It was a dream come true: making it to race day without injury in the best shape of my life (thanks, Nicole Stevenson, for making me push myself). People have been telling me for months that “there is nothing like running Boston”. How true that is!
I am happy to report that I did not melt in Boston.
Physically, I did not melt, but my hopes of finishing within a specific time melted. But that’s ok! I floated along the course on the spectator’s cheers, and it was all such an amazing experience, just as everyone promised.
The weekend was so great. We arrived in Boston early enough on Saturday morning, that we headed to the expo before the crowds were overwhelming. I picked up my race kit (and some extra goodies, like a jacket) and walked around, taking it all in.
We stayed at the gorgeous Lenox Hotel (right at the finish line). The hotel staff was amazing. Very helpful and almost as pumped about the race as we were!
The finish line area was closed off for the couple of days prior to the race, so it was awesome to be able to walk around, snap photos and just hang out in that “running buzz”. I met runners from everywhere! Everyone had their own story of how they got there, in that moment. And every single story is special and different in its own way.
Monday morning finally came. I slept quite well so I felt refreshed and optimistic that the run was going to be a good one. I dressed for warmer weather: adidas sports bra, hat, and shorts only. I slathered on the sunscreen.
Before long, it was time to head to the start corrals. It was a long, hot walk. I think that was the point that I realized that it was indeed going to be a scorcher.
I had a few tears as I crossed the official start line, but I reminded myself to pull it together, as it was going to be a long day, so crying continually would just make it longer.
The course was unbelievable. There was not one inch of that course that did not have spectators cheering. I may have been a bit sore that evening, but there were thousands of people with sore throats from all the screaming and cheering. I still can’t believe it.
Because of the heat, there were so many kind and generous spectators with sprinklers, buckets of water, make-shift gatorade stations, coolers full of ice, popsicles, towels soaked in ice water, and pure energy! It was continuous. Crazy.
Patrick, my husband, met me just before “Heartbreak Hill”. I was so happy to see him! I had been scanning the crowds for him for about 5km when I finally heard his voice. I swerved over to him through the crowd, and decided to take a minute or two to catch up with him, and even eat a banana he had brought. He refilled my bottle with gatorade (ice cold, unlike the gross, warm stuff I had been carrying) while I teared up a bit at how thoughtful he was. Then, sadly, I had lingered enough, so it was time to get on with it.
I continued on for a bit, then all of a sudden, people were holding signs, screaming, “You made it up heartbreak hill!!” Really? That was Heartbreak Hill? I don’t know what I was expecting, but I certainly thought it wasn’t too bad. “It’s all downhill from here!!” they were shouting. Yay!!
So I sped up a bit. That speed did wear off, but those last 10 miles were much easier to handle than the first. Go figure.
Before long, I was so close to the “Citgo” sign (the famous 25 mile mark) that I felt like I could touch it. The crowds were wild with energy. The buildings in downtown Boston were creating the shade I had craved all day. There was a breeze. Or was that my speed causing wind in my hair?
I came to the finish line a pleased runner. I had finished! I was upright! I was sunburned! My original goal time had long since passed me by. But, there will be other, faster marathons in my future.
I had fun being part of “the hot one”.