Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Boston Marathon!!!

No matter what I write in this post it will never be able to accurately describe the incredibly overwhelming experience that was the 118th Boston Marathon. I am not being dramatic. Not even a little bit! 


Sleeping was sort of difficult the night before. As per usual the night before a marathon. I can't even tell you how many times I said to Matt, "Do you realize I'm running A MARATHON TOMORROW?!" Yep. I get a little intense when I'm nervous, lol. It didn't help that he also said, "I'm nervous FOR you!" :0 

Wake up: 5:00 a.m. My hotel shuttle was leaving at 6:30 so I wanted to be good and ready! 

 Watching helicopters circling the finish area while I got race ready. I knew I'd be safe today!

 Matt thought he'd photograph me getting my 'Game Face' on. ;)

One thing I forgot: tan in a can apparently, LOL!
Our hotel was awesome! Not only did they shuttle us to State Park to meet up with the bus to Hopkinton, but they also provided race morning necessities!
 What a glorious day to run :)
The ride to Hopkinton felt insanely long! I munched on a Honey Stinger Vanilla Waffle and took multiple Selfies...none of which look even remotely close to normal. My apologies, lol.
I'm pretty sure that every single photo I took upon arriving at the Athlete's Village included some sort of Police, Military, Security, etc. It was great reassurance, but it's unfortunate that an event such as a Marathon has to resort to these measures in order to keep everyone safe. A BIG thank you to everyone who did!
It was the below photo that I took when one of the Police officers said ever so sternly, "NO SELFIES!" :0 I'm pretty sure they saw my naive small woman's fearful face turn completely white....and then they winked and giggled, LOL. Deep sigh of relief!

It's always refreshing to get frisked first thing in the morning before running a marathon. I guess they were leaving nothing to the imagination.
 The first set of arches that gave me shivers today!
There is something ultimately cool about seeing these tents and thousands of runners that makes things get real. I was like, "Yeah, I'm running Boston today!"
After I laid out my blanket to mark my territory, I circled around the village trying to spot fellow Nova Scotians. No luck :(  I did pick up a Dunkin Donuts coffee, Gatorade endurance formula, power bar and a water. They feed the runners well at Boston!
 I told you. These guys were everywhere!

 Everyone just chillin' before Go time.
Finally, I got to actually meet Meg from Meg Go Run!
I was totally nervous! It was sort of funny actually. I was worried I wouldn't be what she thought I was and get disappointed...I'm so weird I know. She was totally positive and I definitely soaked up some of her embracing attitude about the Marathon instead of putting pressure on myself to do awesome. FYI: Meg had knee surgery, KNEE SURGERY, in January and ran a fantastic marathon at Boston!

We chatted so much neither of us heard our Wave get called! How does this happen to me 2 years in a row?!?!? LOL.

After chucking our throw-a-ways in the donation bags, we headed off for the 3/4 mile walk to the start of our wave corrals where we separated.

GO TIME!!!

Me: OMG I'm running the Boston Marathon today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was not one bit cool at the start. I like to be a little chilly before I run a race and since I wasn't, I knew that I was in for a hot one!

The female announcer got us totally pumped up to run! I heard, "What a beautiful day to run the Boston Marathon! This is your day! You've worked so hard! You guys are amazing!" as I crossed the chip mat. I freakishly waved at the television cameras but I'm pretty sure no one I know saw me...lol. 

The crowds gave me such a powerful surge of adrenaline I fist pumped and smiled ear to ear while wiping away tears as we headed off on our journey to Boylston Street! So amazing.

Again this year I took every opportunity to high five every kid/person holding out their hand.....until my fingers felt tingly that is...lol. So many people said "GO Heather!" for the first few miles. It quickly changed to "GO Canada!" I was wondering why no one was saying my name anymore so I looked down and discovered that my purple WASHABLE marker was nearly washed away by Gatorade and water...oops!

I didn't find myself tightly packed in this year since everyone seemed to spread out quickly at the start. I didn't get elbowed once!!!

The start of the marathon is literally on a hill in which you go down. It feels awesome for the first few miles, but after 17 miles of mostly down hill your body is shouting ENOUGH! I knew this from last year's run, but that didn't make the game of tug-of-war on my quadriceps feel any more pleasant. ;)

I did take my iPod with me, just in case. And I totally forgot to turn it on! That's how awesome the crowds were. You should be completely proud of me for running the entire race without music. :D

This year I really wanted to take in the Marathon and everything that goes along with it. It is such an awesome race and I took total advantage of the crowd screams, generosity, music, costumes, motivational signs, free food and overall support.

