Boston Marathon 2015

How did it sneak up on me so quickly? April crept up on us and it was time to start packing for the Boston Marathon. It had been 494 days since I qualified and now it was time to fly to Boston!

The week leading up to the marathon I had a beerfest to organize and manage. I had to wrap up the event and take care of returning equipment and calculate number of participants and figure out expenses. I had to get a check sent out to our beneficiary. So, I was pretty busy in those days before leaving. But, I still managed to have relaxing runs and all I could think about was being on the Boston Marathon course. There’s just something about it that can bring me to tears.

As I boarded my flight from Phoenix to Boston, I saw fellow runners. Some wearing Boston marathon jackets or sweatshirts or other items that signified they were on their way to Boston to run this great race. I ended up talking to a gal in line who was heading back to Boston where she lives. She was so excited for me to run the race on Monday and said they, meaning the city of Boston, had already started putting up signs like “Boston Strong” and other meaningful items to get ready for this amazing weekend. Turns out the bombing happened right in front of her office. She said she has kept close tabs on the trial of the bomber and how emotional it’s been. I couldn’t helped but get choked up. She also told the boarding agent that I was running the marathon after I was asked to assist in the Exit row, which was pretty funny. She made it sound like I was a superhero and if anything happened I could help everyone with my magical superhero powers. As we boarded the plane she wished me luck.

Being in Boston is just so magical. It really is! I’ve said that before and I mean it. The energy of the people, the energy of what’s going on all weekend, and being around all those amazing athletes from all over the world is just so awesome.

We stopped in a small dog boutique near our hostel and ended up chatting with the owner for a while. She was really happy for me and thanked me for coming all the way from California. She said that a lot of people are afraid to come back. I told her I wasn’t afraid at all and was very happy to be there. We had a great conversation with her and it made our trip to Boston even more special. We love talking to the locals and hearing their stories.

Marathon Monday came very quickly…and the weather went from sunny and beautiful to rainy and cold. But, there’s not much you can do about the elements so we had to just suck it up and do the best we could. As I got on the bus with my friend Jen, I knew this was it. I was heading to the start of my second Boston Marathon. How did this happen? It was so surreal!

We waited in the Athlete’s Village for our turn to line up behind the start line. It was pretty cold but we huddled up under a large tent after using the port o’ johns (as they call them there). As 10:50am approached it literally started raining as the gun went off. And we were off! It was speedy and so cool! I didn’t wear my headphones this time so I could hear everything along the course. I heard screaming, chanting, a lot of “Go Jen!” and “Boston loves Jen!” because Jen wore a shirt that said “Jen Heavy black heart️ Boston”, I high-fived so many spectators, and just enjoyed as much of it as I could. Since I was wearing my Timex shirt several people said “Go Timex!” or “It takes a licking but keeps on ticking” and even an older runner ran by me and showed me his Timex watch that he’s had for 30 years.

So many spectators lined the sides of the street, even in the rain. Spectators had beers, water, licorice, oranges, and Swedish fish, which I took a few cuz I love those little candies. The spectators are what it’s all about. These amazing people from town to town have such a great time cheering all us runners on and getting us to the finish line. The Wellesley girls were “wicked” loud! We could hear them wayyyy before we ran by them. Jen even got a kiss from a British fellow (I think it was a guy). Those girls did not stop screaming! It was pretty insane!

I had a moment between miles 15-16 where I felt a bit of fatigue come on, but I was able to snap out of it. The “hills” came about mile 17 and I just busted through those! I literally chewed ‘em up and spit ‘em out! They actually gave me a ton of energy and adrenalin.

Soon, we saw the Citgo sign and I knew we were getting close. Then I saw the Prudential Tower and knew this was it! As I turned onto Hereford, I was pretty darn excited and popped in another Shot Blok and started sprinting. I looked for Jen and said “Let’s go!!” I saw Boylston ahead and started to tear up. It was then time to turn left down to the finish. I just couldn’t slow down. I looked around trying to find Clint and Katy but couldn’t spot them. I then just focused on the finish line and heard my name called and it was just such a special moment. The whole day was so extraordinary. I felt so lucky to be there again. I also felt so lucky to run with Jen who is just an inspiring and fast runner.

