Boston, such an exciting and interesting town, was transformed that weekend with millions of spectators as well as athletes roaming the historical town. I went through the expo and the atmosphere electrified as we picked up our packets and then headed through the doors to a sea of exhibitors. There was literally not an item that you might have forgotten to bring which could not be purchased. As with every race I headed to the official merchandise section to pick up my official Boston Marathon Jacket, an item that had eluded me for quite some time. Even still, it was not going to be worn until after I crossed the finish line. I also had the pleasure of finally meeting all the wonderful people from Marathon Tours who have been the backbone of my travel schedule and race entries. Without their expertise this project would be daunting!
Sunday, the Women’s Olympic Trials were under way. The course, extremely difficult with many 90-degree turns, was spectator friendly. We were able to watch the 100 plus best of our U.S. Women Marathoners run, what looked effortless, through the streets. I stood about one half mile beyond the start and approximately 200 meters from the finish. As they rounded the corner we were able to watch the jumbo-tron above with anticipation. For me, watching Joan Benoit Samuelson was a highlight. She is such an inspiration to women of all ages, not just for her athletic achievements (this was her 7th consecutive Olympic Trials Marathon) but also for the exceptional and gracious woman that she is on and off the race course.
Monday, Boston Marathon Day! It was a very early start, up at 5:30 A.M. to munch down my one cup of raw oatmeal mixed with about 1½ cups of applesauce…yum! This was washed down with water and a bottle of delicious Accelerade. Feeling full and content, I was off to board the bus at 6:45 for what seemed to be about a 45 minute commute to the Athlete’s Village. Next stop, the Porto potty line! Now that the essentials were completed I walked into the Village, found a nice spot to relax and stretch in, as the wait for movement into our corrals was not until 10:00 A.M. Walking down the mile to enter my corral the realization that I was truly going to run this historic course set in. As I looked up the street there was a sea of runners each with their own story, how they got here, and why they were running. So many like myself were running for a cause, a testimonial to the selflessness of our running community and a commitment to giving back.
10:30, the gun goes off and I’m slowly working my way to cross the starting line. I hear the beep as I go over the mats and the day has truly begun. Feeling excited I head down hill along with the others trying to not trip on anyone else’s feet while positioning myself at what I believe would allow me safe passage. Crossing the mat at the 5K mark I notice that my pace is too fast, but I’m feeling good so I continue on. By the 10K mark I realize that I am going to be in trouble and most likely will explode if I don’t slow it down. All the while I was telling myself, run to your best ability but remember….China is looming right around the corner. What a wonderful site at the half way point to see my daughter-in-law Sara, her sister Becca, my friend Marcella as well as James and Kevin (I think I saw Mitch but not exactly sure??) Sara switched off my belts and I now had enough aid to go the distance. What was actually really cool was watching James run with the camera….if he could only have seen himself from the back….he was moving pretty fast. I think he might have a future in the marathon.
I kept a pretty steady pace from 13 on to 21 and then because of the excitement generated from the crowds I picked it up. It was truly amazing to experience crowds on both sides of the street, yelling, clapping with music blaring; it was like they were pushing you along with the vibes. I kept waiting for heartbreak hill, where was it, I felt like every hill on the course was a heartbreak! If there was anything that I truly didn’t anticipate it was how many hills there were on the course. I don’t believe there was a spot in which I wasn’t either going up or coming down.
Mile 23 I could smell the finish line. Just like a horse ready to return to the barn I got another shot of adrenaline. I’m sure it was initiated by the tremendous crowds. And there it was, Boylston Street, the finish line was in sight. I was actually going to complete this. I crossed the finish line in a respectable 4:36:12 with a smile on my face and still upright!!
As I think back on this I can only thank all those who have believed in me from the start, Randy, my husband, Jason, Katherine and Jarrod, my children, Alexis, Emma and Aidan, my grandchildren, Donna and Sara, my daughter-in-laws, Keith (thank god for you) my coach, Jill my biking coach (so instrumental in countless ways) Eric my nutritional component (thanks for the yummy oatmeal advice….it works!) Jodi my physical therapist (my legs would not be the same without her) Jamie who implements all my gym exercises as well as my exceptional team John, Bryan, James, Mitch and Kevin. It is going to be a very long, hard, but exciting year!
Please don’t forget to go to the Donation Page and give. You will be helping those who desperately want a chance to live a clean, sober and fulfilling life achieve it. It might be that you have to give up something that you love, perhaps a cup of Starbucks Coffee, or that run through the fast food line….think how much it would add up if everyone donated even that small amount after I crossed each finish line! Perhaps you might even think about getting out there and running a 5K yourself….I’m sure you would have many supporters of your efforts. Let’s get the movement going and remember, “If you can see it, you can do it, and if you believe it, it will happen….so Dream Big!
See and talk to you from China!!!