Boston marathon 2023…a day in the life

Inspired by a clever New Yorker article sent to me by my friend Chris Randall, my 2023 Boston race report compares my Marathon Monday routine in Boston to a typical Monday at home. Hopefully it provides a few knowing chuckles from my running friends, and a few behind the scene peeks for my non-runner friends.

4:45 AM Marathon Monday in Boston, my watch alarm and phone alarm go off, don’t want to risk sleeping in today!

4:45 AM Monday at home I’m sleeping

4:55 AM Stumble down to the hotel lobby to put my oatmeal in the microwave, didn’t add enough water so go to the washroom to add a bit more water and another 30 seconds in the microwave

4:55 AM Sleeping

5:00 AM Apply Body Glide to toes, feet, and many other places including those places which are the reason runners do not share Body Glide

5:00 AM Zzzzzzzzzzzz

5:05 AM finish packing gear check bag that includes warm clothes to put on after I finish, recovery sandals, Boston 2023 jacket, Advil, and a Twix chocolate bar

5:05 AM Sleeping

5:15 AM Head down to the hotel lobby with Judy to meet Yvonne and Mike to drive to the train station

5:15 AM did I hear something? Nah go back to sleep

5:20 AM Grab one of the brown bag breakfast bags the hotel made for all the marathon runners who are leaving before breakfast buffet is open

5:20 AM Zzzzzzzz

5:38 AM Make it to the platform in our stylish pre-race wardrobes with 2 minutes to spare before the train arrives

5:38 AM Yup, still snoozing away

5:40 AM OK, got to the train, breathe. It’s not hard to tell which people are going to the Boston marathon as we clutch our gear check bags

5:40 AM Still sleeping

6:13 AM Change trains from Red line to Green line. I find someone asking for change and offer him the extra banana and bottled water from my brown bag breakfast

6:13 AM Have I mentioned I work at home? So yup still sleeping

6:35 AM Drop off gear check at finish line. Yvonne and I stop so a stranger can take a picture of us in our stylish onesie and bathrobe

6:35 AM Clock radio alarm has gone off, lie in bed listening to CBC local news

6:45 AM Pulling up my shorts in port-a-potty and hear someone say “Oh I think there’s someone in that one” just as the door to my port-a-potty opens… I guess I didn’t turn that latch completely to the locked position

6:45 AM CBC Radio morning

7:00 AM – Follow huge mass of runners making their way from gear check to go through security for bus loading. Mike tells us we can cut across Boston Commons and the security lines will be shorter. He’s right.

7:00 AM National news

7:05 AM They aren’t letting anyone through security until their wave is loading onto the buses. Judy & Mike are in wave 2, Yvonne and I are in wave 3 which isn’t loading yet, so find a tree and settle in to wait. Glad it’s not raining.

7:05 AM Feed the cats

7:40 AM It’s cold sitting here waiting so I break out the garbage bag to put over the top of my robe and put on a shower cap to try to trap the heat and stay warm. Yvonne has gone to Starbucks in search of a bathroom because there are no port-a-potties this side of security. Starbucks gave out free coffee to the runners in line for the one bathroom in the store.

7:40 AM Breakfast of champions.. oatmeal with almonds, maple syrup and blueberries

8:10 AM Wave 3 is loading, so we’ve gone through security. We don’t miss our last chance to use a port-a-potty before we get on the buses. I carefully ensure door is properly locked and wonder why yet another port-a-potty seat is covered with mysterious drops from the previous user. Wipe off seat with toilet paper and take advantage of Purell upon exit.

8:10 AM Complete Wordle, Quordle, and Unwordle with help from Cluseau and Oola

8:25 AM After navigating very chaotic bus loading lines, Yvonne and I sit on the bus and settle in for the long ride to the start and try not to think about the fact we have to run all the way back. Amused to spot a driver in the lane beside us with a bowl of oatmeal in his lap, casually eating the oatmeal as he drives along

8:25 AM A little pre-work yoga, Cluseau sits on my lap during shavasana

9:40 AM arrive at Hopkinton, the athlete’s start village. I assume the wave 2 runners are gone so I just nab a spot in the first tent which keeps me dry as the rain moves in. Try to relax and stay warm. Time to put on my bright pink, shiny new, carbon plate super shoes.

