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.

 

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.

image

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.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Kerri says:

    Awesome. Just awesome. So proud and happy for you!

  2. 2
    Mollie K says:

    congratulations!! this is so beautifully written and brought out so many emotions in me! what an incredible experience-im proud of you!!

  3. 3
    Tess says:

    THANKS for the re-cap. So wish I was there….So proud of everyone who was there!!!!You ROCKED it. Amazing, awesome, incredible!!

  4. 4

    Awesome job! I was there supporting my husband and it was an amazing race and so well done! I loved cheering every single runner on! I can’t wait to be there myself!

  5. 5
    Heather says:

    Congrats! I was just a bit behind you in Boston, and wished I could have had the fortune of a celeb Stuft Mama sighting!!
    What an incredible accomplishment and a journey of memories that will last a lifetime!

  6. 6
    Denise says:

    Congrats on a great race! What a wonderful experience ! My mom is from Massachusetts so I know very well what a great place Boston is and how awesome the marathon is. So amazing to see a city recover and be stronger than ever !! Maybe one day I will get the chance to be a Boston Marathoner too :)

  7. 7
    marti says:

    Awesome recap. Looks like an AMAZING experience!!! Congrats on a great race :) you rock

  8. 8
    lexa says:

    I got done reading this and the only thing I had to say was AWESOME. Congrats and hope you get do it again next year!!!!

  9. 9
    Chrissy says:

    Awesome recap! I had tears by the end! I wish I was fast enough to run Boston some day. Maybe when I’m 70+? Congrats!

  10. 10
    Kayla says:

    Amazing recap. Amazing race. Amazing mama!

  11. 11
    Kat says:

    Congrats girlie! Whatr an amazing race and spectating you online I was SO PROUD you’re SO FAST and push through motivating all of us who hit walls even in smaller races!

  12. 12
  13. 13

    Awesome recap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have never really had a huge desire to run Boston (just qualify for it) but after reading all these recaps and seeing pictures now I kinda do :) .
    You ran a great race and that is an AWESOME time!!!!!!!!

  14. 14
    Erica says:

    So freaking amazing! You rock!! Gah- I just can’t imagine being there for the race of …the century? You rock!!!

  15. 15
    Shannon says:

    Congratulations, you are so inspiring! Thanks for sharing your trip, I was tearing up reading about it! And the link to the photos of the signs…awesome! It just had to be such an incredible experience.

  16. 16
    Running Bear says:

    Thank you for writing this recap. I’m running my first full marathon in Pittsburgh in 10 days, reading stories like your’s is just about my favorite part of the taper so far. I appreciate the details in your description. Congratulations on such an amazing experience!

  17. 17

    Loving your recap. Just loving. So amazing and a big congrats to you for running and finishing so strong and well even if it wasn’t a PR. I can only imagine the emotions and experience of running this marathon but you captured it all so well for me that part of me wonders if I will decide to now run a 26.2 (people are always pushing me to run the NYC marathon here). Great job, be proud!

  18. 18
    AmyC says:

    Congrats! You all look super cute in those ponchos wearing your medals :)

  19. 19
    Karyn woods says:

    Amazing!

  20. 20
    Amy says:

    Yay awesome job! Sounds like it was a beautiful day and great race. I ran last year but wasn’t able to finish. I wish I could have ran it this year but, another time! I’m so happy this year was a good experience for everyone. Congrats again great time btw!

  21. 21
    Kristin says:

    Love EVERY single word of this. Congrats!!

  22. 22

    Your recap had me tearing up (in a good way)!! Congratulations!! You (all) are amazing and so inspiring! LOVE IT!

  23. 23
    Mark says:

    I love those ponchos! NYC Marathon started handing out the same fleece ones (only orange) last year, and it was a llifesaver so you didn’t need to bagcheck there. Hey what’s up with 26.68 miles on your Polar btw? CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR GREAT ACHIEVEMENT! I didn’t know about the hip displasia, makes it even more of an incredible story for you. Celebrate!

    Mark
    http://twitter.com/marathoner

  24. 24
    Apryle says:

    Congratulations! Loved reading this recap! Such a comeback story for Boston and for you!

  25. 25
    Bonnie says:

    Love this! What an incredible recap and an even more amazing experience…Loved following you along and seeing where you are now versus last year. I, like many others, teared up reading this and lived vicariously through you and others running this year after Boston last year. Thanks for sharing your journey and WELL DONE! :D

  26. 26
    Amy Zirkle says:

    Loong time since I stopped by, but today’s blog was worth it. Congratulations on such an amazing experience – Boston is a strong and proud city – lived there 7 years and it holds a special place in my heart – always will – may you relish and savor your accomplishment!

  27. 27
    Heather says:

    Awesome details!! Glad you got to experience it. I’ve only been there once but my husband has run it 4 times and he watched it on Monday and got tears in his eyes when everyone started coming down Boyleston St. I watched it one year-amazing race!

  28. 28
    Laura says:

    Great recap! So happy for you! I can only hope that someday I can make it out there….maybe when I’m 50! Haha

  29. 29
    Abe says:

    Congratulations Ms. Boston Marathoner. :) So proud and happy for you. You truly are one of the hardest working athletes I know and respect.

    I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to run Boston, but if I do…I’ll be calling you for tips and tricks. Thank you for taking me on your journey…you truly summarize what it means to be an extraordinary person.

    Congrats again. :)

    Abe

  30. 30
    Leslie H says:

    I teared up a little reading that. Thanks for reminding me about the things that matter and everyone you do this for.

  31. 31
    Melissa says:

    I don’t even know how you managed to recap such an experience, but I. LOVE. this. so. much. Tears, congratulations, and all that good stuff. Did you catch Meb hanging with Michael & Kelly this morning? Totally thought of you. ;) xoxo

  32. 32
    Smitha says:

    Kristin! Thank you for this recap. It was awesome. You are awesome!

