First and foremost, THANK YOU SO MUCH for everyone’s support. Your support and encouragement truly helped us to cross the finish line on Monday. Every time we ran over a checkpoint, our minds ran through the list of people we knew of who were receiving updates. Really, you guys rock! So thanks so much.
First we are going to recap Marathon Monday and then later we will recap other highlights of the weekend!
We woke up around 6:45…which is relatively late for a race…so that was nice. Shortly after we woke up, we said our goodbyes to Todd who was driving into Boston with all of our luggage to meet up with our parents to watch the marathon. We got ready and did all of that stuff and then went out into the lobby to eat our breakfast. Before we knew it we were on the hotel shuttle and heading towards the busses, which would then take us to The Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton. I think I got to The Athlete’s Village a little earlier this year compared to last year because there was a lot less traffic this year. Last year I remember sitting on the bus in a line of busses leading up to Athlete’s Village for at least forty-five minutes. This year it was pretty much smooth sailing and we were unloading off the busses in no time. We waiting in line for the port-a-potties as soon as we got off the bus and after we used them we just got right back in line again! Sounds crazy but the lines were really long and we had some time to waste anyway…plus we figured we would probably have to go to the bathroom again, which we did! I know…we’re so smart!
We were in Wave 2, which took off at 10:20. We were actually a little late to the starting line so we did not start in the correct corral…instead we jumped on at the end of Wave 2…oops!
On Saturday and Sunday we talked about our race plan and finally decided on pacing ourselves in the following way:
Miles 1-6: 8:17
Miles 7-10: 8:10
Miles 11-17: 8:07
Miles 18-22: 8:22
Miles 23-26.2: 8:07/whatever we had
Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I could stick to the plan we made. I knew I could handle the first 6 miles, but I wasn’t quite sure about hitting the 8:10’s and 8:07’s so early in the race. The plan was to start off conservatively since I knew starting off too fast would really make the hills later in the race really painful…and it really takes discipline to start off slow because you start immediately on a downhill and there is so much energy in the air that it is so easy to start off super fast. Anyway, we decided that we would follow this plan loosely and that we would make adjustments if we thought we needed to based on how we felt.
In the first 6 miles our splits were actually a bit faster than 8:17. I remember beginning to question myself if I started off too fast. I was trying to remember back to Boston last year in order to compare how I was feeling now in comparison to last year. When we got around mile 10 (where we saw our parents & Todd!) I was thinking that I felt pretty good but that maybe I was a little too tired for it just being mile 10. From that point on, I thought about getting to Wellesley College (where the screaming girls are) and the halfway mark. Unfortunately, a little bit before the screaming girls in Wellesley, Christina told me to go ahead. She had been experiencing pain from her knee injury and was fighting through it and she didn’t want to hold me back. I was sad to leave her and I did keep thinking of her the rest of the way hoping that she was okay!
After the halfway mark, I set my mind on the 17/18 mile mark. I tried to slow down to prepare myself for the hills, but it was pretty difficult to! After mile 18, I thought about getting through Heartbreak Hill. I knew from last year that Heartbreak Hill wasn’t all that it was worked up to be, but last year it definitely slowed me down and my split for that mile was 8:41. However, this year I found that I took the hills a lot better and my splits didn’t slow as much—(mile 20 & 21 were done at 8:17 & 8:18). This was also the portion of the race where I had planned to run 8:22’s so I was very happy with this! Once I crested over Heartbreak Hill, I knew I would make it. Up until that point I always thought positively about making it to the finish line, but in the back of my mind I was also scared that I went out too fast. The Boston College kids were unreal and were a huge support on Heartbreak. I ran over to get some high-fives for some support!
After Heartbreak, I had a hard time slowing down. I kept telling myself that there was still about 4-5 miles left and that I needed to slow down. I guess my little talk to myself did not work because I somehow clocked all of my miles after Heartbreak Hill sub-8 minute miles. I still can’t believe that I was able to do that! As I approached mile 24, I told myself to hold on strong because I knew that I was close to getting a PR and that I couldn’t let it go after working so hard. This really motivated me to give it my all. At around the same time my calves began cramping up and becoming stiff. I knew that I needed to make it to the finish line—fast! The turn onto Boylston Street was unreal and I made sure to turn off my iPod so I could really soak it all in. I watched a video at the expo the day before about the course and I remember them saying that it was 600 meters from the turn to the finish line (although it seems like a lot longer!). So as I turned, I kept 600 meters in my mind and I found that it made it a lot easier for me. I pushed hard towards the finish and I felt like I had more in me so I think I sped up a little bit before crossing the finish line and completing my second Boston Marathon…and setting a new Personal Record (PR) of 3:33:13—I think 3 just became my lucky number. My previous PR was 3:33:43 (more 3’s!). This is a 30 second PR, which is big for me. I set my previous PR in my first marathon in November 2008 and I never thought I would come close to it again. Now I know that I can run faster than that and I know that I can run even faster than the time I set today. I guess I was a little discouraged that I had set my personal record in my first marathon ever and never came close to it in the 3 marathons following that. Now, during my 5th marathon, I have finally beat my personal record!! I am ecstatic and I already can’t wait to run another marathon! But first I think I will take time to soak in and celebrate this marathon.
