2014 Boston Marathon Recap

 

Yep. I had to put the year there on for two reasons: because of the significance of the race this year and because hopefully this was the first of many times running the Boston Marathon.

I’m still having a bit of a difficult time getting all my thoughts together, but I’ll do my best to recap just how epic not only the race itself was, but the entire atmosphere and feeing of the event.

 

Let’s start from the beginning.

Pam, Sarah and I were up early at 5 am to get ready.

We wanted to catch the 6:00 am hotel shuttle to the Boston Common where all the runners were being bussed out to Hopkinton so we grabbed a quick coffee at the hotel and were on our way.

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Once we got to the Boston Common, things were relatively quiet. I think because we were there early.

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We found Kristina quickly and were on our way to the buses.

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We had to carry quite a lot in our hands as they weren’t letting any gear bags on the buses this year for security reasons. Any gear you wanted to pick up at the end of the race had to be checked before you even got on the bus. I guess this was the first time they did that.

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There weren’t any lines for the buses or anything. Again, probably because we were early. It was about 6:30 am and we didn’t race until 10:25 am.

The bus ride out to Hopkinton was pretty long. We had a lot of time to chat. Thank goodness we were all together. I probably would’ve been a mess if I was by myself on that long bus ride.

We finally got to Athletes’ Village.

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That’s when things really started to sink in a bit. There were lots of people getting there around the same time so we just followed the crowd.

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Everyone was making their way to the actual village set up. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. I’ve never been to a race where there was that big of a set up and staging area for racers to hang out before a race. It was pretty darn cool.

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They had everything. Gatorade Endurance Formula, PowerBars,

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yogurt,

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bagels, bananas and even Dunkin Donuts coffee.

Obviously the coffee line was the longest.

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Obviously we stood in it right away.

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Obviously we felt the need to double fist since we still had about 2 1/2 hours until start time.

It was pretty chilly out, but not too bad. They were giving out space blankets, but ran out before I got a chance to grab one. That guy right there should’ve given me his. Kidding.

We had plans to meet up with a friend at a house a little closer to the starting line so we left Athletes’ Village and made our way towards the corral area.

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It was a pretty long walk from Athletes’ Village to where the race actually started. Actually, 0.7 miles according to this map.

I bumped into my Runner’s World buddy Robert on the way.

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He took some great pictures of spectators and their signs along the course by the way.

It was a super cute little neighborhood to walk through.

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Lots of people were outside in front of their houses chatting with everyone and talking to the runners. Some were even offering some racing necessities.

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Interesting, yes? I actually went to this particular house later while we were waiting and asked if they had any coffee. They did not.

We hung out a bit here with the Sketchers crew who were there supporting their man Meb.

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We all took some time to fuel up, stretch and just hang out there. I had a baked purple sweet potato, a banana and a whole grain NuttZo sandwich I threw together while sitting on the grass.

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Then after what felt like a really long time waiting, it was finally time to ditch our warm clothes and head to our corrals for our wave start.

There were four different wave start times and nine corrals in each wave based on your qualifying time.

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Oh man were there a lot of people there. I’m talking huge crowds on both sides.

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Everything was really well organized though and didn’t seem to crowded once I got to the right corral.

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I was actually in corral three, not two. Just trying to impress. Ha ha. Kidding.

By this time I was by myself. I had a little time to pinch myself and realize that this whole running the Boston Marathon was really going to happen.

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I said my normal pre race prayers, gave myself a little pep talk and asked someone to take one more picture because there are just never enough. Ha.

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(Outfit by the way- Mizuno Wave Sayonara shoes, my favorite Mizuno shorts, Pro Compression socks, Handful black bra (stuffed with two GU gels, a Vega Gel and a Pocket Fuel shot), Lorna Jane tank, Halo headband and my favorite racing sunglasses. (link)

 

Okay, so the actual race.

Indescribable.

I didn’t take any pictures along the race course. I thought about it, but just wanted to take it all in while I could. Maybe next year I’ll get some pictures. This year it was just about taking in every single step, every single mile, every single spectator cheer, smile and high five and just, you know, everything.

 

I had heard the crowd support in Boston was amazing, but it really was just something I can’t even put into words.

