Wednesday, 20 April 2016

2016 BOSTON MARATHON!!!!!!

Wow guys, Boston did it again....and by 'did it again' I mean totally whipped my butt and has me wanting to go back and do it all again! <3
When people ask me in the future "why do you love to run Boston?" I'm going to show them this photo. 
 On Sunday night Matt and I did some cruising around Natick, Wellesley and Newton. I noted things along the course that I would run by the next day and my stomach did several flip flops. We had our 700th dunkin donuts coffee and then headed back to the hotel for freak out fest 2016, GGR style. 

To occupy my busy mind I decided to get a little head start on marathon morning prep:

And before I knew it, it was go time! (To be honest, my eyes were wide awake before 5. I literally laid in bed freaking myself out for what was to come).

I got all geared up and set to go!

Matt said goodbye to me as I boarded the shuttle at 7:00 that would take me to meet up with the buses to Hopkinton.

 This year's bus ride zoomed by and I was stunned at how close I got dropped off to the Athlete's Village! Last year we had quite the little trek to make to get there.

I looped around to search for friends and grabbed a plain bagel and coffee. I found a nice spot in the shaded tent to camp out for the morning. Then Paul showed up! We did a search style loop as well around the village and didn't find any familiar faces! When we both worked up a light sweat just from simply strolling around, we knew this was going to be warm.

The announcers were reminding everyone to fill in the medical info. and pre-race weight on the back of their bibs, and they actually did this a few times. I was sort of freaked out. I immediately realized that I'd have to chuck any sort of time goals out the window.

The Athlete's Village was pumping! Everyone was loading up on sunscreen and the volunteers had EVERYTHING you'd need! I asked for lip chap and a lady whips out a bag of it!!
I so need a tan! LOL
 My wave (3 Corral 2) exited the village at 10:05. I was in the bathroom lineup with only one person in front of me when they called it. I said we won't have another Chicago fiasco here at Boston so I'm totally staying in line until I get in! So worth it. :) Then I headed out to the main road where we are guided down into the starting corrals. It truly is an amazing sight to see such a smoothly operating system of thousands of runners all led into their proper positions.

My heart was totally pumping at the start line as we sang, prayed and counted down! It is such an exhilarating feeling that I hope everyone gets to experience some day.

The huge downhill during the first mile is truly a test of runner discipline. Somehow I managed to keep things cool. 8:02 mile.

I was sure to fuel up at EVERY hydration station with water AND gatorade, especially when I saw a sign that said: RUNNERS DRINK EARLY! HEAT EXHAUSTION WARNING! (Gulp).

The next few miles I did feel great! I was warm, and getting warmer by the minute, but the legs were fresh!

One of my favourite sections of the marathon route is in Natick. I LOVE this part. There is fantastic crowd support and Natick Centre always has the flags lining the streets and the church steeples on each side of the road. It is super cool.

I felt like I blinked my eyes and suddenly I was in Wellesley! Another awesome and famous section of the marathon. The Wellesley College girls were even louder than I remembered this year! I high fived as many as I could and you'd never believe how much mojo that gets going! I remembered thinking how fast the first half of the race went and I was stunned. I suddenly became aware that this was Boston and I had better take it all in because it would be over before I knew it.

Coming up on Newton I knew things were about to get real and much more difficult than they had been. The Newton Hills are certainly not something to mess with and cashing in on pace early does NOT work at Boston. You WILL regret it when you get to Newton.

There's a massive hill at Newton lower falls where you cross above a major roadway. The hill goes on for nearly 1/2 mile before you crest! I knew it was coming and I knew it would be tough in the heat on Monday.

When I finally made it to the top Tim Chessnutt was there snapping photos of the Nova Scotian runners and I was so psyched to see a familiar face!
In case I look busty, it's just the gels, lol. There were five of them in there at the start and I have the chaffe marks to prove it. I usually stash them in my arm warmers but no one needed any sort of arm warmer on Monday!

My 5k splits up to the half way point:

I knew that the first real turn of the race was coming up and boy were the crowds increasing! There was such a party going on on both sides of the road! The Newton fire station comes around mile 17.5 ish. Matt was waiting at Mile 18 and I knew where he'd be standing so I managed to weave through the runners to get to the left side of the road (I'd been running on the right side due to easier access to gatorade and water, since I'm right handed and the left side was just winding up over my face and down my shirt).
Taking the turn onto Commonwealth just past the fire station. Mission: Locate Matt in the crowds of spectators.
When I saw Matt as I approached, I waved both arms like a crazy lady and he gave me the "I see you smile," I yelled, "I'm hot!" when I saw him. I had a quick kiss and then I was off. I really didn't want him to watch me climb the hill. I knew it would suck, and it did. I ran it, but coached myself mentally to use small steady strides and I broke the Newton Hills down into sections. "Just get to the next hydration station and then you can walk," I'd tell myself. I got to mile 19 and it was TOUGH!!! I let myself walk 3 steps while drinking gatorade than pour water over my head and start running again.
Things were getting really tough! My feet were burning and I couldn't even fathom running another 7 miles!!! It seemed like an eternity. I tried to tell myself "it's just to the post office and back." But that didn't really work because My quad muscles were screaming STOP at me.

I knew there were only 2 more mega hills and that soon it'd be over. At mile 20 I saw the Heartbreak Running Club on the left and they were having a huge Marathon party! I checked my watch and it said 2:43. I made it a goal to not worry about pace anymore from there on in. Who cares what it says?! I already had a BQ for next year from Chicago and pushing myself to heat stroke just wasn't worth it. So it then became my goal to finish and not end up in the medical tent like I saw happen to so many other runners. It was scary.

