Unlike other races in the past, the Boston Marathon lived up to every one of my expectations. Many people will never get to experience this race and I feel so lucky that I was able to, that my body has been able to keep up with my crazy marathoning, and that our positive attitude around race day turned an otherwise rainy, blustery day into a magical, unicorn-filled, sunny day.
It’s kind of surreal that it’s all over; it’s very bittersweet. My life for the past four years has been nothing but school or work and marathon training (strong exaggeration) but marathoning does kind of take over your life. I’m ready for a break. I’m ready to not have to stress about running after work everyday and every weekend. I’m saying ‘see you later’ to the 26.2 beast for now, but not forever.
The expo is something I’ve been dreaming about for the past few months (if not years!). I ended up only buying a hat that I ran the race in and a t-shirt for my mom. I already had gotten the jacket before the expo. We walked through and it was one of the bigger expos I’ve been to – there were just rows and rows and rows of vendors. It was busy and crowded but not to the point where you couldn’t move. Loved seeing Pamela at Sparkly Soul and I ran into Michele near the Runner’s World booth with Kris. We quickly fled the scene after taking some “bib shots” and headed to the Adidas RunnerBase across the street to look at some more apparel.
We got to the finish line and it was beautiful and sunny – it was hard to believe that we were actually standing there at the finish line and were about to run across it a few days later!
We arrived on Saturday with the Amtrak train. After getting our bibs and grabbing dinner with our family, I headed up to sleep. Day before the actual race counts the most in terms of hours of sleep for me! Sunday we did a shake out run and then explored Boston via Duck Boat Tour which was hilarious! Recommend if you are interested in seeing the city of Boston without being on your feet too much. I went to the hotel to relax in a bath while the rest of the crew went to the Harpoon Brewery. After catching up for dinner at Giacomo’s we headed up to our rooms and laid out our outfits and got everything ready. Knowing we would be heavily rained upon, I made the switch first from skirt to shorts then from shorts to crops. I didn’t want bare cold skin in the rain.
I woke up at 6:30 am as our hotel was about a 15 minute walk from Boston Common where the buses would be taking people to Hopkinton. Since I was going to eat on the go I didn’t feel like I needed much time before leaving the hotel at 7am. I made a cup of coffee, got into my outfit (lululemon crops and the Yeah Yoga tank top, Zensah arm compression sleeves, Boston Marathon adidas hat) and headed to my sister’s room so we could apply BodyGlide allllll over the place.
I packed with me a water, fig cereal bar from TJ’s, bagel, and a banana. I ended up eating everything (only half the bagel) and I also ate another banana at the Athlete’s Village. They had big tents set up which was amazing for the runners to huddle under and there were a fair amount of porta-potties (definitely not like CIM, but still a great amount). We were able to go through the lines twice before we were called to start walking to the start.
The walk from Athlete’s Village to the start is unexpectedly long and the start was all kind of a blur. You hear the gun go off but depending on your corral (I was corral 7 out of 8), it took me 4-5 minutes to actually get to the start. The energy at the start was great and it hadn’t started raining yet so we were at least dry to start. I had left my phone at the hotel so unfortunately I have no photos from the start.
The race definitely feels weird to start off; if I didn’t know it was the Boston Marathon it would have seemed like a road race going through random Massachusetts neighborhoods. It started raining around mile 1 which was about 10:30am for us. Nicole and I had two goals with this race: run the whole marathon together and finish not hating running or marathons. Part of achieving goal number two meant pacing the race properly so that we had fuel to finish strong. We hoped to run between 3:30-3:40 roughly hitting an average pace of 8:10.
Mile 1 – 8:12, Mile 2 – 8:07, Mile 3 – 8:09, Mile 4 – 7:55, Mile 5 – 8:12
[Boston is a hilly course. This means that yes there are definite uphills but there are also a ton of downhills – and the first 6 miles are very fast (net downhill). We wanted to take out the first 6 miles in average of 8:15 or so, but we ended up being a little faster but still felt like we weren’t pushing the pace so we held on and settled in. I took my first gel at 5.]
Mile 6 – 8:00, Mile 7 – 8:05, Mile 8 – 8:03, Mile 9 – 7:56, Mile 10 – 8:00
[I don’t remember much of these miles. I had music playing and I was just cruising along. Pace got a little faster but we still felt pretty strong. Took my second gel at 10 and some water at 8.]
