Even though those were some great days, I know you’re all here for the BIG SHOW…MARATHON MONDAY! I’m sure you’ve been on the edge of your seats in anticipation! Many of you have an idea of how the race went since you were AWESOME and stalked me on facebook or the Boston wesbite…and I love you guys for it! As you know, I wasn’t too sure how Monday would go due to my rampant IT band issues, but I was ready to give it all I had since this was BOSTON and it was going to rock no matter what. So, without further ado…
BOSTON MARATHON RACE REPORT – MARATHON MONDAY
morning prep and to the buses – Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory (Glory)
I remember singing this song back at bible camp, and when I woke up on Monday morning, I had to smile (SHINE!) because I was running BOSTON!! Can’t beat that. Although I was nervous about my IT band, I hopped out of bed and got ready for the day. That’s a hard thing to imagine since I woke up at 5:20 in the morning, which is a bit before my evening shift schedule of waking up between 9-10pm! Must have been the excitement overwhelming me. I brushed my teeth and threw on my race attire (tweeted about it so people would know what to look for!), put on my throwaway clothes, and waited for Amy to take me to the start. Thank you to Amy for being the best hostess and driving me around Boston.
Amy drove me over to Boston Common where the buses were to pick us up and drive us to Hopkinton. I got there around 6:20-ish and had plans to meet up with Emily so we could ride the bus together, but I had ditched my phone (didn’t want to risk losing my precious iphone in bag check!) so I had no way of contacting. After waiting around for a little bit, I noticed the lines for the buses getting kind of long so I finally hopped in line around 6:45. This was about the time she got in line as well, but I think we were at opposite ends…oops! I waited in line for about half an hour until I finally got on a bus, and I was a little chilly standing outside so I was definitely happy to be on the bus.
My bus buddy was a woman named Tiffany from New York…we chatted a little about the marathons we’ve done, what our plan was for the day, and a little small talk here and there. The bus ride took FOREVER, and at one point I was definitely thinking, “Is Boston really all it’s cracked up to be? I woke up almost five hours before race time and this bus ride is nutso.” It was funny because shortly after I was thinking that, one of the people on the bus commented on how no one ever says that Boston was disappointing…love it! Our bus ride was slowed down by having to pull off to the side of the road for some people to pee…guess they couldn’t hold it all the way to Hopkinton! Once we finally arrived, it was around 9:00 and I was nervous about missing the start of the race. I thought I’d be waiting around Athlete’s Village FOREVER, but that was not the case at all! I hopped off the bus and made a beeline for the port-a-potties, had my little stop, then entered the Village where they were asking for wave one runners to head to baggage check and off to the starting line!
pre-race meet-ups -
I wandered through the buses trying to find someone I knew…I knew a couple other people running so I checked their buses but couldn’t find them so I just headed over to my bus. I figured I’d run into Emily at some point at least in the corral, but I spotted her at our baggage check bus! She apparently had a crazy time getting to Hopkinton, including her bus getting lost on the way…kinda glad I wasn’t on that bus. We checked our bags and hopped in line for the port-o-potties before heading down the start. Runners are awesome a nice people, so the wave two runners let us jump in front of them in line for the bathroom since they knew we headed to the start…love runners. A little known fact about Boston is that it’s about a 0.7 mile walk to the start…guess they decided you need a warm up? It was a cute walk and the excitement was already building…everyone was so happy and volunteers were out with smiles on their faces…gotta love it. On our way to the start, we had a flyover which must have signaled the start of the wheelchair racers and the elite women. So cool!
One we got to the starting area, Emily and I headed to the back of the pack, as we were in the final corral of the first wave. The caboose, if you will. While in line, Emily ran into a girl she ran the Portland Marathon with, and then we saw Mary from Food, Fit, and Fun. I feel like an idiot now because I didn’t realize who she was, and we’ve definitely emailed before because she lives in Philly! Oops. She ran a great race so you should check out her recap! Time was going fast and we ditched our sweatshirts as the race was getting ready to start. I don’t even remember a gun going off, but we started walking to the start as the people in front of us moved forward. People on the side of the road were already offering us water so I grabbed a cup before the start and soon enough, we were at the starting line of the BOSTON MARATHON. Here we go.
