Friday, May 23, 2014
My Boston Marathon Report was so long that I had to blog it into 4 parts. Please read parts 1-3 before reading this 4th part. It will definitely make more sense to you.
Now I was on my own and feeling the heat. I kept my mind occupied reading the signs, conversing with other runners, looking at the churches, singing songs in my head, and trying desperately not to listen to any defeatist thoughts that kept popping up. I knew I was slowing way down to an undesirable pace, but told myself to forget about my time, I am going to finish Boston and enjoy the accomplishment and the journey. My biggest thought at mile 17 was whether to choke down a vanilla or strawberry-banana Powerade Gel. I found it comical that each of the tables set up with the Gels and the volunteers tee-shirts were all the color that represented the flavor of the Gel they were handing out. It made it easier to choose when your brain was getting numb from exhaustion and made the course a canvas of bright colors.
With five miles left to go, I was shivering and feeling sick to my stomach. Remembering advice from running gurus, I still made myself drink! I was not going to give up! My eyes kept to the sky looking for that Citgo sign that Ellie told me to look for. Was I on Beacon Street, yet? Where the Hell is that Citgo sign???
With two miles left, I had to dig real, real deep. I have to confess that some walking was going on, but I was still moving forward!! I think I saw that on a sign somewhere. I also saw one that said, “Smile if you peed a little!”, “Fart, it will make you feel better!” and “Go, random stranger, Go!”
Hallelujah, I see the CITGO sign!
I don’t remember much in the last mile other than the poor guy next to me who went rigid with a hamstring cramp. Man, I could feel his pain and wanted to do something to help, but knew there was not a damn thing I could do to help him, other than pray he made it to the finish line! I had to unclip the picture of my Mom from the inside of my shorts and hold it tightly in my hands for dear life.
“I know you’re up their Mom, cheering from Heaven, so please, kindly give me a little push toward the finish line and hold me up if I fall!”
After I told whoever was listening to drag me over the finish line if I collapsed, (I saw that on a sign, too) I completely went inside myself. It wasn’t until I turned right onto Hereford Street, that I came alive. Turning left onto Boylston Street, I heard the roar of the crowd. It was deafening in a good way. It was like going to a rock concert and feeling the bass inside your chest. I had the most profound and joyous feeling. I AM going to finish! I see that finish line! Thank you, Mom! Thank you, crowd! Thank you, Boston! I summoned everything I had left to keep my feet running. I finally crossed the finish line.
I honestly crossed the Boston Marathon Finish Line.
I DID IT!
I know this is going to sound sappy and cheesy, but it’s just got to be said. When they put the medal around my head, I cried the few tears that I could actually make due to the lack of fluids left in my body. I was proud and happy and exhausted.
I posed for a picture, took some food and walked like a snail the long half mile down Boylston to the park we had arranged to meet in. I spied Cassie who was jumping up and down in the crowd and met her on the sidewalk. I wrapped my arms over her shoulder and she took me to where Jim was waiting under our designated tree. He wrapped me in a bear hug.That hug was the greatest because not only did I feel his love and pride, but he was also holding me upright. When he let go, I grabbed onto that tree and hugged it to stay upright so he could spread a blanket for me to lie down on. I guess I really am a tree hugger!
I was determined not to wear my Boston Marathon Jacket until I crossed the finish line, and as promised, Jim found it and put it on for me. Damn, do I look good in it, too!
When it was time to go to the subway station, those steps looked steeper than ever before and I looked longingly for an escalator! The subway was packed, but as soon as everyone saw my jacket and knew I was a finisher, they moved quickly to give me a seat. These Bostonians had no idea who I was or where I was from, but they treated me like royalty and thanked me for running the race.
On the way to Manchester, NH, where we were staying the night, I caught up with all my loved ones. I got a call saying Ashley had a baby boy, Noah, an hour after I finished. A joyous day in our family! She got a baby, I got a medal. My Dad, who is also Ashley’s Grandfather, was proud as any man could be!
I splurged and ordered from Five Guys. The burger and french fries never tasted so good. The hot shower afterwards felt heavenly. Watching the recap of the Elite races in a comfy bed, priceless. What a day!
I am still riding the high and I hope I never come down!
Official time: 4:49:08 (Who does crazy things like that, right, running for almost 5 hours?)
Will I run another marathon? Never. OK, maybe. Probably. Alright, YES!
Thursday, May 22, 2014
I made my Boston Marathon Race Report way too long. So, I am blogging it in sections. Make sure you read Part #1 and #2 before this one. This part goes until the halfway mark.
Race day! Monday, Patriot’s Day, April 21st, 2014
First, I made myself eat my breakfast and drink my fluids. When it was time to get dressed and ready, I was so afraid that I would forget something. I checked and rechecked my mental list a zillion times.
The three of us put temporary tattoos on our hands with a heart and “Boston Strong” embedded inside of it. It was a symbol of solidarity.
Ready to Go!
