I made the decision before we left for Boston that I was going to move forward with running the race. I was nervous about my leg/hip issues, but I was going into the race without any expectations and without any pressure on myself. Just enjoy the day, I told myself.
|The headlines in the paper Tuesday morning|
Unfortunately, the Boston Marathon began at 10 AM. It was forecasted to be in the upper 80's by Noon. We didn't run a single mile while temps were in the 70's. I got up at 5 AM to catch the runner's bus to Athlete's Village. I got there shortly after 7 AM and sat for almost three hours in the sun feeling temps rise before the race began. We were sweating before the race even began. I knew I was in for a long day.
I ran into my friend Mike from Austin in my corral. He, too, is coming back from an injury was looking to run around a 3:45-3:50. We decided to run together. I was without Garmin and he was just wearing a stop watch, so we planned to run solely by feel. The first 10k I remember being enjoyable. We were chatting away, keeping it easy and enjoying the day. At Mile 7, my leg started to hurt (flashback Phoenix Marathon). I told Mike what was going on, and encouraged him to do his thing and not worry about me. We spent the rest of the race going back and forth running with each other, but barely speaking a word, trying to conserve all the energy we could. We ended up finishing within seconds of each other, and I appreciate his mere presence because it kept me going.
Lucky (or unlucky) for me, I had something else to occupy my mind other than my leg: the heat. To be honest, most of the time I couldn't tell which one was beating me down - my leg or the heat. I just felt like crap and couldn't determine which one was the cause. Every step just required so much effort. I was running through every sprinkler, hose, spot of shade I could find, and I was taking ice from spectators and shoving it down my sports bra. I did things I've never done before in a race: took popsicles from the crowd, twizzlers from little kids, a box of raisins from someone - I was trying everything I could to feel better in hopes of a second wind. I didn't have much luck.
I can't remember the point in which I started to add walking breaks into my race plan. I think it was around Mile 15. I was comforted in the fact that I wasn't the only one doing so. I told Dan this race actually reminded me of the final miles of an Ironman: a slow death march to the finish. There were people walking. There were people pulled over to the side of the road vomiting. The med tents were full. Several ambulances with sirens blaring were trolling the streets. It was a sad sight.
I had no idea what my pace was, or where I was time-wise. I really didn't care. I just wanted to make it to the finish line. I credit the people of Boston for helping me get there. Seriously, the City of Boston - the spectators, race officials, volunteers were all AMAZING. They made this race. My favorite part had to be the crazy kids at Boston College at Mile 21. I was high fiving them all, trying to draw strength from their contagious energy.
Eventually, I made my way to the finish line. I found out my time was 3:55:52. I took my medal proudly. It was a badge of honor. I would later found out we made history: In all of the 116 years of the Boston Marathon, that day was the hottest it had ever been for the race. It was hotter in Boston this weekend then it was in Texas. Unreal.
|I was about 10 shades darker post race than pre-race :)|
Do I regret the decision to run? No. I am not going to lie and say there weren't points in the race when I was cursing myself for being stupid enough to toe the starting line. But, the Boston experience is something that cannot be truly understood until you've been there. It's that special.
The funny thing? My legs actually feel better today than they have in a long time. That's karma for you.
All in all, we had fantastic trip. I am sitting at work today fondly thinking of Boston and looking forward to my next attempt at the Boston Marathon sometime in the future.