2018 Boston Marathon - 3:41:19


#marathon  #running  #boston marathon  #race  #race recap  #recap  #boston 2 big sur 

I don’t even know where to start here. Honestly, 🦄 Boston Marathon 🦄 is just unreal in every way. I’m not even going to try to keep this short. And considering that me trying to keep race recaps short usually means 3,000 words, you may want to grab a pot of coffee and bagged lunch.

The lead up

I won’t go into my training or the media stuff again since I already did, but this day was seven years in the making for me. I’ve been dreaming about this since the moment I decided I wanted to try to tackle the marathon. It took me years of work and tears, ups and downs to qualify. But I think that just made it mean that much more to me. I had to earn it.

Still, qualifying a full year and a half before getting to run was such torture. It felt so far away for so long. But, finally, the day came.

Race weekend

We drove up to Boston early Friday afternoon and got there at about 3:30pm. I wanted to hit the expo up right away in hopes of getting there before the Saturday and Sunday crowds rolled up. So we went right there before checking in to our hotel.

The race expo

So much excitement!

As soon as I started walking up to the expo and could see the signs and the other runners, it fully hit me. It was finally here and I was finally doing it! I had been trying to keep my excitement low for a long time so I could stay focused and not count any 🥚s before they 🐣. But now I was drowning in excitement!

I can’t believe I finally got to hold this bib in my hands! #BostonMarathon

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I got my bib and then we went down into the expo area. This year, the expo was in a new location, the Seaport, from where it’s been. It didn’t seem much bigger than I remembered the old venue being when we were in Boston to cheer in 2014, but it’s hard to tell, I guess.

The first order of business was to get that jacket. The jacket I’d been coveting for years. Look, I wanted to run Boston because I wanted to run Boston, but that jacket is…I don’t know, I’ve just always dreamed of getting to put it on.

The race expo

Signed the wall

Along with the jacket, I got some shorts and a tank, as well. But nothing was to go on until after the race. I hadn’t truly earned anything until I crossed the finish line. To be fair, I treat all race shirts and gear like this. I won’t wear anything until I finish. I want to earn it.

We did a full lap of the expo and I tried all the samples and bought all the stuff I had been planning to get.

After the expo, we checked into our hotel and hit up Veggie Galaxy for dinner. And then I was beat and ready for bed.

When we were in Boston in 2014, we really soaked up the weekend. 🦄 Boston Marathon 🦄 weekend is a three day runner party, but this time, the party was for me…and 30,000 other people, sure. I really wanted to do it up for my first time.

Amelia with the Citgo sign in the background

Walking across the bridge from Cambridge to Boston

On Saturday morning, we hit up Trackhouse (Tracksmith was giving runners a free hat and some other stuff), Marathon Sports (I needed a Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston shirt), Heartbreak Hill Running Company (needed a shirt from there as well), and the Goodr / Rabbit popup shop.

We wandered a bit today

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Then it was time for the Nuun Ambassador shakeout run. It was a nice little three-mile jaunt from the Westin in Copley Square to the Charles River and back. It was a ton of fun filled with excitement and lots of friendly chatter.

Dinner was pasta at Amelia’s Trattoria where they didn’t give me my meal for free?? And then we went up to Harvard to get some cannolis from Mike’s Pastry.

Sunday morning started off with the BOSTONrabbit shakeout run starting from the Rabbit popup shop.

In the evening, we went to the I’ll Have Another Podcast with Lindsay Hein meetup at Lamplighter Brewery. We spent a couple hours chatting with friends Ashley, Mary, Lindsay, and Leticia. Then it was time for a big bowl of pasta, some ice cream, and another cannoli from Mike’s.

Amelia and Lindsay Hein

Wow, I look like such a dude in this photo with Lindsay

Amelia and Mary Johnson

Blurry times with Mary

After getting back to the hotel, I foam rolled, set out all of my stuff for the next day and got to bed in time to get seven and a half hours of sleep.