Miles 1-5 – Can’t Stop Smiling!
U2 – Beautiful Day
It was crazy when we first started running since I don’t think it hit me yet that I was about to run a marathon. I’d been pushing it off in my mind for so long because I didn’t want to be let down if my IT band didn’t cooperate, but I just started running and went with it. Spectators kept yelling, “You’re running the BOSTON MARATHON,” had their hands out for high fives, and it was an absolutely beautiful day for the marathon. Since it rained all weekend I was worried what the day would hold, but it was high 40-low 50’s at the start and the sun was shining. I was trying to be cautious and watch my leg while taking in everything around me. Emily and I were together for the first two-ish miles, and she had her name on her shirt so EVERYONE was yelling for her. I had thought about putting my name on my shirt, but if the race turned south on me, the last thing I would want is people cheering for me. Definitely next year.
I was wearing black shorts and a red tank top, and I started off with some gloves since I wasn’t sure how warm it would be…I ended up ditching them after about two miles because it was an amazing temperature. The miles were just clicking by (yes, I know it was early on in the race…), and running through the crowds was awesome. I knew Amy and my dad were going to be in Ashland, somewhere between miles 3-5, so I knew to keep an eye out for them. My dad always wears a brightly colored shirt (orange…go Illini!), so I generally spot him before they spot me…then I wave like a fool which makes for some funny pictures.
Mile 1: 8:16
Mile 2: 8:02
Mile 3: 7:50
Mile 4: 7:42
Mile 5: 8:17
I had planned to run around 8:30’s, but I suppose I got caught up in the excitement and the DOWNHILLS, but I reigned myself back in around mile 5. It’s funny because I wasn’t really paying attention to pace at all…I was just running! Gotta love it.
Miles 6-9 – Oh *%^#&@
One Republic – Stop and Stare
“Steady feet, don’t fail me now
Gonna run till you can’t walk”
I was feeling AMAZING up until about mile 6.7-ish. During my runs the last three weeks, I’ve been able to run about 2-3 miles before my IT band flares up to the point where I turn around and walk home. Once I hit the three mile mark, I was just waiting for something to happen, and around mile 6.7, I felt a sharp pain in my right knee and had to stop running. I pulled off the side of the road and did some IT band stretches for about 30 seconds. I heard one spectator say to another, “Ohh what’s wrong with that girl?” His friend replied, “It looks like it’s her IT band.” Spot on. I stretched it out a little and then started “running” again, which was more like a limp…if you’ve ever tried running without bending one of your knees, you would realize how not fun it is. I did this for about another 1-1.5 miles and then the pain came back so quick that I had to pull off the side of the road again. I actually sat down and did some stretches to try to loosen up my IT band, all the while thinking, “I’m not going to make it. I can’t run 19 more miles like this. This is it. My Boston is over. Stupid IT band. I’m going to have to be bussed to the finish.” I almost started crying as I got back up and started running again, thinking I was just trying to make it to the next aid station. A girl who was running saw me on the side of the road and asked if I was okay…I told her it was my IT band and she wished me luck.
I started hobbling along again, wondering where the aid station was and thinking about how I DID NOT want to stop. I didn’t even make it to the next aid station before my leg started feeling better. Adrenaline? Loosened up IT band? I have no idea, but as long as I was controlled with my footing, the pain wasn’t really there. The worst part was when I hit the water/gatorade stations and had to step around all the cups on the ground since any sudden motion sent pain up and down my leg. Otherwise, I was feeling pretty good.
Mile 6: 7:46
Mile 7: 8:11
Mile 8: 8:18
Mile 9: 7:48
As you can tell by my split times, all the stretching and everything didn’t really slow me down at all…when I noticed this, I realized that everything must not be too bad if I can run that pace while limping along, and I knew that I could slow down a little and still be okay. Of course, that doesn’t really mean that I would slow down…but 8:15-ish pace while limping isn’t too shabby!
