Monday was hard, but it was absolutely worth it. I still can't believe it's over.
The morning started out early. 4:45am wake up to eat breakfast and head to the buses. The buses headed for Hopkinton right at 6:15am. We got to the starting line, and hung out in an empty lodge... waited, ate, waited, and waited some more. Some people napped, some people read... I walked around a little, took pictures, and let my nervousness take over. The weeks leading up to this day I knew I'd be okay and knew I had it in me. For some reason, just 2 days before the race, my shin started hurting. What a joke - 18 weeks with the right training, precautions, and strength exercises that seemed to ward off any injury and I get a achy shin 2 days beforehand? COME ON! There was nothing I could do but just hope it didn't get worse during the 26.2 mile trek.
After hours of waiting we finally went outside around 10:20am to stretch, and pee. And pee again. (I call it nervous pee energy) Then it was over to the corrals for the start of the 3rd wave. As we crossed the start line Teddy Bruschi was there thanking people who were running for his charity. That was cool.
We were off. The weather couldn't have been any better. Just warm enough, plenty of sun, and the right amount of wind. The sea of people made for a slow first 2 miles then it spread out just a little. I tried to get comfy and prepare myself for the next 5 hours of non-stop running. I could definitely feel pain in my shin and my worst fear was that I'd hear a snap, or look down and bone would be popping out. I'm so dramatic but I feared the worse. The first 10 miles I was distracted by it and just praying nothing like what I just mentioned would happen. Fortunately it didn't take away from my pace and at some point in Framingham or Natick it just kind of went away (thank god!) and I was able to really enjoy the race and hit a good stride. Natick was where the crowds got thicker and people got crazier... lots of speakers in yards playing the "Rocky Theme Song" and one tent was blaring "Shout" and we all participated and threw our hands up. LOL!
1/2 way point was where the first Children's Hospital cheer station was and where my family was. That was exciting to see them. Then I saw my coworkers at mile 16, then my cousins and niece at mile 17. Then I rounded the corner and headed up the hills. Someone told me that if at that point I didn't say "Oh F*&#!" then I was in good shape. Well, I didn't say or think that but this is where it got even harder and the pain set in. If my shin was still hurting I wouldn't have noticed due everything else hurting. The crowds through the hills were great. Random strangers calling out "You've got this!", handing out orange slices, and waving signs like "You eat hills for breakfast!" Thankfully I was also with a pal and her and I pumped each other up the whole time. Here we passed Dick and Rick Hoyt, which was really inspiring.
Mile 21 and the hills were over and then it was BC kids in our faces. They really get into it! "Chafe now, brag later!" one sign said. Haha. At this point it was all new territory to me since 21 miles is the farthest I went in training. It seemed like forever but finally I got to Beacon St and could see the Citgo sign. Beacon St seemed to last forever and at mile 23 I thought to myself "Ok, I'm ready for this to be over." Then I saw some friends with signs and that kept me going. Strangers kept yelling out that we were almost there. My heart started racing, I could feel myself getting shaky. "Please don't pass out with 3 miles to go" I said to myself.
Into Kenmore Square and the crowd got even more insane! Right on Hereford, left onto Boylston and one of the coaches popped out to see how we were. It was great to see him. Then my entire family was ahead and I could see the finish. My sister and cousin popped out and ran the home stretch with me. I cannot even describe Boylston St. Just amazing! The crowd so loud I couldn't hear myself think. Part of me didn't want it to be over... it was just sooo cool!
Crossed the finish line and what a relief. I felt great. Sad and glad it was over, so happy that I did it.
Again in 2012? I haven't ruled it out!
To everyone who donated to Children's Hospital Boston; to all my friends and family; to anyone who gave a kind word or text; to Whitney Downum for running during the week with me; to Frank Knippenberg for being a great teammate; to Katie F. for staying by my side all 26.2 miles; to my physical therapist; to all the spectators cheering; to the people blaring the "Rocky Theme Song"; to my co-workers; to the Wellesley College screaming kissing girls; to the drunk BC kids; to the guy who gave me an orange slice at mile 18; to the person on the hills with the sign "Your dreams are coming true right now!"; to all the volunteers; to the Miles for Miracles coaches and staff; to Lauren Frazee and Dana Graham for running with me the last half mile: Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. Boston Marathon 2011 was truly an amazing experience and I couldn't have done it with out all of you! <3