Sunday, April 23, 2017

Boston 2017

I dreaded the Boston Marathon, there I've said it! I spent the two weeks before the marathon getting more and more anxious about the whole thing. Not the distance itself, I know I can run a marathon...but the hugeness of the race, the crowdedness of the expo, and the juggling of working out different peoples plans.  I also know people are going to be tracking me, which always makes me self-conscious when I run. Plus, truth be told I just don´t love big races, I am more of a 100 people running 30+ miles on single track trails type of girl. So, I am really really dreading this race!

Well, turns out I need not have dread it, the whole weekend was a blast and here is how it went...

Time to Fly! 

Saturday morning I get to the Pittsburgh airport, and as I get parked in extended parking and get on the shuttle I find out that I am on the same flight as my training partner. Kate and I are traveling together! Ya!!! This was also after finding out that Joe and I are also on the same flight. This trip is starting off pretty darn well!  Kate and I are very excited and we may have made snapchat video's on the moving sidewalks to send to our 3rd training partner who isn't along for the ride this time, we really do have fun no matter where we go. I am sure people were like WTF are those girls doing. hahaha. Well, we finally get all settled on the plane, and of course there is a mechanical error. AHHHH, we may miss our connecting flight. Then as we get off the flight to wait, the woman says "Who all is going to Boston?" About 8 of us raise our hands and she continues on "We are putting you on a direct flight that is one gate over and departing in 10 minutes." Double YAAA! Now we are getting there early. And as we get on the plane it is me, Kate, Adam, Joe, and a few other Pgh folk. The plane is only half full, so we get to sit all together and get double seats! Triple Yaa! Good JuJu for the weekend!

After a short and easy flight we get to Boston where I figure out the train system (thanks to a VERY detailed set of instruction from my friend Kim who lives there, Thanks Girl!) and I meet up with Nat at our air BnB where I enjoy a few glasses of wine. I am on vacation!  Then it's off to meet everyone for dinner. Nat and I thought we had it all figured out, however due to a little uncertainty with the silver line, we ended up walking a few miles and may have been 45 minutes late too, OOPS, sorry guys! However we were quickly forgiven by our friends as we chowed down on seriously delicious Italian fare. Mmmm, ravioli made with butternut squash and figs in a Gorgonzola sauce... friggin amazing! The food was exceptional, the company even better!
This is marathon #4 together! 
Ready to go! 

Sunday...It's EXPO time! But first the Runner's World Shake out run. Nat and I meet up with Joe and we listen to some words of wisdom from the great Bart Yasso, then do a nice and easy 3 mile run. While out we see Shalane Flannigan out running, I thought Nat was going to chase her down. hahahaha. When we get back to the Runner's World shop, we get bagels and water, as well as a really cool bag with all sorts of goodies from KT tape! I LOVE KT tape, so I am super pumped about this. And now it is time to expo. I really like a good expo, I love to walk up and down the aisles, looking at all the of different shops and vendors. Joe is buying a Boston shirt from every shop, or close too, and I am looking for the one I will actually wear. I also pick up a cute headband, you can never have enough headbands. Now its time to hit up the Pasta Dinner and get race day ready. By the end of the day I have walked 11 miles, oops.
The whole Boston crew post pasta dinner
**Side Note** If going to the Pasta Dinner, prepare to stand in line for a good 45 minutes.... but the pasta is good and plentiful!

Now onto the race itself: First and foremost, I knew from watching the weather that it was going to be H.O.T, so I knew I wasn't go to PR. I just wanted to run a nice chill race and have fun. So I got together with Joe and we discussed that that was his idea too. Go there, and if the weather gods shined down on us and gave us cool weather we would try to push pace, but if it was hot we would have fun and enjoy the process. An lo and behold, we leave the house at 6:35 am and it is almost 70*, easy goes it it is.

Bus ride down! 
I had been very anxious about the whole morning process of Boston: so many runners, plus trying to connect with everyone, etc...well I need not have been. The BAA knows what it is doing! Gear check was a breeze, as was finding a spot to all meet. The bus loading was painless and so with just the right amount of time to get everything done we head down south to Hopkinton. We get there and head towards athlete village where we immediately jump into a bathroom line. This was smart decision making, because by time we got through it (and we picked a ¨short¨ line) it was time to line up. It is a wee little walk to the start, but not awful and we quickly get corralled.
Athletes Village

As Joe and I get line up in our corral, I immediately start giggling, Joe and I are lined up next to a caveman,  (Caveman Article) wearing a long black wig and nothing but a loin cloth. I see ass cheeks and bare feet. And I am not going to lie, I was 100% sneaking a peak to see how well covered the front was. *shrugs*, it couldn't have been comfortable. lol  Time counts down and we are off, down a very big hill. Hold back baby, no point in going out too fast.

