Boston Marathon: Part 3

Warning: LONG POST!

Sunday night after dinner, Todd and I headed back to Milford to our hotel.  We stopped at CVS to get a huge bottle of water to stay hydrated and some Cold-Eeze (cough drop type things that supposedly help to avoid getting sick/shorten the length of your cold).  I had a sneaking suspicion all day that I was getting sick because I had a sore throat.  I was trying to avoid thinking about it because that was the last thing I needed to be thinking about the day before THE marathon.  Todd kept saying it was all in my head.  However, I will tell you it was not!  What do you know, I was up all night, with a stuffy nose, sore throat, and sneezing.  Lovely.  Just what I planned for!  I hardly ever get sick, WHY TODAY?!  On top of that I had the stiffest neck.  I wasn’t sure if I had slept on it weird the day before or if it was just part of my sickness.  Either way, I had to deal.  I was up most of the night Sunday night and did not fall asleep until around 2.  I was bothering Todd asking him to massage my neck because I couldn’t get comfortable.  That only worked for about a minute until he fell back asleep.  In the morning my neck was still aching so I got some ice and iced it for a while.  That seemed to do the trick because afterwards I was practically fine…except for my cold.  I was really disappointed at first and unsure about how I would perform.  Then I realized that I had to face reality.  I was sick and I would be running the marathon no matter what.  I had to deal with the unfortunate circumstances.  I was lucky to be at the starting line of the race.  Many people are unable to register and dream about running Boston.  Some people had their hearts set on running this April and then got injured.  Some people were not able to register because the race was full.  Others had their hearts set on running and were stranded in their country because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland.   Now, in comparison, a cold was really no big deal.  Unfortunate, yes.  But, detrimental, no.

I woke up Monday morning at 5:50 and went to the lobby for breakfast at 6:00.  I had a bowl of Cheerio’s with milk and sliced banana and 2 slices of toasted white bread with Peanut Butter and sliced bananas.  I was very conscious about what I was eating because food usually does not sit well in my stomach when I run…lessons learned from the Philadelphia Marathon and countless long training runs.  I then went back to the room and helped Todd load the car with our luggage.  He was driving the car we rented into Boston before any of the roads were shut down.  He planned to meet up with my parents to watch the race.  After Todd left, I laid down, iced my neck, and watched the news about the Boston Marathon.  I had plenty of time to relax.  I took a shower and then put on my race day outfit.  I wore a white Under Armour shirt…

I also wore black longer-short Nike Spandex.  This was actually my first time wearing these shorts but I knew they would be okay.  I normally get chafing from shorts; however,  these shorts were perfect since they were longer.  Here I am ready to head out the door…

I then went out into the lobby to chat with some of the runners until the shuttle picked us up from the hotel at 8:15.  We didn’t get to the start until about 9:15ish.  When we arrived I immediately went to wait in the port-o-potty line.  I was in line for about a half an hour!  But I was happy I waited.  Afterwards, I went to check my bag in on the bus (they have them organized according to your bib number).  I put my sweatpants in there but decided to keep my sweatshirt on until I got to the start.  It was chilly but not too bad at all!  When I got to the starting line, I tossed my sweatshirt to the side…it was nice knowing that all of the clothes that the runners toss are being donated.

I was in Wave 1, which took off at 10:00.  When I got to the start the beginning corrals of Wave 1 were already off running.  I was in the last corral of Wave 1, so I wasn’t worried.  I kind of liked showing up just in time because it didn’t give me enough time to get nervous.  I jumped in line and asked someone if I was in the right place.  It was funny because she thought I looked familiar.  Then we discovered that we knew each other through blogs!! How weird is that!!  It was Emily!  She was there with Susan, who I later realized that I knew as well from Nurse on the Run!  I thought that was so funny.

Before we knew it, we were off.  Well, wait. I guess I should tell you a bit about my plan for running the Boston Marathon…

My goal for the Boston Marathon was to have fun.  I have previously experienced a torturous marathon at Philly this past Fall and I knew I didn’t want to repeat that especially at Boston.  Therefore, I wanted to be sure to take it easy in the beginning since that was my first major mistake at Philly.  I also had another goal.  I only told a few people about this goal because I didn’t want to disappoint myself if it didn’t happen.  I wanted to re-qualify for Boston.  My sister is running her first Boston next April and I wanted to share that experience with her.  I wanted her so badly to run this year but unfortunately the field was closed by the time she qualified.  This would be my last opportunity to qualify.  So my goal was to finish in at least 3:40 and I would have been even happier if I finished in 3:35-3:40 range.