When I got to the top of the last hill by Boston College I cried. I was running and crying at the same time with 5.5ish miles to go. It was not pretty. Every year I high five the partying college students lol and it gives me pep in my step. They're all yelling "It's all down hill from here!" and this literally makes me cringe because each downhill step feels like my quads are going to pull my knee caps off! The BEST sign I saw all day said, "I tackled all the Kenyans! YOU STILL HAVE A CHANCE!" I literally laughed my ass off!

I touched my forehead, I think to adjust my sunglasses or something and I felt an incredible layer of salt on my skin! Like nothing I'd had before. Then of course I poured water all over my face and chugged 2 cups of gatorade at EVERY station to the finish, except the last one. At mile 23ish? I saw a male double amputee with a shirt that said, "No feet, no excuses!" I gave him a thumbs up and stopped my whining.

Every step was a success story for me at this point and the crowds were growing as we headed down into Brookline! It was freaking amazing!!!! I kept thinking of all my running friends who I wished were there with me to see just how awesome Boston is!

In the distance I could see it: The Citgo sign! I didn't look up at it because to be honest it's visible a couple of miles in the distance and when YOU GET TO IT  you have one mile to go.

Let's just say I did a little happy dance wobble when I got there. ;)


 I'm going to finish this freaking thing!

We ran under the Boston Strong bridge and it was AMAZING! People were everywhere!!!!!!!

I kept pushing and saying, "right on Hereford, right on Hereford..." and before I knew it, I was heading up to make the final two turns.

The Roar of Boylston was apparent much before I got there and I was running with shivers.

I was so proud of myself for toughing out such a hard run and running really smart!

The finish is super far once you see it. It's pretty surprising actually, but I LOVE every step, as painful as it was, lol.

LOL I love how crappy I look as I cross the finish line. I feel like it just shows my grit and determination  stubborness, lol. 

I did it! And I was so proud.

Look at that pace rise!
I did pull off a 7:12 running up the last 1/2 mile to the finish though. ;)

After limping up the street to get the subway I was helped by the nicest people in Boston! One lady actually walked me to the subway to show me where it was, another let me use her phone, the subway was free and when I passed out on the subway random strangers cleared their seats and fed me banana, potato chips and water. Two super good samaritans with first aid rode the subway with me and checked me over before I met up with Matt. It was pretty scary and in 13 marathons it was the first time that had ever happened!
Their names were Katie and Nate and they were so nice!!!

All done!

Apparently I took the scenic route. ;)

Get in my belly!

:D

My running friends are the BEST!!!!!!

My stats:

Fantastic congrats to all the runners! And a gigantic thank you to all the supporters, volunteers, fans and organizers on Monday!!! Boston, I love you. <3

You guys, I was totally overwhelmed with support! I can't even thank you enough!

Happy Running,
Heather :)


13 comments:

  1. Great recap!!! I know I already got the short recap and told you how awesome you are, but I will say it again- NICE JOB PUSHING THROUGH!!! Last time I ran Boston my quads felt just like yours because I pretty much ran Fartleks the first half of the race. In a knee brace. With little training HAHHAHA. That was the last time I ran a marathon and it was so painful. I remember wanting to quit so bad! Why does 7 miles, 5 miles, seem sooooooo long at the end of a marathon when in reality we could do it in our sleep??? Ooh how did you get so many pics of you during the race? Did you buy them? TELL ME ABOUT YOUR REUNION WITH LOLA! IS THERE A VIDEO?????

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    1. Thanks Megan!

      Matt and I couldn't stop talking about LOla and our big reunion! I did my special knock on the door and she was going bonkers in the condo! She licked me to pieces and couldn't stop sneezing and running around and barking, lol. We missed her so much!

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    2. Omg I love when animals sneeze. It is so beautiful. :) I am glad your reunion was glorious!

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  2. I had tears as I read this....amazing! Boston really comes out to support all the runners and I can't even imagine running a race with so much fan support!!! You did amazing and wish someday to be there to cheer you on from the sidelines!!! And I want to know how you got so many pics as well...who takes all of them?

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    1. Thanks! :) I ordered my marathon photos!

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  3. Wonderful! I am so captivated by this race recap. Boston runners are so inspiring. Your perseverance is amazing. Congrats!!!

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  4. I loved every word! Omg,. passing out is bit scary, thank goodness you had help from good Samaritans, you had pushed until there was nothing left.
    Your strength is inspiring Heather! I had so much fun tracking you and you flew through that first half! I was thinking if she doesn't slow down in the sun and heat she will die lol You strength on the hills continued to amaze me your second half :)
    Girl, you look beautiful crossing that finish line! Not crappy in that pic.
    It is so fun to feel like I can cheer for you even if from afar!
    You are really are amazing! Congrats on an fantastic race! Can't wait till next year :)

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  5. CONGRATS on running such a strong race! You are an incredible runner, I probably don't tell you that enough, but you are just incredible! I love all of your race recaps and your racing pictures. I honestly don't think you could take a bad race picture if you tried. Your photos always tell a great story!

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  6. It's my first time visiting your site, but I loved reading about your Boston Marathon race recap. I'm running my first half marathon this June, a marathon seems sooooo long. Great job, and great time!

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  7. It's amazing to me how HARD Boston seems to be every year, and yet people still LOVE it!! :) Congrats on pushing through hard circumstances and finishing strong! Do you know what the temperatures were that day? Part of my wonders if Florida runners would fare a little better during the freak heat waves Boston seems to get!

    I'm so proud of you, Heather! Thanks for such a great write-up! I felt like I was there!!

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  8. I love that photo. Well done again Heather! You are so inspiring!

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  9. Congrats on a great race!! You got some fun photos, too. I have a finish line photo like yours from when I ran Chicago, and it remains my very favorite race pic :)

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