Oh, I should also mention, I guess, that Sunday was my 35th birthday. I didn’t do anything birthday specific to celebrate, but really, could you ask for a better birthday weekend than 🦄 Boston Marathon 🦄 weekend in Boston? The only thing it was missing was my asshole cats.

The weather

When I qualified for Boston, this was not the day I had envisioned. I know anything can happen in Boston in April. I’m from New Jersey, I’m used to weather that does not like to follow any rules of seasonality.

Still, 37º with 25-30mph winds and driving rain isn’t pleasant. I try to avoid worrying about race weather more than a couple days out because it always changes and there’s nothing you can do about it, so why stress? But everyone was talking about it so there was no avoiding it. And the forecast just kept getting worse and worse the closer we got. Even over the course of the weekend, the forecasted temperature kept dropping.

Here’s the thing, though, I am the kind of runner who will run in any kind of weather. The only weather that will keep me from running outside is that which makes the ground conditions dangerous (i.e. ice). I’ve run in subzero temps, downpours where you can’t see a foot in front of you, 100º+, blizzards, hurricanes (yes, really), 30+ mph wind. I’m not trying to brag, it’s just the way I am when it comes to running. I hate running indoors.

90% of my miles are logged in Liberty State Park, which might as well be the windiest place on Earth. Somehow, there’s always a headwind for both the out and back of a run. So wind, even in the cold, I’m used to that. As for rain, I don’t mind being wet. My favorite running weather is a summer storm. But, note that I said a “summer storm.” I like the rain when it’s warm. It was not warm.

All three of these things together make for miserable weather to run in. Without a doubt, these were the worst conditions I’ve ever raced in. But it was weather that I can thrive in and have experience running in.

A lot of runners, however, really struggled with it. I saw a few runners in trouble during the race and after the finish line it seemed like every third or fourth runner was being taken to the med tent.

Race outfit

I wouldn’t normally put a dedicated section for this in a race recap, but given the awful weather, I think it’s relevant. Normally for this weather, I’d wear shorts, a thin long-sleeve layer, gloves, and a very light rain vest. However, I had my BOSTONrabbit singlet to wear so that was a thing.

I decided on short black shorts, my singlet, and some arm warmers. And a hat. A HAT! I’ve run in a hat twice ever and HATED it. I’ve never raced in a hat. I fully expected to toss it quickly out of annoyance.

For throwaway layers, I had an old pair of running shoes for the Athletes’ Village, sweatpants, makeshift tube sock arm warmers, a long-sleeve t-shirt, a fleece, a heat sheet to wear as a skirt, a heat sheet to wear as a poncho, an old Disney World rain poncho, and some knit gloves. I looked ridiculous leaving the hotel. But I was toasty and dry under all of that so it did the job.

Anyway, I was really afraid I’d be cold with my shoulders exposed. I tend to overheat easily while running and prefer one layer less than most other people. I like to feel the cold when I run. However, below 40º is long sleeve weather for me and I don’t usually break out a tank top until 55º. I went back and forth a lot about arm warmers. With the rain, I felt like they might be worse than bare arms because they’d hold the rain. I ended up buying a pair from the Rabbit popup for $18 and made peace with the fact that I might toss them. I also made makeshift arm warmers out of tube socks like I often do. I knew these would definitely get tossed, but they’d be good as an added layer at the start, but they’d soak up a lot of water if I kept them on too long.

Nails are ready for the weekend. #bostonmarathon

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Race morning

I had my alarm set for 5:30am, but knew I could stay in bed until 6am and then still be able to take my time. I didn’t have to leave the hotel until 6:45 or 7. The buses for my wave were from 7 to 7:45 and it was only going to take me like 15 minutes to get there.

I took my time getting dressed, eating my overnight oats (Picky Oats for the win), and making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything in my checked bag or start bag.

This is not a glamorous sport. I look homeless.

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Our hotel had breakfast for runners so I grabbed a “bagel” and relaxed in the lobby for a bit before it was time to walk over to the T. The ride over was quicker and easier than expected. I thought there would be a sea of runners and I’d have trouble getting on, but nope. It was all good!