I do have to say, I had a moment while running down Boylston where I thought about the bombings. I looked left to the spot where the first bombing happened. I couldn’t help but not think of that moment in time two years ago. I finished this race for this wonderful city. And even though I wanted to thank everyone along the course for helping me, the volunteers all thanked ME for running! Every single volunteer was genuine and so sincere and they all appreciated what every runner did on Monday. We weren’t afraid to be there.

In 2008, I had no idea what the Boston Marathon was. I qualified a year later and went to my first Boston Marathon in 2011. I was so happy with that accomplishment and never thought about going back because I was satisfied and loved the experience. I qualified at the 2013 California International Marathon because Clint’s cancer battle gave me the motivation to get to Boston again. To be able to go back this year was just more than I could have ever dreamed of. Having Clint and Katy there, to run with Jen, and to know so many people from my training group and other runners from Sacramento made it so memorable. This was my 19th marathon at the 119th Boston Marathon.

I don’t know what the future holds and if I’ll go back, but I know without a doubt that this race was so incredibly special and I’ll never forget it. I came back to chase those unicorns and now have two hanging in my house. It’s just such a great feeling and almost indescribable.

Thank you to everyone for all your support and love!


Oh Boston

Today is the 2014 Boston Marathon! It’s also been just over a year since the Boston Marathon bombings. While we don’t want to think about what happened last year, it’s inevitable. We will always think about the tragedy. But, as I sit here typing, I am overwhelmed by all the joy, love and support that is out there across the world for such a great city, this race, and for the running community. This awful tragedy has brought everyone closer.

I so wish I could be back in Boston today, cheering on runners and having so much fun! There’s a lot of excitement surrounding this event, especially this year! 36,000 runners and about 5,000 of those who didn’t get to cross the finish line last year are back to get it done!

I had originally said I committed to running 26.2 miles today, on Marathon Monday in support of the Boston Marathon, but I ended up deciding not to and opted to watch the live feed instead. I really didn’t want to miss it. I don’t need to be a superstar or anything. There are lots of other superstars out there running the race today! I just want to support and watch what’s going on back on the East Coast.

The Boston Marathon is such a high energy, magical experience. Seeing Shalane run such a strong and great race and then to see Meb get FIRST in the men’s race was just spectacular! His emotion made me tear up…just so excited for him! This is the first time an American man has won the Boston Marathon since 1983! Just amazing! His whole heart was in this race!

I am so happy for ALL the runners who were able to participate this year. For some, crossing that finish line will help them have a little bit of closure. But for everyone, this is a dream come true and a day they won’t forget.


We’ve got Spirit, yes we do

We’ve got Spirit, how ’bout you? The Spirit of the Marathon II movie premiered on Wednesday at our local theater. A group of eight of us got together to see the film. The film was very touching and reminds me of all the reasons why I run and why the running community is so bonded. Set in Rome, and around several different runners of all abilities and ages, it really shows the beauty of what runners go through to get to their goals and dreams and in completing this 26.2 mile journey. It’s very inspiring.

Which leads me to my next story…

Three days ago I found out about a relay from California to Boston, 3,000 miles, to raise money for The run actually started last Friday June 7th and is set to end on June 30th. I’m not sure why, but when I read about this event, I got a little antsy and wondered how I could be a part of this. It was too late to run the California legs. I spread the word to my virtual running group on Facebook, told my boyfriend, and pondered over the idea of going out to Boston. And I kept thinking about it. I realized that if I could make this happen, I didn’t have to run just one leg, I could run the last four legs to complete 26.2 miles and run a marathon in honor of those who couldn’t finish the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 and for those who may never be able to again.

photo(22)I wondered if I could get miles or vouchers donated to help fund my trip and I spread the word out to some folks to see if they could help. Nothing panned out. But, when I arrived at the theater to see the movie on Wednesday night, Brian gave me a pin he got at the Big Sur Marathon in April and almost instantly I knew I had to make this happen. So many things were pointing in the direction of “JUST GO”.

