Gosh, where to even begin?! The Boston 2014 Marathon was sure to bring on a mix of emotions, be an incredible experience, and an unforgettable memory, but who knew it was going to be quite like this…
My race truly didn’t start until mile 17, but before that, my dad, the deafening crowds, my girlfriends from Spokane, and my supporters back home were all things that occupied my mind until my body had to step into gear (pun intended!). My nutrition/carb-loading schedule the whole week prior was just perfect – I felt ready to run, with bottled up energy!
We couldn’t have asked for better weather (in the beginning). As we made our way to the starting line in the normally sleepy town (turned big-city-crowded, that day!) Hopkinton, hearts were racing and I had no idea what I was up against. I set my watch, determined to stick to one of the two pace-setting bands I had taped to my wrist, and started running to the tempo of the cowbells along the course. All I could hear were yelling from the crowds, all I could see were thousands upon thousands of runners, and all I could think about was “Shoot! I better not let my family, my athletes, or my supporters down – this is THE Boston!” (haha – us youngin’s have a lot to lose…).
As soon as mile marker 17 hit, my race began. The heat was nearing 68, without any breeze. And when you’re coming off of a Pacific Northwest winter/early spring training season, this temp feels bloody hot! I was not expecting that and even before my legs started to tire, my naked forehead was scorching! I knew I was going to earn this sunburn today. I had the perfect nutrition routine, which helped battle off the heat and hills after mile 17. Gels every 45 mins, Gatorade and water every aid station, and one cup of H2o poured on my wrists (if you didn’t know, this cools your core temperature down better than throwing water on your head – b/c your head can’t breathe/perspire through the water).
The strategy was working, even though I became a little tunnel vision after this mile, digging deeper than I could have ever imagined. I used the crowd as a tool by continuing to pick out the cowbells (along with clapping) to get my stride rate back up. This was very, very useful! Although I started out the second half with negative splits (as trained for), I just couldn’t keep up the pace on the deadening hills and heat after mile 20. I passed a lot of people, but it wasn’t enough. I ditched my first goal of 3:20 finishing time and moved onto my second of 3:24. Happy to have beaten this, really by mile 23, I was just looking to finish w/out walking.
100 yards out from the finish line I sprinted in, never feeling more relieved to see that Boston Blue and Yellow line calling me in. I was an emotional mess- not to mention, everything on my body hurt – I even had a random stranger bend down and untie my shoes….That 40 minute walk, more like limp, back to the hotel, I was bawling the entire time, as strangers passed by asking if I was ok. All I could do was nod.
I was really here – I just ran the 2014 Boston for more than myself, but for the many hurt, the many who didn’t finish the year prior, and all my loving supporters back home. I did it. I pushed on when I wanted to stop – and I did it! Without the help of so many people I couldn’t have done this. If you cheered me on, you have NO idea the impact you had; the small, kind words, the loving cheers, you will never know what it means to me.
As soon as I saw my dad back at the hotel, I bawled, collapsed in his arms, and he was a proud daddio. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to share this opportunity with. I am grateful to many today, humbled by the experience, and inspired by all the incredible runners from our Spokane community and beyond.
Here’s to living in the best place in the world – Spokane, we are Boston Strong. ❤