Miles 10-14 – Wellesley!!
Katy Perry – I Kissed a Girl
“I kissed a girl…and I liked it.”
This song is what sparked the idea to put music into these posts…haha. I’d heard about Wellesley and how the girls of Wellesley line the streets and scream the entire way…full of signs that say, “Kiss me I’m Irish!” or “Kiss me I’m from New York!” I also knew that the halfway point was right around Wellesley, so once my IT band started cooperating, I kept telling myself that I needed to get to this point…and then I’d be fine. Because halfway of a marathon isn’t too shabby, right? I can totally make it to the end if I can make it halfway…obviously. The logic of marathoners it a bit baffling! I don’t remember too much about the miles leading up to Wellesley other than I was really happy that I wasn’t sidelined, and I kept debating about whether or not I wanted to kiss a girl in Wellesley…my mind was officially made up when I saw a girl with a sign that said, “Kiss me I’m from Chicago!!” I wish I’d kissed her, but I spotted another girl with the same sign up ahead and ran up to her and yelled “Goooo Chicago!” and gave her a kiss on the check. Awwww I kissed a Wellesley girl!! You have to…and at least I’m not a creepy old man. haha.
Running through Wellesley was really awesome, although I heard some people saying it wasn’t as loud as it has been in the past since they kept the girls to one side of the road. I mainly kept to one side of the road and high fived every girl I ran by…which made that part of the race flyyy by. If the entire marathon was like that, it would go by super fast…and my arm would be really tired! But definitely an awesome experience and something to look forward to in the marathon!
Mile 10: 7:47
Mile 11: 8:09
Mile 12: 7:47
Mile 13: 7:57
Mile 14: 8:02
Half Marathon Split: 1:44:47
Not too shabby! I was on pace for a 3:30 marathon, although I knew the second half would be tough and I definitely was not trained to run 26.2 miles! However, I was happy with my first half and would take the rest of it as it came. No worries there…just smiles!
Miles 15-20 – Time is FLYING
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now
“Don’t stop me now I’m having such a good time
I’m having a ball don’t stop me now
If you wanna have a good time
Just give me a call
Don’t stop me now (‘Cause I’m having a good time)
Don’t stop me now (Yes I’m having a good time)
I don’t wanna stop at all”
It doesn’t make any sense, but I simply cannot explain how FAST this marathon went by. When I hit mile 15, I kept thinking, “I’ve been running for 15 miles?? Really??” I was shocked since it barely felt like I’d be running for almost two hours…running was pretty effortless and I was just soaking it all in! Once the IT band scare was under control, I was just so happy to be running and I knew that if problems flared up again, I could at least make it the next ten miles to the finish…even if I had to crawl there. My dad and Amy were going to be in Wellesley Hills, which is just after Wellesley, so I was looking forward to seeing them there. I ran past them and said “My leg really hurts!!” but at that point it wasn’t even that bad.
My longest run before the marathon was 17 miles, and I really had done many runs over 12 miles, so getting into this territory was a little nerve-wracking for me. I pretty much expected to hit the wall, and I wasn’t sure how bad it was going to be! Although I feel like I have great endurance, 26.2 miles is a long way to go without being trained for it, so I was just waiting for the crash to come. My legs still felt pretty good so I kept trucking along, and I knew the real race was about to begin when I saw the sign for Newton…the HILLS are in Newton! We started rolling up and down a little, and I actually didn’t think the hills were all that bad…I can’t believe I just said that. I knew Heartbreak was up ahead and would signal the end of the hills, so I was mentally preparing for it and all its glory.
I think it was somewhere around mile 18 that some man yelled, “You go, girl in red! You make it look easy!” I gave a wave and smiled because it was still feeling kind of easy.
At some point, I made the decision to start walking through the water stations because I was tired of getting water up my nose…and if I’m going to walk at all, it might as well be through a water stop. Of course, Sara and Scott were positioned at the bottom of Heartbreak right after the water stop, so I was walking when they saw me, but I started running when they were yelling for me! Heartbreak wasn’t too bad, and I remember thinking, “Is this it? This is Heartbreak? Am I really there?” I knew about what mile it was at so I kept checking my garmin to see if that’s where I was…and I was! My legs were not having fun so I ended up walking up part way before getting going again. I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as it is made out to be, but all the hype is kind of fun. Once I got over Heartbreak, I knew the end was near!