9:40 AM work my way through the piles of email that arrived overnight

10:20 AM Wave 3 corral 8 is called to the start line. I drop my old running shoes off in one of the many clothing donation bags held by some of the thousands of volunteers rocking the blue and yellow volunteer jackets

10:20 AM Online meeting

10:40 AM Stop at the last set of port-a-potties on the way to the start corrals. Unexpectedly find some of my run buddies (Rita, Vincent, Faye & Diane) doing the same thing so we stop for a quick selfie showing off our fine assortment of disposable rain gear. Experienced marathon runners who knew what to pack!

10:40 AM Document review

10:50 AM Wave 3 has started, but it takes a while for Corral 8 to start moving. Bid farewell to my stunning purple bathrobe but keep the garbage bag because it’s still a bit cold

10:50 AM More email

10:56 AM Rip off the garbage bag and cross the start line. Hit Start on my Garmin. I’m about to run the Boston marathon, how terrifying awesome is that!

10:56 AM still answering email, Cluseau is helping

11:34 AM 6.5 km (4 miles) into the race, running through Ashland. I high five one of the many cheering kids spectating as he counts off each high five he receives (298, 299, …) My Garmin says I ran my last km in 5:13/km. Feeling good, lots of downhill in the first 10 km. I’m warmed up now, I take off my arm warmers and tie them to my bib belt.

11:34 AM Team meeting

12:15 PM 14 km (about 8 1/2 miles) into the race, running through Framingham. I hear people shouting GO CANADA! The person in the Canada shirt is Helene from Ottawa! I take my phone out of my pocket for a selfie and we end up running the same pace for a few km. After about a mile she calls out “They are yelling Go Susan more often than Go Canada” did I mention I have my name prominently displayed on my shirt. My Garmin says the last km took 5:40 min.

12: 15 PM Lunchtime, clam chowder, Oola waits hopefully in case there are any table scraps for her. At some point I should probably change out of my pyjamas

12:31 PM 17 km (about 10 1/2 miles) into the race, running through Natick. I see one of my favorite landmarks, Santa Claus is at the top of the hill on the right hand side. My Garmin told me I ran the last km in 5:27.

12:31 PM Done lunch, get distracted reading book 6 in the Wheel of time series, Matt just arrived in the Aes Sedai village.

12:54 PM 21 km (13 miles) into the race, running through Wellesley. This is where all the Wellesley college girls hold up signs offering to give you a kiss, I’m not out for a goal time today so I head over to the fence and get a kiss on the cheek from one of the girls. “Kiss me I’m blonde” though she’s not blonde, I’m confused but don’t have time to stop and enquire. My Garmin says I just ran a 5:29 minute km (8:51 min/mile pace) I’m pleasantly surprised by how good I feel running this pace, the cool weather must be working for me.

12:54 PM The chapters with Matt are the best chapters in this series. I really should get back to work.

1:48 PM 31 km (19.2 miles), running through Newton home of the infamous Newton hills. The last and best known of the Newton hills is Heartbreak Hill, the last big climb in the race. Got caught in rain a few miles back so put the arm warmers back on. At 32 km another runner comes up to me and asks “Is this heartbreak hill?” I apparently can’t keep track of hills and answer “Yes” he looks at me and says “Let’s do this!” we fist bump and head up the hill. Apparently, even after 6 Boston marathons I can’t keep track of the Newton hills, because Heartbreak was actually the next hill, whoops! My Garmin says I ran the last km in 5:08, and the one before that in 5:09, it also reported a couple of sub 5 min kms in the last stretch. As much as I would love to think I am running that fast through the hills I know better and realize I can no longer trust my Garmin.