  33. 33
    Janet says:

    Beautiful recap! Thank you for sharing and putting into words what running Boston meant to you… we were all in your back pocket rooting for you!

  34. 34
    Kim says:

    Great job – you are incredible!!
    Loved your recap and all the pictures!
    BTW – Is Sarah not blogging any more? I never see it these days!!

  35. 35

    So awesome. So proud of you.

  36. 36
    Carson says:

    This was a beautiful recap. Congrats on becoming a Boston marathoner!

  37. 37

    So wonderful- I had tears running down my face while reading this…for you and all the runners that ran this year. But also for all those who were there last year, and most importantly for all the little kids who now know how special it is to be a runner-and want to make it to Boston someday. Thank you so much for posting :)

  38. 38

    I am in awe – really!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing with us! Course I was born there so have a tender spot ion my heart for Boston on top of all else!!!!

  39. 39

    This gave me chills! I’m just so happy for you! You definitely have fight in you friend. You are such an inspiration and I soooo wish I could give you a hug right now. Love you friend! Thank you for taking us on this journey with you!

  40. 40
    Karen Atwood says:

    Congratulations!!! Best recap ever. You are such an inspiration!!!

  41. 41
    Kristina says:

    smiles and tears just reading this, girl. thank you for sharing such an epic day with us! XO

  42. 42
    lindsay says:

    you all are amazing! such inspiring women. Way to go woman!! sending a hug and a glass of wine your way

  43. 43
    Liz A says:

    Incredible! Thank you for sharing your amazing Boston journey! :)

  44. 44
    Mary Ann says:

    Thank you for sharing your incredible race with us. Congrats!

  45. 45

    Just amazing, Kristin… I can’t imagine the emotion and energy that day! I plan to be there at some point… first I have to requalify, so it won’t be 2015, but hope to see you there the following year! :)

  46. 46

    Congratulations! It sounds like it was an amazing day!

  47. 47

    You are so right about this being the best year to run Boston for the first time, what an incredible experience. I really enjoyed reading your recap, the pictures are really nice, and it’s seriously making me want to try to run Boston too. I’ll have to qualify first, actually I’ll have to run a marathon first! :) But it’s possible.
    Congratulations on the race and on your time, great result!

  48. 48
    Kristin U says:

    You are an inspiration! Thank you for writing about your Boston experience.

  49. 49
    Christina says:

    Thank u for this recap really captured the greatness of the day!! You are so motivating!!

  50. 50
    Tara says:

    Thanks for the awesome recap.

    And also, thanks for this: “I still have some fight in me.”

    I needed that today, like really really needed that. Congrats on an amazing experience!

  51. 51
    Jessica says:

    Goosebumps and chills. Thank you for sharing the details of such an amazing experience with us! You have me dreaming of doing this myself someday. Huge congrats to you! I’m so glad you were able to have a great race filled with memories of a lifetime! Keep on running!

  52. 52
    Tantra says:

    Congrats again lady! Such an amazing accomplishment! I swear I can’t get enough of the Boston stories, I love seeing people with their medals! I think that is my favorite pic!!! Sooo happy for you!

  53. 53
    Marcia says:

    What an incredible (and inspiring!) journey! CONGRATS on your finish — everything you said about God giving you the opportunity and working hard for those who support your dream, gah — amazing.

  54. 54
    Laura says:

    Congratulations! You are such an inspiration :) and SO fast!

  55. 55

    Boston is the best! So glad you had the experience! You ran an amazing race! I was sorry that I had to pull out this year, but I’ll see you in 2015! You are a rock star!! Congratulations! xoxoxo

  56. 56
    Kathy says:

    Kristin, I read your recap really quickly the other morning….I don’t even know if I had time to comment. ;-) However, its raining here today so I have some “down” time and REALLY READ it again…loved all your emotional/personal feelings attached to your recap and run.

    Glad it went (overall) well for you…..hope your legs are feeling better by now too.

  57. 57
    Lauren says:

    CONGRATS! I was up visiting Boston for the first time and cheered my friend on in the marathon. It’s my goal to run it one day soon! It was so inspiring being up there and cheering for all the runners. The city is a special place.

  58. 58
    Kristine says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog, and I loved your race recap! I ran Boston this year as well, and from your photo, looks like we stayed at the same hotel. Congrats on your race!

  59. 59
    Michelle says:

    Congratulations! Just came across your blog as I am attempting B2B in 2015 and scared. Only raced 1/2 marathon a week before a 50 km in 2012. I have to prepared myself physically and mentally as its a huge battle esp. with little training ( had a concussion this year)! Yikes! Thanks for your positivity! Keep it up girl!!

Trackbacks

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  2. [...] all sappy and emotional and stuff and you all don’t need that right now, especially so soon after the 2014 Boston Marathon [...]

  3. [...] I kept my jacket on as a throw away, but checked my gloves, pants and cool Boston poncho. [...]

  4. [...] being said, if you want a REALLY STELLAR pictorial of the day, check out Stuft Mama’s post. She nailed [...]

  5. [...] you how hospitable the Westin there was. The only time I’ve ever stayed at a Westin before was at the 2014 Boston Marathon. They took such great care of us there [...]

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  7. [...] true as I was hurt the year before and cancelled my trip at the last minute. Last year’s recap is here just in case you missed it or want to read it from a different viewpoint. I was a good 30 minutes [...]

  8. [...] was my third year in a row running Boston. My first year I got 3:22:14 (recap is here), last year I fresh off recovering from my second bout of hip dysplasia and a torn labrum and my [...]

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