If you haven’t heard, the Boston Marathon starts in the middle of the morning. Since I was in the second wave, my start time was at 10:25 with a recommended departure time from Copley around 7:30. I set my alarm for 6 o’clock, leaving time to eat some oatmeal with a single serving of Justin’s Almond Butter and a heafty scoop of Trader Joe’s chia seeds. Oh, and two Americanos! I was so super excited to have coffee back in my life!
All I took with me was my handheld filled with water and a Cherry Limeade Nuun, my gels (and s-caps), and a bottle of Nuun to sip on the way up to Hopkinton. I almost wished I had my phone with me to take lots of pictures. Almost, only because I didn’t want to be preoccupied with photographing everything; I just wanted to soak in the day.
That being said, if you want a REALLY STELLAR pictorial of the day, check out Stuft Mama’s post. She nailed it!
At Boston Common, where the yellow school busses were lined up to shuttle us out to Hopkinton, the mood was full of excitement. I still wasn’t nervous or anxious to get moving, which is surprising for me. I was honestly just absorbing every detail of the day. It’s kinda like when you’re getting married. People always tell you to stop and take in the fabulousness of the day. That was my game plan.
After walking through the security check (This was hands down the most secure event I’ve ever been to.), I waited in line to board the bus. After about 20 minutes, I climbed on and sat in the second row next to a super cool chick from Boston who I am assuming wants to remain anonymous. We chatted the entire way up about her love for Generation UCan (I still haven’t tried it, but apparently it has a cult following!), our careers, and why she and her husband needed to run Boston this year (spoiler alerts: she was absolutely NOT a bandit!). My seat mate, in fact, was the one who made blue and yellow pipe cleaner peace signs and hung them around the city. Simply being in her presence solidified how unbelievable this city, this event, and, really, mankind can be! She reminded me that we need to be passionate. We need to forge bonds that bring us together. We need to take small steps that may seem trivial at the time, but added up over time, can make a huge difference in the spirit of humanity! <-Sorry for the sappiness. It’s the truth, though.
Seat Chick also walked me through the course: how I’ll smell the beer at mile 2, hear the pitch of the Wellesley girls, step over the train tracks and climb the Newton hills.. all in her Bahston dialect.
As we arrived at the Start Village, we wished each other luck and parted our ways. Luckily, the Oiselle girls were invited to pre-party at the Skechers house located in between the Start Village and the starting line. I wonder if Meb used the same port potty as we did! The private potty was a lifesaver! There, I was fortunate enough to chat with some amazing runners, including Wozzy teammates Stephanie and Mollie and Pam, the nicest chick I’ve ever met in my entire life. Pam saved my life by giving me a PowerBar and a banana from the Start village while Mollie saved my life by giving me a half-eaten bagel (Note: late start=need for a second breakfast). Then we bonded over a roll of toilet paper. Such is the life of a runner!
After peeing no fewer than 22 times, at about 10:20, Stephanie, Mollie, and I began the walk down to the start line. The girls are much faster than me, so they were in corrals more towards the front. Before we parted, we squealed, wished each other the best of races, and took the requisite selfie.
With that, we went our separate ways. I headed to the 9th corral, all the way in the back of Wave 2. I was told by many people that the back is the place to be for first time Bostoners. One of the warnings I had heard over and over again was to run on the outsides of the road to avoid being caught up in a faster pace than I am willing/able to run. Being in the back, I also had the advantage of not having to worry about anybody behind me. Being in the back also meant a good long walk up to the official start line. It’s wasn’t a bad thing, but be aware that the 9th corral is a good ways away from where you push START on your Garmin.
I realized immediately that because I didn’t have any large-race experience, the weaving and navigating around runners… a boatload of people at that… would be a challenge. Finally crossing the start line, I tried to hold a comfortable/easy pace. I’m not really sure what that was, but I’m pretty sure it was in the high 7’s. Every time I would come to a slight incline, the crowd of runners around me would slow drastically. There were sooooo many people!!! The hill training in my neighborhood, which is the land of hills, perfectly prepared me for Boston’s course. I felt confident in my running, but in order to enjoy the day instead of stressing over trying to figure out how I was going to pass shoulder-to-shoulder runners, I committed at the beer smell at mile 2 that i would stop looking at my watch and begin enjoying the experience.
