April 20, 2011

Boston Marathon Race Recap - Part 2

Ok, so where did we leave off? Oh yeah, got my high five from Tedy Bruschi and heading into the corrals. We walked a ways and got to corral 5 of 9. I took off my top and put it in the donation bags. Took one more sip of water and just as we were roped in like cattle heading for....ugh...we were off!

Runners and shed clothing everywhere! If you were a entrepreneurial type, you get some cool running swag just by being a sweeper.

And men in the woods, ya know... Really? Mile 1?

The 1/4 mile is just quiet woods. Just a sea of people bobbing along in a quiet rhythm. My plan was to just go with the crowd, try not to waste energy bobbing and weaving like my first rookie mistake race.

It didn't take long before we saw the people along the route. They were out on their lawns watching (can you imagine your house on the route?!) I wonder if it is a love/hate thing. Either go away for the day or hang out and take it all in.

There was a cute sign a family held on the road in Hopkinton, right before Ashland that looked something like this:

Yeah, wishful thinking!

Then the we got serenaded with by a boat load of leather clad bikers at mile 2. Awesome!

We passed through town after town with people 6 deep everywhere. Barbeques – lots of drinking, people on roofs drinking (yikes!) singing, kids high fiving and counting the number of high fives they got, kids passing out oranges, Kleenex, sheets of wet paper towels, twizzlers, pretzel sticks, water.

There was water & gaterade every mile.

We started out at a good clip. I planned on running with Kim, we ran our 18 in Waltham and our 20 miler on the course 3 weeks ago. We planned on staying close to Steph, Angela, and Pam who we also ran near or with on our training runs. We wanted to start out at 10min/m and pick it up, but every training run we say that and we end up going out at 9:00. So our 9:41 first mile was slower than normal, but faster than planned.

We got to the 5k and I was feeling good. Better than expected really.

At about 5 miles, I was ready for my next gu. I planned on gu for 15 minutes before and at about every 5-7 miles with one for the end if needed.

When I went to grab one, I realized I only had 3 of the 5 gus on my belt. WHAT??!! (Remember how I said I took one gu out and put the other 5 on my belt?)

Silly me, I doubled up on two of the elastics and didn't smush the gu above and below the belt well enough.
They slipped out.

And when I went to grab them to adjust it – I dropped another. SHIT! Only one gu station in the race and it wasn’t until mile 17. I started to re-calculate my gu timing. Then. Quickthinking. Flashback to last night!

I said to David, "I doubt I will need these, but here are 3 more gus, can you take them just in case?"

Oh happy planning! THANK goodness I had my phone on me. I secretly took it because I was fearful I wouldn't finish and wanted to have my phone on me to talk to David just in case.

So I called David – VERY lucky thing. They were planning on being a mile 9, Speen and 135. But they were dropped off by the hotel shuttle (where my grandparents & aunt stayed) at an earlier spot. But a better place, David in his awesomeness thought to plant him and the fam in front of an awesome landmark, the the NewBalance billboard. (And happens to be Simon's favorite shoes.)

Ok, David & kids in just a few miles. Whew.  Here they are waiting for me. :)

I was good for gu, so I downed one.

10k mark, looked at my watch, 1 hour, good, good. How many ks is a marathon? I forgot. Terrible. I think in terms of 5k, 10k, 13.1 miles and 26.2 miles. After a 10k, I have to go back and do math! 26.2 divided by 6ish, 40k, so at least a 40k+ 1 hr down, 3hr and change to go. Ok. Got it.

Then my RB (running buddy) Kim wasn't feeling as fast early on and wanted to drop the pace. Oh man, it was so hard to leave, we planned on running this in 4:30ish together (she ran her first marahon last year in 4:55). It was tough, but I decided I needed to run my race and went on. I caught up with my other RBs Steph, Angela & Pam and ran with them for a couple miles. Even tried to crack a few jokes.

Knock Knock.
Who’s there?
Interrupting cow.
Interuppting c….

Then at about mile 7.5, Pam goes, “Isn’t your family going to be at mile 8?”

No 9, in front of the New balance billboard. 30 seconds later I look up. Oh Wait! There is the New Balance billboard in like 25 yards! – Quick shed the sleeves, get to the left, grabbed the gu, passed off the sweaty sleeves, kissed the kids & David and we were off again.

Sadly I didn’t find out till after wards, my grandparents & aunt Jeanie were on the right hand side just down the road a bit.

I thank Pam profusely. She saved my ass! 3 more gus. Good.

