I’ve been trying to write this post for what seems like forever! I still can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that I ran the Boston marathon almost 2 weeks ago (or at all for that matter)!! The whole experience was quite surreal but worth every second of training in the frigid, icy conditions this winter.  The weeks leading up to the Marathon were filled with intense emotion and nervousness about what lay ahead. However, the moment I picked up my bib on Friday, I started to only have feelings of excitement!

Marathon Monday, has always been my favorite day of the year, but it took on a new meaning this time around. I started the day at 8am in Boston Common waiting to board a bus to Hopkinton. (Note to the BAA, adults do not comfortably fit in school buses made for children!).  Luckily I had a dry run on my 21 miler, so I knew how long the bus ride would be.  We arrived in Athlete’s village and things were already buzzing. There were thousands of people camped out, hydrating, stretching and waiting in incredibly long port-a-potty lines.

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It was already getting warm when I arrived and I knew the heat was NOT going to be on our side.  That’s sort of when my game plan changed and I decided that this wasn’t about a time, but about enjoying every minute and every mile of this course.  I just wanted to finish for myself and for all those that didn’t get to do that last year.

The time had come to get into my corral, so I dropped off my throw away clothes and I made the 0.7 mile trek to the start. (so for those keeping track this marathon was really 26.9 miles)  On my way to the start I saw Christine! I was waiting at the finish line last year for her to finish when the bombs went off.  It seemed kind of fitting that I would see her at the start of this journey we were about to take together!!  We hugged and then I was off.  There was little fan fare at the starting line, but I was feeling good and ready to make the trek back to Boston.

The crowds were amazing along the entire route, from the guys offering donuts and cigarettes in Hopkinton to the people giving out popsicles at mile 24. I got to see my family at mile 6 in Framingham and they seemed super excited to see me!  I later found out that my mom was quite a boisterous, spectator, yelling at anyone and everyone that ran by, but that’s what makes the crowds so great!  They were there for everyone, not just their friends and family, but for all the runners.

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I honestly don’t remember much of anything else until mile 18, oh except for the very LOUD screaming girls in Wellesley!!  Apparently the scream tunnel is real.  Mile 18 I remember because it was November Project’s water stop and cheer section.  What I didn’t realize is that the cheer section was across from the water, so I ended up missing half of my “fans” cause I really needed water! Did I mention it was almost 70 degrees at this point?!?

Once I got over heart-break, I knew I was going to make it, in spite of the heat.  I ran down Commonwealth past the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and knew my friends were just around the bend.  Honestly what got me from mile 18 to mile 23 was knowing that my co-workers were there waiting for me. I got a glimpse of Graham’s red-head and I knew I was in the home stretch. I yelled his name, threw my empty water bottle at him and scanned the crowd for the others, little did I know that he was the lookout, they were further down the block. He ran “with” me down the sidewalk yelling “you got this”!  Then I saw everyone else and I was instantly energized!!  One more high-five from a highschool friend at mile 24 and I was in the home stretch.

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Finally being able to turn right on Hereford and left on Boylston when I avoided it for months was exhilarating! Seeing the finish line up ahead was a little overwhelming. I took a deep breath and just tried to soak in all the joy and excitement from the immense crowd!! It was just after I crossed the finish line that I realized that despite the heat, I had not only managed to meet my goal time but crush it! 4:18!!!

Photo Credits: Amanda Dezak

Photo Credits: Amanda Dezak

I met my family around the corner, as they couldn’t make it to Boylston because of crowd control! While waiting with them for Christine, I got to see Amanda, one of my close running buddies. My husband got this great shot of Amanda and I in full embrace and it was perfect! I think we were both physically and emotionally exhausted but we both knew how monumental this race was.

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It’s hard to put into words exactly what this race meant to me, but once I was done and I’d crossed that finish line it was like a huge weight was lifted off me. I began to feel normal again. The events of April 15, 2013 will never leave me, but April 21, 2014 is the day I began to heal!!

Now here I am 2 weeks later ready for my next adventure…Reach the Beach and who better to do it with than these crazy kids!

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