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!
One thing I forgot: tan in a can apparently, LOL!
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.
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!
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. ;)
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!
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!
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.
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.
Check out my reward meal in Maine :D
Thanks for following me along my journey. Have a beautiful day!