So, now, back to the race!  The spectators were unbelievable. I couldn’t believe how many people were there cheering on the runners.  Absolutely incredible.  Definitely helped throughout the race.  I received many high fives from people of all ages.  So much support.  A huge thanks goes out to all of you.  Also thanks to all of the volunteers–there were SO MANY volunteers and the day wouldn’t have happened without all of you.  Also, next year I will DEFINITELY be wearing my name on my shirt or something.  When the crowd knows your name, you will hear it about 10,000 times throughout the race!!

Speaking of volunteers, there were water/gatorade stations at I believe every mile.  I stopped at every water station and drank water.  I wanted to continue to hydrate myself throughout.  I think the Gatorade messes with my stomach so I did not experiment with that.

Marathon Photos:

Here I come…

mile 10

Hey guys…

See ya in Boston…

Here are some shots as I head for the finish on Boylston Street…

Here is a quick run through of the race…or what I can remember of it…

Miles 1-3:  Feeling pretty good.  No aches or pains.  Can’t wipe the smile off my face–actually I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face the entire race.  Enjoying the crowds and the runners.  Wondering if I had it in me today to run 26.2 miles.  Kind of feeling a bit out of it.

Miles 4-6:  Feeling better.  Trying to get myself to slow down.  I knew I’d need the energy later.  Although they say the beginning is downhill, there are definitely some hills in beginning!

Miles 6-8:  Looking forward to seeing my parents & Todd at the 10 mile mark.

Miles 8-10:  Found my parents & Todd in Natick.  Waved and smiled.  Loved seeing them!

Miles 11-13:  Almost halfway there.  Ran through the girls at Wellesley College.  They were LOUD and held up all kinds of signs.  Men were running up them and kissing them. haha.  One guy ran by the line of girls and flexed his muscle and kissed it.

Miles 13-17.5: Thinking ahead to the hills.  Need to pop some sports beans and get hydrated.  Tried to slow down a bit to reserve some of the energy I would need to conquer Heartbreak.  The race felt like it was just beginning.

Miles 17.5-21:  This was it.  This is what we have all been training for.  I was surprised how well I was taking the earlier hills.  However, after running 20 1/2 miles, Heartbreak Hill was certainly a challenge and visible in my splits.  According to Garmin, I ran mile 21 in 8:41.  So Heartbreak really slowed me down.  But to tell you the truth, I felt good.  I focused on the present moment.  I didn’t look ahead and dwell on how much further I had.  I just focused on where I was.  Lots of people begin walking up these hills because their legs just can’t take it.  One women began to walk and I gave her some encouraging words and she picked it back up again.

Miles 22-24: Still feeling like we have a while to go after running Heartbreak.  I focused on each mile and looked forward to reaching another mile marker.  Saw the Citgo sign in the distance.  I wondered if people said when you see that sign you’re in the clear or when you are near the sign you are in the clear.  I’m pretty sure it’s when you are near the sign.  My quads were also killing by this point.

Miles 24-25.2: I see the “1 mile left” sign.  Feels good to see that but still feels like a long time away.  Tried to pick it up, but I’m not quite sure if I did.  I was looking forward to the turn onto Boylston Street (the FINISH line!).

Miles 25.2-26.2:  Felt awesome to turn onto Boylston street.  I looked ahead and saw the finish line…oh, no…still so far away!!  Wasn’t sure if I’d make it.  I recognized some stores from walking around the day before.  Then I heard someone scream my name.  I turned to look around but I could not focus.  It turned out to be my parents.  I ran across the finish line and was rejoiced.

I crossed the finish line in 3:37:22.

I continued to walk frankenstein style and received a water, mylar blanket, my BOSTON MARATHON MEDAL, Gatorade Recovery drink, a lunch box with food, banana, and a recovery power bar.  I immediately drank water and ate the power bar & banana.  I then continued walking to the bus to retrieve my bag that I checked-in.  This process took forever.  Seemed that everyone on that bus finished around the same time.  Oh well, I got my bag, called my parents and Todd and finally met up with them!