Yesterday morning I booked my flight. $526 later and an email from one of the organizers who secured my spots and it was all done. I’m going to Boston! It’s going to be a whirlwind of a trip, but I think it will be so worth it.

During the SOTM film, there was a piece that resonated with me. A Ukraine professional runner, who is trying to qualify for the Olympics, mentions how WE create our own personal history. And he is right. I don’t know why I am here and what I am on this planet for, but I enjoy running and I want to help inspire and help others if I can.

Boston 2

At the start of the Boston Marathon, 2011

In two weeks, I will see you again Hopkinton!

If you are interested in supporting my journey to Boston, I set up a fundraising page to make it easy for folks. I’m hoping I can get my flight paid for. My entry fees are going to the One Fund Boston charity, but my flight and accommodations are out of my pocket. If you or anyone you know is able to support and help donate, that would be truly amazing. Anything helps! Thank you!

It’s electric!

photo(5)Yesterday evening I got together with friends to run in the Electric Run! It was great to get together and forget about all that’s happened this week and just enjoy the crazy glow party and run a 5k fun run. It was pretty massive and it took a while for our group to start as they only let a couple hundred participants go in each wave. But while we waited, we listened to the music and cheers from the crowd, and took pictures as the sun went down. We could see our glowing selves even better as it turned into night. And of course, it was great people watching – lots of people with very creative outfits.

I wore a bib on my back in support of Boston and I saw others who did the same. For me, it was the first organized run since Monday’s tragic events so I wanted to show my love and support. It was nice to see others doing the same. Our friend Liz made stickers for us to wear as well.

boston strong

The course was a wild, looping route all through Cal Expo. We came upon big, colorful arches, graphics projected onto walls, a large fountain lit up with colorful lights, glowing water cups, interesting trash receptacles for the empty cups, umbrellas and
white beach balls hanging from the sky, glowing bubbles, and just an excited crowd of people wearing as much glow-in-the dark paraphernalia as possible. The after-party was like a big rave with a laser show and great house music. (There was house music bumping the entire time on the course as well.) I could have stayed longer to dance, but we left a short time later.

photo(9)Even though this wasn’t a serious timed run, it felt good to be apart of a large group of people running and having a good time. I always like themed events so it was even more fun getting ready and getting excited about our evening 3.1 mile run. And I burned some calories and sweated a little too even though it was hard to actually run the course (too many people to run fast).

If you ever get a chance to participate in an Electric Run, I’d recommend it! Definitely a fun time!

My heart is broken

I’m not even sure what to say.

I actually started writing this yesterday but wasn’t sure what I needed or wanted to say.

Hours after I posted a great tribute to the Boston Marathon, how magical and amazing it is, tragic events brought this race to an end. I sat in bed early yesterday morning listening to the excitement and the cheers, while watching the race on my laptop. I wore one of my Boston shirts, an urban-style subway route shirt, all day in support. I wanted to show my spirit and love for the city and the race all day.

I ended up wearing that same shirt the rest of the day to commemorate what happened and show my support in a different way. I wore the same shirt to bed. I don’t even know how to describe what I felt. I was incredibly shaken and in shock when I found out. I cried. I could not believe what I was hearing and seeing on TV. Many people texted me, emailed me, and found ways to communicate their concerns. Most of these people were concerned that I was there, knowing I had been before and could possibly be there this year. People I hadn’t talked to in years contacted me.

All the joy and inspiration I had felt earlier in the day, went away. It was like someone blew out a candle. It was just gone. This didn’t seem real. It still doesn’t.