The T red line on race morning

Not very crowded on the T

Once I got my bag checked, I waited for my friend Miranda so we could ride the bus over together as planned. At this point, the rain was very light and you couldn’t feel the wind. It wasn’t that bad out and we remarked that if it were to stay like that, it’d be perfect.

Spoiler: it did not stay like that.

The bus ride over was much longer than I expected it to be, but I didn’t mind being on the bus instead of outside. Miranda and I chatted about our race plans and our experience so far with our first Boston. I think we both were on Cloud Nine™.

When the bus pulled up to Hopkinton High School, we reluctantly got off and went back out into the rain. We made our way over to the Athletes’ Village and trudged through some deep mud to get to the Giant Tent of Mud. Miranda had stolen a towel from her hotel for us to sit on, but it was hard to even find a spot to plop down. I only sat a couple minutes before going to wait, kind of a while, for a porta potty. After a pee and itty-bitty poopy, I made my way back to our towel to say goodbye to Miranda and start the trek over to the starting line.

The athletes village

The Village!

Amelia at the athletes village

It me!

The athletes village

So sloppy!

Amelia at the athletes village

I look hot.

Amelia and Miranda

Plopped down with Miranda.

I was able to convince a woman to let me go into the school’s gym to change my shoes so I could actually sit down and take my time. Once I had my shoes on and plastic bags tied over them, it was time for the trek!

The walk from the Village over to the start is about 34 of a mile. As someone who has done this kind of a walk six times at the Disney World Marathon, this was nothing new to me. I actually embrace it as a way to get the legs moving and loosened up before starting the race.

I had hoped to be in the back on my corral—wave two, corral eight—to help myself not get caught up with the faster runners. I had only made it into wave two by seven seconds, so I was basically the slowest runner there. Unfortunately, I seemed to make it there quicker than most other runners and was closer to the front than I wanted to be. I knew I’d just have to be a little extra patient at the start because of this.

I chatted it up with a couple other first time Boston runners as I slowly peeled off throwaway stuff until I was down to just the long-sleeve t-shirt and gulped down my pre-race gel.

We weren’t in the corrals very long before they started us off. Even though I had gotten on a bus a little more than 2.5 hours before my wave’s starting time, I really didn’t end up with very much down time, which was a nice change of pace from how Disney always ends up being.

The start

The 🦄 Boston Marathon 🦄 actually starts off with very little fanfare. Once it’s time for your corral, they basically just send you off without any big thing. The corrals go continuously with no real break between them. To be honest, I found this part to be really nice. It’s always such a fake out when they start corrals one-by-one.

The race start

So unassuming!

As you get up to the start line, it’s not even very obvious exactly where it is. All of a sudden, people start running and there’s a timing mat under you. I pulled off to the side to take a photo before I started running and to let some other runners go by so I could be further back.

Once I crossed the start line, I was ready to go. It was raining and windy, but completely manageable.

For the first 100 feet.

Then a huge/yuge gust of wind and a downpour dropped on us. There was a collective moan from the runners, but what can you do? I had a huge smile on my face and nothing was going to ruin the 🦄 BOSTON FUCKING MARATHON 🦄 for me!

The plan off the start was to stay patient. Patient. Patient. Patient. Nothing but patience and focus…on patience.

I kept my running as effortless as possible. I didn’t try to hold back and I didn’t try to go, I just ran. I didn’t want to tax my legs—on the day between actual Tax Day and Tax Day 2018—more by trying to slow myself on the downhills.

Though you start off downhill, you make it barely a quarter-mile down the road before you hit the first hill. I knew this was coming and it was nice and small, but it was there.

Now, you’ve read over and over that Boston is all downhill for the first half of the race. And it is, sure. On paper. The first half is still mostly rolling hills, though. You are progressing downhill, but you still are doing some uphill bits as well (which I think is actually a blessing 🙏).

Early miles

I kept repeating in my head over and over to take it easy and stay patient. I made sure this thought stayed conscious because I did not want to trash my legs before Newton.

