Boston Marathon Recap

It was wicked hot out there.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

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I ran a marathon without much training.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

I didn’t train on any hills.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

My legs cramped up like they’ve never done before.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

I’m not sure I should be running this far on my injured ankle.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

I can’t begin to drink enough water.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

I never, not once, not even for a second, once I stepped up to the starting line thought “I can’t do this.”

 

Because I was ready to earn the sentence, “I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.”

 

No buts anymore. No buts.

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******

I could leave my recap as just that – I came, I conquered(okay, endured), I finished. But I have so much more to say. So here it is….go get a coffee…

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I ran the race I trained for. I mean, I barely trained as I was in a boot for six weeks and just started running six weeks before Boston. And in my previous post, I said my head was telling me “4:15.” And that’s the race I ran. My plan – as stupid as it may sound to an experienced runner- was to go out and run as well and and as fast and as far I could, and then walk, limp, crawl the rest of the way…but there was no way in hell I was walking off the course. And in my head that meant a 4:15. I thought I could run a 1:50 half and then keep a decent 9 min/mile pace until 20, and then figure out the last 6 miles at a 12 min/mile or so…which puts me at about a 4:10 without water stops…so a 4:15.

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Sure I had an optimistic plan – a 3:51 so I could Boston Qualify again with a few minutes to spare. And maybe,  just maybe, on a cooler day that could’ve happened. Because hell, it was wicked hot. 70+ and sunny is awesome for spectators – but it’s about 20 degrees too hot for runners. I was sweating and my body temp was up just walking the mile to the starting line. They had water stops at every single mile(thank god), and I drank 1-2 cups and poured one over my head at EVERY SINGLE MILE. And I was still thirsty. And hot. And sweaty. And don’t even ask me about the dang headwind. But you know what – I did not care because I was running my first Boston Marathon.

 

Things started off very close to plan – I ran a half marathon in 1:52 and that was great, but I was getting tired. Thank goodness for those Wellesley girls as their kisses pulled me through the next few miles.

 

Miles 14-16 starting slowing down for me and I was walking by mile 16. Not because I was tired(I was), but because of leg cramps. I have NEVER felt cramps like that – they start in your toes, work their way up your foot and to your calf and then FREEZE. Like you are going to fall over if you take another step.

 

So miles 17-21 were brutal. It was still hot and still sunny and I was already walking, and it was time for the Newton Hills. NO ONE CAN PREPARE YOU FOR THESE HILLS. The downs were actually worse than the ups…so I basically would run a quarter mile, walk a quarter mile, and repeat for these four miles. But holy hell – I was running the Boston Marathon – I was NOT giving up. I was honestly happy with 10:30 min/miles with all of the walking I had to do.

 

Thank goodness for the amazing crowds and volunteers along the way. They made a VERY tough day brighter with their huge numbers and encouraging words. I wrote my name on my arm and leg and had hundreds of people shout my name as I ran/walked by. It was also during these miles that I saw the most people getting medical attention. MANY people on stretchers, getting IV fluids and being massaged for cramps.

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Miles 22-25 are kind of a blur. At this point I had to stop and stretch a few times just to even keep walking. My pace slowed to 11 min/mile but I kept on moving forward. At least the course flattened out.

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I saw my friend Kristi, my sister-in-law Amy, and my mother-in-law, at mile 25. It gave me the courage to kind of run that last mile in as I took a right on Hereford and a left on Boylston. I can’t even begin to describe how loud the crowds were down Boylston Street. It was surreal. I cried the whole time as I tried to keep running and thank the crowds for coming out to cheer. High-fives all around, my friends. It was all I could do to lift my arms at the finish and then I just cried as I hugged my “medal-giver” as I finished with a 4:12. It was all in the plan…

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Would I have loved to BQ last Monday? Sure. But I am a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

It was a tough day out there for many. I was looking at some stats since this is a very fast race with some of the fastest runners in the world – so many earn another BQ each year. In fact in 2014 11,053(36%) qualified to run again the next year..and in 2015 12,767(48%) did. But this year, in 2016, only 4324(16%) runners qualified again. That’s CRAZY low and a testament to the heat this year. So KUDOS to them and to all of us who showed up on Marathon Monday!

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I’ve never enjoyed a donut and a beer more than I did that evening.

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I plan to be back to Boston Marathon again soon. This won’t be my last. But this will always be my first and it was truly a beautiful and perfect day.

 

Nothing(except the time and love of my family and friends), will ever compare to running this special race. You sure know how to throw a party Boston.

 

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