The course is point to point from Hopkinton to Boylston Street in Boston. There’s a map of the course here.

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The course started out flat and fast. A little of a downhill actually and people were just lining the streets. Everyone was cheering. I couldn’t help but run fast with the crowd support and all the other runners who were going out pretty quickly.

I’m pretty sure I was tearing up the first 1/4 mile in. I kept thinking to myself “I’m running the Boston Marathon”. I’m here. Such an amazing feeling.

I felt good. A little bit of a faster pace than I usually start out with, but I was just caught up in all the excitement.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, was so positive and encouraging. It just seemed like one heck of a united front. We were all in it together- spectators, runners, walkers, etc.

Right from the start we were running for Boston.

 

The race seemed to go by quickly.

I got to see so much along the course. It was beautiful and I was trying to figure out what everything was as I ran by since I’d never been to Boston before.

And the people. Oh my goodness. It was so awesome seeing everyone out cheering.

People were our there with full out set ups- barbecuing, drinking beers, jumping on trampolines, handing out Otter Pops, playing music, etc. You name it, it was somewhere along the course.

 

I never look at race courses before races. I’m not sure why and I really should someday, but I kind of like going into a race not knowing the course and being surprised a bit. All I’d seen of the course were the few runs I did on the treadmill with iFit that took me through a couple miles. I did know though that a lot of it was downhill, but there were sure a few little hills in there that made me work.

Heartbreak Hill was towards the end around mile 21 and was after a couple small hills. They kind of sneak up on me, but then, before I knew it, I saw that big arch that said Heartbreak Hill was done. That was kind of nice.

 

I know I went out a little too fast. I was feeling good though so just went with it. I maintained a pretty good pace for the first 15 miles or so and then realized I better slow down a bit. My feet were hurting in weird spots and I could tell my right calf was getting particularly tight. I was just hoping I wasn’t going to cramp up on the course. You know that feeling when you can tell a cramp is coming? Ugh. I was worried, but just slowed down a bit and tried to concentrate on keeping my legs loose and moving.

I really started to struggle around miles 19-20 or so. I remember telling myself that if a marathon doesn’t hurt at some point, something’s not right. It’s all about getting through the pain and the struggles and persevering.

That 21 mile marker is always a big one for me. It was particularly good at this race since it was at the end of Heartbreak Hill. Only five more miles to go after that. I like to think of it as one Parenthood episode. Ha.

So, when I hit 21 miles, I was tired and knew I just had to push through. If not for myself, then for everyone out there running, spectating and donating their time and energy to make such an amazing event happen.

Also for everyone who wished they could be there but weren’t, for my family and friends who put up with so much to let me live my dreams, for the girl (yeah me) who last year wanted to be at this race so badly but couldn’t because of darn hip dysplasia, for all the doctors who told me that running just might not be my thing, for God who miraculously keeps me healthy through a lot of poor choices I’ve made through the years and graciously keeps on giving me one more chance to do it right and for anyone and everyone who has a big dream. It’s time to go after it, chase it and make it come true.

Most importantly though this race was for all those who were injured or affected in some way with the events from last year, for the awesome running community across the nation, for all the charities that raised thousands and thousands of dollars for this race, for the challenged athletes and amputees and for Boston and all the people of Boston.

 

This race was for them.

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Yep.

My friend Melissa caught this on the live stream. Do you see me?

Crossing that finish line was unlike any other. I know it was very emotional and epic for everyone in his or her own way. I can’t wait to read all the stories.

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Oh and you all know Meb won, right? Here’s a great article from Runner’s World that tells a little more about the elite race highlights.

His Boston win makes Meb the first American man to win since 1983. He is also now the only athlete to win Boston, New York City and an Olympic marathon medal.

 

Before I knew it, my race was over. Just slightly behind Meb. Ha.

I am now a Boston Marathoner.

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This year was the best year ever to become one.

 

I was all smiles at the end. Actually I was all smiles and tears the last two miles. It was hard not to be with everyone out there. Seriously, it was so amazing and emotional.

 

I wasn’t feeling too great at the end. Sarah had warned me that once you finish you have to walk about 3/4 of a mile before you can even exit.

