As I was saying in my previous post, I want to write the story of what happened before the bombing occurred. I think it’s important to relive the incredible experience of being at The Boston Marathon, the moments that I will cherish forever. So here we go…
My husband and I left our home at 3am Saturday morning to catch a 6am flight out of LAX. My mom very generously agreed to say at our house and care for our three children while we were gone. We arrived at LAX, checked in, got some coffee, and boarded our flight bound for Boston. I loved looking around at all of the passengers wearing their Boston jackets from previous years, and a few with this year’s. (I did not wear mine, because I promised myself that I would not put it on until I crossed the finish line on Monday. I’m supersitious that way. Call me crazy, but that’s just me.) I packed my Nuun and my Mile Markers book, and cozied into our seats. As we flew out of LA, I looked out the window and saw the most amazing sunrise — it made waking up at 2am worth it. Simply amazing!
As we approached Boston my excitment was growing. This was my first time to this city and running this marathon, I couldn’t wait for the plane to land and get into the city to explore. Little did I know, that the city would welcome every runner as if they were a first class athlete from the moment you walk off the plane.
We took a cab into our hotel, The W Boston, got unpacked, and then met my Aunt and Uncle (who are from Cape Cod) and my Dad and his wife Lee, who flew in from Portland OR to watch the race. This was a big deal for me. My Aunt and Uncle drove 70 miles from Cape Cod and my Dad, who has a heart condition. flew out just to see me. I can’t tell you how much this meant to me.
After dinner, Rob and I were exhausted and went back to out hotel to get some sleep. Of course, I had my typical race insomnia and only slept a few hours.
Hitting the Expo
The next morning, we woke up and headed to the expo, where I had an appointment to be interviewed by Hylands Homeopathic. I have been a huge fan of their products for many years, so I was extremely happy when Jordan from Darby Communications had contacted me at the beginning of April to see if I would interested in an interview with them. The interview was conducted by Rusty Howes, their Director of Media. We talked about me being at my first Boston and how dreams take hard work, but they are so worth all of the effort.
Here is the video, from the Hyland’s interview. I am in a small clip, but more importantly it gives you a feel of what the Boston Marathon is all about and honors the people and City of Boston after the tragedy.
I was walking on air all day, so happy to be in Boston. It was a dream coming true and I was in heaven! After the expo, Rob and I walked around and looked at all of the booths and bought a few things for our kids. As I was leaving, I had the opportunity to meet two bloggers that I’ve followed since I first started: Jennifer from Running With The Girls and Jessica from Pace of Me.
On our walk back to the hotel, I ran into another one of my blogging friends, Travis from Run 4 Purpose. I had never met him and only had seen his pictures, yet when he walked pasted me on the crowded streets of Boston, I imediately knew who he was! We laughed, it was a fun moment.
The streets of Boston were buzzing with runners, a sea of marathon jackets and people doing their shake out runs. The vibe in the city was one of happiness, excitement, and anticipation for the race in the morning. We headed back to the hotel room, had a simple dinner, and watched the movie Zero Dark Thirty in our room. I tried to go to bed early, but once again was hit with my typical race and time change insomnia. I think I had about 4 hours of interrupted sleep when the alarm went off. As usual, I woke with a migraine, something I’ve had in every marathon. Sigh. I chose not to take my meds, which are very powerful and can interfere with my performance. In hindsight, I probably should have because I think the migraine interfered more than the meds would have. My Dad had the hotel send up a note the morning of the race, no one knew how later that day, this note would mean so much.
Our hotel was just a block from the buses, so we grabbed breakfast at the Panera across the street, met up with my friend Travis, and walked to Copley Square where the busses were loading runners to take to Hopkinton.
The bus ride went fast. Travis was with me, and since this was not his first Boston, he walked me through everything and put my mind completely at ease. I had zero pre-race jitters, thanks to his knowledge and wisdom.
We arrived at the athletes’ village, happy and relaxed, but I was still fighting my migraine. Much to our surprise, it was warmer than expected and everyone was shedding layers while waiting for our waves to be called. I was texting my blogger friend Lisa from Mom2Marathon, since we were both in Wave 3 and I wanted to find her. We got to meet up before the start and I introduced her to Travis.
Travis, who runs a 2:50 marathon and was in Wave 1, generously offered to stay with me and pace me. At first, I said no, but could see that he really wanted to do it. Yes, that’s the kind of person he is, a complete badass and selfless all bundled up into one. My nickname for him? The Bassass Philanthropist.
They called our Wave, so we dropped our bags and made our way up to Wave 3, corral 2 and before I had time to think, we were off and running. I had taken my first steps of the 26.2 and the energy and excitement flew through me like a bolt of lightening.
The miles flew by. The people of Boston line every inch of that course and they cheer for you like you’re the only one out there. Kids high five you, old and young are out passing out orange slices, ice pops, and drinks to the runners. They scream out “run children of Boston, run”. The marathon is part of their lives, it is in the fabric of their community. The energy is eletric and like no other race I’ve experienced. I don’t really like crowds and noise, but on the streets of Boston it makes you want to run your heart out. Most cities would be annoyed by the road closures, the crowds, the noise, the trash left on the streets – but not Bostonians. They welcome you and treat you like a rock star.
As I continued along the course, around mile ten I had that feeling, that dull pain, and I knew it was not going to be the greatest race. But I did not care in the least. I kept on rolling and when I reached Wellesley, the half way point, I looked for my family, who were there waiting for me.
Unfortunately, I never saw them, but I was so moved that they made such a huge effort to come out and cheer me on. As Travis and I approached the hills at the end of the course, I slowed my pace a bit. It was getting hot and there was no shade on the course. I kept telling myself, it’s uncomfortable, but that’s ok, keep pushing through it. I was saying things like: “you didn’t work, this hard and come all this way to slow down or stop,” “This is it, this is your chance.” Then, as I finished the last hill, the crowds thickened and became wild, and that energy propelled me forward. There was no better feeling than turning the corner onto Boylston and seeing the finish line.
The crowds were positively electric! It was a moment I will never forget. Even typing now it brings me to tears. I finished in 3:45:52. It wasn’t the perfect race, but it was exactly what I was meant to do that day. It was an 8 minute PR and a BQ for next year… I’m am so grateful.
As soon as I finished, collected my medal and mylar blanket and was heading away from the finish, disaster struck. I saw and felt everything, it’s too difficult for me to write about and I don’t want to relive it in this post or maybe ever, so we will leave it here.
I finished the Boston Marathon 2013, years of hard work and persistence got me to that moment. There are no words to describe the feeling other than pure bliss. I can’t write this without acknowledging that just moments later I would have equal heartbreak for the victims and families whose lives changed in an instant. It has been a struggle to get sort through all of this, but in the process of sorting, I was able to reach a point where I could allow myself to be proud of my achievement.
In the near future I will write a part 2, about after I crossed the finish line and coming home.