I also focused on making sure all my leg muscles were being engaged. I’ve been working on becoming less of a quad-dominant runner for the last year and a half and I’ve gotten a ton better with it, but I’m still not perfect. I made sure to keep checking in to see if my glutes were pulling their weight. For every single uphill section, I made sure to get my glutes doing the work.

It was raining, sometimes light, sometimes hard. It was gusting wind in your face. And it was cold. But I, honestly, didn’t care. I was nothing but smiles.

What was amazing to me was how it just didn’t feel like a World Marathon Major at all. It didn’t feel like a big city race. It felt small and intimate in the best of ways. It reminded me a lot of Grandma’s Marathon. It was incredible, honestly.

Somewhere around mile two or three, I think, I Hulk Hoganed my throwaway longsleeve shirt off and tossed it to the side. It was soaked through and not doing much for me anyway.

While I was waiting in the corral, I started feeling like I had to pee again and I was still holding it. I didn’t want to stop to use a porta potty, though. So I just let it go. It was raining so much, it really didn’t matter and I’m not above peeing myself while running if it’s raining or I’m drenched in sweat. I let a huge pee out slowly over the course of miles three and four. I’m gross, whatever 😎.

Even though the weather was so bad and that obviously thinned out the crowds a lot from what they normally are, it was still loud the entire way. There was so much energy throughout the course. It was utterly incredible. I just took it all in and enjoyed my victory lap 💪.

My average paces for the first two 5ks were 8:25 and 8:30. This was a bit faster than the 8:46-9:09 I needed to be keeping for my 3:50 to 4:00 goal, but I liked the way the effort felt. I let my body keep that effort and the splits would reflect the elevation changes of each mile.

Unfortunately, my hips were feeling tight in the front and so were my IT bands about two-thirds of the way up my femurs. This happened earlier than I had hoped, but there wasn’t a lot I could do about it. This was going to be what I had to run through for the day.

Just past the 5th mile marker, I fumbled around to get my first gel out of my shorts pocket. With my soaked knit throwaway gloves on, I struggled to get it out. And then I struggled to get it open.

At some point, I tossed my throwaway arm warmers and was down to my tank top and non-throwaway arm warmers.

Hat: still on.

10k - 13.1

I was liking my race day execution so far. I was doing everything according to plan and was proud of myself. At this point, I was far enough into the race that I was past my make-or-break point when it comes to setting my pace.

I was having fun and the weather wasn’t bothering me. The rain was off and on heavy and the wind was gusty, but 🤷‍♀️. My hands were kinda numb, but other than that, I was okay. My core was warm and that’s what mattered. I could still feel my feet too.

Passing from Framingham into Natick, I set my sights on the 15k marker. With a timing mat every 5k, that was my next “check in with Danielle.” This was the same strategy I used in my BQ race. Each timing mat meant Danielle would get a tracking update. Focusing on this is a mental trick I use to make it feel like I have her at multiple spots on the course supporting me, as opposed to just where she’s physically at.

My average pace for the third 5k was an 8:42. I wasn’t slowing because I was tired, I was just settling into where I knew I wanted to be.

The rolling hills continued, but I was enjoying them as a way to keep varying which muscles were getting worked the most. It did feel like we were going downhill more than uphill, but not as much as I expected. I think this was good.

The scream tunnel at Wellesley

The Scream Tunnel!

As we approached Wellesley College, you could hear the scream tunnel from about a half mile away. It was ROARING. As we ran by, it was incredibly loud and young women really were screaming “kiss me! kiss me!” The number of people here was much lighter than images I’d seen in the past, but it felt amazing to come through here. So much energy! So much screaming!

When we passed the first spot where they were handing out gels, I grabbed one. It was time for my second one of the race, but I didn’t want to have to fight to get another out of my pocket. I knew they were giving out my brand and would have my flavor so I’d be good to go. I looked for a volunteer with the vanilla flavor and locked onto them. They had already opened it for me so I was good to gulp it down.

Heavy rain

This is fine.

