Boston Strong

Happy Tuesday! Hopefully this won’t be another chapter of my typical “Trainwreck Tuesday”, which seems to be the case most weeks.

As we all know, yesterday was the 120th Boston Marathon and it was kind of a bitter sweet day. I have been very nostalgic over the past several days remembering my time at Boston just a year ago.

I was fortunate enough to receive a bib from my company, Stryker, as we are one of the medical sponsors of the Marathon. There were 3 of us who were able to run and although I spent the entire weekend joking that I was “not legit” being there since I hadn’t run a qualifying marathon time, it was still one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Oh and having to train for it in a mere 43 days was definitely challenging (thanks to my friends Dan and Jason for my crazy condensed training plan and for running my long runs with me!).

Other than my children being born, my wedding day and finishing Ironman, nothing even comes close. And I got to share the weekend with my lifelong sister/best friend Randi, who lives in Boston, and one of my other best friends, Nancy, came with me too. It’s even more awesome to experience this event with good friends (including my Stryker colleagues Bree and Brandon, whom I met in Boston and we will forever be bonded!).

It goes without saying that the memorial to the victims of the 2013 bombing is one of the most silent places I’ve ever been. I was definitely overcome with emotion, as was everyone else around me.

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The race itself is surreal, from the time you arrive at the Expo to visiting the iconic finish line to riding the bus to Hopkinton and making the walk to the start line…then the actual route which is WAY more difficult than I imagined it would be. (oh, it’s downhill, they said…yea, except for the massive UP hills starting at mile 16!). Last year we were faced with 40 degrees, driving rain and 25mph head winds. (this year, runners dealt with heat and blazing sun – it’s amazing how extreme it can be each time).

The crowds along the course are second to none. They put our MSU tailgates to shame – partying, drinking, grilling and cheering for every one of the 30,000+ runners. It’s impossible not to smile, even through the toughest parts including Heartbreak Hill (and all of the other hills that don’t have names but should!).

Every town you pass through comes out in full force to support the race and there is no spot anywhere along the route that isn’t packed with spectators. Unlike Ironman, where there were definitely some areas that felt like you were in Siberia by yourself, after dark with no one cheering. Boston is loud, people are enthusiastic and it just makes you want to keep running even when you want to stop, so you don’t disappoint them.

Heartbreak Hill is no joke, but making it up without stopping to walk was a big accomplishment for me.

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Had to stop and take a photo at the top of Heartbreak Hill – too bad you can’t tell how big the hill is, nor can you tell how soaked and frozen solid I was here!

The iconic Citgo sign is truly like a beacon of light during the last part of the race, when you’re not sure you can run another step. I think I may have let out a cheer/sigh of relief when I saw it in the distance. Awesome.

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The last mile or so is a total blur. The crowds are huge as you get into the center of Boston and get ready to make the iconic only real turns on the course:

Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston.

I will never forget that left turn and the roars of the crowds. I was overcome with emotion and could not stop crying. I was sobbing as I sped up for the last 1/4 mile to the finish. I truly had nothing left in my legs, but somehow was able to get them moving to cross the iconic finish line. My sobs were audible and I let out a huge cry of “YES!!” as I realized what I had accomplished.

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This is a screen shot from the Boston Marathon highlight video of me crossing the finish with these amazing gentlemen in full fatigues. True heroes and I was humbled to have seen them at the finish – they started hours before me and persevered to the finish.

I immediately saw Nancy who was jumping up and down on the sidelines and I couldn’t even believe what I had just done.

Although I was “not legit” from a qualifying standpoint,  I had just finished the most iconic marathon in the world – and with a personal best marathon time, with only 43 days of training. No one will ever take that away from me and I’m incredibly proud of myself.

To everyone who finished Boston yesterday – KUDOS! You’re part of a special group of runners and you endured a lot to get to that finish. Congratulations and enjoy it!

Maybe someday I’ll be back and be “legit” – although I’ve said multiple times that I’m retired from marathon training…but here I sit 13 weeks from Ironman Lake Placid so clearly I’m a big, fat liar!

Boston Strong. Always and forever.

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2 thoughts on “Boston Strong”

  1. I would have a hard time feeling “legit” under those circumstances too, but if anyone deserved to be there it was you. You work hard, and give everything you have in each race. To me that’s the epitome of a Boston runner 😀

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  2. I love reading this and got a bit choked up since I know how much effort and work you put into your training. And you are legit. Xoxoxo

    Like

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