Overcoming Challenges and Lessons Learned – My Boston Marathon Experience

3 minute read


The Boston Marathon is a race like no other, full of excitement, challenges, and unpredictable weather. This year’s race was no exception. I’ll share my experience, the obstacles I faced, and the lessons I learned along the way.

The Race

Despite suffering from a lack of training, I managed to complete the race safely, finishing in under 3 hours – not too shabby for just one month of preparation! It wasn’t my fastest race, but it was certainly one of the most enjoyable, as I took the time to pose for photographers and high-five the audience along the route.

I was glad to run with my buddy Harris Wu once again, and I’m grateful for his hospitality, which made my racing experience so much better. The weather was far from ideal, with rain at the start and pouring down just after I finished the race. Despite the wet conditions, I wore my trusty 2019 first-generation Vapor Fly shoes, which served me well throughout the race.

Challenges and Adjustments

During the race, I faced several challenges and made some adjustments to my initial plan. I experienced pain in both of my middle toes and had belly pain on my right side starting from Mile 10. To fight against potential cramps, I stopped to drink Gatorade every 2 miles. I used 4 salt sticks, which helped a lot, although I didn’t take them as evenly as I should have.

I also changed my caffeinated gel plan at mile 17. I took one CAF 100 and one CAL 100, eating the CAF 100 right there and the CAL 100 at mile 20. I took one more gel (CAL 100) at mile 21.5 and ate it at mile 23. Despite having diarrhea both on Sunday and Monday, I managed to finish the race without any major issues.

Pre- and Post-Race Routines

Before the race, I had two days of 30-minute hot baths, which I believe helped my muscles relax and prepare for the race. I had a great night’s sleep before the race, thanks to my AirPods Pro Two and a helpful sleep audio. In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t have dinner at a Chinese restaurant, as I worried that some seasoning might have caused further digestive issues.

What I Learned

The Boston Marathon experience taught me several valuable lessons that I can apply to future races:

  1. Always be prepared for the weather, bringing a raincoat if necessary and wearing sun protection, even on overcast days.
  2. Ensure that my gear is appropriate for the race conditions, such as having a long sleeve shirt for colder temperatures.
  3. Continue to incorporate glutes workouts and add more long runs and speed runs to my training routine, now that I’ve fully recovered from my IT band issue.
  4. Be mindful of my nutrition before and during the race, and consider avoiding new foods that might cause digestive issues.
  5. Plan better for race logistics, such as finding accommodations near the finish line and arriving at the starting line earlier.

The Boston Marathon was a memorable experience, full of challenges and valuable lessons. I’m proud of my performance, and I’m grateful for the support of my friends and fellow runners. As I look forward to future races, I’ll take these lessons with me and continue to strive for improvement.