Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The 2015 Boston Marathon!!!!!!!!!!!!

I caught myself smiling while driving in the car by myself this morning. :) Weird I know, but I truly can't stop thinking about Monday's Marathon.
First thing Sunday morning after I ate breakfast I laid out flat Heather and made some executive decisions regarding my choice of shorts. Choosing an outfit to run in forecasted rain requires some thought! I like to keep it sleek to avoid chaffing. ;) 
Matt went out for a 20 mile run and I caught up on some resting and stretching followed by some freaking out. ;) When Matt came home I was stretching those super tight glutes of mine, lol.

We went out for a fantastic lunch at a bagel cafe. Delish!
 Stop drop and selfie! LOL
We also checked out the race route to pass some time and had photo shoot along the way. :)
Show me the hills! I'm ready! ;) LOL
 So true. <3

Okay, so on our way back to the hotel, I had a big stomach flip flop when I saw the race crew putting up fencing along the route...gulp. Sh*t just got super real!

Oh look, more eating! Pesto ziti and garlic bread for the pre-marathon win. :D

 Yay!

Race morning:

All the hype about the weather had me convinced there was going to be a typhoon or something and I was totally freaked out...as evidenced below, lol.


Some pre-race jitters and Vaseline applying going on up in here, but boy am I ready to get this show on the road!

I joined the other runners at our hotel on the shuttle and headed over to the State Park to connect with the bus to the start. As if I wasn't already questioning my fitness with only peaking at 49.6 miles per week, doing a huge chunk of training on the treadmill, missing 10 days for a sprained ankle and 4 more days with a cold, I overheard other runners comparing their weekly mileage of anywhere from 60-90 miles/week! I tried real hard not to let it freak me out and just tried to go over my race plan considering the conditions.

Once we arrived there was a mega energy buzz in the air! :D

I got some strange stares when I took this photo below...lol.
This was outside the Athlete's Village! There was a whole other slew of port-a-potties inside! 
As I walked down towards the smaller tent I felt it...rain. :( womp womp. I wasn't too concerned with running in the rain because honestly I don't really mind it, but I knew how cold I was going to be if I got wet while sitting around and waiting to go run on the damp cold ground. Yep.

Even though I arrived pretty early the tent looked like this inside already!

Well since I'm staying in the dry tent, I might as well take a selfie.

My little slice of luxury in the tent...lol.

All was good until I spotted a gigantic worm slithering out of the ground! Like gross. Don't worry, I flicked that sucker with my coffee cup and who knows where he landed, lol. I sincerely apologize if it was on your trash bag. ;)
Oh hey, look at the rain...that should make for an interesting marathon, especially with these drafty winds. :S
 As I was standing in the lineup for the bathroom my phone buzzed on my hip:
I was like, "Ya think?!" since race nerves were up on turbo max.
To stay warm I drank two cups of coffee, plus I ate a plain bagel as well as some chews and a banana. I passed the time by trying to visualize the finish and picturing the clock. In my head I was thinking it would say 3:3X something. I had faith I could pull off a sub 3:40 and I was very honest with anyone who asked what my goal was. "A sub 3:40 would make me happy. A sub 3:35 would make me very happy!" But frankly, I was really doubting my fitness over the past couple of weeks and the thing I kept thinking about was this text message I sent to Sam on Saturday:
After typing those words I knew I couldn't give up easily and I wasn't about to let some rain and a bit of wind stand in the way of achieving my goal after the winter I've trained in! No way!

I actually heard my wave get called this year! :) That already deserves a medal since I missed it two years in a row! How does that happen at Boston???? 

On the way to the start race nerves makes me super chatty...lol. But then I noticed that everyone was chatting up a storm. I guess I wasn't the only nervous one.

As I shed off the layers I shivered. I knew once I got going I'd warm up super quick as I always do. 

