This is going to be a long one. I had a lot of time on the airplane and also a lot of endorphins while writing this after a weekend of marathoning and girls’ trip fun.
We fit 6 people into one hotel room while in Boston. The night before the race all of us girls were in a really silly mood and ended up laughing for an hour straight so we did go into the race with some sore abs. Worth it. Candice and I shared the pull-out couch and the alarm went off at 5:45 after an uninterrupted 7 hours of sleep.
I took a quick shower and thanks to some lovely timing of cramps I took some medicine to help and laid back down again until I felt better. I then ate my first bagel and got ready for the race real quick. I studied the weather report so that I knew what I was up against and went downstairs for eggs and a hot chocolate.
We left the hotel and used Uber (coolest app ever) to get to where the busses were. We stayed about 20 minutes away from Downtown.
This was my first time to Boston Commons. It was awesome and I wish we could have explored for a while but we had that whole bus thing to catch to make it up to the starting line.
These were our throwaway clothes that kept us extremely warm while waiting for the race to start.
I was guessing that it would take a while to get on a bus but like everything with this race, it was smooth and efficient. I ate another bagel on the bus while laughing with Candice about randomness and then dozed off for a few minutes. I tell ya, I can fall asleep anywhere.
Athletes’ Village. Wow. The energy here was incredible. Leading up to this point I felt a lot of nerves but once we got there it was impossible for me to feel anything but excitement. Surrounded by so many runners that worked hard to get there, the loud music and the mega screen playing videos—> It was like Disneyland for runners.
We brought trash bags to help us stay dry before the race started.
It was then time to make our way to our corrals. We even had spectators cheering us on as we were walking the 1/2 mile or so to our corrals.
This is where I said goodbye to Candice (with approximately 5 hugs), ate my Honeystinger waffle and got rid of a few layers of clothing. I wore gloves with hand warmers in them which totally saved me and kept my hands warm the entire race. PS I AM SOOOO GLAD I WORE A HAT. It kept all of the rain out of my face yet made me feel hardcore while watching the rain dripping off the brim as I was running. PPS I put my phone in a plastic bag and then into my waterproof spibelt and that kept it very dry.
Going into this race there were obviously some obstacles between the weather and how my body was feeling but I decided that those things weren’t going to stop me from enjoying the race and taking it all in. There were actually a lot of points along the course where I would think something like, ‘dang it… I only have 9 more miles of this race. I don’t want it to end because of how amazing this all is.’ It really is hard to not be positive though when you are at your dream race.
If you followed me through the race you saw a pretty huge positive split (2nd half slower than the 1st half). This was my plan (although, I did have a much bigger positive split than I was hoping I would have). The weather report said that with each hour the headwind was going to get stronger and stronger and that the rain was also going to get heavier as the day went on. I wanted to get some speed in at the beginning because the weather wasn’t too crazy and then put in the same effort along the entire course which meant—> slower and slower times towards the end because the weather was getting worse. I just didn’t plan on slowing down quite so much but that headwind got strong (20-30 mph).
I wish I could give you a mile by mile recap but I can’t remember what happened at each mile. The race all kind of blends together now but here are some of the highlights:
-I took gus at miles 15 and 21. I dropped my other gu at the very beginning but two felt like it was plenty. I grabbed a drink at about 85% of the aid stations and would dump out a bit from the cup before attempting to drink so that it wouldn’t splash all over my face. I only stopped once along the course towards the end because I dropped my wireless headphones and I was not about to leave those behind.
PS The next few pictures were sent to me from readers (THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH for these and for the cheers)!
The first half of the marathon had a lot of downhill. But it also still has some pretty great uphills (remember my definition may be a little bit different because I have mainly been training on the treadmill). They were fast, scenic and fun miles and I think I hit the half just a little bit under 1:30.
The crowds were remarkable. There were so many times along the way that I got a random boost of energy just from all of the cheering. Seeing so many people out there to support the runners with signs, food/water, high-fives and smiles. Just wow.
Running through all of the different towns was amazing. The scenery was gorgeous and there was never a boring minute.
