As the race got closer and closer, people would ask me if I was getting ready and excited and I was, but it also kind of snuck up on me as I had been pretty busy creating workouts and content for Tighter Together, teaching school and traveling for Spring Break. I guess you could say that I had diversified a little bit prior to this point and no longer felt the tunnel vision of Boston that some runners have because their passions are so strictly running-related (and I absolutely respect that, it just wasn't this year for me). So yes, I was excited to visit a new city, excited that my parents and Drew's parents were coming, excited to experience the hype, excited that I would get to run in such a prestigious race, and excited to celebrate the fact that I had qualified to be there. There were some nerves that this might not go well and for one reason or another (marathon distance leaves a lot of room for variables) I wouldn't be able to finish, but I also consider myself a pretty determined individual and I knew it would take a lot before that happened.
Before I knew it, the weekend leading up to Boston had come and gone-- we had gone to a Red Sox game, walked parts of the city, gone to church, eaten delicious food, shopped for extra layers and tried to avoid listening to the weather reports that promised miserably cold, rainy and windy conditions for Monday. Before I knew it, I was going to bed the night before the Boston Marathon and really not knowing what the next day would hold, but at the same time, I had a feeling it would be memorable...just a hunch. The day feels like the three days in one-- the first is all pre-race and kind of a wet frenzied blur as a followed poncho-clad runners into lines, the lines into busses (where I met the nicest Charity runner Sean who made those 40 minutes fly by and I'm so thankful), from busses into a very muddy Athletes Village, and then somehow a porta potty and all the sudden we were getting into our corrals. I had been told that you would wait at Athletes Village for a while, and maybe it was all longer than I felt because I was overwhelmed with the mud and rain and trying to decide what to wear and what to throw away, but I never felt I had extra time.
The best description I can give to the .7 mile walk from Athletes Village to my start wave at 10:50 was that it seemed like we were all walking to some form of punsihment-- nobody really talked, instead, everyone kind of kept their heads down as the rain pelted our faces. It was almost a coming to terms with our new reality and how the next few hours were actually going to be. I will say that the excitement grew as we got to the start and as we actually started running--we were doing what we had come to do and as I got into that motion and people started lining the streets and cheering it become much more tolerable and even exciting--and it grew and grew from there. When a big gust of wind would come, a runner or two would cheer loudly as if to remind the others that we're tough and this is still Boston, so buck up! I wasn't running with ear phones in at this point so I caught all the cheers, the cow bells, the stereo systems set up under tarps along the route and enjoyed it all. I also haven't mentioned that my watch and phone hadn't fully finished upating from the night before and despite Drew's best attempt in a short amount of time, I had no way to track paces whatsoever. Normally this would throw me off, but if there was one day that I was truly going to try to run based on feel, it was this one. Drew had made me promise to 1) not go out too fast with excitement 2) drink at almost if not every aid station and I was determined to stick to the plan. I even drank so much in the first 7 miles that I stopped to use the bathroom (never done that during a race). Things were going fine, the miles were clicking by and I estimated I was running below a 9 minute mile but not by too much and with the elements what they were, I was happy with that.
I fumbled my phone out of my pocket underneath my poncho around mile 10 and Drew had texted me saying that my cheering squad (my parents who flew up for the day, Drew's parents who were with us the whole weekend and of course, Drew) would be at mile 13 on the right side of the road past a big American flag-- I was so excited, but I told myself not to speed up, but just enjoy Wellsley and keep my eyes peeled for them. I can't explain my excitement to see them and I don't think I have to because you can see below, but just to know that they were standing out there for the 30 seconds I would pass by just to hop in the car and get to another spot meant so much. I wanted to thank them with enthusiasm. It was heartwarming to see fellow runners connect with their loved ones along the course. There's such a support system behind these runners and many of them would never be toeing the line in Boston without many people in their corner. Drew informed me later that he takes credit for the next 3-4 miles because my pace increased to about 8 minute mile after seeing them-- it was the perfect boost!