There are aid stations every mile starting at mile 2, and since I know I have a history of heat exhaustion during races, I plan on using every single one. I also am going to take a salt tab every 5 miles with my gel. And that is exactly what I do, drink a Gatorade, two-three waters to pour down myself starting with aid station one and keep it up until the end. (Well, I quit drinking Gatorade around 20, my stomach was less than thrilled). We quickly found that everyone was cramming into the fluid stations on the right hand side of the road, so we stayed on the left and used the one .1 miles down on the left... a lot less crowded ,so much easier to navigate.
We did it! 

As we ran I was constantly awed by the sheer number of people running. You would look ahead (and with barely any turns you could always see a ways ahead) and there would be just a huge crowd of runners, a sea of bright colors and bobbing heads. It was almost overwhelming. And then you would look right and left and there would be spectator on spectator lined up on the roads, yelling, cheering, offering water/oranges/popsicles or beers to any runner who wanted it.

There were signs on signs, some funny, some motivating, and all appreciated. There were dogs and children, waiting for pets and high fives. There were open fire hydrants to run through, and several people who had out their garden hoses spraying down the runners. And of course you cannot blog about the Boston Marathon without mentioning the Wellesly girls scream tunnel, those girls are serious about their cheering! I saw a man stop and kiss at least 7 of them, me personally I am not kissing some chick on the side of the road (eww...I don´t know where those mouths have been), but it was entertaining and I very much enjoyed running through.

Around mile 16 Joe decided to scale back a little, the heat has gotten rough. So we say our goodbyes and I trudge ahead without him, but not alone as you can´t run alone at the Boston marathon. 

Now the other thing that has to be mentioned is the Newton Hills. I would like to start by saying, I am glad I train in Pittsburgh, those hills were totally tolerable thanks to a lot of miles on brutal hills here at home. I would also like to say that Heartbreak hill is not the hardest hill in the Boston Marathon....actually I barely noticed it after doing the ones before. That all being said, I was glad when they were over!

Coming into the finishers chute
The hills are over and now it is time to head towards the finish! As I come down towards the city I see my friend Kim, I was so excited and I truly saw her at the exact moment I needed to. It was mile 24 and I was getting tired, she gave me the boost I needed! So I get my shit together and head towards the finish. As I come through the city in the last mile I see 3 runners being treated by medics on the course, all laying on the ground. The sight brings tears to my eyes and I understand their struggle, especially being so close. As I come upon the finish through the crowds, I am again overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of support. I see a runner being helped across the finish (which ps: for anyone with nasty comments about how those people should be dq´d because they had help, go stuff a sock in it!) which again brings tears. Then I am across that infamous finish line! I have completed my first Boston Marathon. 
Across the line! 

The finish line is set up amazingly well, I wish other marathons would take note! You walk 20 or so feet and get a water, then another 10ft and get a Mylar blanket, then another 20ft for your medal and then all of the food and protein shakes. Everything moves smoothly and there are no jam ups along the way. I grab my gear check bag, change in the ladies changing tent and start to look for my friends. I find Joe first, then Anna, then Kate and Adam. Then we end up finding Nat, Alicia, and Marshall and we all head off towards the trains. Get home, get showered, pop the champagne, and now I am ready to go out and celebrate. As for the rest of the trip, well lets just leave it at I had a lot of fun!

Will I run the Boston Marathon again, I don´t know. I re-qualified for Boston in Boston, so if I want to go back next year I can. However, it is a very expensive trip and as much as I enjoyed the weekend, I don´t know that it can be a yearly thing. However, who knows....maybe I will win the lottery :-)
My Wingwoman and Training Partner
Getting Ready to Celebrate! 

Boston was a great experience, one that I had the joy of experiencing with amazing friends who made the whole weekend memorable! And now that I have been there I understand the drive to go! So if you are working towards it, keep it up because it is 100% worth the work! As for me, I am going to take it easy for a little while. Get back in the gym, have a social life, you know...the things that go out the window while training :-)

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad the weekend turned out so well for you. You ran a super smart race. You totally don't have to run it every year, makes it more special that way!