(I am not sure how to get this picture to turn so that it is up and down . Oh well.)
I met my friend in the Lobby and we got into the hotel shuttle which took us to an official Boston Athletic Association (BAA) shuttle near Hopkinton.
We had our biggest security search before getting on to the BAA buses. We were body scanned and our personal items were searched. It was a long line in the sun and a tiring wait. We all tried to keep it light but I couldn’t help but think about the seriousness of this process and why it had to be done this year.
It was sunny and warm when we stepped off the bus and into the Athlete’s Village. The majority of the time I spent in the Village was spent drinking (and I don’t mean Whisky, although come to think about it, it would have been a wise move to relieve some of my jitters!) and standing in line to visit the pretty blue boxes. I ditched the warm up clothes, and devised a plan to discreetly use my Glide one last time. Once me and my comrades were called (yellow bib, corral 2) I could not believe how long it took us to get to our corral. We were marching like ants. My sense of time may have been off, but it felt like an hour. I have never seen so many people in my life. Owing to the fact that I was so darn excited, and it was a bit too warm and sunny for my liking, I was immensely thirsty, even before I got to the start line. Not a good sign when beginning a 26.2 mile run with 36,000 of my closest friends.
I was off and running. Tons of men were already peeing on the sides of the roads. Gross! Oh no, now I have to go, where is those blue boxes when I need them? I realized that these conditions were the making of a deranged dehydrated Lisa, so, I made a proactive plan of stopping at every water station and drinking Gatorade first and then water.
A few of my runner friends that had run Boston before told me that the crowds were insanely loud with their cheering. I really couldn’t have imagined the intensity of this until I came to the first town. It was amazing! If I can give any advice at all to a first time Boston runner, I would tell them to make sure and wear their name boldly somewhere on the front of their body. I always dreamed that crowds would chant my name as I ran in front of the pack to ultimately win. Since I remembered to wear my name on my shirt, the crowds cheered me on by name. “Go, Lisa, Go!!” Well at least I got part of it right. Somewhere in back of me, I heard the roar of the crowd chanting “Tedy, Tedy, Tedy”! I pondered that for a long time since it was so loud and I couldn’t imagine who they could be cheering for like he was the King of England or something. After, I took a quick Blue Box stop, I noticed the chanting for “Tedy” was ahead of me. It finally dawned on me when I saw this really big guy running ahead of me. This must be the famous Tedy Bruschi, an ex-linebacker for the New England Patriots. No wonder the crowd was going crazy. I didn’t want to get too close to him because, one, he is a big guy and his sweat must be spraying everywhere, and two, he may be able to guess that I am a Giants fan, tell the crowds and then, I’ll be the brunt of a whole lot of heckling.
Every time that I passed over a 5k mark and my splits were taken, I knew that tons of people back home would be watching my progress on their computers or phones. I would mentally remember as many of them I could and picture their faces in my head. Countless times I would say hi to them out loud. “Hi Dad”, “Thinking about you Jenn”, “Help me Jody!”, “Switch bodies with me Heidi!”, “I need you next to me, Ellie”, “Push, Ashley, Push!” (Another story for another time, but suffice to say that my special niece was well on her way to delivering a baby!)
At the halfway mark (Wellesley), I was earnestly looking on the sidelines for Jim and Cassie. At mile 14, I was rewarded with their cheers, smiles, hugs and sweaty kisses. What they must put up with! They have no conception how much I appreciated their love and encouragement. I ditched my phone with them and made them promise to find me at our meeting place at the end.
This is a picture of me when I spotted Jim and Cassie.
Stay tuned for Part #4-the other half of the race!
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
I have written a very long race report, so I will be blogging them in parts. Make sure you read them in order so that it makes more sense. Stay tuned for the next part!
Saturday, April 19th
Packing, traveling and settling into the hotel in Westborough Mass. (near the start line) took most of Saturday. I was so happy and thankful to have my biggest fans with me, my husband Jim, and my daughter, Cassie. We had great fun in the hotel with stunts like riding on the luggage carts, “people watching” over the balcony, and wondering why they would ruin a perfectly warm chocolate chip cookie by putting walnuts in them.
Can you tell we don't get out often?
Sunday, April 20th
Easter Sunday arrived and I was looking forward to visiting a local church. This was important to me because I believe it was no coincidence that the Boston Marathon and Patriot’s Day came the day after Easter this year. There must have been at least 400 parishioners attending this church. During his sermon, when he related running to faith, the pastor asked if there was anyone running in the marathon. My husband grabbed my arm and raised it. Incredibly, I was the only one! Although I was embarrassed about being singled out, I was amazed, honored, and yes, a bit proud. It made it that much more important for to me follow through with my plans to literally wear my faith on my sleeves. I had my pastor mark the entire length of my arms with the words “We Forgive”. I was hoping that when people read this, it would open minds to the possibility of forgiving. I feel we must forgive to heal. I knew that this silent affirmation of forgiveness may create controversial thoughts. A quote by Karen Salmansohn will better explain my motivation.
“Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their actions. Forgiveness stops their actions from destroying your heart.”
After church we rode the train to Boston where I picked up my Bib, and then we weaved through the crowds to take advantage of all the freebies in the Expo. It felt like the population of Vermont was stuffed into this building! We walked down Boylston Street to see the finish line. As we approached the bomb site and the memorial crosses, I shivered with sadness and said a prayer for everyone to find peace and forgiveness. It was windy and cold, but the sun was shining brightly on the memorial and the finish line. I vowed that, barring any extreme, and I mean extreme, circumstances, I would cross it tomorrow!
We made it back to the train station where we had to wait an hour right outside Fenway Park. It was not a place to announce to anyone that we are Yankees fan! It was great to feel the excitement all the fans were feeling on their way to the game. So, today, and today only, Go Sox!!
That evening we had a delicious meal at an Irish Pub & Grill. Imagine that, an Irish Pub in Boston! I wanted to have an Irish Brew, but decided against it, thinking about how it would effect me and the race tomorrow. Maybe another time! However, we had lively conversations and tons of fun and made plans for the next day.
I was exhausted, and I was surprised that I had no problems falling asleep. Staying asleep, though, not a chance. At 3:30 a.m. my eyes flew open even though I knew I should be sleeping. It was not easy staying quiet in a hotel room with two other occupants, but I managed with my trusty smartphone.
Stay tuned for part #3~Race Day!
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
I have written a very long race report, so I will be blogging them in parts. Stay tuned for the next part!
For me, this year’s Boston Marathon was much bigger than a 26.2 mile race. It was incredible, mind blowing, marvelous and wonderfully painful. It was an example of community and personal perseverance, and a testament to the healing power of the human spirit. It will go down in history as a magnificent example of the strength, resiliency, and patriotism of a STRONG American city. AND, I was a part of it!
It has always been a dream of mine to run in the Boston Marathon. I never believed it was possible because, to be honest, I am not a naturally talented long distance runner. It is unlikely that I would ever obtain a qualifying time. However, with fabulous luck, I was chosen by GMAA (Green Mountain Athletic Association) to receive a complimentary Bib. It was such an honor to receive it, especially for this paramount year. I was totally excited and I vowed not to let them down. After finding the right training schedule, I tackled it with as much enthusiasm as a climber assaults Mt. Everest. I did not skip one run. Through snow, ice, blizzards, freezing rain, holidays, sore muscles, hectic days, sick kids, sick dogs, and a few grumpy moods. I did not let these things deter me. Why so rigid, you ask? Simply because I was given the chance of a lifetime and I didn’t want to blow it. After last year’s Achilles injury and the inevitable weight gain while healing, I knew this was going to be one hell of a challenge.
During the long months, then weeks, and finally days leading up to the race, my excitement escalated, but so did my anxieties. The media attention describing the significance of this year’s race just added to these emotions. I came to realize that I had so many people supporting me. Not only GMAA members, but also my family, friends, neighbors, work friends, my “pool” buddies, my whole entire church, and even my daughter’s friends (who enthusiastically picked out the “outfit” I would run in). Naturally, crazy thoughts started streaming through my head.
“Who do I think I am, running the Boston Marathon?”
“I am not ready, I am not trained enough.”
“Please, God, let the weather cooperate.”
“Am I eating the right things, sleeping enough, drinking enough?”
“Please, God, let me finish.”
“What was that twinge?”
“Was that a sniffle, a cough, a rash?”
However, the one I couldn’t ignore no matter how much I tried;
“Dear God, after all my hard work, don’t let me disappoint myself or the tons of people that are cheering for me!”
I want to think these are normal thoughts that pass through every runner before a race, whether fast or slow, young or old. I was lucky to have a good friend Jenn, to talk me down from these thoughts. If not for her, I may have never made it to the start line.
Stay tuned for Part #2
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
This is a picture of Mt. Mansfield in Vermont. It's about 25 miles East of my house. Snow is just starting to accumulate. I did not take this picture, but I found it online at www.hforcier.com. Our colors are all but gone, but you can see some glimpses of color from trees that are lazy to Fall into winter.
There was a dusting of snow in the Valley where I live. Good news since I am aching to get my Nordic Skis out. I hope to learn to skate ski this year. I tried last year, but didn't even get close to catching on. It is not easy to learn. Much harder than classic skiing. My son, who is in College, left behind his ski skates, that I am going to put into use.
See the difference. The person on the left is skate skiing, and the person on the right is classic skiing, both are Nordic (Cross Country) skiing.
I have been doing excellent on my exercise, but still struggle on my afternoon binging. Everyday I say I am not going to do it. But, I have not been able to get out of the "pull" to binge. I absolutely know I have a problem. I am trying to journal about it and find a way to be released from that "pull". I have not lost hope yet, and will continue this battle and will overcome it.
Have a wonderful day and don't give up. Ever!
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