Saturday, April 21, 2012

I'm a Bahston Runnah! - My race report!

On Monday, April 16, 2012, I ran the 116th Boston marathon.
I have 2 things I want to say about this race:
1. It was the hardest marathon I have ever run!
2. It was the most enjoyable marathon I have ever run!
Someone asked me if it was all I had hoped it would be.  It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. So here is my story:
As Matt and I were getting ready to board the plane in Charlotte, to go to Boston, I noticed I had received and email from the BAA.   It read....

BOSTON MARATHON WEATHER UPDATEDue to warm weather in Monday's forecast, a deferment option has been introduced. 
Due to the unusually warm weather forecast for the Boston area on Monday, the B.A.A. will defer the entry of those official entrants to the 2013 Boston Marathon for participants who decide not to race.
In addition, the B.A.A. will keep the finish systems open an additional hour on race day.  Whereas the finish systems generally cease just prior to 5:00 p.m., this year the finish systems will remain open until approximately 6:00 p.m. 
The B.A.A. thanks all participants for their cooperation in this matter. 
Sincerely,
B.A.A.

By the time I got to Boston, the BAA was asking people not to run who did not feel like their training went well or if they were charity runners.  It was expected to be around 87 degrees.  So I started praying that God would change the weather. 

Matt and I went on like normal.  On Sunday we got up, watched HGBC (our church) online then went to the expo.  I picked up my packet and got my coveted official Boston Jacket!

Official Boston Jacket!

Packet Pick-up!

 Afterward, Matt and I walked around the expo...almost overwhelmed!  It was HUGE!  We saw everything then went to eat lunch.  Then we chilled for a good part of the day at the hotel.  I think I fell asleep....  Then off to eat again! Does anyone see a theme?  All the while, I was drinking tons of water and Gatorade.

Carb Loading!

So anyway..... We ate, then went to get ready for Monday!

I got up at 0500 and spent time with God.  I continued to pray for a weather change and safety for my buddies who were running.  I got dressed, ate my 1st breakfast, started my Gatorade and water, then Matt and I walked to the bus. 

Boston is a point to point course.  It starts in Hopkinton and you run 26.2 miles to Boston.  So I had to ride a bus to the start.  I was excited and just a bit anxious.  When I stepped outside, I knew it was going to be hot!  I had promised Matt I would slow it down so I would safely finish.  He and my mom weren't so sure about me having the discipline to do this.  I wasn't either.

At the bus, I met some of my UCRR buddies!

Landon, Ed, Hazel, Me

Hazel had deferred, but was there for support!  Love my running group!  So the rest of us loaded the bus and at 0700, we were headed to Hopkinton.  I wanted to take everything in.  The bus was loaded with nervous energy. Everyone was discussing how they qualified and their plans for the race. 

I looked around and listened to the stories.  I felt like a small fish in a big pond.  Everyone here is fast.... fast enough to qualify for THE Boston marathon. It is amazing.

We get to Hopkinton and unload.  We walk to the field and find a good spot to relax for the next 2 hours.  Landon and I don't start until 1040, so we have a while to wait.  We listen to music, talk about the race, eat our 2nd breakfast about 1000, and use the bathroom for the last time.  I cannot even explain how amazing "Athlete's Village" was.  All the runners...All the energy...All the heat.

Finally it was time for Ed to go to his wave.  He is FAST... so he is in the Red Wave (or wave 1).  At 1005, Landon and I go to our wave.  We are in the Blue Wave (or wave 3).  It is about 3/4 of a mile from the village to the start.  So we walk...and walk!  I finish my 33 ounce water and take my salt pill (for electrolytes)

Before I tell anything about this race I have to say something.... the whole race there were tons of VERY HELPFUL spectators and volunteers.  They made it possible for me to finish and kept me entertained the whole marathon.

My plan was to run a 5k at a time.  I knew there was a tracking mat at every 5k point.  I also knew that breaking the race down into smaller goals made it easier to tackle. 

My first big goal was to hit the half way mark around 2:00.  This is a far cry from the 1:47 half time I did just a bout a month ago. My 2nd goal was to hit mile 16 and feel good.  This is the point I normally feel overwhelmed and hit the wall. My 3rd goal was to make it to the top of Heartbreak hill (mile 21ish) and still have 5 more miles in me to run. And my biggest goal was to finish under the hot conditions I had been given.

I remember standing at the starting line.  I looked at the girl beside me and told her we were getting ready to run THE Boston Marathon!  I was very emotional.  This is not like me at all... I normally have very few emotions but not today.  I watched the clock count to 1040 and we were off. 

The first few miles are down hill.  Everyone was blowing it out...going fast.  I had told Matt I would start with a 9:00 mile and would not go any faster than that.  At this point it was 80+ degrees.  So I said to the runners flying past me, "See you suckas on Heart Break Hill"!  I took everything in.  The first 5k went by fast.  There was water at every mile and there was NO running through the water stops.  The wall of people and mound of cups on the ground made me have to slow down significantly.  But that was OK because I was able to start my hydration plan.  This included taking a Gatorade every other mile, and 2 waters at every mile.  One water to drink and one to pour on my head.  Yes, it was that hot!

Around mile 3 we passed a tent put up by the spectators.  They were telling us to just come over and sit down and rest.  They had ice cream.  I found this very funny.  I saw signs that said "short cut".  People had water pipes and were spraying the runners.  It was wonderful! When I wasn't at a water stop, the spectators were giving out oranges and water. 

OK... lets just do another 5k.....

