By the time Monday morning rolled around, my race outfit was laid out and I was busy getting ready to walk over to the bus loading area for the trip to Hopkinton. On Sunday, Tom and I walked by the area so I knew exactly where to go on Monday.
|Our only pic with our race shirts!|
Honestly the bus ride took quite a while, but it was in the middle of the ride that I realized that we had to run the entire distance back into Boston. It seemed daunting, but I never said a word to Alison! Soon enough we were in the athlete's village, along with some sprinkles of rain. Yup, we could not avoid the rain, but luckily we each had rain ponchos to wear over our outfits. I ditched the poncho at the start and kept on my hooded sweatshirt for a couple of miles. Finally after getting a bit wet after a couple miles the sweatshirt hit the side of the road too!
The race starts easy enough with a downhill for quite a while. The first few miles ticked by and fortunately, my stomach was doing okay. I had only been able to manage a couple bites of banana at the hotel and then about half a banana at the race start. Each one of the water/Gatorade stations was well stocked and I made sure to take something at the first 4-5 aid stations. Bringing extra gels was important since I could not fuel appropriately before the race. I had 8 gels with me thinking that I would take one every 3 miles.
As the miles ticked by, I was feeling surprisingly good and so was Alison, or so I thought. We were keeping about a 10 minute mile pace and soon we were entering Natick after getting through Hopkinton and Ashland. While the course is crowded, we never tried to weave around runners, but after a while, we did pass a few here and there. By the time we hit Natick, I was getting excited since I knew my family would be waiting in Wellesley and it would only be a few more miles. The halfway point of a marathon is always a big landmark and we were doing well at this point.
|My favorite race photo|
Finally we reached the "scream tunnel" with the Wellesley College students, but sadly most of the signs had dissolved and fallen due to the rain. After passing Wellesley Square and the library my heart was racing. Mom, Christine and the rest of our family would be waiting for us at Forest Street and we were so close. Christine was the first person I spotted but then I saw my tiny Mom sitting in a lawn chair all bundled up. I gave her a huge hug, hugged Christine, and then kept right on running. I knew Alison was not waiting around for me! I was so happy to see them and I think I told Christine that "it was hard."
After running though the rest of Wellesley, we arrived at Newton Lower Falls after another relatively steep downhill. Then we had the Rt 128/ 95 overpass which is probably the toughest part of the course. It is very open to the elements and the gradual uphill goes on a long time. It was around this time that my belly started giving me all kinds of trouble. The glucose in the gels was causing lots of gas and honestly there were times that I thought I would have to stop. But I refused to quit and walk, so I just kept trudging along and even held my belly. Alison was kind enough to take my Flip belt until we met up with Tom so she could pass it off. It was hurting my stomach!
Tom was waiting at around mile 16 just after the overpass and I was so happy to see him. He had found two of our friends from Wilmington and the three of them were cheering for us. It made me smile for a moment. Having support on the course was more important to me at this race than any other. As we passed Newton Wellesley Hospital, some of Alison's friends were out cheering so again we received a boost from the support.
|Hugging my stomach, it was killing me|
As we crested heartbreak hill, I knew we could make it and then we just kept motoring along with a very enthusiastic crowd. The miles ticked by and as we reached the corner to turn right on Hereford, I totally lost it. I started crying and knew that this was the hardest fought race I would ever run. With a final turn onto Boylston Street all of a sudden I heard my name and loud cheers. It was my Without Limits group that had stayed to cheer. They had all been finished hours before, yet they stayed to cheer for us. As we crossed the finish line I smiled and turned to Alison and said, "We Did It"!
|This sign said it all, and I missed it!|