This past Monday I ran the Boston Marathon for the third time in a row and my older sister, Danielle, ran Boston for her first time! This time around was much different than the other two times that I have ran Boston. This was definitely the most challenging marathon I have run to date due to the temperature, which hit 89 degrees around 12:30 p.m. The Boston Marathon has a late start and we did not cross the starting line until around 10:30. By this time the temperature was already in the low 80′s and we were already sweating…before we even began! So we knew we would be in for a hot one!
Prior to the marathon, we received all sorts of emails from the Boston Athletic Association regarding the weather. They were strongly encouraging inexperienced marathoners and individuals with health conditions to not participate. Ultimately, they offered runners an option to defer their entries until the 2013 Boston Marathon so runners did not feel that they had to participate considering to some this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I did not even consider this option. After training all winter, the expenses of traveling, and having my family up to watch me, deferring my entry was not even a consideration in my mind. I was ready, pumped, and nervous to run Boston. After all, I think adjusting to the conditions that you are given is part of being a runner. Given the hot temperatures, it was really difficult for me to decide how I was going to run Boston. I knew that my original plans of racing Boston were out the window and I was okay with that. So I decided to have fun with Boston (at least what I consider to be fun). I decided that I was not racing Boston and that I would instead make my goal to keep myself hydrated and finish the Boston Marathon. I had planned to start off the marathon with 8:45′s for the first 6 miles and then I would evaluate how I felt and possibly stay at 8:45′s.
Although I think I should have held on to a slower pace for a little longer than I did, I think I did a pretty good job with pacing. I felt relatively good the entire time. I had been taking a cup of water and Gatorade at almost every water station (I probably only missed 2). I was really being careful to take in enough fluids and to replace my electrolytes. I was also dumping cups of water on my head and back of my neck to stay cool. The fire stations had these awesome misting stations that runners could run through, fire hydrants were on spraying water at runners, residents and businesses hosed down the runners, and spectators provided oranges, twizzlers, popsicles, water, ice, etc. for all of the runners along the way. The support was tremendous and I am so amazed how everyone comes together to support one another. It was truly amazing. I was able to see my parents in Natick around mile 10 and Todd and his parents around 21.5! Although I felt like death around mile 21.5 they said that I still looked like I had energy compared to others on the course…yeah, I’m not quite sure about that!
After cresting Heartbreak Hill, it is mostly downhill to the finish line. During these downhills, I began to get cramping in my legs. The cramps weren’t too terrible yet and I knew I could hang on to the end. The worst part about having leg cramps is trying to get water/gatorade at a water station. Many people were walking at the stations towards the end which forced me to slow down and move around them. The problem is that when you have leg cramps, your legs practically seize up when you come to a stop or slow suddenly. There were a couple of times when I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get back into my rhythm or if my legs would just give out. I saw lots of runners going down with cramps and they just could not hold themselves up. I was hoping and praying that I could carry myself to the finish. I have gotten leg cramps before in other marathons so I knew that I could do it. I just kept my head up, focused on my form, and looked forward to turning onto Boylston Street to the finish line. I knew I would not be pushing it towards the finish line. At around mile 21 I told myself to just jog to the finish, just like a short 5 mile training run. I imagined the typical 5 mile run that I go on in Philadelphia and that made it a little easier for me. I know a lot of people have issues towards the very end of the marathon and I was definitely not putting myself at a bigger risk by pushing myself when it wasn’t necessary. I just wanted to finish!
As I was running around mile 22 or so I was looking at all of the runners around me and thinking how awesome it was that they were all still running or walking, still pushing to the finish line with any energy they had, despite the terrible conditions. There were so many determined individuals out on the course on Monday which made the experience so much better. As I was running, somehow I spotted one of my running buddies from Philly, Lindsey! I was so excited to see a familiar face so far into the marathon. I think we both needed each other at that point. She was a little ahead of me and I was calling her name but she didn’t hear me. Eventually I caught up and we helped each other get our butts across the finish line! This was her first Boston and I know that she was thrilled to get to the finish line! Congrats Lindsey!
I ended up finishing my 8th marathon in 3:41:13…which by my surprise is not my slowest marathon. I only wonder how I could have done if the temperatures were much lower! I was very happy with my Boston Marathon experience. I had an absolutely incredible time out there and I am very happy with my time!
Thank you so much to all of the spectators, runners, & volunteers. Everything was wonderfully executed despite the unexpected hot weather. I think that Boston Athletic Association did top-notch work. It was amazing how many volunteers were out on the course Monday. They worked so hard and I was truly so thankful for each of them. They are great contributors to the overall experience of the Boston Marathon. I am also so thankful for my family who came to support me…my Mom and Dad, Todd, and his parents. It truly means a lot to me and I couldn’t have done it without you!
I am also so proud of my older sister, Danielle. She completed her 3rd marathon and first Boston Marathon. I ran with Danielle in the beginning of the marathon and we later separated. The whole time I kept worrying that she would be okay. It was a tough run out there today and she had been having some IT band issues which thankfully did not bother her during Boston (thanks to PT!). Even though I worried for her, I knew that she would make it to the finish line because she is not one to quit. I was just hoping that she was having a good and fun run like she had planned for. It is so nice to have a good marathon experience…especially in Boston. I was so happy to have shared this experience with her and I am once again very proud of her! She is an orthopedic resident and doesn’t have much free time but still found time to train for Boston. She is very inspiring and I’m happy to have a big sister like her that I can look up to. Congratulations once again Danielle! Very proud!!!