April 21, 2008
This was my second time up in Boston. I remembered the course well—the fast/steep downhills at the beginning, the first uphill around mile 9, the wall of high pitched sounds from the cheering Wellesley girls at mile 11, the series of hills from about miles 15-21 (including heartbreak hill), and then the fast 5.2 miles to the finish! I had thought through all of these things because, if the weather was right, I felt I could run a personal best! I had put in a lot of training, and after a disappointing race in Ft. Lauderdale back in February, I wanted to come back strong!
My team this year was an awesome team of women—they are all extraordinary athletes, successful, exciting and interesting, and incredibly giving individuals. I wouldn't be able to run any race if it wasn't for people like them!
I woke up at 4:15AM on Monday, April 21. It was early, but I had to get myself ready. My hot shower was perfect; I rubbed Vaseline and lotion everywhere, and methodically dressed! By 5:30AM, we were on our way to meet the busses that would drive us to the start of the race! Along the way, I had my poppy seed bagel with peanut butter, some water, and some Gatorade. The weather was chilly, but this was exactly how I hoped it would be. My main guide, Julia, and I then met my friend Grace, who would be running with us for the first 8 miles. The next thing I knew, we were at Hopkinton, the starting point!
Hours of sitting near the ladies' rest room later, we made our way to the starting line. And it was time to run! The sun began to break through just as the starting gun went off, but I had no time to worry about that! Julia was on the tether, grace to my left, and we were off along thousands of other people!
Grace helped us out at all of the water stops, and keeping my splits. She even had to play bodyguard a couple of times, which she did well! Our 5K split was a bit fast, but under control. So was the next 5K! At mile 7, my friend Joe was waiting for us with some Orange Gatorade, my favorite! And at mile 8, my teammate and friend Kelly Chin joined us too! Now we were 4 strong, chatting a bit about love, life, dates, anything and everything that would keep us relaxed and in good spirits! We saw people from our hometown, NYC, along the way too—or, actually, they recognized us! We hit mile 11, but it past quickly—somehow I thought there were more women last year! But when we hit the 13.1, half, point, I panicked a bit. I was about 55 seconds off from where I had wanted to be (1:40:55), which meant I would have to try to make up some time on the toughest part of the course that was to come! The up-hills started, the sun warmed things up, and Grace left us after having run 5 more miles than she had expected to run (she had just run her own personal best in Paris 2 weeks before!). But I was focused! We've trained on hills in NYC, so I knew I could run the Boston hills well!
Unfortunately, at mile 18, I had to pass the tether onto Kelly. Julia needed some time to refuel, and had to walk. But I was feeling strong! It was a heart wrenching moment for me as Julia and I have trained together so much, are such close friends, and because she guides with such confidence and is always so relaxed, that I often forget I'm even holding onto a tether. Thankfully, Kelly took the tether, and was ready to guide the toughest part of the race. It's the toughest part, miles 18-26.2, because people start to fatigue and slow down, sometimes even stopping in the middle of the road! Down to just Kelly and me, we had to pass up the water stops for the next 2 miles—it was too dangerous and crowded for us to make our way into the water stops. Yet, we'd be rescued by our friend Rondi at mile 20! She jumped in and helped us hydrate perfectly! She was also very encouraging, and had lots of energy! The next thing I knew, we were at mile 22, then mile 23, and then mile 24. Kelly and I had foregone the tether at mile 21 and were holding hands—we just needed to stay as close to each other as possible in order to weave through the other runners! This helped me also to open up my stride, which was key because when you are tired, you can easily shorten your stride, and slow down. But when I got my split time at the 40K mark, mile 24.8, I felt a rush of adrenalin! I had been running for 3 hours and 12 minutes, so if all went well, I could finish the last 1.4 miles in less than 14 minutes, which would mean this would be my fastest marathon to-date! As we made our last turn onto Boylston Street, Rondi gave us a couple more words of encouragement, and we could feel the bursting energy of the crowd! I could feel Kelly's excitement building too as she turned up the speed a bit! I was breathing deeply, pumping my arms, and taking long strides! Finally, I could hear the beeping sounds of the finish mats, and I gave it everything I had, crossing the finish line in 3 hours, 22 minutes, and 22 seconds! We did it!
Thank you to my friends, and guides, for all of their support and encouragement! Thanks for reading!