From here, we made our way to the halfway point and through the town of Wellesley. Lots and lots of energy here. And, again, it felt more like a smaller, more intimate race than a 30,000 runner Major. I was still all fucking smiles here. I was soaking wet and having the best time of my life.

I checked my time at the halfway point and saw I was at a 1:52:41. I was plenty ahead of where I wanted to be for my goal. I didn’t think of this as banked time because I don’t think that’s a good race strategy. I just took it to mean my planned effort was faster on a clock than expected.

I knew we were going to be heading into the harder section of the course now and my hips were still really tight, but I was prepared for it mentally.

Hat: still on.

13.1 - Heartbreak Hill

After I crossed the halfway mark, I started counting down to the top of Heartbreak Hill. “Less than eight miles and then it’s clear sailing to the finish.” This is how I broke up the race mentally, the first half, the hard eight miles, and then the last five miles.

Honestly, I was feeling really good and still having a ball. When the first hill came, I settled into a nice glute-powered climb and didn’t back down from it. Boom, wrecked it.

Coming down the steep downhill on the other side, I just kept it steady and effortless. Just like earlier in the race, I didn’t waste energy trying to hold myself back. I used as little energy as possible and caught my breath.

Then the next hill, the 128 hill, came and I attacked it. I was comfortable with how I was feeling so I let those glutes propel me up while my quads recharged a little. This is supposed to be one of the toughest hills of the course and I sunk my teeth right into it.

As we flattened out, I took stock of how everyone around me was doing. I seemed to be in better shape than many of them. I had started passing runners on the hills.

When I saw the next energy gel station, I went in for another vanilla. I, again, didn’t want to fight to get a gel out of my pocket with my mostly numb hands. This one wasn’t opened for me, but I was able to tear it open with my teeth. Don’t tell my dentist.

While on a flat section again, I pulled back into a nice steady effort. I passed the Nuun tent just past the 17th mile marker and set my mind on getting to mile 18.6 for that 30k timing mat.

We passed the Firehouse as we turned onto Commonwealth and things got noisy and energetic. The crowds were roaring in a way that made everything feel so special. Like we were celebrities coming through. It felt personal.

But I knew that meant Firehouse Hill was just ahead. It’s another big one, nice and steep, but it’s a shorter one. I went back into attack mode. My glutes had recharged a bit on the flat section so they were ready for another round.

I passed a bunch of runners and pushed, but stayed in control. I knew I still had two big climbs left so I didn’t want to give it everything, but this hill was mine.

At the top, we then started to gently roll back downhill again. I had found my strategy, though. I let the glutes recharge again and eased off the effort just a tad.

We passed 30k and I had run a 8:38 average over the last 5k. I had attacked more than half of the hills without losing any time from my pace. And at this point in a marathon, I know if I’m going to bonk or if I’m going to go strong to the finish. I knew this day was the latter.

Then it was time for another hill. I expected this one to be a toughy. And I knew from reading course descriptions that people often mistake this hill for Hearthbreak until they actually get to Heartbreak. It’s short, but steep. My legs didn’t seem to care too much.

I got to the top and knew it was just Hearthbreak Hill between me and that last bit of the course. It seemed like forever before we got to it, though. I kept thinking “where is it? where is it?”

I lapped my watch for mile 20 and saw an 8:18, which was following an 8:16 for mile 19.

Race brain kicked in. “You’re getting faster and if that’s happening at this point, the race is yours. Let’s go for the negative split!!” This is the position I find myself in a lot at the Disney Marathon. I was not expecting to have it happen to me in Boston. I had negative split six of my previous seven marathons and, going into the race, had come to terms with Boston not adding to that. But now I found myself feeling better than expected after executing my race plan as I had hoped. I told myself “okay, let’s do this.”

As we finally came up on Heartbreak Hill, I dug in and attacked. It wasn’t going to be my heart to get broken. I powered my way up. My glutes were feeling it hard as we approached the top, but I kept on until I crested the hill.

I came down the other side of Heartbreak and powered into the downhill. The hard part was over. I had just eaten up Newton for lunch. Bring it on Brookline!