I managed to hook up with a woman from New Brunkwick who was in the corral ahead of me. We were sharing marathon training stories which mostly consisted of our comparisons of snowbank heights and treadmill runs, lol. I was shocked to hear she was also suffering from the same SI pain as I was. Talking to her gave me the boost of confidence that I could run this marathon and put the pain at the back of my mind. So that's what I did. 

Right before we left I saw Sarah from my town! It was awesome to see a familiar face. We hugged and wished each other good luck. She totally rocked her race! 

As always, the crowds were epic at the start in Hopkinton! The cameras, the cheers, the spectators all make it real. Real emotional that is! Every single year I wipe tears off my cheeks as I toe the start. On Monday I said, "Today I'm running the F*ing Boston Marathon!" And I was pumped. ;)

At the sound of the gun we headed off to Boston! This was the first year that I didn't weave and try to overcome the crowded start. I knew I'd need that extra boost later. 

The rain was sprinkling and I didn't really notice the wind because of the crowd. Let's face it, I wasn't going to be in the lead today, so the wind hopefully wouldn't really be a factor, lol. 

I felt weirdly calm and focused during the first few miles. I clocked my first mile at 8:16 and didn't even panic because I knew the downhills would help me along, for a bit anyway, and that the crowd would eventually thin out. 

I questioned whether there would be many spectators this year with the poor weather conditions for standing on the side of the road, but I was shocked! The crowds were energising every step of the way. :) 

I ran with my iPod but didn't even have the power on. I like to take it just in case, but I've never actually listened to music during the Boston Marathon...lol. You just don't need it! Many areas had loud music booming and I loved it! Here are some of the songs I remember between miles 1-10: 

'Rocky Theme Song' (Obviously)
'Save a horse, ride a cowboy' (All the runners loved this one!)
'The Right Stuff" by New Kids on the Block!!! (Who else loved this song?! I sang along for a sec and a lady next to me said that she was going to have that song in her head for the whole day) 

Once again this year there were hilarious signs!!! LOL. One was huge and on the side of a building where the front was like mirrors or something. I think it was some sort of auto body shop??? The sign said, "Check your stride in my mirrors." Which I know doesn't sound that funny, but then of course I did check, lol. and so did EVERY OTHER RUNNER near me!

The other one that stuck out was held by two women cheering on their friend and it said, "Do it for the bumper sticker!" I loved this one because as you know I do love my 26.2 stickers!

I made the decision to chuck my gloves at mile 8 because they were soaked and I was 'noticing' them on my hands. You know what I mean? So off they came and there was no turning back. :S About a mile later it happened: MY HANDS WENT COMPLETELY NUMB. womp womp. Pre-race Heather always knows best. I wore these gloves for a reason and chucking them was not part of the plan! Now what? Frozen hands, no gloves and 17 miles to go. Just great! I made a deal with myself that if I could find a pair on the ground I'd pick them up and put them on...lol. It didn't happen. But I did see lots of hotel keys that got lost along the way!

I decided to take gels for fuel at every 5 or so miles for this marathon along with Gatorade and it worked perfectly!

Before I knew it I was entering Wellesley College area. Oh boy! At 12.3 miles I said to a woman next to me: "Oh my god, do you hear that?" Her eyes were wide and she laughed. It was the Wellesley College girls screaming up a storm and we could hear them far before we hit scream tunnel. :0  Those girls will pump you up no matter what! So fun! 

At the halfway mark I was reading 1:44:5x something. I thought, "Wow, if I can pull this off for a bit longer I might just get that 3:40 today, heck maybe even that 3:35???" And then I became real determined. 

With each Garmin check at the mile markers I was shocked at the consistency of my pace. I was tired, but not exhausted, so I was motivated and becoming more convinced with every passing mile that I could actually pull of a possible BQ today. ;) I also knew it was still early and so many things can happen on the Beast of a Course that is Boston. So I didn't get my hopes up. 

