Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Boston Marathon

Ok, I have no idea if I should talk about the race or the other Boston stuff right now. It is top of mind, and likely will be for a long time. At least until something else comes along to distract me.

So I guess that means it is time to write about the race. I probably need to get all of the feelings out here so I can better process it myself. Hold on though, I have a feeling you are in for a long one. Hell, I am in for a long one...

I set my goals out last week. I was confident in them. I knew that the A goal of the day was attainable. I knew I worked hard and trained harder, and the weather was looking good. Until it wasn't. And I was nervous as hell. I left our hotel room around 20 minutes before 7 after eating breakfast, drinking two cups of coffee, and using the restroom around 27 times. A block from the hotel I stopped at Panera to buy a large coffee and use their bathroom.

After arriving at Boston Common, I got in line for the port-o-potty again, because that is what you do when you are racing. Ha. After getting in line for the bus, I happened to be in front of another girl on the Oiselle team. We spent the entire bus ride and the entire time in the athlete's village together, chatting, etc. And we never exchanged names (luckily, I did some super sleuthing and have tracked her down since then and we connected on facebook and instagram).

It was hot. Already. I had put on sunscreen that morning, but I was sweating and we were just walking the nearly one mile hike from the school where we were housed to the starting line. (I walked with a different bird - her name, I got!) but I did not change my goal. I was going to run this race, and I was going to achieve what I was working for.

We were off shortly after getting to the start line (there was another pee break in there. I was taking all of this peeing as a sign that I was well hydrated - spoiler alert - I was not) and when I dropped my water when we were walking, I decided, "oh well, guess I am done with that" and let the bottle keep rolling. By mile 6 I had a pounding headache. I kept rolling my neck around hoping that if I got it to crack the headache would ease itself. My miles gradually got slower. I walked for the first time around 12 miles.

At 15 miles, I got to the bottom of the hills as well as the O Cowbell corner.
Apparently I was glad to see them. And so I flew.

There were lots more walk breaks after that. And they got longer. But I kept going. I never once even considered walking off that course. I tried to keep moving even when I was walking. And slowly (much more slowly than I had planned) the miles ticked by.
J got that one of me. He was around mile 23 of the course.


I feel like with about 4-5 miles to go (after the hills) I refound my stride and I got running again. I got past the iconic Citgo sign, which likely to some people means "Fenway" but to anyone who has run this marathon, it means "mile 25". And I was still moving. My pace was not goal pace, but it was more like my "go-to" running pace, and feeling pretty good. We got some cloud cover once we got to Boston for the first time, and thank goodness. That helped me to finish strong.

After going under a small overpass and up the other side, we were almost home. When I made the first of the iconic final two turns (right on Hereford), the street narrowed and there were SO MANY people. I teared up, immediately, thinking about how this wasn't the race I wanted, but I kept going and I was going to finish this race, my dream. I could hardly see from the tears. And then I made a left on Bolyston.

Yeah. I got there. I crossed the line. I earned that Unicorn medal. I am disappointed. I cannot lie about that. I know that I ran what I could with a mind splitting headache (took three advil later, and I usually avoid them like the plague, that is how bad it was) in the heat and everything. I didn't pee for 4 hours after the race, depsite three bottles of water, and when I did it was practically orange. So there's that...

I ran the race in 3:54. And I am disappointed. But at the same time, thinking about it, looking at the medal, watching the NBC Sports Coverage later, as I couldn't watch it during the race like I usually would, I feel emotional. I feel excited about the fact that I was there.

There will be more marathons, and I KNOW that there will be more opportunities at Boston. Because I want to go back.

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