Mile 11 – 8:05, Mile 12 – 7:51, Mile 13 – 7:52, Mile 14 – 8:00, Mile 15 – 8:02
[I opened my Clif Bloks pack and took a block at mile 12.5. Mile 12 and 13 were fast and pretty downhill. This is also where Wellesley College is and these girls know how to pack a punch! Their energy was amazing and thrilling. I ran down the line high fiving as many people as I could. I came off of this strip of people and energy with a high. I took my 3rd gel at 15 and had been taking water almost at every stop, sharing with Nicole since they filled the cups up pretty high.]
Mile 16 – 7:43, Mile 17 – 8:13, Mile 18 – 8:01, Mile 19 – 7:50, Mile 20 – 8:02
[The first 15 miles had gone by pretty fast and we found ourselves facing the dreaded Newton hills. We wanted to not worry about pace too much around here, forgiving ourselves if pace declined. Mile 17 shows the drop in pace but we quickly picked it back up in the downhills. I had taken a blok at 16 and my 4th gel at 18. The only unfortunate part about the weather is how heavy my feet got towards Mile 18. Mile 16 ended up being the fastest mile, followed by Mile 26!!]
Mile 21 – 8:26, Mile 22 – 7:51, Mile 23 – 8:05, Mile 24 – 8:04, Mile 25 – 7:54, Mile 26 – 7:47, Mile .48 – 7:05 pace
[I was looking for my friend who said she would be at Heartbreak Hill around 21 (which was clearly our slowest mile) and I was so sad I couldn’t find her. She had made a sign and everything! She is my oldest friend I have (we met in second grade!) The BC crowd was AMAZING. Their support fueled me through the rest of the marathon. I love that they were out their with the intense energy even in the rain. I took my 5th gel at Mile 22 and had finished the pack of Clif bloks by then. Miles 22 through 24 were tough but I felt strong and like I was crushing it. My confidence and energy was high and I just wanted to see our family so badly!]
Once we saw the Citgo sign (and missed seeing our friends Leticia, Brittany and Anne oops) we knew our parents and family would be coming up shortly on our left hand side. I could recognize parts of the course from watching the marathon online last year – I remembered seeing Meb racing through here looking back to see where the competition was. Now that I was running the same race was pretty surreal.
The section where you go underneath the bridge/overpass right before RIGHT ON HEREFORD was were our parents were. I can’t explain how euphoric this was. I felt like I could run for days and we sprinted up to them high fiving them and continued running onward. We knew how close we were!
I was literally on cloud nine and tears welled up – I was overwhelmed with joy, nerves, pain, pride, love. I started choking up and had to shake myself out of the moment for a second so I could breathe and finish the damn race!
I turned to Nicole and said “Is this really ‘Turn Right on Hereford, Left on Bolyston’????” We were about to freaking do it. Make those two epic turns. I’ve never had a more memorable, amazing finish. I felt strong and I couldn’t feel anything (in a good way). We were pushing it so hard and felt incredible. We grabbed hands and threw our arms in the air and crossed the finish line! We finished with identical times, 3:31:50, which meant we ABSOLUTELY nailed our goal! And I think I PR’d in smiling.
I have no regrets about the race in any way shape or form. It was perfect.
WE DID IT!
I didn’t even notice the chill during the race, but afterwards I was probably more cold than I’d ever been! We luckily grabbed a cab and headed back to the hotel. I can’t tell you how good it felt to finally put on that jacket we had spent so many years chasing. We got our jacket; we got our unicorn!
I’m still overwhelmed with joy from the race and I can’t thank my family, friends and supporters enough for all of your love and words of encouragement! It truly would have been a different experience without you all and I thank you so much for adding so much to my special day.
I’ve never ran a race so evenly and I can 100% say that we crushed it. We ran the exact same half splits back to back! 1:45:55 first half, 1:45:55 second half! Insane! I also fueled a lot more than I usually do – in total I had the equivalent of 7 gels (5 actual gels plus 6 bloks).
I’m SO excited to have a break but I’m thrilled we put up with all of the harsh winter months to get that amazing day on Marathon Monday. Next time you have rain in your forecast, turn that frown upside down and know that anything is possible!