Heading into Newton I knew the hardest parts were coming. The Newton Hills. But I had a distraction: to find Matt in the cheering crowds this year. We planned a specific point along Heartbreak Hill where he'd be so I looked and ACTUALLY SAW HIM!  I waved my two arms in the air and hopped up and gave him  a peck on the cheek. He yelled, "Impressive pace!" as I ran by. I was like, "I can't slow down because he'll see me!" LOL. Other than the first mile, the Newton Hills is where I encountered my slowest miles with the slowest being the final hill at 8:24 pace. 

I actually grunted out loud and said "Thank God" when I saw the Brown Arches at Boston College saying "The Heartbreak is Over!" I just love that freakin' sign. ;)  I don't love the screeching of my quads as  you make your descent down over the hill after the college. It's a good thing the crowds are nuts there, lol. I could have even had a beer if I wanted. ;) 

My hands were so cold at this point that  I could no longer grip the cups of Gatorade at the stations. They were squishing in my hands and TWICE GATORADE WENT INTO MY EYE! And that sh*t stings!!!!!!!! 

I assessed my form and decided that with the burning quads I could push on without any major problems. And boy did I ever. 

I felt like there was some driving force helping me along. Was I tired? Yeah! Was I in pain? Hmm, definitely yeah! But I really wanted it today! Like real bad. Somehow at the end I was seeing the mile markers, 22, 23, and 24 quicker...or at least that's what it seemed like. And I glanced up at 23.something and could see the Citgo sign real far away so I looked back down, lol. And then finally an older man in front of me said, "What a beautiful sight!" So I looked up and the gigantic Citgo sign and you know what that means: ONE MILE TO GO!!! They were playing "I'm Shipping Up to Boston (The Warrior's Code)" here really loud and I loved it! 

I fist pumped taking the right onto Hereford (which felt like a mountain) and the crowds were crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I checked my Garmin and couldn't believe my eyes (3:29:XX)!!!!...then I wondered if it was malfunctioning again, as it did on my Saturday Shake out run so I just pushed hard to the beautiful blue arches as I turned left onto Boylston. It was amazing! 

The wind and rain didn't stop the fans from coming out to cheer at all! 

And the clock was saying 3:31:17!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was like, "what the heck just happened?!?!?" I had the biggest best smile and sense of accomplishment. Overcome with exhaustion and emotion I crumbled and balled like a baby. I couldn't even help it and I really didn't want to stop it. What a release! What a feeling! 
Taken immediately after my ugly cry finish...lol. 
 Yeah Baby! BQ and PB at BOSTON!!!!

Good thing I kept my phone in a Ziploc baggie the whole way. ;) How else would I have gotten any finish chute pics?!?!?

And then the violent shakes set in accompanied with purple lips. BRR!
Us runnersicles made our way up the chute as slow as frozen molasses, but as proud as peacocks.
I hobbled to the train and a police officer asked me if I was okay because he mentioned my shaking and blue lips, lol. Everything hurt and I had to climb down so many stairs to get on the train!

I looked for Nick and Paul since I ran into them last year, but no luck. :( I did end up sitting with Tanya from Truro, Nova Scotia though!!! Another coincidence! We talked the whole way back to Riverside where I met Matt.

After a quick change of dry clothes in the back seat of the jeep in a dunkin' donuts parking lot, lol I had a nice hot coffee and ...........

A cheesecake square! YUM :D

Later that day....

My splits:


The reason I'm walking sideways down the stairs today:


The Reason Running Buds are the best :)
Thanks Sam! :)
 And the reason my students and coworkers are awesome:



I loved getting this email from the BAA today when I was grocery shopping:

I had such an amazing day on Monday. I was reminded to have faith in myself and be confident that I can conquer hard things.  It was such a reward to have a real GOOD race after having doubts in your abilities because of the last few marathons. The training, sacrifice, hard work and commitment are all worth it in the end, especially when everything falls into place.

I can't thank everyone enough for the spectacular support I received via messages and phone calls! I truly feel blessed for my health and for the support over this past week. You guys are amazing! 

