For all of you who are planning on running Boston in the future, I'd like to share some of the things we plan to differently next time, because there will most definitely be a next time. In no specific order, here is our list:
1. Stay in Boston. We chose to stay outside of Boston to be a little closer to friends out there, but it would have been so much more convenient to have just stayed in the city for the weekend.
2. Don't rent a car. Boston is "America's Walking City," at least based on the map we got at the information desk at the expo. Even though it's a pretty big city, you can pretty much walk or take the "T" to anywhere you need to go.
3. Get to the expo early. If you wait till 30 minutes before they close on Sunday night, you'll miss out on tons of stuff happening there, and the booths have either run out of what you want to buy or they are shutting everything down, and you might end up with a women's marathon shirt because they've run out of men's.
4. Don't book a flight leaving 3 hours after you finish the race. Things went pretty smoothly for us, but it was a stress we would have rather avoided. Plus, we would have liked to hang out for a while for the post-race festivities.
5. If you don't ever want to run a marathon, don't accompany somebody who is running. As you can see from Lani's recent post, it was very contagious. Or, if you have someone who you'd like to get running, make sure they come with you.
6. Stay longer than just a few days. We felt very rushed on this trip. We would have loved to have had more time to see the sights and friends.
7. Bring the kids with you. This will make #6 more possible. We were happy to have had the weekend to ourselves without the kids, but if we had had them with us, we could have stayed longer and had more time to enjoy all that Boston has to offer.
8. Train hard. I learned that I needed to do more longer tempo runs. Dealing with injuries limited my ability to get those longer runs in, but I know they would have helped a lot, especially toward the end.
9. The Boston Marathon is tough! I never expected it to be as hard as it was. Those hills aren't that big, but they are the real deal.
10. Heartbreak Hill wasn't as bad as I was expecting. As I mentioned in my race report, I felt like that was actually the easiest of them all.
Hopefully these lessons will be helpful for you in making your future Boston Marathon plans.
On a side note, Lani has written another running/birth post on her birth blog where she compares giving birth to running a marathon. It's pretty cool. Go check it out.
Also, I found a picture of the "I get my courage from the crowd" poster I saw in Boston. I've added it to my race report if you'd like to see it.
One more thing. I've added a poll to my sidebar about recovering from a marathon. I'd appreciate your input.
*UPDATE* I've created a new post for a total of 26.2 lessons learned and tips for your next Boston Marathon.