1:48 PM Another meeting, still in my PJs

1:55 PM Around 32.5 km (~20 miles) running past Boston college. The students read the name off my shirt and cheer loudly. When I reach out to high five one of them, everyone else leans out for a high five and screaming encouragement. My hand hurts by the time I get past them all. My Garmin says I ran the last km in 5:00 (8:00 min/mile) sufficiently inaccurate that I no longer have any clue what my pace is.

1:55 PM Still in the meeting

2:22 PM 37 km (23 miles) into the race, running through Brookline and I’m not completely miserable which is a treat at mile 23. I can’t trust the pace on my Garmin (5 min/km), but the elapsed time is accurate and it says 3:26:08 which means if I can maintain a sub 6 min/km, I could finish in under 4 hours. I’ve only managed that once in my past 6 Boston marathons.

2:22 PM Back to email

2:40 PM 40.6 km (25.2 miles) running past the Citgo sign in Boston. One mile to go and elapsed time on my Garmin is 3:44:15. I am solidly on pace to finish under 4 hours and I’m actually on pace to run my first ever BQ in Boston! Fuck yeah, time to leave everything on the course.

2:40 PM Take a break from email and meetings to pet the cat who has settled in on my lap

2:48 PM Cross the finish line. I just ran my first ever BQ in Boston! 3:52:15! Start to feel dizzy, make sure I keep moving so I don’t pass out.

2:48 PM Unexpected chat with co-worker, kicked Cluseau off my lap because he was being a nuisance

3:22 PM Kept moving and got my medal and mylar blanket. Picked up my gear check time to put on warm clothes because as soon as you stop running it is COLD! Wonderful surprise as Yvonne, Mike and Judy find me. Don’t care whose watching, I rip off my running shirt and put on long sleeve lifa and Run K2J Hoodie. I give Yvonne my sweatpants since I have both sweats and jeans in by bag. Finally I put on the 2023 Boston jacket. Shortly after we find Rita, Faye, Dianne and Vincent as well! We did it! Now lets go find somewhere to get warm before someone gets hypothermia.

Back to email

4:02 PM I find Christopher who crossed the finished line at 3:33 PM, his hotel is walking distance from the finish so he didn’t check a bag and he is shivering! He informs me I need to walk him back to hotel and untie his shoes so he take a hot shower . Hopefully the hotel has an industrial boiler from all the runners thawing out with hot showers.

4:02 PM Still getting work done but Cluseau is starting to get hungry and is dropping hints that I should stop work and feed him

4:55 PM Christopher’s support team (Karin, Abram & Julia) finally get back to the hotel despite the derailed train. It was wonderful to see them at mile 6. We pose for a quick pic before they head out to the pub for celebratory drinks (the carefully selected pub has Christopher’s preferred NA beer) and I head back to my hotel

4:55 PM Cluseau says feed me now!

8:35 PM Stumble from Christopher’s hotel to the red line since train lines are still messed up from the derailment. Take the train back to the hotel. Judy picks me up at the train station in the car so I don’t have to walk the extra 800 meters. We drive to a celebratory dinner with Yvonne, Mike & Pat at Gyu Kaku where I can have my traditional pre or post marathon dessert Smores! Smiles all around. Sneezes and sniffles from Yvonne because she is allergic to cats and in case you hadn’t noticed, I have cats and the sweat pants she borrowed apparently had cat hair on them.

8:35 PM Watching John Wick 2 with Trevor and the cats. No Smores, no medals… but on the other hand I can walk down the stairs without a railing.

Thanks to all the crazy runners who joined me training or running this adventure and of course a huge thank you to all those who cheered on site and remotely! Any resemblance to persons real or fictional is entirely intentional but highly unlikely given my artistic ability


5 responses to this post.

  1. Great illustrations, Sue. Is there a latent graphic novelist lurking under your running togs?!


  2. Reblogged this on Run K2J.


  3. Posted by Sheila Muriel Andrew on May 10, 2023 at 4:21 PM

    Quite the contrast and I enjoyed it all.


  4. […] « Boston marathon 2023…a day in the life […]


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