I was wondering what everyone was cheering about at mile 11 and when I caught up to the crowd I saw Team Hoyt! Rick and Dick have run 32 Boston Marathons and this one was their last. It was amazing to see them in person!
Source
I made sure to stop and hydrate at EVERY water station. I took Gatorade & water each time. I was sweating like a champ for sure! Every so often I'd have to splash water on my face to wipe away all of the salt I was losing. During the first half of the race I felt my right arm pit on fire!!! I knew it was starting to chafe. :(  My running form quickly turned wonky as I tried to avoid the horrific burn that is the Marathon Chafe mark!

A couple of miles later I heard angels singing as I saw the men in white coats and surgical gloves holding out Popsicle sticks loaded with Vaseline! I grabbed one and thanked them as I slathered it under my right arm pit...you know, all classy like. ;)

1/2 Way
 As you approach Wellesley College, the girls of Scream tunnel certainly know how to get that energy flowing! I really laughed when I saw two girls holding up large signs that read, "If you run fast enough we'll drop our sign!" They looked naked!! I looked back but they had their shirt straps tucked underneath their arms and short shorts on!!! Clever ladies. ;) I didn't stop to kiss anyone, but many men did!

Along the route there were some spectacularly motivating signs and SEVERAL funny ones! I will definitely not remember them all, but here are some of my favourites:
  • Run like someone called you a jogger!
  • If marathons were easy they'd be called your mom! LOL
  • Hurry up, the Kenyans are drinking your beer!
  • Slow down! I'm trying to count everyone! ( I actually laughed hard and gave a thumbs up at this one)
  • You think this is hard, try growing out bangs! LOL
  • I do marathons on Netflix!
  • You can Poop in 5.2 miles.....LOL.
  • You have run 92%! (I saw this when I was REALLY hurting and I tried so hard to figure out how much I had left to run. I didn't like this one because of the remaining 8% lol, but I certainly remember it. It was written in red print outlined in black....oh the pain!)
  • And my favourite: "This is our f*&king Marathon!" Oh yeah! 
As we approached Newton a lady was holding a huge sign that read: "Your training got you to Newton, Your heart will get you to Boston." This was largely my mantra for the final 8 miles!

When the wheels came off
I trained in the most unimaginable cold, snow, ice, rain, wind, you name it this year. But I honestly did not anticipate race day being actually 'warm'...forget warm, 'hot!' for me anyway. I'm certainly not going to be a cry baby about it, because it wasn't a complete pressure cooker, I was just happy to be there. It was super duper warmer than I was accustomed to. Oh well, I still had the most fun ever in the history of my running days! As we ran, I noticed the temperature saying 66 degrees Fahrenheit on the side of a building. Just to give you an idea. Anyway, the point of my rambling is that I noticed my muscles quickly cramping. I mean at earlier points than usual for me in a marathon.

I was fuelling and hydrating like a pro but my body was working so hard to cool down, that the wheels just started to come off as I approached the Newton Hills. This is where I saw Matt last year and hoped to spot him again this year. I tried, but in the hundreds of people I could not see him. :( Look who he did see though!

MEB!
 RYAN!
 and SHALANE!!!

 After we drove the Newton Hills Friday night, I was terrified. I honestly have to say that even though my pace slowed there, they weren't nearly as bad as I found them last year. I knew my body was stronger this year, I was just having a difficult time running in the heat.

My quads got ripped to pieces approaching Heartbreak, but  it was a great relief to depend on my calves and hamstrings instead as we climbed the hills. I kept chugging at them and before I knew it, The Heartbreak was Over and Boston College was calling!

The students at Boston College gave me my biggest boost last year, and this year was no different. They are all offering beer, high-fives and giving words of support: "Go Big Tits!" Yes. I heard this again this year.....lol. Clearly not my junior high boy chest, but they did yell "Go Turquoise!" when I ran by. :)

I really wanted a beer when I ran by Boston College...lol. It smelled so good and a man next to me took one! I almost cried in fear when they were chanting, "All down hill from here!" I know they meant that in a good way, but I knew I'd pay dearly with my quads. :S


The late stages of the marathon are definitely a race of the heart. Mind over matter one might say. I was in pain. Everything hurt. And I was very warm. I thought of the burger I'd eat as a reward later. And the water I'd get at the finish. I thought of Martin Richard and the other victims. I pushed. I fought back tears and took in all the "You got this" motivation I was hearing. "Boston Strong! Boston Strong!" was a popular chant along the way. It really made me feel 'Strong.' It was a reminder of the reason I was here: To run Boston, the way it was meant to be run. So I gave er'!

