Saturday, April 27, 2013
I am not sure how to even start this blog. I can honestly say that I never thought I would run the Boston Marathon. Heck, I never thought I would run a marathon, period. My first marathon was October 2011, BQ with 3:38 and some odd minutes. My 2nd marathon was May 2012, BQ with 3:34:50.
I guess a little back story is in order, since this is the first time that I have blogged. I started running(seriously) in August of 2010. I had run off and on since about 1996, nothing more than 6 miles and that wasn't very often or very fast. I was an overweight child/teen/young adult. I started walking/running when I left for college to keep off the freshman 15. Well, since 1995, I have lost a total of 120 pounds, the last 20-25 lbs coming off since August 2010.
Ok-onto Boston. When I qualified, my running partner and very dear friend, pretty much told me that I was going to Boston. She has been there 3 times prior and has been running marathons since she was 20. I was pretty darn excited when I bettered my BQ by 4 minutes when I ran my 2nd marathon. When registration day came and being able to register a few days earlier, as I was in 5+ minute window, I was pretty sure that I would get in. I have to say, it was still a few anxious days until I got the confirmation email that I was accepted. My running partner was also accepted so begins our Boston training.
My biggest concern, when it came to training, was the MN winter. The winter of 2012 was an exceptionally warm and very little snow winter. I knew that there was no way that I could get so lucky to have two perfect winters. I was right, it was a cold/snowy/windy winter. I don't have a treadmill, mainly because I don't really like to run on them, so I knew I was going to have some miserable training runs. I think there was a half dozen days where it was impossible to get outside because of the weather. Otherwise, I pounded the pavement and froze my tush. Also, living in pretty flat country, I was worried about training for the hills of Newton. I can honestly say, my legs were not prepared for what Newton offered.
My husband and I, along with my training partner and her husband, left for Boston on April 10th. Due to a April snowstorm, we had to leave for the airport a day early, so were sure to be able to get to the airport for our 9am flight. We did all our sight seeing Wed-Sun, before Marathon Monday. The closer Marathon Monday got, the more nervous I got. I hadn't been sleeping very well so I was exteremely worried about Sunday night. However, I slept like a rock and woke up refreshed and ready to rock the marathon.
Monday morning started with a 4:30am wake up call, with multiple devices being set, as I was nervous of oversleeping. We stayed in Brooklin at the Holiday Inn, so we jumped on the T to go down to the Boston Common to board one of the many buses to Hopkinton. After my husband gave me one more good luck kiss, I got in line and got on a bus after a relatively short wait. I was so grateful for my running partner because she is an old pro to what goes on on Marathon Monday. I was much calmer riding to Hopkinton than I have ever been before the start of a marathon. After milling about athlete's village and checking out all the vendors and getting some breakfast, I figured I better eat something as it will be well past lunchtime by the time we get done running. After a few stops at the port a potties, the last being the longest wait, it was time to start heading out of athletes village. I was scheduled to start at 10:20-2nd wave, corral 7.
After dropping my bag, which is an experience in itself, we starting making the .7 mile trek to the start. I just couldn't believe that I was about to start the race of my life. I still couldn't wrap my head around what I was about to do. The crowd cheering, the group of people running it was so overwhelming. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it. Once I got into the corral the tears started...so many emotions. It took me 4 minutes to get to the starting line and I was overwhelmed by all the heads, bobbing, as I looked ahead of me.
I was so grateful to be running/experiencing Boston with my running partner. I know she held me back because the adreneline was flowing and I wanted to just take off. The first 10 miles flew by. I had to keep telling myself to take in my surrounding as I get tunnel vision when I run and don't notice anything but the road ahead of me. The temperature on Monday was perfect, however, it was to hot for me. After training in nothing warmer than 30 degrees, the 50 degrees and sun began to take a toll by mile 10. It was here that I decided that qualifying for next year was not going to happen, which was an exteremly hard pill to swallow, and it was going to become a finishing run. Instead of running a 3:38, we were hoping, we come in at 3:45. I can honestly say, the crowd was AMAZING! I couldn't believe that it lasted the whole 26.2 miles and people cheered for you like they knew you. I remember scream tunnel because it was deafening. The next thing I remember are the hills of Newton. My legs did not like those at all but I was very proud that I didn't walk at all, at any point of the marathon.
My running partner and I couldn't wait to get to mile 24 to see our husbands and know we only had 2 miles left. I was struggling with very sore quads, exhaustion, and mentally breaking down. It was very uplifting seeing my husband, seeing him gave me the extra boost I needed to finish Boston. After seeing him, the realization hit me that I was going to be a Boston Marathon finisher. I honestly don't know where the strength came from but I found some to run a little faster than I had been before. When I turned down Boylston St and saw the finish ahead of me, I couldn't get to that finish line fast enough...3 hours 45 minutes after crossing the start. The tears started the minute I saw the finish and didn't stop for a few minutes after crossing.
I don't remember much about the corrals at the finish. I just remember being so cold, colder than I have ever been after I've finished a marathon. Also, I remember a medic asking me if I needed any help so I must have looked pretty awful too. Once I got some water, medal(which hung proudly around my neck), goodie bag, wrap thingy, I was so glad to get my drop bag as I had warm clothes and a dry shirt in it. Even though I had sweats and sweatshirt, I was so cold. My running partner and I made our way to the family waiting area, which was at W, as we figured there would be less people.
As we waited at W for our husbands, who hadn't made it from mile 24 yet, we heard the first bang. We were about one and half blocks away and weren't able to see anything but did feel the ground shake. Everyone on the street thought it had something to do with the Red Sox game or the fact that it was Patriots Day but when the 2nd bomb went off, we knew something was wrong. There was such an eerie silence, which was broken by all the sirens. We were still waiting for our husbands when a police officer or marathon security person came and told us we had to clear the area. That is when panic set in, as my husband was not there yet and I had no cell phone to contact him. I was just going to start asking random strangers to borrow a cell phone, as now we are walking away from our meeting area, and by the grace of God when we turned around there were our husbands. I have never been so happy to see his face. One- to know he was safe and two- to know we were together. My husband had just gotten off the T when the first bomb went so he was just as anxious to get to me as I was to get to him.
Not knowing where to go or what was going we just started walking. We knew that we were going to have to walk to our hotel, which was at mile 24, but knew we couldn't walk along the route. Not long after the bombs had gone off all cell service went down. I was very anxious to get in touch with family and friends back in MN. We were able to receive text messages but sending them was very sketchy. Eventually we were able to get texts to go out and let our family know that we were ok. The texts just consisted of, "The girls were done, a block and half away, we are fine." It wasn't until about 8:00pm that night that I was able to talk to my children, who are 12 and 10, and it was so nice to hear their voices and to assure them that we were ok and safe.
It took us about an hour to get back to our hotel and by that time I was so spent; physically and emotionally. As I sit here writing this, I honestly don't hardly remember the walk back to the hotel. I think that I was on auto pilot and just let my husband lead me back. We were set to fly out of Boston, back to MN, at 11:50 on Tuesday. We decided that we should leave to for airport extra early, since we knew that security would be tight. However, it didn't take us any longer to get through security leaving Boston as it did when we flew out a week early. You could feel the tension in the air and of course see the extra presence of police officers, national guard and airport security.
My Boston experience didn't end the way I thought it would but I do know that it isn't going to stop me from going back again.