I just followed the crowds on people.

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It even took awhile to get to where they were handing out our medals.

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Then we got some pretty spiffy space ponchos that had velcro and everything.

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Then we got water. I put that Vega Recovery Accelerator in mine and sucked it down in like 2 minutes.

Then we got to keep walking.

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They were handing out PowerBar protein bars and drinks, bananas and pears and little goodie bags.

I had to laugh that these Hawaiian rolls were in the goodie bag because they boys love these.

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You better believe they made the trip home with me in my carry on.

Luckily the girls were smart and designated a meeting spot for when we all finished. It was this statue. We all had a picture of it on our phone and I only had to stop and ask someone once to direct me to the statue.

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Sarah’s a speedster and was in the wave before ours so she was just hanging out waiting for us for awhile.

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This was her 4th Boston Marathon by the way. She also ran a marathon last weekend and has another one this weekend coming up. Yep, she’s amazing. This was also marathon number 61 for her. No big deal.

Seriously, these ponchos were so key. Yes, I brought mine home with me. Can’t wait to show the boys this either.

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And…….

about 9 hours after we started the journey together that morning, we all met up as Boston Marathon 2014 finishers.

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Oh and my official finish time was 3:22:14. My GPS was pretty darn close.

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Not a PR, but I wasn’t really going for one.

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You know, I really just wanted to take it all in and have a good race. I wanted to be able to take in the fact that I got to be a part of such a monumental event.

And, whelp, that’s exactly what I did.

Every race there’s at least a couple times where it hurts and it’s hard and you have to push through, but in the end you always come out a better person. I feel like each race you prove a little something more to yourself.

This race felt good. I needed that because to be honest, I had my doubts after my last marathon.

But…..

I still have some fight in me.

We all do.

Yep, I’m talking about you too.

It’s about finding the strength, the grit and the passion to get out of your comfort zone and put it out there.

 

And before this recap becomes a novel, I’ll be done. I won’t bore you with all the details and how long it took us to actually get back to our hotel, but I will tell you that we walked around looking like this for quite some time, I’m pretty sure we did a total of 36 miles in all that day.

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I will also tell you that my yellow socks now have a hole in them.

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Most importantly, I will tell you that one thing that really touches me and was quite incredible was that everywhere we went afterwards, the people of Boston were not only saying congratulations, but THANK YOU. They kept thanking US for running. And I don’t mean just a few people, I mean everyone. All the people of Boston. Isn’t that just crazy?

It was OUR honor to run.

Thank YOU Boston for letting us.

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This medal signifies a lot. More than just a race.

It signifies community, pride, a united nation, strength, hope, believing in dreams and overcoming obstacles.

The list goes on and on.

Heck yes, we are showing people who try to knock us down that we are one heck of an incredible nation and we will just keep getting up and fighting back.

 

And, that’s a wrap.

I’m a Boston Marathoner!!!!!

 

Yes. It needed that many exclamation marks.

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Today was epic.

Amazing. Emotional. Tough.

A true blessing.

I’m pinching myself that I’m here and got to experience such a monumental race.

And yep, totally fighting a few tears at the moment so I better make this snappy.

 

So many thoughts to share, but not enough time here in Boston to get them all down.

The feeling here around the city incredible. Everyone is very welcoming, supportive, grateful, honoring, etc. Such a great feeling.

So many people were just thanking all the runners for running today.

 

Best experience ever. Yes.

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All these ladies rocked it today out there by the way and they are some seriously awesome and inspirational friends (Sarah, Pam and Kristina).

And yes, I am aware that those ponchos are very cool.

Smile

I can’t thank you enough for the good luck wishes and coming along the journey with me. It was exactly what I wanted. The experience of a lifetime.

Not a PR, but one heck of a life event.

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This medal is for all the runners and spectators who were out on the course today. All those who were affected last year. All my family members who sacrifice time and energy to let some silly mama with a dream fly across the country to race. And for YOU for just being the amazing support system that you are.

HUGS!

Can’t wait to recap it all, but for now, whelp, we’re off to get as much of Boston in as we can.

First up is some good food and wine.

Smile

See you soon!

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