Okay here is the scoop on Boston FINALLY!
Woke up at 5 am Monday morning and couldn’t fall back asleep. So I showered grabbed my stuff and headed down to the subway. It was completely empty! One other runner got on the train at my stop.
So all my stressing the night before was a HUGE waste of time. I got to the girls hotel way early so I ate a bagel and banana and hunkered down on a sofa with a copy of Runner’s World.
About an hour later the girls came down and we headed to Boston Commons to get on the bus! Yes that’s right big yellow school buses are the official transport to the start of the Boston Marathon (Unless you are a pro of course they get those fancy shuttle buses, with police escorts!)
We got in line and saw some of the guys. MG, SG, and a friend of theirs got in line with us. We pissed some lady off when MG “accidentally” jumped into a middle of a bus line but we ended up finding a shorter line anyway.
So it took about a half hour to get on the bus and once on it was another 45-60 minutes before we got to Hopkinton. I just relaxed and listened to everyone else’s conversations. I found out you can actually enter the Boston Marathon without qualifying through certain charities. I don’t know how much they have to raise, but I hope it is a lot!!! These people are certainly much better than the bandits though
All a part of the traditions of Boston though so I just took it all in.
Most people hang out in Athlete’s Village once they get to Hopkinton but my club goes to a church and lounges in the basement. This ended up being really nice for me because I think I might have freaked out being around 20,000 other runners for two hours before the race. The church atmosphere was pretty low key and I was able to eat, sunscreen up, and take care of any pre race jitters, etc. without worrying about anything else.
About 30 minutes before the start B, R, and I went and dropped off our bags on the yellow buses then headed to our Corrals. Corrals in Boston are by number so I was in the 13th Corral, far behind the Elite runners!!!
I realize then what a newbie I am to marathoning
The guys had told me to pin my gels to my shorts and tuck them in. Which works great as long as you pin your gels on the top above where the actual gel is
I actually punctured both my gel packets on accident and realized in the start that I had some gel sticking to my thighs and the inside of my shorts
After about 5 minutes in the Corral they started the national Anthem and about then you start to realize how amazing this is standing in a crowd of 20,000 other runners getting ready to run the granddaddy of all marathons. The elite women at this point are already about 25 minutes into their race. And the gun is getting ready to go off.
All this excitement builds up and then you realize how much different this start is than other races. In no race I have ever done has it taken over 12 minutes to actually get to the starting line. So it was slightly anticlimactic but still really amazing after you come over a small hill and hit the starting line you look out in front of you and all you can see in front of you is road filled with waves of runners. Absolutely incredible.
From there until Wellesley everything seems pretty similar. The crowd never thins out and it is rolling hills with a net decline until the half way mark. Surprisingly my IT Band wasn’t bothering me at all and my shoulder didn’t feel too bad. My feet started to blister REALLY early in the race, like mile 3. So I knew that wasn’t going to look pretty when I finished.
Right before I got to Wellesley College I could feel my legs chafing. It was about 71 degrees on the course and not a lick of shade to be seen. Luckily just as I thought to myself “this is going to get ugly” I heard the medical tent volunteers crying out “Vaseline!” I sprinted so quickly over to their side of the road and grabbed a Tongue Depressor covered in Vaseline and smeared it all over my legs. Nice visual huh?
I added that mess to the gel on my shorts and continued on.
Shortly after the Vaseline stop I hear this roar of sounds. At that point you can’t see where it is coming from about a half mile away you see the Wellesley College Girls! They are all lined up on the right side of the street held back by a fence. Most of them are leaning far over the fence high fiving runners as they go by. Others are holding signs like “Kiss me if you’re from Oklahoma.” They are all cheering at the top of their lungs. I had been running on the left the whole way so far but moved over to the right to high five pretty much all of the girls. Their energy was so amazing. It gave you this incredible boost of energy. Which is good but sad because you are going to need that energy a lot more in just over a mile.
All this time I have been getting water and Gatorade from the stops every mile on the left and walking through the stops. No need to waste energy trying to gulp down water while running too fast. I made it to Boston now that I was there I should try to enjoy the ride.
Most of the water I took ended up getting dumped over my head. I was feeling pretty hot and it seemed to help. I also jumped at anyone who had ice and held it in my hands for as long as I could stand to help keep cool.
Shortly after Wellesley and the half waypoint you start to add in some serious up hills to the rolling hills. At this point my quads were pretty much already a wreck from all the downhills, and my left calf started to bother me.
The rest of the race I pretty much ran water stop to water stop. I didn’t feel good but I could have felt worse for sure. I didn’t walk at any point except through the water stops. And I made it up the Newton Hills and Heartbreak Hill in pretty good time. I think I ran a 9:22 mile up Heartbreak. So I was happy with that.
I was expecting my parents and David to be pretty close to the finish but they ended up being a little before the 26-mile mark. I heard my mom screaming as I passed, I turned and waved, then trucked on up the small incline before you turn onto Boylston Street and can finally see the finish line.
I didn’t have any amazing last mile splits like I did in Richmond, but I was still proud, and unlike Richmond I was actually happy as I crossed the finish line. And despite the stresses I have been having I have been pretty happy since!
After the marathon my legs felt pretty bad, but I was expecting that. I walked along with the crowd, grabbed some water, took off my chip, got my Mylar Blanket, and traded my chip for my finishers medal! And trekked over to the buses.
I got a frozen smoothie drink from some volunteer and spent most of that time trying to open it. Finally before I grabbed my bag I had to have a volunteer open it for me
He had a hard time too so it wasn’t just post marathon jitters keeping me from the frozen deliciousness ;)
I got my bag and headed to the family meeting area. I threw my stuff down near the H sign and worked on getting out of my shoes, into flip-flops. Out of my soaked sports bra into my Boston tank, and tried to stretch a bit. My parents and David showed up as I finished off my smoothie and was getting ready to start looking for them.
I got a phone call from my favorite aunt ;) you know who you are
wishing me well. I definitely felt loved at that moment.
We walked all the way over to Boston Commons to avoid the mad rush to the subway near the finish.
Got back to our hotel and our handicap room payed off. I was able to sit on the edge of the tub and spray my legs with ice cold water. My baby sis called while I was spraying, and I was glad to hear from her. Her support at this point in my life is very important to me and I am blessed to have such a great sister. We have not always gotten along but I am glad we come together when it really counts.
After I talked with her for a bit David and I met my parents down at the pool. I dipped my calf in the hot tub and took a lap around the pool then we got ready to go out for dinner.
We met a bunch of the SERC group at Joe Tecces. I had three beers and a steak! I felt I definitely deserved it! We had a good time and it was nice to hang out with everyone after doing the marathon together. Everyone from SERC did well and I am proud to call them all my friends. I can’t express how blessed I am to have met up with such a great group of runners.
I was pretty wiped out after the three beers and multiple trips to the restroom (of course stairs were involved). So we headed back to the hotel. Climbing down the stairs to the subway was a trip! I must have looked horrible.
We packed our stuff (well David did anyways, and I attempted to help), and then headed to bed. We had to be up really early to catch our flight home. I actually made it to work and managed to work 6 or 7 hours before I couldn’t manage anymore
Since being back I have run twice and I can tell my quads are still sore but I feel pretty good and am looking forward to the summer racing season. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read this. I really appreciate your support!