Mile 15: 9:38 (bathroom break!)
Mile 16: 8:05
Mile 17: 8:15
Mile 18: 8:47
Mile 19: 8:27
Mile 20: 9:01
Around mile 18 was when I started walking through the water stops, which were every mile! That was really nice to have access to water/gatorade whenever you want it, but it’s bad if you decide to walk through the water stations…oh well!
Dashboard Confessional – Reason to Believe
“I have reason to believe that I have victories to taste
I can feel them on my teeth, upon my lips and in my chest
I can roll them on my tongue, they are more supple than defeat
I feel the tension in my lungs and every move is fueled by my resolve to
Once we got to the top of Heartbreak, someone yelled over a loudspeaker, “Only 5.2 downhill miles to go!!” The one thing people don’t really talk about in regards to Boston is that it is mostly a downhill course! People get caught up in the talk of the hills that they forget this part. My quads were SCREAMING at this point and did not want to run downhill anymore! The thought of 5.2 downhill miles was not appealing at all…I just wanted to run flat for a little while! I’m not going to lie at all…these miles were painful!! I know marathons aren’t easy, but I definitely wasn’t trained to go the distance and my legs were letting me know! I just kept thinking, “You’re going to make it…you just have to get there…you’ll be fine…Boston is YOURS.” I walked through the aid stations and shuffled along as best I could, thinking ten minute miles were totally acceptable at this point. That’s fine, right? Why not. I knew about what finishing time that would put me at, and it was in the 3:40’s, which would still be my third fastest marathon…not too bad for not really training! Away I went.
I don’t remember exactly where the students of Boston College were, but they were drunk and they were loud…kinda made me wish I had put my name on my shirt since they were yelling like nuts! The nice part about Boston is that it is pretty much lined with people the entire way, but especially the last six miles…not an empty spot in sight! This is great for motivation because who wants to walk in front of tons of people? I at least had to shuffle along! I would walk at some points, and the second I started running again, people would yell, “Yeah, that’s right! You’re running Boston! Almost there! Way to get going!” The crowd support in Boston is second to none.
I knew via twitter that Betsy from Betsy a Go-Go was going to be somewhere around Heartbreak, so I was sad when I thought that I missed her. Around mile 22-ish (maybe…it’s kind of a blur!), I heard someone yelling “Susan!! Go Susan!!” I was super confused because I was expecting to know anyone at this point in the course, but I turned and waved when I saw that it was Betsy! She nabbed an awesome picture of me and lifted my spirits for the last few miles…thanks bloggy friend!
Mile 21: 9:55
Mile 22: 10:32
Mile 23: 9:31
Mile 24: 9:40
Mile 25: 11:09
Hello there, wall. I never was doubled over in pain or anything, but legs were definitely feeling it!! I knew this point would come and that I just needed to keep moving forward. I know I stopped for the bathroom one more time…I think at mile 22 but I’m not sure. I took a little extra time at the water stop in mile 25 because I wanted to finish strong all the way through mile 26 and the finish…had to muster up everything I had!
Bethany Dillon – Dreamer
“I am a dreamer
Take me higher
Open the sky up
Start a fire”
Once I hit the marker for the last 1.2 miles, I knew I had it…I just needed to get there! Someone yelled, “It’s the Citgo sign! Let’s go!” when we got to that point, and I had a huge smile on my face. The streets were packed and everyone was yelling and it was AWESOME. The last mile of Boston is nuts and I can’t really even explain it except to say you have to experience it for yourself….there’s really nothing like it. You go under a bridge at some point, and one guy running by me said, “This is my favorite part…savor the silence.” It was really cool because it was quiet before all the cheering really started…lets you think for a little bit about what you’re about to accomplish.
