Like everyone who ran it that day and were affected by the tragic bombings, I’ve had a hell of a time putting together my race recap. I’ve had three weeks to let it marinate, and I will be frank: my personal race emotions/troubles were minuscule compared to those we all feel from the bombings. I wish not to sugar coat a rough race-day recap, and I trust you know I keep this genuinely in perspective.
There were so many wonderful things about April 15 before 2:50PM happened. Let’s dive into those.
From the expo to the buses to Hopkington, to the aid stations and spectators, the event coordination was flawless, fabulous, and free of stress. Sunday (before Marathon Monday), Weez and I had a blast. I felt like a rockstar in my jacket (totally worth the $100) and everyone in the city is so happy/excited.
The morning of the race was smooth sailing. I had the BEST company to goof around with. My old CO roomie, LJ! Love this girl. Don’t be jealous of my fabulous PJ pants and garbage bag. Warmth >>> fashion.
We were happy and calm and SO excited to be a part of the magic! We hugged goodbye/good luck, ditched our last minute throw-away clothes, and the gun went off!
Yay!! It was time to RACE!
The weather was perfection: sunny, high 40s, low winds. The starting corrals were jammed-packed and runner’s filled the road like sardines. I’ll admit, this was not my fave. It was impossible to find space much less your own cadence, so I just tried to relax and go with the flow.
I’ve tossed and turned about sharing this part of my story, but decided to include it for my own memory-sake…
I dealt with some gnarly side cramps from Mile 1. Not 5 minutes into the marathon, I started getting sharp, consistent pains in my lower abdomen (1″ below my bellybutton on my left side) (4 out of 10 kinda scale).
It’s not a big deal, these things happen, I told myself. I just hoped the pain would go away.
Spoiler alert: it didn’t. My mentality went from “no problem! This will surely go away in a few minutes!” to “okay, let’s just deal with pain management the best we can” in the course of those 26.2 miles.
I tried every trick in the books to alleviate the distracting discomfort. I walked through the Mile 2 aid station because I didn’t know what else to do. No sense in being upset about something you can’t change, so I just laughed.
The awesome news is that when I was running sans-pain, 7:10 pace felt comfortable (my legs felt awesome/fresh/fast) and boy did I really want to cruise along at that pace. So I’m proud to say my training did me well, but that dang cramp was too much and I would back down to whatever I needed to alleviate the cramps. In the days that followed the race, my neck was the most sore from running kind of huntched-over.
To be clear: I’m not upset about any of this! I had a blast out there! I got to run THE Boston Marathon, and was lucky (and am thankful) to have finished. Honestly, I’m really happy about it all. The cramps made me proud to be from a tough family where I was raised to take things in stride and not to complain. Sure, anyone would run faster if they weren’t in awkward cramping discomfort. Sure I wish I could have kept running 7:10’s, but I’m still FLOORED with my finishing time.
Miles 1-6 (10k mark): 0:46:26 // 7:29 pace
The course is SO much fun. It felt like every little town along the course tried out-doing the last, with spectators and cheering. So much positivity and love and encouragement. I high-fived a couple little kids. I ate GUs every 5 miles. Gatorade every 2 miles.
Up to Mile 13.1 (half marathon mark): 1:38:27 // 7:31 pace
The scream tunnel of girls at Wellesley College put a huge smile on my face and lit up my heart. They had “Kiss Me…” signs of every make and model: “Kiss me, I’m a chemist!” was an obvious fave of mine. The course felt hilly the entire time, so I was curious as to how the Newton Hills would treat me. I found that a perk to any uphill gradient, is that my quasi-huntched-over running technique (to alleviate the cramps) was less necessary since I was naturally slowing down.
Up to 35km and the Infamous Newton Hills: 2:47:35 // 7:42 pace
Bashfully, I’ll be honest, I went into the Newton Hills a little cocky. I’m from Colorado, I told myself. I run trails every day back home. I’m used to serious elevation gain. I thought to myself, come on, these are JUST east coast rollers. Boy was I mistaken!! They are relentless. They are long. They are steep. Whenever Heartbreak Hill happened, I didn’t know, because I was too busy keeping my head down and eyes focused on the 10 feet in front of me at a time. Woof!
The last 10km: aka, slowslowslow
It was all a blur. I didn’t care what my pace was. I never looked at my watch. I just wanted to be done. They say when you pass the CITGO sign, you’re exactly 1 mile from the finish.
By the time I passed this sign, I was hurtin’, hurtin’ good (80% awkward lower cramp thing, 20% legs) and if you look at my official race photos, you’ll have the privilege of seeing that vulnerability in my face. It was not pretty you guys. I was a hot mess.
Boylston! To the Finish!
I knew Weez, my friend Sarah, and her hubs would be at mile 26.1. I made the turn onto Boylston and there they were! At last! I was floating. I felt like a frickin’ movie star by the way they were cheering for me :)
You can’t even tell how much pain I was in! Muahaha!
To the finish! What a beautiful moment! What a magical place. Runners are people of good spirit and health. Spectators are people of love and selfless encouragement. I’ll never understand how and why anyone would want to devastate such a wonderful group of people with violence and hate.
26.2 miles = 3:24:13 (<– 7+ min PR!)
6892 overall, 1218 gender, 983 division
The second I crossed the finish line, I laugh about it now, but I was neither happy nor sad, I was just plain relieved! Those 26.2 miles hardened me and lordy I was in the pain cave. I (literally) whimpered my way through the amazing volunteers who offered me assistance, and gave me my medal, space blanket, and food.
True story: I spoke the words “I never want to run a marathon again” to a fellow finisher. That’s how rough of shape I was in. Ha! How funny time can change your opinion :)
It was really easy to meet up with Weez and Sarah and I promptly sat myself down right in the middle of the sidewalk on Boylston.
I’m thankful the above picture was taken at the time that is was, because 5 minutes later, smiles were gone, hearts were saddened, and the city was changed.
I’m thankful for the amazing community of runners and bloggers who’ve encouraged all of us Boston Marathon’ers to take some time to celebrate our races and write our Race Recaps despite the events that transpired that make us feel like we can’t/shouldn’t/don’t want to.
I’m thankful to have had to opportunity to finish my 26.2 miles, when so many other didn’t.
I’m thankful for that 3:24. That 7 minute PR.
And you better believe I’ll be coming back with vigor in 2014 :)