Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement over the past week… going into a race knowing that it was going to be in the 80s for the entire race was difficult. Your words and advice helped me get from Hopkinton to Boylston Street! I also want to extend a HUGE thank you to all the volunteers and spectators. I am not kidding when I say we could not have finished this race without them. The residents went above and beyond — sprinklers, Twizzlers, water, etc…. they were helping us along the course. C even saw people going into CVS and BUYING water and Gatorade with their own money, only to turn around and hand out to the runners. And, they really knew how to cheer us along — they were so supportive and knew that we were struggling, but focused on giving us the words of encouragement that we needed. It really was amazing to see.
Pre-race preparation: We rode the train down on Saturday, and had a day and a half to enjoy in Boston… it’s so fun during marathon time because the whole city is decked out.
On Saturday, we went to dinner at Charley’s and I was stoked to hear that their entire menu was available as gluten-free! Pizza? Yes please. The service was great as well. On Sunday, we got up early and ate at Flour Bakery (again, yum!) and headed over the expo, which is amazing. I had to splurge on a few must-haves.
We then made our way to the session with Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley about Alberto’s new book, “14 Minutes” and their infamous “Duel in the Sun.” Afterwards, we hit up another great restaurant that is actually owned by Charley’s parent, Joe’s American Bar & Grill. Again, they were able to make most things on the menu gluten-free! I went with a strategy I did before New York in 2010 — I had pasta for lunch. From there, we had some downtime and then made our way to Chipotle for pre-race dinner.
And, in the midst of all of this, we were getting frightening emails from BAA about deferring and strongly thinking about not running the race because of the temperatures.
The next morning I woke up at 5:41 a.m. and got ready to leave the hotel. I brought along two Lara Bars and a waffle sandwich (with PB and jelly in the middle) to eat once we were in Runner’s Village, along with a bottle of water. It was already toasty. We got to the Runner’s Village around 8 and sat around for about an hour and a half before we headed to the start. During this time, I drank three bottles of water and probably could have had more.
Actual race: Did anyone else feel like the race started a few minutes early!? I saw a ton of people running to their corrals, and we got to ours five minutes before it started… I barely finished stretching and sprayed sunscreen on myself before the gun went off! I was off my game and was trying to figure out my pace for the first few miles. It was a little weird because nobody was passing… I felt like I was on a group long run with 22,000 of my closest friends.
It was hot. I was frustrated. It was three miles in and I already felt exhausted. Around mile four, I saw people walking. I decided at this point that I needed to focus on my mantra: HAVE FUN. I realized that if I focused on the time, I wasn’t going to have fun. I was not going to enjoy the next 22 miles. And in weather like this, you NEEDED to enjoy the next 22 miles.
From that point on, my goal was to run through as many sprinklers as I could. And, boy, did I! I also high fived spectators, cheered and talked to other runners. One guy said his goal was to let everyone pass him. Around mile 10, I found another girl from Atlanta and we ran together for the next seven miles. For the first time ever, I did walk a bit throughout the race… when I started to feel like I was overheating or felt a little faint, I would walk for about 100 yards. I stopped at nearly every water stop, either for both Gatorade and water or just water.
I thought I’d see my family (C and his parents) around mile 16, so by time we hit 15 I was looking for them in the crowds. They said the subways were ridiculous and were unable to make it that far. By mile 19, I figured they left because they thought that I passed already. After Heartbreak, I started looking for them again because I knew they’d be before the Citgo sign. Around mile 22, I saw them! Just what I needed…
After that, I didn’t walk and just powered through. I think many people had the same idea, because the number of walkers decreased. I finished in 4:16, my slowest marathon ever but maybe one of my most fun ones.
What I loved: Obviously I didn’t love the heat. The girl I ran with for a few miles was from Atlanta, and she was even struggling if that says anything. But what I did love was stepping back and taking in the experience. I was focused on time in 2010 when I ran Boston, and it was nice to step back and enjoy the spectators, laugh with other runners and not care about my time. I stopped and talked to my family, and got a few pictures — something I haven’t done before.
Like I already said, I loved the spectator support. I loved the RUNNER support… it seemed like an unwritten rule to ask runners that were near you, how they were doing and offer to help. One girl told me she was cramping, so I gave her my salt pills that I hadn’t used and didn’t plan on using.
Overall rating (5 out of 5 ups):
In reality, I should dock this an up because of the heat. But really, we can’t control Mother Nature. What we can control is how we deal with something like this and use it to our advantage. I feel like it gave all of us an opportunity to experience Boston in a way that we never would have considered doing in the past. It is a unique experience that we’ll always be able to cherish and remember… and something that will make us stronger.