Thursday, June 12, 2014


The Boston Marathon (Yes, I know it was 7 1/2 weeks ago, half was written then, half now)!

What is there to say that hasn't been said about the Boston Marathon?  I'm sure this has all been said before, a million times, but this is my Boston Marathon.  It is the epic marathon of all marathons.  And this year,  with a much larger field than in the past and the weight of the events of 2013, the Boston Marathon delivered everything and more.  I can only hope I do it justice with my following race report.

We arrived in Boston on Sunday just after noon.  I was anxious to get to the expo.  It was crazy! So many people! We got up to the bib collection area and I was happy to see no lines.  I quickly got my packet and my t-shirt and headed into the expo.  I was quickly disappointed to find out the expo sold out of the small jackets which sent both Barry and I into a bit of a negative tailspin.  I ended up ordering it on line and just have to wait to get to wear it - it has already arrived in FLA and should be making it's way up to Toronto in the next day or two.

The expo was incredibly crowded and frustrating.   We picked up a few things  then decided to get out of the craziness and grab a late lunch at PF Changs.   Along the walk we got to take in the sights and crowds of Boylston and the finish line area.
That's the Finish line!

Signs like there were everywhere in Boston

We made our way back to the hotel and had a relaxing night with room service and Amazing Race on the TV.  I was in Wave 3, corral 2 with a start time of 11am.  I was instructed to load the busses at Boston Commons between 8 and 8:30 and we had made arrangements to meet up with some other Torontonians at 7:45, so it was not an early morning race start that I'm so very used to.

Race morning was quite relaxed.  I had a fitful sleep as to be expected pre-race but woke feeling particularly rested and very excited.  I had laid out all my gear the night before so I just methodically got dressed and then got dressed even more in an old pair of sweats that would be ditched at the start line.  I wasn't looking particularly runner like when I left the hotel!
Looking very runner like no?

We grab bagels and coffee on our way out of the hotel and headed to Boston Commons and the incredible line of school buses that would take us runners to the start line.  I cannot stress how efficient the entire process was.  I met up with Rob and his buddies so I wasn't on my own for the long couple of hours ahead waiting for my start time.

The bus ride was uneventful but a tad long and a bit warm.  By the time we were pulling into the Athlete's Village I was ready to hit the potty lines.  Even though I'm pretty sure every port-o-potty in Massachusetts was there, the line ups were long.  So long that one of the gals in our group went and then got right back into line! 

We all sat and chatted and ate and drank awaiting our turn to walk to the start line.  Finally our wave and corrals were called and we all trotted off.   It's about a mile walk to the start line and there were spectators along the route!  It was pretty amazing!  

if you look closely I have a Mike's Hard Lemonade in my hand.  Yes, I had a sip.
Before I knew it we were lined up and awaiting our start.  The energy was amazing, the weather was amazing and not once did my head go to that place of "why do I want to run this far".

We were off and the next 3 hours and 43 minutes were some of the best running minutes of my life.  I high fived hundreds of kids, I had a silly grin on my face for the entire time.  I was moved to tears at various points, like passing amputee runners, survivors from last years bombing.  And passing the Team MR8 cheering zone on the route.

The race went by in such a blur.  I ran it too fast out of the gate.  When I hit my first 5km split I thought, oh dear as I was averaging sub 5min/km.  Then I hit the 10k split, still running too fast.  I said to a fellow runner, My husband is probably screaming at his phone "slow down" as he sees these splits.

The course was lined with spectators the entire way.  The first part of the course is very fast and mostly down hill.  I felt great and enjoyed the run.  Around mile 18 there is a very steep and long decent and this is where I started falling apart a bit.  The down hill crushed my quads and I felt it for the rest of the race.  But the spectators made this race.  I wish I had finished writing this piece earlier because it's now been over 7 weeks since the race and my memories are already blurring. Some times the noise from the spectators was deafening - especially the "kiss me" girls from Wellesley Collage and the frat boys from Boston Collage at the top of Heartbreak Hill.  

By the time you get into Boston the crowds are even more amazing and even though physically you feel like you've just ran a marathon, emotionally I was feeling like a million bucks.  I made that final turn to the finish line and started looking for Barry and Leanne.  I was over joyed when I saw them there screaming my name and cheering.  I was well on my way to finishing the Boston Marathon and qualifying again!

The finish line is all but a blur.  I crossed, I got a medal, there were photographers everywhere.  Someone handed me a bottle of water and by that time things were getting a little foggy.  I was also dressed into a thermal cape by another volunteer. I was hyperventilating and my legs were more than wobbly.  As I headed toward the barrier to grab before I fell, a very young, very good looking doctor with an amazing Australian accent came to my aid.  He asked a few questions and we both realized I was ok so he picked me up and got me walking again.  Someone handed me a bag of food and there was the most delicious packaged bread product in there that was to die for.  I made my way to the corner where I was to meet Barry and clung to the wire fence.  A nice old lady who had run her 20th Boston Marathon chatted with me and I sent BBMs to Carole and Barry.  Barry was waiting for our friend Rob to finish so I just held tight, snacked on the yummy bread and watched the hundreds of runners reunite with their loved ones.

my finish line selfie
What an amazing race and what an honour to run Boston this year.  I will forever hold this as the most special Marathon I have ever run and I hope to run it again in the future.  I'm not sure it will be in the plan for next year but I will be back!  Thank you to the BAA for putting on such a great race and to all the volunteers that support this very well run race.  And to all the spectators not only cheering like crazy but offering fruit, water, baby wipes, tissues and candy.  Most Awesome Marathon Ever!

Thanks to my hubby and number one fan for for all his support and thanks to my favourite race volunteer and ever supportive friend Leanne for coming out to cheer me on and join me for my post race beer!

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