A week ago I ran the Boston marathon! It was one of the most surreal and awe inspiring experiences of my life! I checked something off my bucket list that I never thought would be on my bucket list in the first place.
I trained through snow, ice, rain, and puddles.... The last month of training was tough with the flu, pink eye, the beginnings of plantar fasciitis and body exhaustion. There were some moments of freaking out but Violet and Henry...oh their sweet hearts...kept telling me that it was going to be fine! It was fine!
Early Monday morning I climbed out of the car to board the shuttle buses for runners. I nearly began to cry as I said my goodbyes and received my good lucks ...I still had three and a half hours before the race started.
The athletes village was a crowded scene of trash bag, bathrobe, thrift store clothes wearing runners munching on bagels and bananas. This was only my fourth marathon, the first two were 9 & 10 years ago and the third this past fall. Looking around the crowd of runners I couldn't help feeling a bit like an "imposter". So many others had been there many times before. So many others had run many, many more marathons than I.
The morning began chilly but the temperatures rose quickly and the sun was shining brightly with a cloudless sky. The race was going to be hot (and windy too as it turned out). I made a few friends as I waited for my wave, wave 2, to be called to the starting line. I was warned not to go out too fast as the first half of the race is mostly downhill. Eventually, it was time to head out of the athlete's village and toward the starting line...We left through an archway wishing us "Good luck!" and walked about a half a mile down quiet neighborhood streets toward the starting line. The walk seemed endless and seemed as though we were all walking down a path toward something completely unknown...People shed their warm up clothes and tossed them into the "donation" bags, chatted about how they planned to race and slathered on sunscreen. On more than several occasions I found myself fighting back tears and looking around to take it all in.
At the start, before we began, we celebrated the fact that this was the 50th year in which woman were allowed to run in the marathon. We waited. The gun went off...and then, it took about five minutes of walking before I even reached the start.
I was not prepared for the sheer mass of people. Obviously I knew that it was a large race and I had heard about the amazing cheering crowds...but until I was there experiencing it all there was no way to fully grasp it! The racing crowd never thinned, we ran elbow to elbow much of the time. The cheering crowds rarely thinned as well. We ran through towns and past neighborhood houses. Bars and restaurants blared music, runners sang along to "Sweet Caroline", families held cookouts in their front lawn. The cheers, especially those in the more crowded areas like heartbreak hill, Boston College and Wellesley were so loud I couldn't hear my music.
I found myself many times laughing and grinning thanks to those along the sideline. Several times I found myself with tears of excitement in my eyes.
Miles 18 and 19 were a blur to me as I scanned the crowd looking for my friend and her son...I saw them and shouted to get their attention. I needed that, two friendly cheering faces just before I began the climb up heartbreak hill.
As I passed the banner welcoming us to Boston I cheered to myself and wondered when and if I might find my family.
I ran only thinking about them and searching the crowds the best I could. As I neared the end of the race and was about to make the last turn onto Boylston Street I spotted my husband's Orioles hat in the crowd.
As I crossed the finish line I still couldn't quite believe that I had done it, finished the Boston marathon! I entered the race feeling uncertain about how I'd run, but I was happy with my finish time of 3:33 and my body felt pretty good too, though I had to fight off a few impending calf cramps at times.
The amount of support I got from everyone, family and friends was so amazing! I knew that many were "tracking" me as the race went on which gave me even more motivation to run hard! I am so thankful for the support I got from near and far because without it I know I wouldn't have made it to Boston in the first place!
Thank you all, for your kind words of encouragement and excitement and support! I truly do appreciate those words and use them as my "running power"!
Here's to whatever is next!