Needless to say I did not sleep well the night before… But I never expect to so it did not phase me. I was up at 4:45am. Made my breakfast and got ready to get outside and face the elements.
I met up with fellow SPR angel Sarah Elliott to load on to the buses. The organization and volunteer support that goes into the marathon is absolutely incredible. It was so well done. It took us almost an hour to get up to Hopkinton which was concerning considering we had to run back to Boston. When we arrived at the athletes village the rain was still holding off but the sky looked threatening. Sarah and I found a spot under one of the big tents and set up our cushions and blankets in order to wait until we got to head to the line. We were probably only there for 30mins or so before it started to down pour. We were happy to have our spot under the tent. We took turns going to the bathroom and then it was time for me to head to the line. I used the 1mi walk to the start to warm up doing some drills and hip swings. I kept all my (throw away) warm up clothes on until 10mins before the race start… because it was freezing!
The rain had subsided for the time being which was greatly appreciated. I kept a throw away long sleeve, sleeves, hat and gloves on to start the race (little did I know I would keep it on for the duration of the race).
I was in wave 1 corral 3. Since I have never done a major marathon like this I have never been this far away from the start line. So that was an interesting experience as we pretty much walked up to the line. It was also interesting because I could not see any other females in my corral (I am sure there were some but it was a high male to female ratio).
In retrospect I should have made my way to the front of my corral as I spent the first km of the race zig zagging around other people trying to find my pace. I did get settled in eventually and kept my promise of not going faster than 3:50 for the first 10k even though it is downhill. I think I still run smart in the marathon because I am intimidated by the distance.
I do not know what everyone is talking about Boston being all downhill… Because I found it quite rolling throughout the race, feeling like I was constantly going up or down.
I stuck with my nutrition plan of 4 gels 1 every 9k even though I did not practice with as many gels as I planned to take. I don’t recommend this but I was lucky and everything digested well. My shorts I purchased the Wednesday before the race from Black Toe Running in Toronto (if you have never been check them out! blacktoerunning.com). I do not recommend this either but again I was lucky and the shorts were amazing and had room to fit 3 gels in them! If only it had actually been warm enough for shorts but I wore them regardless.
Around 15km the rain really started to come down but I stayed tough and did not let it phase me. This is not something I am typically good at but for whatever reason this race I stayed mentally tough. Maybe it was because I felt like I was running for more than just me. I have been so overwhelmed by all the generous donations for my fundraising for the Alzheimer’s society.
For probably the first half of the race I just kept looking ahead to the next female runner (there weren’t many) than I would keep after them until I passed them, it was a good method to pass the time.
I hit all my splits until halfway then my splits started to slip a bit. But again I did not let this phase me either I just stayed calm and took the pressure off and now aimed for 4mins kilometers. I am really proud of how I stayed mentally calm in the race as this is something I typically struggle with.
Than came the real HILLS yes I say hills because there are a bunch of them and they are not fun. I must have looked like I was struggling because a couple of the men that passed me said some encouraging words. One of which told me the hills were done once you get to mi 21 (we were past mi 20) and that was music to my ears so I kept pushing on… Except there were totally more hills (at this point anything with an incline counted as a hill to me) but I kept pushing.
It is hard to put in to words what the overall experience is but it is truly something special to be a part of. Even though it was cold and raining there were still tons of people lining the streets to cheer us on. Lots of kids with their hands out for high fives. Lots of encouraging signs even signs at Wellesley college offering up kisses. You can help but smile and let some endorphins out when running this race!
As we approached the end of the race I finally discarded of my long sleeve shirt not because I was too warm more so because I did not want to get kicked off the course because my bib # was not visible. And my parents were watching for me in my turquoise SPR singlet. In the last few km a couple girls past me but I did not have the ability to go with them. But it was fine I felt strong still in the end. My watch was telling me that I was going to be close to my B goal of breaking 2:50. So in the last km I used everything I had and gave just a bit more. I stopped my watch at 2:50:01… figures…
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