Until I dropped another one trying to put it in my belt. FRAK! Oh well. At least it was the powerbar one that I’d never tried and wasn’t planning on it. (more on that in a sec too.)

Ok, so where was I. Mile 9, I started to pull away from the girls. It was time to run my race. I know I needed to do this one on my own. I had a team of people throughout the training, at the start, but this one I had to do for my family on my own. I held off for awhile without music. Then there was a bar with speakers blaring. It helped and when we passed, I decided it was time to plug them in. Must have been the right choice, because when I pop in the earbuds, IT WAS THE EXACT SAME SONG!!!! Keep in mind I started the player at the start knowing the playlist was just about 5 hours long. 80 songs, and it was the exact same flippin' song.

I listened for about 20 minutes. My friend, another Boston Marathon runner, and First Churcher Sue's Solsbury Hill cam on in that time. Oh man, talk about goosebump worthy. This was the song that took us through Easter last year. So powerful. Talk about transformations.

I took them out so I could hear the Wellesley scream tunnel and right at the end of all the "KISS ME I'M [insert cute line here]" I saw my friend Tara (another First Churcher, runner and amazing musician).

Quick side note: Ok - can I just say, she did an AMAZING job this last Sunday to play the piano when she stepped in at the last minute for our Palm Sunday cantata because our organist had a death in the family. The cantata was so beautiful. So perfect. I was so emotional. And the songs & scripture reading placements that Thom (HAPPY BIRTHDAY THOM!!!) picked were a marathoner's dream.

The humanness.
Sunday, I had tears streaming down my face during this song.  It would not stop. 

And then the Redemption.  THIS was my hope for the Marathon.  And it was there.
Anyway, back to mile 12. And Tara. Tara has a smile that will light up the sky! And she certainly got me going as she in her 5' and changish frame was jumping up and down yelling for me. I could see her bright shining eyes and I picked up my speed to get a hug from here. Quick hug and a wave and then I was off again.

I knew my friend Marcia was going to be in Wellesley after the tunnel with balloons. But I didn't know where. Scanning the crowds.

This is Marcia - from our Maine Coast Half
I saw lots of balloons, but no Marcia yet. Then I saw my friend Suzanne and gave her a quick hug. So cool!

And then the half. I look at my watch. 2:09 Good, good, good. My friend Glen predicted 2:08 and a good day. There we go.

Then a few yards later I saw Marcia’s red hair jumping up and down all decked out in her running gear. I gave her a quick hug, but then she shocked me by dropping her stuff, jumped off the curb and ran with me for about 2.5 or so miles.

We chatted for awhile, she gave me an update on our friend Sara - (WHO DID FLIPPIN' AWESOME, Miss 3:12 marathoner! Which gives me amazing hope to BQ someday since her first marathon was a 4:40ish something. - [correction: 4:29 - sorry Sara!]) As we chatted, Marcia said was going train for a fall marathon, and asked if I wanted to train too. Let me get through this one first! Haha!

Marcia gave me a send off, with a "Ok, you have .4 miles of downhill and then Comm ave where all the fun begins. You got this!"

I have run this course. I know it well. I see the hospital where we've taken our kids to the ER. And think of them. They are safe with Gramma.

Then just after Marcia left, I saw the Dana-Farber Flag on my left. I ran over and gave the founder of the program, Delores Barr Weaver a big hug. She told us the night before the 2 places she would be and that her friends would be schlepping the flag. And if we had time, to give her a hug. She doesn’t mind our glow. So I did. For all that she has done and all that she will do. She said I looked great and to "Go get em girl!" Thank you for all the work you and your husband have done, DBW!

Ah, there is the gu station. But it was not gu. Powerbar gel. Hmmm. Never had them before, but I stashed 2 chocolate ones in my belt anyway.

Instead of eating the gel I took a Gu, gu before the hills (or Newton Flats as Jack calls them – since they are more flat parts than hills).

I was trying to hold back down hill because I wanted to save some. It wasn't really a problem since my hips didn't really want me to go any faster. My mind & heart did, but the hips, not so much. Besides, I’ve done this run. I know what is coming next. But I also knew there were more friends on the way.

I turned the corner at the firehouse. This is mile 17. I smiled at the time the firemen there let me stop to use the firehouse restroom on one of my16 mile training runs. That was a gorgeous day like this one.

There are LOADS of people, good energy, but there is still about 10 miles to go.

Up hill 1 of 4.

Bands, drums, scanning for friends.

