Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Boston Marathon 2014!!

Hey Guys!

I don't even know where to start! Boston 2014 was quite possibly the most amazing display of humanity ever. Boston pumped love, perseverance, support, empathy every second, all weekend. I have never in my life experienced this type of non-stop caring and selflessness from every single person I bumped into during my entire trip. Everyone wanted to help make the next person smile. It was contagious.  It is one thing to read about it or hear it on the news but the experience was simply amazing. Beyond words, but I will try.

I left home on a flight to Boston kind of freaked out by the incident earlier in the week at the finish line. I couldn't handle it again this year. I couldn't deal with hoaxes either. I was kind of on edge not knowing what to expect. I happen to meet an older gentleman in the airport who was headed home to Boston. We started talking but had to board. Thankfully, he ended up sitting next to me on the plane, by chance. He has lived in Newton for over 40 years and has cheered for the Boston Marathon runners for just as long. In conversation I asked him, "are you afraid, at all?" He emphatically said no. He explained how he would not let fear torture him anymore. This was his city. This was their city. He basically explained the term we all know as Boston Strong. He was a honey badger of sorts. I said, ya know, you're right. I deplaned with a new attitude. 

I arrived Saturday night so that day was gone. I awoke Sunday morning and did my shake out run and showered before leaving for the expo. My coach and I met up and went in to get our bibs, jackets and hopefully leave soon.  That was a fail. 

To pick up your race bib you need your ID. I lost my ID at security in the airport but I had 2 other forms of photo ID. So I asked the lady holding my number to accept an alternative form of identification. She said no loud and clear. She sent me to here:

Long story short. They said: no ID, no bib. My immediate response to this was a complete and total meltdown into hysterical, uncontrollable sobbing. For many of my close friends you all know I don't cry! I later made jokes that I didn't know why water was coming out of my eyes. lol. So anyways, the waterworks didn't sway them. After a few minutes of this the police started to gather as my coach tried to fix the situation with an escalating voice. I said, let's go. We are not getting arrested for crying! I went back to my hotel on another $25 cab ride to hopefully find my ID in my luggage. Luckily, I found it in my laptop case!! I could run now! I took another $25 cab ride back to the expo with my bloated face and dried tears and got my bib. YAY!

My day was planned out pretty well by this point and I had to move along. Next, I had planned to meet my new running BFF from Texas that I met online in a Boston Bound run club. We have motivated each other for 16+ weeks and ran and compared notes on every painstaking mile. We were beyond elated to run Boston during such a special year. Just as I imagined Lisa was so sweet, kind and beautiful on top of being a phenomenal marathon runner with a hardcore training program that I have admired from day 1. : )

By now a few hours had passed and my eyes weren't so puffy. Perfect because it was dinner time with my gorgeous sister and loving mother who probably expended more energy crewing me all weekend than I spent running a marathon. 

After dinner I was ready for bed. I laid out my outfit, gels and shoes and prepared my drop bag. Then passed out…until my 4am alarm. But who the heck cares! It's time to run the Boston Marathon!! Sleep wasn't needed Sunday night. I had enough energy to run 2 marathons, so I thought. lol.

I took a shuttle from the hotel at 5:15 to the Boston Commons to catch the bus to Hopkinton. Pretty smooth. Our bus driver took us to the drop off location for the charity runners accidentally. Normally, that would be alarming but we had 3 hours to spare so it wasn't a big deal. Next up we sat on the grass for 3 hours waiting to be loaded into our corrals. Again, it's all part of Boston. No one really complains.  It was about 41 degrees while I was sitting in the grass but over the next few hours it warmed up. People started stripping down early. I refused to make any negative weather comments at that point because nothing could be changed. This was my race day and I was going to deal.

Okay, now let's talk splits, strategy and focus! My official goal was 2:55 but it really was 2:54 inside. I just couldn't say it out loud. I felt very prepared and confident in my training and fitness. I was going to do this because it's what I trained for. It wasn't a stretch for the shape I was in. 

The gun went off and we started to move. This year I was in corral 4 as opposed to 5 last year. 4 was smoother. People ran! It was all good until the 30K. Then I fought dehydration and the chills on and off till the end. The best way I can describe it from that point on is that I felt like I had woke up hungover on a beach with a sunburn and then someone clapped their hands and said GO, go run a marathon, and now!

 I ran through the hills as the sun stole my energy. I didn't care, I had a gel for that. Around 21-22 people started cramping an getting sick. The sides of the race course were littered with runners cramping and crying. It was hard to look at. People who had elite bibs on their back were running 8 pace. I saw many of my friends trotting along. I always slowed down and said, c'mon let's go! Some people just stared back at me in pain. It was horrible. I wanted everyone to be happy and run well. 

