3 years since I started dreaming of qualifying for the Fukuoka International Championship Marathon and this season I felt was going to be the season that brings me the prize.  Changes and events that made it seem this was going to be my best race yet included joining the Dukes Track Club, doing intervals twice the length of last year at the same pace, improving sleep, and winning the RnR New Orleans 10k.  The buildup went well enough that I felt the sub 2h40minute marathon was well within my reach.

Race weekend came and conditions were predicted to be decent for running with a high of about 65F.  It was still warm but not the worst I have experienced.  Little did I know that the weather was warmer than expected when the race started.  I had the luxury of getting a bit of extra sleep since my friend Chris drove me from Newton to the start.  Breakfast, snacks, bathroom break and modified warmup were all on point and I felt great at the start.  When the gun went off I went out a tad slower than last year but still a fast first three miles: 5:50, 5:55, 5:55.  It felt easy and I started taking Gatorade and water at every aid station.  Knowing it was on the warm side I splashed myself with water and took extra fluids at each station to try to compensate for the heat and sweat.  The next 6 miles were between 6:00 and 6:05 pace which was what I hoped.  It wasn’t until mile 8 when I got a hint things may not be going the way it should be.  I had a baby barf and figured I probably had too much Gatorade so I figured if I take just water I should be ok.  After mile 9 my pace suddenly slowed to 6:10s but I was content for a few slow miles as long as nutrition goes down.  Upon passing Wellesley College I was excited as the scream tunnel usually brings a second wind until I found I didn’t speed up but slowed to 6:30 pace per mile.  I started feeling my drinks and gels are just sloshing around in my stomach but not getting absorbed.  Miles 14, 15, and 16 became a struggle to get fluids and gels down.  It was around mile 16 when I met up with Jesse and passed him and Chris passed me.  As I ascended the Newton hills, my gut became more distressed and kept telling myself I need my nutrition.  I slowed further and changed to a run-walk-run method in an attempt to get the fluids down and with hopes Jesse would catch up.  He caught up around mile 21 and for a brief moment we decided to work together but my gut revolted and I had to disappoint Jesse by leaving his side and resumed walking.  At 21 I threw up a mix of my mile 11 and 15 gels and Gatorade and decided I needed to rest and possibly drop out or face a certain and epic bonk.  I walked to the 35km mat tent where some firemen helped me rest and eventually escorted me to the medical tent at mile 22.  It took about 20 minutes more but eventually the volunteers were able to get me to drink some fluids.  I decided then that it was best to save my efforts for another day instead of pushing myself the last 4.2 miles. 

My race was over but I don’t have any regrets.  I know I can complete the marathon but my goals were out of reach that day.  I had nothing else to prove from finishing the race and had something else important that day that I wanted to enjoy.  After the race, my sister, her boyfriend Alex, Amy and I went to Neptune Oyster where I proposed and Amy said yes!  That itself meant so much more to me than any performance and made me feel like the happiest person in Boston.  There will be more races and I look forward to getting back to the grind with the Dukes.  Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Houston Marathon, or RnR Arizona Marathon will probably be my next A races and possibly London Marathon 2017.    

Victoria Fideles Amat.  I will keep running and racing knowing victory is just around the corner. 


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