Post-Marathon Photos:

Yes, that is salt crusted to my head! hahaha.

Todd dressed for the occasion...I just noticed!

The Boston Marathon was an experience of a lifetime.  I was so grateful that my parents and Todd were able to come up for it and worked hard to maneuver themselves around the course…it’s tough! We had such a great time up in Boston…too bad we couldn’t have stayed longer!  I am also thankful for all of the sweet comments I received from all of my friends & family…I really do appreciate all of the support!!! =]

Afterwards, I showered in my parents hotel room.  We then walked and ate one last lunch/dinner together in Boston before heading home.

Unfortunately if you signed up for the cell phone alerts of my current status in the race, they were not working.  The Boston Athletic Association apologized saying that they experienced some technical difficulties.  However, I’m glad that some of you were still able to watch my status from their website.  Each time I ran over one of the mats for the checkpoints, I thought about you guys!!!

Here are my splits according to Garmin.  The course was a little longer than my Garmin calculated.  Obviously, my official time is 3:37:22 not 3:36:05!  I was very pleased with my splits.  I thought that they were pretty much consistent.  I did plan to go out a bit slower.  I was shooting for 8:30’s for the first 6 miles.  Obviously that didn’t happen!  Notice the effects of Heartbreak Hill during mile 21…

Here is the breakdown according to the official results on their website…

Boston was truly an incredible experience.  I will always remember it.  I am really surprised how well my body is recovering.  My quads kill and I do have some trouble getting up and down stairs, but I am feeling so much better than I felt after the Philadelphia Marathon this November…not to mention I experienced no stomach issues at all during or after the marathon!!!  Which is a big plus.  The worst thing I am experiencing is this horrible cold.  Anyway, as you can tell I had an incredible time.  I am already looking forward to next April when I will run with my little sister, CHRISTINA!  It really means the world to me that I will be able to run Boston with her.

Congrats to anyone else who completed Boston this weekend!!!


11 responses to “Boston Marathon: Part 3

  1. great job and awesome time! WOW!

  2. AWESOME JOB! i couldn’t keep a smile off my face either the whole race. it was just sooooo much fun. and i agree, the 1 mile to go sign was nice but i was thinking “jeez there’s still 1 more mile?!” hahaha and same thing once i turned on to boylston. the finish looked sooooooooooooo far away haha. but we did it. 😀

    congrats on hitting your goal and i totally look forward to seeing you (and your sis) in 2011 🙂 yahoo!!

  3. that is cool that you gave that lady words of encouragement on heartbreak hill!!! i love talking to runners haha. and it means the world to me that you will be there with me next year too!! I CANT WAIT!!! i loved how you called your post-race walk – frankenstein style hahaha

  4. AWESOME JOB!!! Way to go on another BQ! 🙂

    You kept a great even pace too for most or the race. I almost wish I had worn my Garmin…. but based on how I felt I’m glad I didn’t.


  5. you are amazing, mary!! your pace is SO FAST, I’m impressed!!! I don’t know if I’ll ever have the desire to run a marathon, but your story is certainly inspiring!!

  6. You’re amazing! Great work!!!!!!! That is such a fast pace!!

  7. I loved reading this post! YAY MARY! How amazing that you qualified for Boston again! You kept such a fast steady pace and I am super impressed. This post is very inspiring 🙂

  8. You are truly an amazing person and this blog really made me cry. It was so touching and inspiring! I hope I can make it next year to cheer you and Christina on.

  9. So many congrats to you!!! I go to school with Christina and seriously you both are so inspiring! Two tiny speed demons! Can’t wait to read about your prep for Boston next year!

  10. Whoo hoo! I need to read this whole post but I read up to the part where I recognized you in line. Hilarious! I was having really weird karma on Monday.

    You rocked this race. Again, I need to read the full report but I am so impressed. You are a natural. I had a fabulous time up until mile 21ish. Legs began to cramp and it was all over with at that point. At least I finished though? I’ll post a full report sometime soon.

    Great meeting you and congrats again on a great race!


  11. Congratulations! You look amazing and I can’t believe you were still smiling for all those pictures at the end. I sure wouldn’t have been 🙂

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