Similar to race recovery, writing this blog has required some time.So, here it is! Monumental memories, my running must-haves and pictures of my first Boston Marathon.
- January 2016 | Cherie gives me my training schedule; “Run some this month, run more in February, run a lot in March and taper for two-weeks in April. #Boom”
- April 15th | Paul gives me my entire pre and post-race plan. Google maps was all over the computer screens. “You won’t remember any of this, but I enjoy it. Makes me feel like I’m there…” That 30-minute prep is unforgettable.
- April 17th | Riding the escalator to packet pick-up on Sunday, it hit me that this was something that many of these runners had worked for years to be able to do. I was overcome with joy for them.
April 18th | RACE DAY!
- 6:30 am | Loaded onto the busses and sat next to another Alexandra who is also from Colorado…. Shut.Up. She was nothing but excited which helped with any nerves I had. A total Phat Girl. Side note: I looked her up after the race and she had a killer run! Yay!
- 7:30 am | Walk into Athletes Village and went to find Pensacola peeps. We all wanted to meet up but it never quite worked out… I did find Jack Bruni (a very familiar face from our Saturday morning long runs) and then went on the hunt for my friend Meghan Connor and her teammate Jackie.
- 10:00 am | First wave. I think of the Pensacola team; Eric, Brent and Daniel who have just started!
- 10:45 am | A few rows back from the start line, chatting with those around me. Everyone is smiling. I have goosebumps and just realized what I was about to do. Feeling God’s overwhelming grace I began praying, well more accurately, praising.
- 10:50 am | The start gun fires and we’re off!
- Miles 1-4 | were country-esque (is that a word?), and full of energetic spectators. It is almost impossible to run a rational pace. Adrenaline is through the roof and you want to run much faster than you should be so early on. You run through about eight towns throughout the marathon which was so cool!
- Mile 5 | a lady ran to the side of the road with a bathroom emergency. She did not have the fortune of a tree or coverage…. #RunnerProbz.
***All of our Pensacola/ Fairhope team is running now. WOO HOO!
- Miles 6-8 | Framingham. I think of Meghan as this is her favorite section and I can see why. This place loves the Boston Marathon and the runners in it.
- Miles 10-15 | I ran beside a girl named Lindsey who was running for the Boston Children’s Hospital. She didn’t tell me this but I heard people yelling it out every few minutes. They were reading her singlet. This was her 7th Boston Marathon and loved it more every time. I could sense her positive and loving energy.
- Mile 13 | Wellesley College. A few minutes before I was able to see the wall of girls, I heard them. The faint roar became louder and then deafening once by them. I stopped twice to exchange kisses on the cheek with birthday girls because #1 it was their birthday! and #2, Cherie told me it’s a must-do.
- Mile 16-21 | The Newton Hills. I intentionally did not study the course before the race. I told myself to expect to “embrace the suck” between 15 and 22 and that I did, humbly. The hills were no joke. Not just one or two but the entire 15 miles or rolling hills that you didn’t really notice beforehand. I had no clue where I was in all of the mountain climbing until I saw a sign that a spectator was nice enough to make that said, “Top of Heart Break Hill”. I felt like I had reached the summit of a Fourteener. The crowd support was outstanding.
- Mile 22-24 | Boston University students are AMPED. They are looking you dead in the eye, pointing and yelling positive affirmations. Even with physical fatigue, motivation is far from running out.
- Mile 25 | The Citgo Sign that Paul told me to look for. I’m almost there!
- Mile 26 | Right on Hereford… I see my family cheering for me. Left on Boylston. ROARS of cheering and applause.
- Mile 26.2 | Glory.
The 30+ high-fives that I had from ecstatic kids, seeing multiple handicapped athletes and the guides that were supporting them and the love that you could sense from each and every cheering spectator is what made this run so spectacular. I shared a lot of thoughts with God throughout my run, too. Thanks, praise and healing prayers for those in any kind of pain. Blissful thoughts. After the mile of refreshments and aluminum foil blankets I met my family in the Boston Commons. It was the perfect cap to the 26.2 miles of challenging splendor.13 runners from the Pensacola/Fairhope area ran that day. Hundreds of miles were ran on the same roads to make April 18th a reality. That thought is so moving. To be among that group is a privilege.
Here’s what a few had to say…”
Michele Williams, a real life cheetah
“I loved the high fives from the kids, the sign that said when your legs are tired run with your heart, the hit this signs for Mario Brothers power ups, the support from the locals-I had 3 orange slices, a piece of watermelon and a Popsicle along with a dry paper towel, a wet wipe, a bag of ice I later gave to another runner who stopped and was holding his knee…amazed to run with those in prosthetics, I was kissed by a Wellesley college girl, ran up heart break hill with a little person that smiled and gave the thumbs up…remarkable experience and seeing JR freezing cold waiting for me at the end -couldn’t of done it without him! He ran that morning with Meb a previous Boston Marathon Winner! I’m truly blessed and appreciative!”
Brent Schneider, four-time Pensacola marathon winner
Yes… he was on TV!
“-The little boy with his hand stretched out for a high five.
-The woman with a tray of sugar cubes.
-The strength,power and will of the handicapped athletes
-The elderly couple cheering from the same spot for many many years.
– The hills that earned my respect.
– The pain canceling roar of the finish line crowd.
– The anticipation of seeing your loved ones at the finish line.
– The honor to represent your home town alongside such amazing people
Thank you Boston 2016!”
Meghan Connor, Navy Marathon Team, marathon #17“The Boston Marathon is by far, my favorite marathon. Boston is the only city that can get people from eight towns and cities to line the streets for 26.2 miles. Everyone has a different reason, a different story of why they are there. For me, its the indescribable feeling I get when I turn the corner of Boylston street that has made me want to come back a 4th time this year. How the buildings surround the street and echo the crowds cheers. How the 26 mile marker catches your eye and you know that all the work that you have put into the course is about to pay off. Even though my legs are usually begging me to slow down after they have taken a beating from the Newton hills, I find a new energy on Boylston that keeps me going. Although this years marathon was warmer than usually, I still take pride and joy that I am still able to qualify, run and return to the Boston marathon each year.”
TOP 6 Products from Running Wild to help you achieve marathon success:
1.Trigger Point Therapy System– rolling is non-negotiable. Before every run, do it.
2.Skin Strong- 12+ miles, things begin to chafe, no bueno. Not with this stuff.
3.Amphipod Stretch Belt– This thing holds everything. Huma Gels, Endurolytes and has tabs for your bib!
4.Injinji Toe Socks-Bye-bye blisters. Who wants their toes squished together? Gross.
5.The One by Altra- My favorite shoe. Lightweight, and a forgiving toe box for my Flinstone feet
6.Moving Comfort Bra-They make you feel like you don’t have boobs. Great support and so comfy!
If you have aspirations to run this race; whether you have not yet trained to qualify or have attempted multiple times and have not quite made it, don’t stop. Make it happen. TRY AGAIN.
Every mile of training, every minute and dollar of traveling, EVERY EFFORT it takes to cross that finish line, it is worth it.