Hat: still on.

Brookline

At this point, I wasn’t even thinking about the rain anymore. It was wet and gross out, but I was thriving in it. Probably around half of runners still had ponchos on or were running with heatsheets around them. It looked really uncomfortable.

I flew across 35k with, according to the tracking app, a 7:45 average over that 5k. My focus now was finding Danielle in the crowd at mile 23.

I had really been wondering about the professional race. I had been pulling so hard for Des to win, but I had no idea how it had gone. No one had yelled anything out that an American had won so I assumed it didn’t happen. I was a little bummed, but I was focused on my race.

I was in attack mode and picking off other runners. I was no longer dodging puddles either. I was keeping the line I wanted based on the curves in the road and where I was. If there was a puddle, I blew through it.

My legs were feeling tired and my upper IT bands were really feeling it, but I’ve been here enough times to know when they’ve got enough left and I can push them.

It was loud! There were people people screaming all over the place. I know the crowds were light because of the rain, but it didn’t feel that way coming through. Wow!

I knew from cheering in 2014 that the 23rd mile marker is at the top of a small hill, but you get a bit of a downhill on the other side. In my head, this was the last hill to worry about. Oops.

By the way, my hat was still on.

After I crested the hill, I was all eyes on the left side for Danielle. I spotted one of her friends point and then I saw Danielle yell out to me and cowbell hard. I came by with lots of energy. I felt like I was still running strong and not showing my pain yet.

Then Danielle said it.

“DESI WON”

“What???”

“DESI WON!”

I literally screamed! Like SCREAMED. I was so excited! I was so tired and ready to be done, but I was so happy. Not only was I going to finish the 🦄 Boston Marathon 🦄 in these terrible conditions, but Des Linden won!

This would power me through the rest of the race. I kept channeling that excitement.

After Danielle, the next landmark was the Citgo sign and I knew it was soon.

Hat: still on.

Boston

Yeah, I was tired, but I was coming in hot. I saw that Citgo sign and I had that pegged as the homestretch.

But, of course, it’s gotta be at the top of another damn hill. I had to fight a lot more to get up this hill than the others. My legs were done now. I gave what I had, but it wasn’t what I had been able to on the previous hills.

I hit 40k with a 7:51 average pace 5k. I was still running strong and running tall, even if I was fighting for it.

Amelia running by the Citgo sign

Citgo sign in the rearview.

And then right after 40k, was the 25th mile marker. And now I had the Citgo sign behind me. That was it, just bring it on in! Channel Des.

Right on Hereford.

Left on Boylston.

Those words over and over in my head as I approached and passed the Citgo sign.

We were into Back Bay. This was fucking nuts. No marathon finish has ever felt quite like this did. This was my dream. And it was everything I wanted it to be.

Comming down Commonwealth

Looking strong still, coming down Commonwealth.

And then, the tunnel. WTF? You’ve GOT to be fucking kidding me? That little damn tunnel. It’s really just the road going under an overpass, but come on? Now? Another hill? Really?? REALLY?!

Whatever, so so so close. We were now at the part of Boston that I knew from walking around so I could envision the rest of the course.

We came out of the tunnel and I could SEE RIGHT ONTO HEREFORD!

THEN I GOT TO TURN RIGHT ON HEREFORD!

A hill.

Yup. Hereford is a small hill. Boylston is at the top, but it’s a damn ass hill.

Amelia on Hereford

Running strong on Hereford.

Amelia on Hereford

How I really felt, though.

I pushed my way up and TURNED LEFT ONTO BOYLSTON!

LEFT!

ON BOYLSTON!!!

I WAS ON BOYLSTON! I COULD SEE THE FINISH! THE CROWDS! THE NOISE! THE FEELINGS!

The pain.

My legs were officially spent and that finish line is stil so far away.

Amelia on Boylston

ON BOYLSTON!

When you hear “right on Hereford, left on Boylston,” no one ever tells you the finish line is like way down Boylston. Feels like you’re running forever.

