Thursday, 19 April 2018

The 2018 Boston Marathon-One For The Books!

On your mark! Get set! SPLASH!

Or something like that, lol.

This year's Boston Marathon was one for the books. As current media coverage indicates, the weather deserves a medal of it's own.

In my packing preparations I was NOT prepared the type of weather we actually ended up having on Marathon Monday. The forecast was saying 14 Celsius and then a few days later 10 AND then 2 the day before the race! I had not packed tights or capris, so I was wearing shorts now matter what- Yikes! The weather system kept getting more intense as we got closer to race start. Runners all over the Boston area were freaking out!!!!!!!

I was trying very hard to continue my journey into denial about how bad the weather was. I trained in Nova Scotia, a little rain wasn't so scary. ;) I didn't realize that Mother Nature was going to toss in some sleet, substantial headwinds and persistent deluge!

Let's check out race day:

Marg, Matt and I headed off on the hotel shuttle to meet up with the BAA buses. We did some selfies on the 45 minute trip and pondered what the day would bring.
We may get wet, but at least we had cool nails. :D
Our shuttle met up with the buses and we were some of the first to get on.

This was a common sight...

It wasn't raining too bad at all at first. But then...
When we arrived at the Athlete's Village things got seriously intense.

The winds started picking up and that IS SNOW on the ground!

We arrived early to ensure some prime real estate in Tent 3!

We were some of the lucky ones since MANY were left standing in muddy mucky puddles trying to seek shelter.

Matt, Marg and I shared these plastic bags on our excursions to the port-a-potties! We ran into Bruce from our running group and he gave us some excellent tips on getting in and out quickly! ;)

Matt left the tent first to head off with the wave 1 runners and then Marg and I hung out with Bruce and did final preparations. My Dollarama rain suit proved very effective until I sat down, LOL!!!

I can't even...
Upon the advice of the BAA many runners packed extra running shoes for the start line. Thank goodness I did because I saw so many runners trudging through these huge puddles on their way up to the corrals. :(

When my wave was called I slowly made my way up to the start line but there was so much gear on the ground and runners trying to get through all the umbrellas and people changing that I missed my start! No big deal I know because my time wouldn't begin until I crossed the chip mat. But it was close on 10:30 and I was in wet sock feet in the middle of the street changing my clothes and shoes!!! My poncho and rain jacket got blown away during the process as I struggled to tie my shoes while keeping my gloves dry. Boy, what a challenge! Matt got us surgical gloves to wear over our thin gloves to keep us warm and dry.  

So instead of the usual bag of nerves I usually am at the start, I was a rushed runner on the verge of panic trying to take a puffer and focus! 

Once I hit start with several other runners who also couldn't get to the corral on time I was pumped and I had the biggest smile as we cruised down the starting hill of Hopkinton. This is always a very special feeling. <3 

I was feeling a bit concerned about the ice cold pouring rain that was falling on my super sleek and not so warm running outfit. I made a decision on impulse that as soon as I saw a discarded poncho I'd try to grab it if it was safe and I wouldn't trip anyone. So I did!!! I grabbed the first accessible one I could and pulled it on over my head and I immediately felt better. It was covered in muddy wet footprints!!! I couldn't help but laugh at the move I had just made, LOL. My students thought this part was the best of my whole marathon story! 

I love that it was clear and you could still see my bib! 
photo credit: Tim Chesnutt

I took it super easy on the hills since an appointment to the walk in clinic had me freaked on the Thursday before we left for Boston! I went to refill my puffer prescription and the doctor said that the congestion in my windpipe (that was giving me a tight feeling in my chest), may mean I should "abort the marathon!" I was so upset but Matt and Marg made me feel better and I decided to run and "abort" if it felt unsafe breathing wise. *It was very easy to slow the pace considering the forceful headwinds that were present for the ENTIRE MARATHON! 

When the strong gusts would blow I covered my mouth with the buff I won at the BLT Reboot was soaking wet so you can guess how that went! LOL. 

For the first few miles I couldn't tell if my legs were numb, frost bitten or tight. There were these sharp sensations in my quads and I realized it was sleet!!!! Not rain! I pulled my hat down low to keep it out of my face and every now and again I'd close my eyes and pray that I wouldn't ram into someone who suddenly stopped...which was happening, a lot. 

I have to say that there were definitely less spectators, understandably so. There were still many folks out on their balconies and lawns with tarps and umbrellas. The spectators were amazing though! They were totally invested in ensuring the runners a safe and comfortable run. Many signs with "Dry Socks and Gloves," made my heart full and so many runners were pulling over to change. I considered it but figured trying to get tight wet compression socks off of my frozen tight legs might be a marathon of its own! So on I went enduring the elements.

I saw Santa at 7.5 miles in a velor suit with an umbrella! LOL. There was also a big sign saying, "North Pole," and I was like, "No kidding!" 