The Boston Marathon was amazing. The crowds were ridiculously supportive, the volunteers were true professionals, and the runners were all out to have a great time.
As I was talking to Fast Dude at Costco last week, we recognized that our race experiences were completely different because he went balls-to-the-wall in a PR effort while I cruised. He told me that he couldn’t tell you what happened or what he saw in his sub-3 hours on the course. I told him that I remember everything. Every little detail.
From the biker bar to the folks handing out beers to those who couldn’t stomach water, from the Wellesley girls with their silly signs to passing Team Hoyt and nearly losing it. I remember the train tracks and wondering if Heartbreak Hill was over or if the short plateau was only part of it (it’s only part of it).
I remember hearing the Oiselle fan girls screaming “GO OISELLE!!!” (Note to self: wear my name next year!) as I passed and feeling the stickiness of the streets as I ran past the Gatorade stations as the afternoon sun baked down on us.
I remember the chill of the water freezing the base of my skull after dumping a cup on my head at each aid station to keep cool and the mouth-puckeringly sweet Gatorade I threw back in the last 10K. I remember looking for my family as I came closer into town, passing the “1K left!” sign on the bridge, turning right on Hereford, and left on Boylston.
And that sprint down to the finish line?!?!?! Holy cow. I remember the deafening sound of cowbells, cheers, and horns propelling me towards the chute, an all out toothy smily stretched across my face, tears welling up in my eyes.
It was rad, man. Finish time: 3:34:58.
After the finish line, I waded through about a half-mile’s worth of people in various states of marathon-done-ness. The amazing volunteers (I can’t say enough about the greatness of the volunteers!) dressed me in a fancy velcro heat shield/space suit, I double-fisted cups of Gatorade, and then I nabbed a really great chocolate recovery drink. I’m pretty sure it was made by Gatorade, but whatever it was, I have never felt better after a marathon before. Granted, I’ve only run four marathons. I’ll have to investigate.
After I walked my way through the finish zone, I asked a super sweet lady if I could borrow her phone to call my mom. Don’t worry. I made sure to put her on speaker phone so my salty face wouldn’t tarnish her iPhone. My family was waiting for me back at Boston Common, and I was beyond thrilled to see them!
And a hugely tremendous amount of thanks goes out to my mom, who has supported me through ALL OF THIS!!!
She is definitely the most selfless person I have ever met. I am still always learning from her.
After the race, the girls helped me take an ice bath:
They were really kind and made sure that there was a constant supply of ice chips on my quads.
Later that evening, my mom and I went out to meet up with my best friend from my days slinging coffee at the Buck. We also met up with Wendy and her homies from Future Track.
I love hanging out with best friends from a long time ago. It’s like no time has passed.
When we got back to our hotel room, my bestie from back home surprised us with tasty chocolate treats and a nice note congratulating me on making it through Lent without chocolate! 😉
Seriously. I have the best friends ever. I am so stinking lucky.
The remaining days in Boston were spent doing more fun things like going on a Duck Tour<–HIGHLY recommended!
Eating more lobstah rolls, drinking more beer, and tasting the ORIGINAL Boston cream pie!
I even ate a whole lobster!
When in Bahston… right?
Also, I collected the free finisher’s pint glass from Sam Adams and found the coolest bottle opener buried in my swag bag.
We made sure to visit the Boston 2013 installation at the Boston Public library, where we left notes on the inspiration trees.
We also managed to squeeze in a trip to the Children’s Museum on the last day we were there!
Honestly, I was sad to leave Boston. I made so many memories with my friends and my family, and I came to discover that my two little people are super stellar travelers! I also found it super cool that I could get almost anywhere using the T!
We paid the bible of our trip one last respect, hopped on the right T that delivered us to the Silver Line…
Then we boarded our plane (next to a dog, natch.)
And flew home. (Note: I learned that when the four of us are flying, I need to book the row of 3 and the single across the aisle… no more dog-toting, seat-hogging, video-editor row mate for us!)
I absolutely can’t wait until next year. I hope to make this a tradition, assuming I can keep up my love for the 26.2.
Next year, in fact, I plan on running Boston to Big Sur. Anybody with me???