The Boston Marathon

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I don’t think I can really do justice to describing April 20th, 2015. I am simultaneously so inspired and grateful, and so very disappointed in the outcome.  In the days leading up to the marathon, the forecast just kept getting worse and worse.  As the day arrived, there was 100% chance of rain and wind gusts of 20-30 mph.  To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.  But I resolved to do my best anyway, hoping that running at sea level would give me some sort of advantage that might negate the awful weather. 
We arrived in Boston, dropped our stuff at Kristin’s and headed to the expo to pick up my bib and to buy the coveted Boston Marathon jacket 🙂 

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We opted to go to the Marathon sponsored Spaghetti dinner that evening.  We wanted to be around all the other runners and soak in the experience.  Dinner was fine, but I doubt we would do it again.  The lines were LONG. And the subway ride to get to City Hall will go down as the worst public transportation experience of my life.  We were glad to get out of that train car alive!
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We also walked to the finish line to take a couple of pics.  And I’m glad we did because after the race NO ONE was in the mood for picture taking.
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Amber and Jeremy and Rusty and I stayed at Kristin’s house the night before the race.  It was so great.  We woke up in the morning and I ate a couple of eggs for breakfast and then the boys drove us to Boston Common to board the busses. We met up with Dawn and hopped on a school bus.  The bus ride to Hopkinton took FOREVER.  We were all excited and eager to run before the rain hit.  I was worried in the back of my mind about my calf, which had been giving me a little trouble during my taper.  But I decided to put it out of my mind and hope it would be ok.  The marathon always hurts, so what’s one more twinging calf? 
Athlete’s Village is unlike anything I have ever experienced.  Thousands of runners swarmed everywhere. And on this wet, chilly morning all of us were trying to stay warm.  The sky was dark and the wind was freezing! Dawn, Amber and I found some old cardboard boxes to sit on and huddled under one of the tents until it was time for us to make our way to the starting line. 
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The walk to the start line is quite long and everyone is eager to make one more potty stop so the crowds move quickly.  We found the port a potties and then made our way toward our starting corral.  We heard “3 min until start” and started rushing.  We found our corral, stripped off our throw away clothes and the gun went off!  And the rain clouds burst!  It started pouring rain just as we crossed the start line.  The crowds of runners were really thick in the beginning and we had a hard time staying together and an even harder time staying on pace.  It was really hard to find a steady rhythm.  After a few miles we settled into our pace.  Amber was already a little ahead of Dawn and I.  But even in those very early miles I knew something wasn’t right in my legs.  Nothing felt good or easy. My legs felt heavy and dull.  No spring in my step at all.  But I kept going, thinking in a mile or two my body would settle in and run the pace I knew I could.  By mile 8 I knew I was not going to PR at Boston.  I let Dawn go, and dropped about 10 seconds/mile, hoping that would help.  Nope.  My legs were stiff and heavy and I could already feel my calf acting up.  I wasn’t going to quit and just resolved to do my best with the circumstances I’d been given that day.  Rusty, Jeremy and Dan had planned a route where they could see us 4 different times during the race.  It was so fun to hear their voices and catch site of them cheering us on.  They used a combo of Uber drivers and the T to get to all the different locations.
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At 13.1 I was just a few seconds off a 3:35 finish time and thought I could make up some of that time after the Newton hills. The Wellesley girls made those miles fly by with their crazy screaming and their hysterical (albeit dirty) signage.  Even in the pouring rain the crowds were thick and it was so fun to hear the cheers and to think of how many amazing athletes had run in these same streets. 
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But from this point out my miles kept getting slower and slower.  It was like I was in some sort of weird dream.  I’d look down at my watch and think…there is no way that can be right!  I haven’t run this slow EVER in my whole training cycle.”  My leg felt like I had a metal rod from the bottom of my glute down to my heel.  I knew my stride wasn’t right and eventually my calf started cramping.  But I just kept trucking along telling myself to keep going and not to quit. 

I saw Rusty again just before the Newton Hills.  He was super encouraging and I steeled my mind to make it though the next 5 miles, the hardest on the course.  The wind was blowing so hard. Every time I started to climb a hill I could feel it in my face.  And every time the course went downhill it felt like the wind was trying to push me back up the hill.  After two more miles I stopped real quick to see if I could stretch out my calf.  By this time my hamstring had joined in the fun and it felt like I had a tennis ball wedged in the back of my leg.  The stretching actually helped a bit and I felt better for a couple of miles.  I made it through the Newton Hills and started getting really excited.  The next couple miles were downhill and it FINALLY stopped raining.  The crowds got thicker and thicker as I got close to Boston, the giant Citgo sign taunting me in the distance.  Citgo at Fenway Park means one mile to go.

When I passed the sign I just started grinning.  I was going to finish this darn thing!  I ran and ran and ran and ran.  Why does that last mile take so long??  After what seemed like forever I crossed under Mass Ave.  Then it’s a right on Hereford and a left on Boylston.
297624_191914684_XLarge The crowds were enormous, the cheering so loud and fun, and I could see the finish line in the distance.  There were so many people I thought there was no way I’d see Rusty.  But all of the sudden out of the corner of my eye I saw his orange Tennessee hat jump up out of the crowd.  It put the biggest smile on my face as I sprinted to the finish.  Well, it felt like a sprint.  Really it was more of a slow gimpy jog 🙂
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I crossed the finish line and didn’t know what to feel. 3:54:06. I was so glad to have finished and to have to opportunity to run in Boston, but my time was abysmal.  This is what is so hard about the marathon.  I put in 4 solid months of training and then one bad day ruins it all.  And….it started to pour rain again.  I was shivering and shaking so hard I could hardly keep moving forward.  The Boston volunteers are some of the best I’ve ever encountered.  They opened the lid to my protein drink, peeled my banana, and helped me get wrapped up in my heat blanket.  It was much needed TLC and I was so grateful.  I then made my way to the Family meeting area and met back up with Amber and Dawn and the boys.  Poor Amber, her lips were completely blue.  We quickly walked to the hotel and I jumped into a hot bath.  No bath has ever felt so good in all my life. 
297624_192224602_XLarge Even though this day didn’t turn out quite how I had worked and dreamed it would, I am incredibly grateful for the experience and pretty proud to say, “I ran Boston the year of awful wind gusts and pouring rain.” Badge of honor EARNED.                    2015-04-20 15.05.56 HDR
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After I shed all my wet clothes Rusty went to clean them up for me.  He picked them all up and estimated that they weighed about 10lbs—so much water weight! 
There are my awesome feet after 26.2 with soaking wet shoes and socks. 2015-04-20 15.42.51
Boston, you got the best of me this year, but you can bet I’ll be back to try again someday! 

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