I did okay through Newton and Heartbreak Hill, but I didn't fair so well on all those smaller hills afterwards. At one point I refused to look ahead because I didn't want to see another hill. My splits went in the shitter. My garmin average pace plummeted. But oddly enough, it didn't matter at that point. I didn't do my usual bratty face and stomp home a fail. I kept looking at the crowd. They were willing me and the others with their eyes to keep going. I felt it. I shuffled harder. I saw so many people walking within a mile of the finish. It killed me. I wanted to help. 

By now I wasn't looking at my garmin for sanity reasons. I knew I blew my goal but was still sub 3. I crossed the finish line and almost smashed into a wall of stopped runners heaving, hands on knees 2 feet beyond the second timing mat. It was not a happy joyous time when I initially looked around. People were trashed.

This included me. I didn't realize how badly I hurt until I tried to walk. My legs were shit. I started shivering so badly that medics kept trying to scoop me up. I smiled and tried to will my shivers to stop and said no thank you. Then it got worse. It was obvious I was freezing. I kept refusing help. Then a kind spectator gave me her jacket an her husbands jacket and piled them on me. She would not accept no. It was embarrassing to shiver like that. I just wanted to be normal! 

Keep in mind these events took what seemed like hours. I couldn't find my family. I couldn't do anything useful. I wanted by body back! But I had to go to the loo…..

The loo was an experience in itself. I hope I'm only speaking to marathon runners right now. lol. But I learned that fried quads do not assist in trying to squat over a port a john seat. My dainty squat turned into an ass slam on a nasty dirty port a john seat! I fell. I was appalled and disgusted and even worse, I could not get up off the seat! I wanted to cry and bang on the door for help but decided against that. haha. So I grabbed the pipe that is in the corner of the john and hoisted myself upright. GREAT, but I still needed to pull up my shorts. I have never laughed so hard while in pain and filth, by myself in a john. But in true honey badger style I washed my hands with antibacterial and exited ready for a selfie, like nothing happened. 

So finally, I was reunited with my mom and sister. AKA my 2 new crutches. I was falling apart even worse. I hadn't yet had food or water post race. I think my mom ripped a banana out of a kids hand and gave it to me. It helped. I was starting to come around. We slowly walked to the Commons for my drop bag. Another hour passed. We sat in the sun for about 30 minutes. It was a gorgeous day punctuated with runners on all 4's vomiting throughout the Commons. It was like The Sound of Music meets a scene from the Termintor.

From that point on it was a slow hustle to catch a cab, go to the hotel and then the airport. It ended so abruptly. But I had to get my kids to school in the morning. Life goes on!
my son's class and my sister's class tracking me. So cool!!

It was a whirlwind weekend but of the best type. I can't thank you all enough for every kind word throughout my training and this weekend. I definitely do not exist in a vacuum. Without all my friends and family and all the amazing people I have met along the way this would not have been possible. Thank you!!! 

PS you know I'm praying to the quad gods for a quick recovery. 2:55 or bust is coming next!

Thanks for reading!!
aka your 2:58 Boston Specialist 
(I did 2:58 last year as well)


  1. The porta john incident had me screeching in horror! Great race, great attitude! You WILL get your 2:54!

  2. Love your story, and the quads and the toilet, so true...

    Was it the crying at the expo that dehydrated you???

    After watching on telly I did look up to see how you had done, proud of you for hanging in there and getting the sub 3.

  3. LOL at "it was like The Sound of Music meets a scene from the Termintor"!

    Sounds like you ran a great race. Congratulations on a sub-3 hour finish, and on finding joy in your run!

  4. I could not believe how many people were in the first aid wheel chairs at the finish line. lots of hurting pups.
    The porta-loo story - hilarious. I can imagine someone outside hearing you laughing. Who laughs in a literal shit hole!
    My quads are still sore, hamstrings and everything else are good.
    Great post. See you next year?

  5. oh my. Those kind of post-race horrors are what my nightmares are made of! So last year when it was 80* and this year when it was shivering cold produced the same results? Crazy. Good job!

  6. Another masterpiece of a blog entry Laura. The way you hung in there was so inspiring. I saw your splits slip on the tracker and thought "Uh oh.". But then you kept up a good pace all the way through to the end to have an impressive time. Very smart to take a gel that late in the race. That's really amazing to me to be able to continue fueling late in a race. It shows you're willing to keep trying things even when stuff starts falling apart. I'm going to see if I can qualify in Fall 2014 for 2015 Boston.

  7. Laura - what a story, you had me engaged, laughing, and willing you on to a faster time next time around. I missed Boston this year (was there last year) but I made an effort of follow my Carolina Team. Well done and go back to Boston Stronger.