Some of the race was a blur as I just kept thinking about one foot in front of the other and counting strides. I remember looking up and seeing blue sky and many Magnolias at mile 24. I looked to the left and saw a big group of kids holding out Freezies. I was so thirsty I reached for the blue. It smelled weird, lol. Like the kid's sweaty hand may have been holding it for a while. I didn't care. I gulped it down and it was awesome, lol.

Then the famous Citgo sign. The big red triangle that you can see from so far away, but when you reach it, you just have one mile to go. I refused to look  up at it until I was certain I was near it.

Under the bridge. Take the turn and you can hear Boylston long before you can see it!

This year I looked all around as I ran up towards the beautiful blue arches. It was pure awesomeness! More spectators than I ever remembered last year and so much joy. 100% amazing!

I stumbled across the finish and looked up into the face of a man who was smiling at me. He looked crazy familiar and was wearing a headset. "Are you DAVE MCGILLIVRAY?!" I ask (Boston Marathon Race Director). "Yes," he said and SHOOK MY HAND!  He congratulated me and I thanked him for an awesome event. I was star struck!

A lovely lady gave me my medal and I balled like a baby. She hugged me. <3 Everyone and I mean everyone volunteering congratulated the runners.
 After re-hydrating I headed up towards the T to head back to Newton and meet up with Matt. A volunteer offered to take my picture after watching me Selfie it up along the finishing chute...lol.

 A medic told me and another lady that Rita Jeptoo had won the female race. I thought it was fitting that I saw her poster on my way to the train. :)
The workers at the train let all the runners travel for free! So awesome :)

When I was waiting for the train Nick and Paul showed up! We rehashed the race along the ride home and compared leg cramps...lol.
 What an awesome day!

Check out my reward meal in Maine :D


 Boston Marathon #2 is in the books. It sure was a great one!

Thanks for following me along my journey. Have a beautiful day!

Happy Running,
Heather :)



54 comments:

  1. I was SO looking forward to this post!! Congrats on a awesome race girl!! You ROCKED Boston. This makes me want to qualify even more now (sometime anyway ;). Take some time to recover your body from such a solid training period and race! :D

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    1. P.S. I just re-nominated you for the Leibster Award. I think you have already received it but just know I adore your blog girl :)

      http://runningcanadiangirl.blogspot.ca/2014/04/liebster-award.html

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    2. You so have to do Boston! Nothing comes close to comparing!

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  2. FAN-freaking-TASTIC! Thank you for such a wonderful race re-cap for the mother of all races :) I really enjoyed reading your post, and WOW - well done! You are amazing.

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    1. Thanks so much :) It was such an amazing day!

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  3. Congratulations! Sounds like you had a great race (minus the heat of course!). So proud of you!

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  4. Ok, i'm gonna try this comment again. If this is a duplicate I apologize. Anyway, congratulations! You had an awesome race girl! I about teared up when you mentioned that sign that said "Your training got you to Newton, your heart will get you to Boston". When my sister ran Boston last year she said one of the best signs said "You've trained longer for this than Kim Kardashians marriage lasted". So proud of you!

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    1. Thanks!!!
      I love that sign! I think her marriage was 72 days and I trained for 18 weeks, so yeah I love it! ;)

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  5. I too teared up while reading this. Your emotion, as well as the emotion of the day came through in this post. What an amazing experience it was for you, one you will cherish forever!!! I know there will be more Boston runs, but none will compare to the one you just ran!!!

    PS....I wanted a sunburn picture. :-)

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    1. Thanks! The sunburn pic will be in my next post ;)

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  6. Amazing!!! love this! I felt like I was running it with you! :)

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  7. I am SOOO happy for you!! You had such an amazing race, even with the heat!

    I loooove all the signs you saw! Hilarious! I like when they're funny but not negative!

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    1. Thanks Ali! I know that for you guys this is not even hot...lol. I was sweating like crazy though!

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  8. Great recap! I had such a fun and impatient day tracking you on map. Mackenzie asked me who that little runner girl was; he thought the icon was actually YOU and said that you were super fast.

    I love all the photos, and I'm so glad you had a great day! Congratulations!!!!!

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    1. Thanks Erin, I totally understand the impatience. I felt like I waited all day when Matt was running it in 2011 and I was planning to track him. The race starts late and that just messes with us mentally, lol

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  9. I love it! Great job and such a wonderful recap, I felt like I was running it :) I was thinking about you all the time when I watched the race on tv!

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    1. Thanks Emmeline! It was totally awesome :D

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  10. YAY!!!! Sounds like it was an amazing day. It looked like perfect weather too! I love the cop yelling "no selfies!!!" hilarious!

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    1. Haha, That was pretty funny after I realized I wasn't going to have my phone taken away! It was an amazing day!