I knew the turn onto Boylston St was coming, and when I saw it in the distance, I got really excited!! Both sides of the street were at least four people deep with everyone yelling and looking for their runners. I knew my dad and Amy were going to be around somewhere, but I never saw them although they said they saw me. Turning onto Boylston Street was amazing and seeing the finish line was an awesome feeling. I picked it up (or tried to?) down the stretch and crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face!! I haven’t been this happy in a long time. I am shocked and amazed that I was able to run the marathon with everything I’ve been through in the past few weeks with my IT band…it was even sweeter because I didn’t think I’d be able to do it and I did.
Mile 26: 9:19
Mile 26.2: 1:46 (avg pace 7:46)…told you I picked it up!
OVERALL MARATHON STATS
Finish Time: 3:46:06, avg pace of 8:38
Overall Place: 11,772
Gender Place: 3,514
Division Place: 2,436
With a bib number of 13,871, that means I improved place-wise in comparison to others who ran, right?? I consider that a victory.
After I crossed the finish line, I limped along with all the other runners to get my space blanket, my MEDAL, water, food, and my baggage stuff. I noticed that the woman in front of me had “Tiffany” written on her hat, and it was the woman I sat next to on the bus! She must have done awesome since she started in the wave behind me, so I congratulated her and she said she was happy that my leg held up since I told her I was worried about it. It was random to run into her in a field of 25,000 people, but it was fun.
I sipped some water and gatorade (which I couldn’t even stomach anymore…I don’t even like it to begin with!). When I went to get my medal, the guy was like, “I need to see your bib number!” Apparently someone tried to get a medal without a bib number or chip on their shoe…no, no, I most definitely just ran all 26.2 miles!! I then hobbled over to my baggage truck to claim my bag, which was a long process because I think my entire bus finished at the same time. I grabbed my bag and spotted Emily…we nabbed a picture together and then went outside to meet up with our families for our shining moment.
Post marathon pictures:
With Emily!! We’re BOSTON MARATHONERS!
I can’t believe how good I felt after the marathon…yes, my legs were a little sore, but I’ve gotten sick (as in vomiting) after marathons, and I actually felt pretty good. I checked my phone and had a gazillion text messages/twitter messages, which made me smile! I soaked in the ending for a little bit before we headed to the car to go back to Amy’s. When we got back, I felt really cold so I hopped in the shower to warm up a little bit, which did the trick. I then pulled on my Boston Marathon sweatshirt…I didn’t let myself wear anything I bought that said “Boston” on it prior to the marathon because I didn’t want to let myself down if things didn’t go well on Marathon Monday. I wore that sweatshirt with pride! We hobbled to dinner at a local burger place (I ran 26.2 miles, I’ll eat what I want!)…my foot really started to hurt at this point (more on that later), but dinner was delicious! Yummm protein:
After dinner, it was time to head back to Pennsylvania. My dad is awesome and one of his main roles in coming to Boston was to drive me back to Pennsylvania since I was scheduled to work on Tuesday and I tend to pass out after running a marathon. (Who knew?) We said bye to Amy (hopefully more of a “see you soon!”) and hit the road around 6pm. We got home around 12:30 in the morning (thanks dad!), and I took about two one hour naps along the way. My entire body was sore (even my arms!), so it was hard to get comfortable in the car, but I was pretty tired sooo napping wasn’t too difficult. I was definitely ready to climb into bed once I got home!
I still cannot believe that I ran the Boston Marathon. I was pretty much setting myself up mentally for a DNF even though I wouldn’t admit it to anyone. The body is an amazing piece of work and the fact that I could run 26.2 miles in 3:46 without running more than four miles at a time for three weeks (and that was only about three times) is unbelievable to me. I loved Boston and cannot wait to go back and run it again next year! It is truly and amazing, indescribable experience, and anyone who is a marathoner needs to run it…I can’t say it enough. I’ll be doing a post shortly with my thoughts on the marathon and my post-marathon experience, but you can probably already imagine how much I will be raving about Boston.
I’ll leave you with one last (posed) picture of Amy and me with a sign she made for me…and me wearing my BOSTON MARATHON jacket that I let myself wear after finishing.