And it’s this wild feeling. You’re so tired and the weather was so awful. And my legs hurt so damn bad. I needed it to be over. But I didn’t ever want that moment to end. Not ever.

I crossed the finish line and I cried.

Hat: still on.

Amelia at the finish

I FINISHED!

Amelia at the finish

HELL YES!

After the finish line

I stopped and yanked my phone out real quick for a photo, I just had to get a selfie of me immediately finishing. My body temperature was dropping already, though.

Unreal

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I got my medal and clutched it to my chest. Had I not been starting to get the chills, I’d have taken a zillion photos. Instead, I set my eyes on the nearst heatsheet. Thankfully, Boston gives out really nice ponchos that have hoods and velcro to hold them closed. It wasn’t going to be enough, though.

I grabbed a water, which I didn’t really drink at all. For the first time ever in a marathon, I hadn’t taken a single drop of fluid on course. I never felt like I needed it.

One volunteer helped me get my poncho on better than the mess I had made of myself and then a photographer was there to get my photo with my medal on backwards. I must have looked like a heavily-chilled mess.

Amelia with her medal

I was a mess.

I could barely get the Clif bar they handed me out of the package to eat. They were tearing them open for people, but I still struggeled to get it out. I was already starting to shiver.

Oh, and the moment I stopped running, my left hip tightened all the way up. I coudln’t really walk. I just sort of slowly limped through. It was excruciating pain. I had a little panic set in that I had fucked myself for Big Sur, but I tried not to get too ahead of things. Boston was the one that mattered and I had just finished. Maybe a hot shower would loosen it up?

When I got to bag check, it was a DISASTER. OMG it was so bad. There was a huge crowd of runners trying to get their bags. Because the bags are done according to bib number and the numbers are assigned based on qualification time, people tended to finish near others with nearby bib numbers so this created a pretty big bottleneck. We all huddled together and shivered together. It was brutal. And my hip hurt so bad, but I was thankful I wasn’t one of the many runners being pulled out of the crowd to be taken to medical. After more than ten minutes, I finally got my bag, but I was too cold to even want to try to change somewhere and I didn’t think I could even lift my leg enough to get in/out of clothes.

Hat: still on.

I hobbled to the T and struggled down the stairs. I needed to get to warmth. A few people asked me if I was okay as I violently shivered on the platform waiting, but luckily my trip back to my hotel was very quick and Danielle was already back there to help me undress.

Hat: off!

As I got into the shower, I screamed in pain trying to get my left leg over the side of the bathtub. The shower felt great, but it didn’t help my hip any. After showering, I rolled myself into the bed. Even that was a special kind of struggle.

We had plans to go out for drinks and celebrate, but I really just needed to do something about my hip. I laid there for at least an hour catching up on all things Desi and reading all the social media. When it was time to try to get dressed to go out, I was shocked to find my hip had totally released and I could move again without pain!

Thoughts

So rarely in life does anything ever live up to your expectation. Especially, when it’s something you’ve set up as the end-all-be-all of everything you want.

But 🦄 Boston Marathon 🦄 exceeded those expectations. It was totally unreal.

There’s nothing on Earth like that experience. Even in that weather.

Race medal

This is MY unicorn.

I was really surprised I was able to thrive as much as I did in the conditions. 23 of the elites dropped and Desi won with a 2:39:54. That says a lot about how bad it was, but I was able to cut through the rain pelting me in the face and not be held back by it. And, to be real with you, this made it feel so much more earned. I was patient early and executed my race plan perfectly and walked away with a negative split that I didn’t think I’d be able to do.

5k splits

Really happy with this!

Mile splits

A closer look.

Even the day after the race, it didn’t feel like the day after Christmas. It was still exciting. It still felt beyond words.

I was unsure if I’d do another Boston. I don’t want to continuously take a spot from another runner who is right on the cusp. But after running it, I can’t imagine not coming back. I would love to get a chance to run in better conditions when the crowds are at their peak.

Des Linden's coffee

Had to try Des's coffee before leaving.