At the 10k mark, I knew that my family and friends who were tracking me would get a text.  I prayed that I would be able to finish this race well.  I thought about my children at school and how excited they were about this... and I cried.  Good grief!  What is wrong with me?  This is where I took my first gel.  It was almost liquefied because of the heat.  I also noticed my hydration plan was working out well.

Around mile 7, I remember seeing a sign....it said, "You qualified to diminish any doubts".  This touched me.  I got very emotional as I thought about my journey to get here and once again, I cried!.  Even though it was around 90, I thought about my awesome jacket back at the hotel waiting for me to put it on!  And I ran....and cried!

OK...Lets run to the 15k mark! 

I remember seeing this mat.  I thought about the last 15k race I ran with my buddy Michelle.  I thought about how strong she had been in this race.  Then I saw a sign that said, "Go Michelle".  Guess what, I cried!  But this gave me the strength to go another 5k.

As I started getting closer to the half marathon mark (13.1 miles) I started hearing yelling.  At first I was confused.  But then I remembered.... Wellesley College!  There were tons of girls with signs that said "Kiss Me".  They were yelling for us like we were movie stars.  I, once again cried and laughed.  It was very moving.  I also knew as I crossed the 1/2 marathon mark my family and friends would get a text.  I also took my next gel.  So far, so good!

When I went through the 13.1 mile marker, I decided to start a new mind game.... Just 3 more miles to mile 16.... then just 4 more miles to mile 20..... then just a 10k to go.  I can do that.  Because now, I'm running home!

Mile 13.1 - 16.  I am still feeling pretty good.  I am very thirsty and can feel the heat go into my lungs as I breath.  I'm not breathing heavy so I decide to make sure I breath in through my nose and out through my mouth.  At this point I notice there are these shower things we can run through.  You have to go off the course a bit but the benefits of being completely soaked was wonderful.  I also knew that around 15/16, the Newton Hills start so I started preparing myself as well as I could. 

This is where I passed team HoytThis is a father/son team.  The father pushes the son in a wheelchair.  He is an amazing athlete who has competed in many marathons and Iron Man races.  I have read about them so it was an honor to see them in action.  I could tell they were struggling.  This gave new perspective on how hard this marathon was turning out to be.  Even the strongest of runners were suffering.  I gave them a shout out as I passed by and ran....and cried!

At mile 16, I knew I would have about 5 miles of hills.  However, I didn't really care at this point.  I knew in 4 miles I would be at mile 20.  I ran up slowly and tried to gain a little momentum on the down hills.  I continued drinking my water and Gatorade.  I poured water on my head.

I took a COLD water from a spectator who was handing them out.  I have NEVER tasted water so good.  It was so cold.  It gave new meaning to the verse in the Bible that talks about not being a luke warm follower of Christ, but either being hot or cold.  The verse means to be true to your convictions and stand up for what you believe.  Up until this point, I had been drinking luke warm water.  It was nasty, but under the circumstances, I had to have it.  But when I got that fresh COLD water, it was refreshing.  That is what the Bible was talking about....it is refreshing to see a believer take a stand on his/her beliefs.  Not in a mean way, but to just live what you say you believe.  To truly care about people.  To care not only about the needs of the here and now, but their needs for eternity.  I asked God to help me be refreshing water to others when they thirst for the living water....when they thirst for Jesus.

At mile 20 I start going up Heartbreak Hill.  I knew this would be a somewhat long hill, but at the end, the course would turn slightly down hill. And only a 10k to go.  As I was running up Heartbreak Hill I thought to myself....."My Heart will NOT be broken today".  I looked around and noticed that I was the ONLY one running and everyone else looked like they were doing a death march.  There were also motorcycle cops pulling people off the course.  It was rather scary.  It was so hot.  I have never ran a race that was this hot.... and I have ran Disney the year it was around 90 at the finish.

As I topped Heartbreak Hill, I knew I was home free!  Mile 21...so only 5 more to go.  I can do that.  I was running along and I heard someone call my name.  I look around and see my friend Jessi.  I thought I was seeing things at first, but I wasn't...she offered me water, but I told her I was good and I ran.

At mile 22 I had missed a water station.  Every station was set up on both sides but this one.  So I ran by the first part, on the right...like I had done 21 times before... but this time, it was only on that one side...drats!  But then I look around and see my wonderful husband.  I want to let him know I am good but I start to get emotional and can hardly talk.  He snaps a quick picture of me, we hug (I think) and I start running again.
Mile 22!
Around mile 23 I see a woman giving out frozen fruit pops.  She gives me one and I declare my love for her and the fruit pop.  It was the best thing I have ever eaten!  I decide to eat this instead of my last gel.  I get a water to wash it down and keep running. 

Only a 5k to go.....
The last 3 miles were wonderful.... tons of spectators and water pipes.  I was soaking wet.  I just looked around and took it in.
The last mile was amazing.  I knew I would finish.  I knew I was getting so close.  I turn on Boylston and see the finish line.... guess what... I cry!  I am getting ready to finish THE BOSTON MARATHON!
I pass through the finish line and get my medal.  I am so excited!  I have finished the race....and I finished well!

Me and my Medal!

Before I started this marathon, I asked God to change the weather.  He did not do that though.  Instead, He changed me.  He helped me slow it down and be OK with that.  He helped me NEVER hit the wall.  He helped me accomplish my long awaited goal of running this marathon.  I believe it was meant for me to run this marathon and finish.  I believe God taught me several lessons along the way.  And I believe I will someday come back and really be able to run it at my pace.

My mom told me once that we do not get to choose the conditions we race under.  This is true of life too.  Sometimes God does change our conditions and/or circumstances.... but most of the time, He changes us.

1 comment:

  1. highly enjoyable race report....congrats Christa!

    ReplyDelete