Congratulations to all the runners, especially the 100 Nova Scotians who rocked Boston on Monday! No crazy Atlantic Canadian Never-Ending-Winter can stop us! ;) And super thanks to all those awesome volunteers who stood out in the cold wind and rain to help us! Amazing. 

I <3 Boston

Happy Running,
Heather :)

19 comments:

  1. So amazing!!! I tracked you the whole way and cheered at my computer as I saw your miles tick away!! Your finish line recap brought tears to my eyes! So proud of you!!!!

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  2. Congrats Heather! You did so awesome! I was smiling the whole time I was reading this! When we ran the Disney marathon earlier this year my sister threw off her gloves too but fortunately found a thrown pair along the course that she picked up!

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  3. Way to go! Congratulations to you! What a feeling it must be to smash your goal! You worked so hard. Rest well!

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  4. Girl you are amazing! Congratulations on the fantastic PR!! I was so excited tracking you - I could see that crazy fast consistency going on, and I clicked over to your page to see what your PR was and thought I'll be...she's going to nail this and be ECSTATIC!! I am so impressed by your ability and determination. Well done, get some rest now :)

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  5. CONGRATS!!! WOOOO!!! You are a rockstar!!

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  6. I have tears in my eyes reading this! You described Boston so perfectly and I felt like I was with you every step of the way while reading your recap. I was wondering if you had planned on going for a PB. I know you always have the goal to run your best race, and this truly was the BEST! Boston is a TOUGH COURSE. No other course has tore me up as bad as Boston. And when you were talking about the steps to the train I was thinking oh my word yes, another sucky part about Boston is having to walk and take steps and everything to get back to your hotel room. I am SO happy for you Heather and I am so proud of you! You wanted it and you GOT IT. How are you feeling now???? Oh, and one other thing... I did the same thing when running Boston, I would say out loud, "I am running the FREAKING Boston Marathon." It's something about saying it out loud that makes it so momentous!

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  7. Great job Heather! I was tracking you and a couple friends of mine and you all did an amazing job despite the weather - Yay for PB AND BQ!!!!

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  8. Wow, what an amazing race!! Your recap gave me goosebumps! Good job girl!!! I'm so proud of you! You earned this!

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  9. OMG I'm almost crying reading this. I totally know that emotional upheaval upon finishing and now that I've run ONE marathon I can kind of understand a smidgen of how amazing you must have felt!! I'm soooo proud of you and happy for you! Your worked so hard and totally earned every second of this race. I'm so inspired to go run now!!

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  10. Congrats Heather! What a great recap. You've captured the emotion so well. What a dream!

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  11. Congrats Heather! What a great recap. You've captured the emotion so well. What a dream!

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  12. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I'm so thrilled for you. You did a great job on such a challenging day!

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  13. So motivating Heather! Congratulations on such an awesome race, PR/BQ - you rocked it! I actually had a few tears at the end of this post...so inspiring :)

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  14. Congratulations on such an awesome run! I stalked you the entire way and I was so excited for you! It was not an easy day. You were one minute behind my running partner, which made me even more excited! You are a beast and I love following your story!

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  15. Wow! What an amazing experience and an INCREDIBLE time! Congrats and thanks for the inspiration!

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  16. Thanks for sharing your day in Boston! What a feeling to be part of this race! Your rocked it, and is just shows you how much harder you worked with having such a tough winter. Congrats! You have already qualified to run next year?! That's even sweeter!

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  17. Amazing! I knew you were going to finish strong, I txt'd Sam a little over half way and said "looks like a PR for Heather today!" So proud of you!! :)

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  18. Congrats Heather! This was a touching and inspiring recap!! You rocked the course - a PB and BQ?!?! That is just plain awesome!!!!!! I hope you recovery goes well and you can take the stairs soon ;-)

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  19. I have been crying through the whole second half of this post! Thanks a lot! LOL just kidding!

    YOU ARE INCREDIBLE!!! I am so freakin happy for you!!!!! :) :) <3

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