Here are my stats according to Garmin…keep in mind this shows me finishing in 3:31:55…I officially finished in 3:33:13!
After having such a great shakeout run on Saturday morning (2.25 miles) I was pretty confident that I would have no problems with my knee during the race. I even got KT tape put on it at the expo on sunday night just to be safe. We had to take a bus to the “village” near the start line and on the way there a man was telling us about a fall he had that resulted in a torn meniscus and made it so that he could not run in a marathon (forget which one now). I didn’t say a word when he was talking…all I was thinking in my mind was “OH GREAT”. Just what I wanted to hear. I put it out of my mind and lined up at the starting line with Mary. I had the race plan (that would give me a time of 3:33-3:34) on a Nike band on my arm and I was determined to follow it. Once the race started, there was no turning back. This was it. We were able to hit the numbers semi-well. I must say, Mary is a demon fast runner but I am pretty darn good at keeping us on target! Mary can vow for me. haha Before we even got to mile 5, though, my Knee pain creeped on in. I tried to ignore it at first. I kept my eye on my pace and thought about other things other than my aching knee.
At ~mile 10 I was unsure if I could keep this pace up. We were hitting numbers anywhere from 8:07-8:10. I had never run this fast in a marathon before (hence my goal of setting a PR at Boston). But I wanted it and I told myself that I would push through the pain and achieve my goal. I saw my parents and Todd at this point and that gave me a lot of encouragement and hope. Right before Mary and I crossed the half marathon marker I turned to Mary and told her that my knee was hurting. I didnt want to admit this to her before; I wanted to pretend like I was fine so she wouldn’t worry. But the pain was pretty bad and I knew I couldnt keep pace anymore and didnt want to hold her back. She asked me how long the pain had been hurting for and I lied and said “a couple miles” (try since way before mile 5!). I told her to go on without me. I wanted her to get our goal time. I accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to set a PR that day and told myself that no matter what I did I would (a) NEVER WALK (b) PUSH THROUGH THE PAIN AND CROSS THE FINISH LINE (c) ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE (d) GO AS FAST AS MY LEGS WOULD ALLOW ME TO GO. I knew I could do it. After I left Mary my pace slowed down considerably and my quads were screaming at me. I was considering not slowing down for the hills before Heart Break hill and not slowing down for Heart Break hill itself (just so I could make up time) but at this point I was in pain and I knew if I didnt slow down my pace EVEN MORE, I would be in deep trouble for the remaining 6.2 miles. So I slowed down. At this point I was SO out of it, I had no idea what my projected finish time was. I thought it would be 4 hours and some change and to be honest, I was really upset by this. But I had no control. I kept telling myself to push it out of my mind and to just dig in and get it done as well as I could. The Hills were hard…and when I was on Heart Break hill I KNEW it, but it wasnt as crazy as I expected and I was very thankful for that!
The last 6.2 miles of the marathon were by far the most physically and mentally challenging for me. I was in the homestretch and yet I had awhile still to go and I was hurting, bad. At about mile 22-23 I saw one of my best friends from high school, Phil! Phil screamed my name and I turned and saw him and just smiled from ear to ear. I don’t know if he quite understands how much he helped me at that point. I was beaming from ear to ear and he helped me to push my pace even faster and finish out the marathon. Phil gave me that extra jolt of energy that I needed…thank you Phil!
Before I turned onto Boylston Street “Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphy’s came on. What a perfect song to end the Boston Marathon, right!? I turned off my music and made a left onto Boylston street. I could see the finish line but let me tell you, it felt like it took me 2 hours to get to it. In Philly this year I was able to sprint across the finish line but not today. I picked up my pace just a bit, gritted my teeth (please camera man, I hope you did not get a photo of this) and dug in for the last little stretch of the race. I did my classic “hands in the air” as I crossed the finish line and the race was over. I did it. I pushed through and finished the Boston Marathon. Would I have liked to set a marathon PR and cross the finish line with Mary in 3:33? Of course. But I am proud of myself that I qualified for Boston and that I ran in the BOSTON MARATHON. Not many people can say that they did this…but now I can! I left nothing on the course. I gave it my all and fought through my injury and fought through my screaming quads and calves and crossed the finish line.
What’s next? Chicago (assuming my PA school schedule allows it) and Philadelphia. I want more than anything to run Boston again, though. I proved to myself that I could do it yesterday but I want to run Boston and prove that I can get the time that I want. So hopefully there will be another Boston in the future for me. But in the meantime, I am going to wear my medal and jacket (I finally can wear it) with pride
More recaps to come and pictures….so keep your eyes out!!!!