I promise this will be my last running, marathon, or sappy inspiration-related post for awhile. Before I get back to food, wine, and travel, I did want to share with you what was one of the greatest days EVER.
It started out early on Boston Common, where thousands of runners lined up to board school buses to Hopkinton. It was chilly in the morning, and I was happy I had my fleece and sweatpants over my race outfit.
It took a looooong time to get into the athlete’s village at Hopkinton High School. The bus traffic getting into town was pretty backed up, and once we were at the high school it took awhile for us to be able to get off. Once there, we headed straight for the bathroom lines. They were long but moved pretty quickly.
The village was packed with runners, and Gatorade and Poland Spring provided pre-race refreshments, perfect for taking a little ibuprofen with
All during the pre-race prep time, both of my knees hurt, and I won’t lie, they hurt pretty badly. I tried to ignore them, stretched, walked around and just enjoyed the excitement in the village. When it was time to drop my bag off to the buses back to Boston (GENIUS idea, Boston Athletic Association!), I met Beth, a fellow Boston bloggie who I ran with back in December. We walked to the corral together, and it was fun to have a friend to chat with to keep the nerves down. On our way, we saw the Biggest Loser marathoners who had a little entourage.
And then everyone started moving. It took us quite awhile to cross the starting line, and I just took in all of the cheers.
Beth and I ran together for the first few miles, and then at a water station, I think near mile 4, I lost her and never found her again. Running by myself, I really just relished in the crowd, kept my thoughts super positive, and let my body relax. Normally I take walking breaks every mile or so, but I managed to run the first 17 miles without walking! I just knew that if I walked once, I would want to do it again, a LOT. The bottoms of my feet were hurting quite a bit from my shoes, which I think may be too small, but my knees were pretty much a-okay. Interestingly enough, I hadn’t been paying attention to my time because Beth had her Garmin, so at this point and all along the way, I had no idea what my time was.
There were some great moments in those early miles, like people blasting the song Sweet Caroline to keep the runners motivated. I have never felt so positive during a run in my life. When pain or doubt crept in, I chased it out with positivity.
When we got to Wellesley, I was pumped to hear the Wellesley College ladies with their deafening screams and excited hand slapping. I LOVED running through this area and probably high fived every single woman along the line.
Before I knew it, I was entering Newton and preparing to tackle its famed hills. Seriously, even in the moment, I felt like the miles were just melting away.
I gave myself a few walking breaks between miles 18 and 21, but it passed by so quickly that I was surprised to see WBZ TV with their cameraman and sign that said “Look into the camera and say I conquered Heartbreak Hill”. I was already there!
I thoroughly enjoyed and took advantage of the downhill into Cleveland Circle, then took another short walking break in Brookline, which was a good thing because I spied my old friend Jordan volunteering at a water stop! I haven’t seen him in 2 years, and it was a great surprise.
From there, things got a little tough, but it never felt like something I couldn’t handle. I breezed into Kenmore Square, and seeing the Citgo sign with 1 mile to go really gave me a boost.
I REALLY wanted to walk as I made my way down Commonwealth Ave, but I tried to make myself run one block at a time. It worked, because in no time I was turning on to Hereford Street and then on to Boylston Street where I spied my cheering section. My husband had been taking photos of the runners as they waited for me.
I can’t imagine running with all of that gear! Or being in a hot costume on a pretty warm and sunny day.
Here I am making the sweet turn from Hereford to Boylston. I am in the pink shorts with the white top and the jacket tied around my waist.
Here I am, waving to my husband and friends.
The finish line was in site, and my foot was killing me. I wanted to walk, but I employed the block by block method again, and it really worked. I crossed the finish in 4:25:50. The entire race I had no clue what my time was, and I think that helped. After making my way through the finish line and picking up my belongings, I met my number 1 fan and some of the greatest friends a girl could have.
We stopped by The ALLY Foundation post race party and then I headed home for a nice long bath.
We ended up having a yummy dinner at The Ledge in Dorchester, a really nice, casual spot with delicious food. I didn’t end up snapping any photos of my food, a wedge salad topped with blue cheese, eggs, and bacon, and sweet potato fries, but I did get a shot of my post race Long Trail IPA. After that it was off to a not so comfy night of sleep.
Yesterday was truly one of the greatest days of my life. I was 5 minutes off my Boston Marathon PR, but I had about 100 times more fun than my last marathon. Its amazing to see how much stronger I have grown as a person in just 2 years since my last Boston which was miserable for me. I prepared myself so much mentally and reminded myself to live in the minute rather than worrying about the miles I had ahead. I learned that life is too short to always look at the clock, and instead I actually took in my surroundings. It was SO FUN.
I kept inspired by all of the other runners around me who were running for dozens of causes from Dana Farber to Children’s Hospital to Homes for our Troops and so many others. I saw a woman running in memory of someone who had passed away the day before. The world can be an ugly place, but spending 4+ hours surrounded by people who WANT to do good by sacrificing their time, money, and physical comfort, made me feel so good.
Ahhhh so I am off today and stretching and icing for most of it. I can’t believe it’s all over; it went by SO FAST!
I couldn’t end this post without lots of thank you’s.
Thank you to The ALLY Foundation for allowing me to be a part of your team and to represent a cause that has become increasingly important to me over these past months. Thank you to Ally’s friends and family for all of the work that you do in Ally’s name and for sharing her love for life with those of us who did not have the opportunity to meet her. There is no doubt in my mind that Ally would be proud of the work you are doing and no better way to honor the bright light that she is in your lives.
Thank you all of your comments, emails, tweets, and donations! I am lucky to have such great blog friends. I am also eternally grateful for my good friends Meghan and Raija who provided tons of support for me throughout my training period and right down to the finish line. And I will never ever be able to thank my mom, sister, brother in law, and niece for everything they always do for me, their love, support, and worrying and of course last but not least thank you to my husband who is there for me every minute of every day, making sure I am healthy, happy and well taken care of, all while making me laugh hysterically and indulging all of my zany ideas like running marathons and writing blogs
I am still fundraising all the way through May 19, so if you missed the chance to support Team ALLY, there is still time!
I will be announcing the winner of the Equal Exchange gift card later today AND launching another giveaway, so stay tuned!
I am off to foam roll and ice so that I can maybe stop walking like Frankenstein at some point today!