Up hill 2 of 4, I spot more First Churchers! I see Ian, Melissa and Brandon on the hill. I wanted to stop for hugs, but I go for high fives, I knew if I stopped, I would have trouble starting again! Please know I * really, really* wanted to give you all hugs! Especially seeing Brandon. I immediately thought of his husband, Jeff and specifically Jeff's mom, Pat was in my prayers on this run too. Pat, you are amazing!

Flat part.

I see Shawn’s blond hair, my friend and former colleague! And Steve, Mike, Paige and Jen. I haven't seen some of them in almost 2 years! They work down the road and came out to see me! In 2004 we were out there cheering for Shawn in her first Boston. That was the year it was like 80 degrees! Shawn was a total trooper that year.

Hugs all around and Paige yelling at me to get going not to stop. Too bad, she got a sweaty hug anyway. :)

Hill 3 of 4. People walking everywhere. They think this is heartbreak! HA! This is mile 19 people. There is still 1 more to go.

Photo credit: www.jimrhoades.com

More bands. More drums.

Then Heartbreak. More walkers. I pop the head phones in. Raise your glass – I think of Sarah.

This is Sarah - From our Newport 1/2 Marathon
Then Dawn's Joy comes on (remember, "I get to run up this hill" Dawn.) On heartbreak. That.is.awesome. Then more c25k grad love with BoDean’s – Katharine’s song.

And then I didn't need music anymore with the BC kids all around. Sorry Wellesley girls, I think BC had you beat this year. Though it did help that I was running next to 2 BC runners – A faculty member and a student.

One kid jumped in next to the teacher and said "Hey, you're my teacher." I thought, "Hey, you are clearly drunk!"

The kids were GOING CRAZY. My name was on my shirt so people were yelling for me too. It was awesome!

Top of the hill more BC screams.

I ran up every hill. Really, I ran the whole thing, only breaking stride a bit to get water in me.

Then I could feel the salt on me, I needed some salt. Something. And this saint of a woman had 2 pretzel sticks in her hand. I took one, with a loud "thank you!" licked the salt off, held on to them for awhile, drank some water and tossed them. Who can chew!?

Kept going. I took an orange slice.

Mile 22. Heartbreak done, but I wasn't fooled. I knew I still had at least 45 minutes of running to go, including the over pass and a slight incline before the last turn onto Boylston. Time to gu.

So remember how I said I had grabbed two Powebar gels at mile 17? I had one gu left. I decided to save the gu for the last miles and take the gel at mile 22.


What is it that they tell runners? (Say it with me runners.)


The powerbar gel hit my stomach like a lead balloon. And then all I wanted to do was go to the bathroom. I thought for sure I had! Whew, just gas. Sorry people, that is what you get for using my tailwind. Heh.

I had it up to HERE with gatorade and water. I skipped the mile 23 water stop.

Citgo sign. Don’t look up, there is still so far to go.

I drank a little at 24. Now, I really did have to go so bad.

Every porta john looked more tempting than an all you can eat buffet of fine Indian Cuisine, but I was not stopping. My watch said 4:07 with roughly 2.2 miles to go. I kept saying 20 more minutes and then you can go.

And then Kenmore and the kids. HUGE Dana Farber team with the “Thank you Dana Farber Runners" sign on the overpass. Amazing.
(From the DFMC page)
Mile 25 one more mile. And the .2

You can DO THIS.

Think of what you and your family went through to get here. Think of Molly. Think of Carolyn. Pat. Benny. Jeanie. Gingie. Tony. Janice. Of your grandparents, aunts, uncles, family. Think of all your friends that go through what you hope you never have to. That no one should have to.

Then the sign “1 more mile”

I kicked it up. One mile. 10 minutes. This is for David. For me. For us. You got this.

Right on Hereford, up the hill (ok, incline) left on Boylston. Holy crap there is the finish.

Kick it girl. You got this.
The sign Liz & Erica made me for the last .2!
From Liz & Erica
From Liz & Erica

Go, go, go, go, go!


But wait, there is more!

Right at the finish, I see Uta Pippig right there. She is shaking another DFMC runner’s hand. I wanted to say thank you for our pep talk this morning and last night. Right there, She smiles this HUGE smile, hugs me and the DFMC photographer puts the 3 of us together and takes a great picture. I can’t wait to get that! That will be a great piece of memorabilia. I thank her and wobble on with my team mate saying how cool that just was.

We get our mylar cape, and wobble forward. They give us bags of food. And I tear off a piece of bagel.

Suddenly I don’t have to go to the bathroom anymore.

I wobble down, and realize people around me have medals, dag nabbit, I wobbled past the medal table. How did I miss that. Wobble back.