I love that the traditional landmarks and cheer squads were out. I sang along to Sweet Caroline and smiled at the Rocky song when I heard it. 

In a blip, I was halfway done. The Wellesley girls were out in full screaming force!!!! The one and only sign I saw at the College said, "Kiss me, I'm already wet!" LOL LOL LOL!!!! 

I knew the race was just getting going as we sailed down the half mile decline in Wellesley heading into Newton. 
This photo was taken by the amazing Tim Chesnutt who stood at mile 16 and change with a huge Nova Scotia flag on a pole in the crazy Monsoon to get runner photos! I saw Tim after I climbed the first major incline at Newton Lower Falls. This one comes before the fire station where I'd then make a switch to the left side of the road so I could see Tom! 

I couldn't believe how easy it was to pick Tom out in the crowd!!! The decreased number of spectators definitely helped. What a trooper he was to stand out there cheering!!! 
 Right before the fire station I took a cliff shot from a volunteer because getting my own gels out of my bra was proving to be quite challenging with the layers and poncho. It was so cold I had to chew it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I kid you not. So many gels were on the ground and there was enough rain that had fallen that you could actually see it smeared over the street. I'd know because my head was down for the majority of the race to keep sleet and rain out of my eyes.
I really watched my breathing and pace on the hills but before I knew it I was at Boston College! The Heartbreak was over! ;) 

The cold was making my legs feel extra tight and my feet were so wet and squishy!!!!! I took oranges from spectators and I tried to absorb as much of the atmosphere as I could knowing full well that this great pain would be over in the blink of an eye, as always is the case with the Boston Marathon Phenomenon.

I kept giggling to myself about all the thought I'd put into my marathon outfit and I ended up choosing a poncho in the end! LOL. I wondered how many other Poncho-wearing marathoners thought of the same thing along the course.

I thought of Matt, Marg, Rachael, Bruce and Pat. I hoped they were all okay in the cold. At one point I knew Matt was definitely finished and I still had a ways to go. Then I wanted to be done. 

I'd quit checking my garmin at Newton. It became less about the clock and more about surviving this marathon with good health. Several people were being taken off course and I saw many runners stumbling and looking disoriented. I was concerned. But I was feeling okay. Just freezing, uncomfortable and tired! So many puddles to dodge, so many adjustments of my poncho that kept blowing up in the air like a parade float and so many steps to be taken!!!! I had to finish this marathon-imagine how great of a story this would make! LOL.

Entering Brookline I knew this is where it usually hurts, bad. The Red Sox game had gotten postponed due to weather so there were less spectators as we headed into Boston. Honestly though, I was probably more pumped this year than any other year just to be out of the weather!!! 

I could see the Citgo Sign in the clouds? Fog? Rain? I don't know but it was hazy looking. You know what wasn't hazy? The huge freaking painted sign on the street saying, "ONE MILE TO GO!" And boy, was I psyched. I kept saying, "One mile is NOTHING!" Over and over. And then it became, "Right on Hereford, Right on Hereford, where are you????" Suddenly there it was and I couldn't believe it, I was going to freaking finish this crazy hard marathon! As I ran up Hereford I decided to quickly whip off the poncho, you know, for the photos right? ;) 

Oh if I could only express the gratitude I felt taking the left onto Boylston and seeing the beautiful blue finish arch in the distance. It was pure joy! 


6 time Boston Marathoner coming through!!!!!

Tears of joy poured as I was handed my medal. "I'm so glad to see you!" I cried to the volunteer. She hugged me and gave me the most cheerful congratulations. <3 

Shaking and teeth chattering I headed to the train where I rode with Mirta, a medical tent volunteer. She was so kind to me and gave me here Boston Marathon pin which is proudly pinned onto my medal lanyard. She informed me that they were feeding the runners chicken broth in the tents to help with the hypothermia symptoms. I was so thankful to be feeling good, cold but good. 
 What an amazing experience I will never forget.

Tom was like Batman, as Matt called him, lol. He came to pick us all up in the super awesome warm car. He should have been wearing a cape, seriously!

Matt and I both had solid runs considering the elements. Both just very happy to have finished such a  feat that day! Now we are two Callaghan-sicles!!! took forever to warm up!

My training partner in crime and I!
 Unicorn number 6!

Some interesting facts from an IG friend! 

My stats: It's actually my second fastest Boston Marathon if you can believe that!

I cannot thank you enough for all of the incredible support and messages!!!! Amazing thanks to tiux and Mizuno for decking me out in super fab swag and to Nova Physio for keeping me in tip top shape. ;) Another huge thanks to my run squad at the BLT runners whose cheers from afar gave me a bit of extra pep in my step. <3

Thanks for staying tuned in until then end! 

Happy Running,
Heather :)


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  2. What a great accomplishment, Heather! So proud of you!

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