The Newton Hills. By this point the wind was getting worse (in my opinion, once again… I’ve been a treadmill runner for a lot of this training cycle). There was a headwind the entire race but I really remember thinking during these hills about how strong it was. I slowed my pace way down and just kept pumping my arms. My legs were pretty shot at this point from the pounding but I completely expected that to happen.
I don’t even know how to rate heartbreak hill. It was easier than I expected but the timing of it made it tougher than I expected. Does that make sense?
Coming into downtown Boston was overwhelming (in a good way). I cried, I smiled, it felt unreal. At this point my pace had really slowed down because of the wind and wasted legs. I was getting passed left and right but I knew I was giving every last ounce of me and that is all that I could do. PS Good thing it is warm enough in Utah to hit up trail running again so I can really work on the hills and get strong on them for the next marathon.
The Citgo sign which indicates just one more mile until the end!
I cried a lot during this race but all for good reasons. I just felt really lucky the entire time to be there and a whole lot of love which was especially nice.
Crossing the finish line felt pretty darn good.
Within a few minutes they gave us these coverings to put on but I was shaking pretty bad from being soaking wet. I actually started getting a little nervous about how cold I was. I ran into my friend David from Utah (that was lucky!) and he helped me get inside to a building to warm up which helped a little bit but it wasn’t until I took a shower that I actually felt okay. After the race I don’t really remember much (until after my shower) at all because of the wetness/coldness but we made it back.
Or maybe it was in the elevator of our hotel where we started feeling great again.
Blue lips (with some random hair across my face) look great on us.
We showered, packed and made it to the airport by 4:15 to get back to our girls.
I think/know I will be wearing this for the next few days! I’m hooked on this race and all of the events surrounding it, I hope to be back as much as possible!
A few more things:
-The people of Boston are incredible. All of the girls I went with and I agree that everyone we met was incredibly nice, friendly and helpful. Everyone in the city made us feel so cool after the race by giving us free train rides, congrats/high-fives and all of the Boston runners even got to board the airplane first! They hooked us up:) The people that we met always asked so many questions, they smiled and they were so interested in our race experiences. Also, being in a town full of excited and happy runners was pretty much the best. It was like nothing else I have ever experienced.
-Even though I didn’t hit my goal time, Boston did something huge for me. I always say that I want a sub 3 but in the back of my mind I doubt myself. After the race yesterday, I know it is absolutely possible and going to happen very soon. If I could do a 3:12 in those weather conditions and with those hills, I know for a fact that I will get that sub 3 (of course with a lot of hard work). I also made it through an entire training cycle injury free (minus the foot scare for 36 hours) and that never happens for me. I finally think I am kind of figuring injury prevention stuff out (knock on wood:) which is beyond exciting and motivating for me.
-My marathon personal record of 3:04 is from about 4.5 years ago and yesterday was my fastest marathon (by 8 seconds:) since then. Time to celebrate with an apple fritter the size of my child.
-Within an hour of finishing I checked my emails and saw that my dad sent out an email to our family and friends about how proud of me he was along with pictures that he got of me crossing the finish line from when he was watching on his computer. Just knowing I a made him proud will help keep me on this runner’s high for at least a week.
-I give you a glimpse into how much my mom has helped me during this training cycle with babysitting for long runs and speed work but she has also done so so so much more than just that. For example—> the amount of texts and the pep talk phone call that I got from her this last weekend when I was doubting myself helped my mental game so much. She sent the absolute things that I needed to hear and read. We runners really couldn’t do it without the support that we receive from our loved ones. Thanks so much mom.
-I was once again reminded yesterday that running is so much more than just propelling our bodies in a forward direction while pumping our arms. There is something almost spiritual about it for me (there were a lot of prayers along the way yesterday). Running changes us. We dig deep and we find out more about ourselves than ever before. We push our bodies to limits we didn’t think were possible and magically at the same time our insides change and we just become stronger and stronger because of it.
Thank you so so much Stonyfield! Everything about Boston was an incredible experience that I will never forget. Thank you to YOU GUYS for all of the comments/love/support/awesomeness and thanks Boston for being the best.
Time to rest, recover, build a base and train hard all over again for a fall marathon. I love it.