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  11. Love it....great recap Heather!! You had me in tears...the photo's were amazing...I plan to take my cell phone with me on my first marathon to try and capture the excitement! You ran a wicked marathon despite the heat you did it!! Congratulations girl...keep running!! :)

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  12. Congratulations! Thank you for writing such an awesome and detailed race report!! I feel like I was running the marathon with you. You came prepared as much as you could and used the hardest muscle to work, your mental mind!!! Good on u!!!
    I have really come to enjoy your blog, and was anxiously waiting for a blog to read about your race experience. thanks for sharing with us! Enjoy the afterglow!!!!!

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    1. Thanks Tanya! I'm totally enjoying the afterglow :)

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  13. Yaaaaay!!! Congratulations! What a great race. I loved everything about this post. The sign about the Netflix marathon cracked me up. That would've kept me going for a few miles. You are so inspiring.

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  14. What a great read!!! I was feeling the same way- so hot! I have not trained in that heat in awhile. I saw a lot of the signs you saw but not the poop and 92% one... THOSE ARE HILARIOUS!!! My quads were burning so much too. They feel a lot better today. Omg it was so awesome to meet you!!! BOSTON RUNNERS UNITE!!! :)

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    1. So awesome to meet you too! Maybe another Boston ;)

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    2. SO jealous that you two got to meet up without me! Maybe next year I'll be there too (at this point if it happened it would be likely through a training team)...there's always hope! And you did a great job recapping the event!

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  15. Great post, I was waiting for it! You wrote it with great momentum, I could sense your emotions. What a remarkable job, runner girl. A lot of hard work and some natural talent, good for you. Where to next? Loved the slogans, beer and comments on boobs! Funny. I am embarrased to say I never did know what the popsicle sticks were....OMG, and how many times have I needed vaseline! Cripes.

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    1. Thanks Renee! Now you'll know what to do with the popsicle sticks ;) lol. Next up is the Blue Nose 1/2 :D

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  16. Great post! I read your last Boston post a few weeks ago and was really touched by it. I'm so glad you got to go back and run again! Thank you so much for sharing! Congratulations!

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  17. Heather, I LOVED every piece of this post. You indeed ran Boston the way it's meant to be run. Congratulations!!

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    1. Thanks :) I can't wait to do it again someday!

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  18. Fabulous recap!!! Congrats on your huge accomplishment heather!

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  19. So happy to see this and that you met Meg!!!!! CONGRATS on such an amazing accomplishment!!!! This was a beautiful post and I was crying! It makes me really want to run Boston someday!!!!

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    1. It was so fun to meet Meg! And thanks for the congrats!!! you will :D

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  20. Heather, this is amazing, but I need more details!!! I.E. Did you meet Kara Goucher???

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    1. Hey Molly, I didn't see her but was super close to her. The crowds were so tight where I was.

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  21. Congratulations! Whoo too! Great pictures and I love your recap. Did you see Meb? I heart Meb. Once he RT me on Twitter. Ha ha ha I would have cried at the finish line too.

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    1. Thanks Crystal! I didn't get to see him, but Matt got super close to him :)

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  22. I absolutely loved reading you post and remembering all the little things I had already forgotten! I was laughing for an entire mile at the girls with the "run faster and we will drop the signs" sign. Seriously cracked me up! I also loved how many people said "thanks for coming back." In my head there was no choice but to be there for this race but it was such an interesting, empowering perspective. I already can't wait for 2015!! Congrats on your run. We are BOSTON STRONG!

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    1. Isn't that crazy how quickly some of the things we forget about the marathon!? Other posts are great reminders for me too. I noticed all the thank yous as well from the volunteers and people in the city. I felt like saying, Thanks for having me!

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  23. Way to go! I can only imagine how amazing it must have been to be there. I was excited just watching it. Love the "all classy like" line. ;)

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    1. Thank you Kristen! It was totally amazing, and classy, lol. ;)

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  24. Congrats!! You rock!! Great post, thank you for sharing you story. I loved all the details you described about your experience and teared up a bunch thinking of all the support out there that day. I loved how you grabbed the Freezie at mile 24.. too funny. And yes, love that Citgo sign. So iconic Boston :)

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    1. Thanks Beth! I have a love/hate relationship with the Citgo sign, lol. A mile feels really far by the time I see it...lol.

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  25. Wow!! yay!! WOW!!! great pics. ANd what a great race!!! Love the pics and you are just BEAMING! What an awesome race for you!!!

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  26. I wanted to share that this girl stole and used your pictures, claiming them as her own....http://www.marathoninvestigation.com

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  27. Sorry- I gave the short address... the girl that stole your pics:
    http://www.marathoninvestigation.com/2016/04/stolen-valor-at-boston-2016.html?showComment=1461460029931#c9056230284503945760

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