I am Boston Strong.
I am still on a runner’s high from this past weekend. It was truly magical, incredible, and actually indescribable. Boston was everything I hoped it would be. I got to explore the city, experience a red sox game, and be surrounded by some of the world’s best runners all weekend. I felt like a celebrity every day. I walked too much and ate foods I normally wouldn’t before a race, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
The expo was ah-maze-ing. It took everything in me not to spend all of my money. I tried some new products, bought some Boston swag, and ended up going back the next day because the energy that filled the room was so powerful.
Flash forward to race day. It was expected to be hot. The weather the day before reached 86 degrees and I knew that I wasn’t prepared to run in anything over 55 degrees. My alarm went off at 5:45am and I quickly scarfed down some oatmeal and a banana. I checked the weather and we were already in the 60s. We left the hotel at 6:45 to head to the shuttles that take runners from Boston to Hopkinton. There was quite a bit of walking before the race even started. Once I got to the buses, I said my goodbyes to my family and boyfriend and hopped on. At this point it was 64 degrees. As the buses began heading to the starting line, it actually felt really good to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and see lakes and trees. Once we got to Athletes Village the bus dropped us off and we probably walked another 1/4-1/2 mile to actually get in (lots of walking). Athletes Village was so cool with all of the essentials runners need before racing and awesome music blaring. I stood in line at the bathroom for a good 15-20 minutes and probably only sat down for a total of 5 minutes before the race started. I was in Athletes Village for a solid 2 hours before I actually started. At 9:55 we were called to start loading into our corrals and that was probably another 1/2 mile-3/4 mile walk until we actually made it to the start. I tried not to think about it, but it was just so much time to be on your feet before running 26.2 miles.
When we finally got started it was pretty warm, but the energy of the crowd and the fact that I was running the Boston Marathon gave me a boost and I got lost in the moment. I trained with a GMP of 7:40/mile and I was told to take the first part of the race slowly, about 15-30 seconds slower. I was right on target. It felt so good. I was taking water frequently and took my first GU at mile 8, just as I had trained for. By mile 14 I was HOT. I stopped sweating and started getting the chills. It was way to early in the race to start having problems and I knew that if I didn’t change my game plan then I would jeopardize finishing. I decided to take a bathroom break and drink some water and it actually helped me cool down a lot. But it wasn’t long after I started up again that those sensations returned. Thank goodness people on the course were handing out ice and cold towels because those were a huge help. My stomach was nauseous, but I continued to drink and take my GUs as planned. It was a mental fight the entire way. The crowds were amazing and their energy kept me going. There were no quiet spots on the course at all, people were constantly yelling and cheering. No matter how bad I was feeling, I couldn’t help but to take a look around and soak it all in. As we got closer to town I could see the Citgo sign and I knew I was in the home stretch. Part of me wanted it to be over and the other part of me never wanted it to end. As I made the turn onto Boylston and caught a glimpse of the finish line, it was an emotional roller coaster ride. I saw my friends and family just feet away from the finish line, got some high fives, and seconds later became a Boston Marathoner.
Dreams do come true. It wasn’t a PR or even close, but I worked with what I had that day. Some things you can’t control, the weather being one of those. I am just extremely grateful to be able to run a race so many never get the chance to, on a course where some people never made it to the finish line. There is so much history, love, and passion in Boston that makes it unlike anything I have ever experienced before. I am currently still recovering and am in no rush to hop back into a training cycle. I am going to let this runner’s high continue for as long as it would like. As great as this race was, I’m not done fighting for a PR and I have a really big goal. Will it happen in 2017? Maybe. I do have 12 weeks of altitude training this summer in Colorado. But for right now I am just going to live in this moment and celebrate what a huge accomplishment this was.