Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Boston Marathon

It was hard and yet it was easy. It was hard because of the hills and the heat. It was easy because I’m in great shape and the miles just seemed to tick by.

We started our race morning by meeting as a group in front of the Park Plaza Hotel and walked together to the Boston Commons to catch the bus. The bus ride took FOREVER! How can 26 miles take an hour in a school bus? Once we got to Hopkinton there were people everywhere and it was hard to find a place to set up camp. Being the nervous person I am, I immediately had to go to the bathroom and spent the next 40 minutes waiting in line. By the time I returned to camp I had just enough time to eat a Powerbar and half a bagel and then once again line up for the bathroom. When I returned from this bathroom break, it was time to move to the corrals. This was a challenge. They herd you like cattle through these corals but only let you into the one to which you’re assigned. We heard the National Anthem and saw the flyover and then everyone applauded which must have meant the starting gun went off. It took FOREVER to get to the starting line. And what was dumb about the whole thing is everyone was running up the hill to the starting line. Why? It was uphill and the time doesn’t start until you cross the mat. Andrea and I didn’t run until we hit the mat. The first couple of miles seemed slow and controlled. We were turning 8:10s to 8:15s. The first 10 miles seemed to take a really long time. At mile 9, Andrea said I was running too fast for her so she dropped back. I was starting to feel fatigued too, but decided I would run at least to the halfway point before taking a walking break. I must say, Wellsley was a bit of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong—it was deafening, but in my mind I just pictured it differently. I caught my dad right at Wellsley and we chatted a while and then I pulled away. He said he was proud and everyone turned around. A beautiful “after-school special” moment.  When I reached mile 14’s waterstop I walked through it. And then I walked a lot more after that. I walked up the hills; I walked down the hills. And despite all the walking, I was still making good time. The first hill in Newton was brutal but so were all the downhills into Boston. I saw John Kerry at Heartbreak Hill. He’s one tall man. Once I reached Boston I tried to run as much as possible because of the crowds and because I was getting closer to the finish line. I took a popsicle from a lady around mile 22 or 23. It was terrific. It was a super hot day and I couldn’t get enough water. I drank so much I felt like my belly was actually expanding. But by the end, I didn’t drink as much because the waterstops moved to the right-hand side of the road and I didn’t know and I missed a waterstop or two. At mile 23 I looked up and saw the Citgo sign an dknew the end was near. I ran the last two miles. I saw Dave and Mom right before the turn at Herford. No one told me there was a hill there! I finished in 3:53:19. Looking back I wish I wouldn’t have walked as much as I did, but I don’t think I anticipated as good of a time as I got while I was doing the walking. Had I known I was going to do a 3:53, I think I would have walked a little less and then done a little better on my time. Hindsight. I’d like to say that I thought about a whole lot during the race or really contemplated things in my mind. But, I didn’t. I really was numb to what was going on around me. In the last two miles I thought about my grandpa who died a few weeks ago and knew that he was watching me run for the first time. That really helped me get to the finish line. I would like to try Boston again to see if I could do better, but I’ll have to requalify this year to get back there. Overall, I’m pleased with the way things went and happy with my Boston experience.

I must say…my quads are KILLING me! Those hills must have been a lot harder than I thought they were.


Val said...

Good for you! Thanks so much for this post. I couldn't wait to hear how you did & what you thought. I'm so proud & excited for you. Welcome back home!

Michelle said...

Yay! congratulations!