Call David. Start crying.

They were at Hereford and missed me. They come to the finish. I miss them. We agree to meet at the hotel.

Wobble more. See my friend Heidi. She gives me a hug and I jealously watch her run off so effortlessly as she says, "I am going to update everyone!" :)

I get my bag, I see Angela & Pam, they finished 5 minutes behind me, but Steph’s leg seized up in Wellesley and we aren’t sure if she finished. Frak.

We throw on our bright orange Dana Farber ponchos (thank goodness I thought to put it on top of my bag). Now the volunteers can spot us and we get directions toward Copley. Yes, we had to get directions. I’ve lived here 10 years, and I don’t get downtown!

I am suddenly regretting all the crappola I packed in my bag – it is SO HEAVY!

The volunteers spot us and take our bags. And walk with us as slowly as we want her to. Thank you volunteer Angela! You are an Angel just as your name says.

She stops with me at the porta johns and then hands us off to the next group of volunteers to escort us into the Marriot for the family & recovery zone.

Stairs! NO!

Just 6, ok.

Ahhh escalator. I see David, he snaps a picture. And then another and another and another.....

Wave for the camera!

Thumbs up!

I see my friend Liesl first and give her a hug. She is grinning from ear to ear. I think it was a reflection of mine too.

David finds me and I start wailing into his neck. Hot tears streaming. We did it! I did it!

We headed into the recovery zone – first for calories, then massage, and a change. I scarf down a chicken sandwich, some protein recovery gaterade, and a veggie wrap. Then off to get my massage.

It was odd, you could actually feel all the salt on our skin. It felt like she was rubbing sandpaper on me, but it was the salt on me. So strange.

Then I changed, found Kim! She finished in 4:49 – She beat her time by over 5 minutes!

I ate some more, had soup! Yum! Congratulated more friends, and then went out to have a nice moment with David. Got some pictures.

Can you tell how stiff I am! I snagged a 'wich for David 

Can you tell just how much I love this man!

I love this picture

Badass Mother Runner!

David propped me up through the 26.2 miles. He knew I could do it when I doubted. And then I don't think his hand left my side from the moment I found him to the moment we walked in the door to our home. Except to snap photos. He was there for support every step of the way.

Just as we were about to leave the Marriott, we found Steph! She finished! WOOT! Her leg seized up at the half and then she stopped at every aid station for icy hot for her leg. She finished. Amazing! I know she is going to want to get out there again to run the one she wants. I hope that she will call me up when that happens so we can do it all again. Someday. Not today. But someday.

Then we walked to the train. (I wobbled.)

I swear, I ran 26.2 – garmin had 26.4 – so I didn’t bob and weave too much – but I must have logged another 2-3 miles between the start and the finish!

Then it was HOME to our family.

Simon was so cute. I open the car door and he runs over and says: “MAMA!!! I got ice cream from the ice cream truck for the first time!”

I loved that so much. Yes, Simon, it was a day of firsts.

Izzy, this run was for you too.

Update.  Ha!  I totally forgot to report my time.  Well here ya go.


Now I have a time to beat.  Someday.


BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

What a great and emotional race report! Congrats!

Al's CL Reviews said...

What an awesome report!

And that is a great pic of you and David.

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love this post!! AND, yes you will BQ! I never, ever, ever, thought I could do it after running my first marathon in 4:29.

First marathon in Oct 2009 -- 4:29, Apr '10 3:48, Oct '10 3:23, Apr '11 3:12.... you can do it too! If you need a coach, let me know!

Dawn said...

I never dreamed the quote I borrowed from Kristin Armstrong would take us so far. Not only did you GET TO RUN UP THAT HILL, you CONQUERED HEARTBREAK HILL! I'm so proud of you. Thank you for sharing this journey with your virtual running buddies. I'm just grinning so big my face hurts!

Elizabeth Sweeny said...

Sheesh, Christy, you make running a marathon sound so easy!

Tom S. said...

You're such an inspiration Christy. This post had me tearing up.

Lois Tow said...

Dear Christy, Congratulations!! And thanks for running to raise funds for Dana-Farber.

Kathy said...

I've never understood how anyone can possibly run that far, let alone people I know. Amazing!

Congratulations and thank you!

Sarahviz said...

I loved reading your recap. My life goal is to someday run a marathon.

LAPT said...

Just so you know, I am super duper impressed with you! I have been mostly convinced to sign up for the May 15th Heartbreak Hill Half marathon (I did it last year). Small field, local run...would you be up for it?