It really hit home when I looked through my Boston Marathon pictures from 2011 and came across the one of me running towards the finish line. It was taken by my friends on the same side of the street where the first bombing was. My friends were standing in the same exact area where the bombs went off. It gives me chills.

This is tragic. This is truly horrible. My heart is broken…

But my broken heart still loves the city of Boston tremendously and we will all get through this. The running community will get through this together.

Today is a special day

Today is April 15. Most of you know this day as Tax Day. Yes, I think we all dread this deadline. Today is also the Boston Marathon and the same day, one year ago, that I ran the Paris Marathon. Both these races hold a special place in my heart, but Boston is at the top. The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon and a race you have to qualify for.

This morning I woke up at 6:25am to watch the live stream. I plugged in my headphones into my laptop so I could listen and not wake my sleeping boyfriend. It’s a very exciting race to watch.

Boston 1

2011 Boston Marathon

I ran the Boston Marathon in April 2011. What an amazing adventure and journey that was. To be a part of a group of such outstanding athletes. For 3 hours and 51 minutes I got to run with all those elite runners…it was such a great feeling. These are some of the best in the world and I was part of history with them. This particular year, Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya set the course record with a time of 2:03:02!

This adventure to the Boston Marathon was something I never thought about until after my first marathon. I ran a pretty good race at the CIM in 2008 and then I put a lot of pressure on myself to try and run a qualifying race at the Rock n’ Roll San Diego Marathon in 2009. I ended up getting really sick with a sinus infection and had a horrible race. I told myself after that to not put that kind of pressure on myself. And at the CIM 2009 is where I qualified for Boston!

I was pretty excited. But the next step was entering the race. I had to wait til October 2010 to actually enter the Boston Marathon. I was on vacation with Clint in Playa del Carmen and the day the entries opened we got on the hotel lobby computer to fill out the form. For some reason it kicked back and I wasn’t sure if my info went through. So, we decided to do this on my phone, but we had to rush to get on a ferry to go to Cozumel. While on the ferry waiting to take off from the dock, I realized I had wi-fi, so I hurried to get it done. As we took off from the dock I saw the wi-fi bars slowly starting to fade away…I had to hurry! It seemed to go through! I felt better and relaxed.

Then I got an email from my running partner, Brian, that the entries had closed in a record 8 hours that day! Holy moly! When I was having difficulty entering on the hotel lobby computer, it had crossed my mind to wait til we got home in a couple days to enter. I am so glad I didn’t wait, because I wouldn’t have gotten in and I would have been really disappointed.

The race wasn’t for another six months, so this seemed to be a long process. I booked hotels with my friends and trained well before the race. Clint couldn’t come along for the journey, but as we had our last dinner together before leaving for the race I became really emotional. I had been having dreams that I wouldn’t be able to run, that my legs literally wouldn’t work, when the gun went off at the race. I was a little anxious and had no idea what was in store for me. And I wanted him to be there.

Boston 2

At the chilly and windy start line

Fast forward a few days to the Expo. This was truly exciting! I got my bib and my long sleeve Boston Marathon participant shirt. This is the coveted Boston jersey in yellow and blue. I was emotional. My friends were there to support me on this journey and I was happy they could share this with me.

The race is held on Patriot’s Day each year, which is also the third Monday in April, and is also known as Marathon Monday. There is a lot of history behind this race. There is also a Red Sox game on the same day. A lot is going on in Boston on race day and hundreds of thousands of people come out to cheer on the runners. The morning of the race, we hopped on the subway to get to the area where the buses were to take all of us runners to the start line. It’s 26 miles away so we were in a caravan of yellow school buses on the freeway, escorted by a police motorcycle motorcade. I felt so important. When we arrived at the start area, it was windy and cold and I had no idea what to do. I had to go to the bathroom one last time before my 10:30am (yes, it starts this late in the morning) corral time. I was actually running late now, so I had to run to my corral.

Boston 3

Getting through those hills

This is it! I was having trouble with my iPod but scrambled with that for a few. I also started off being a little conservative in the beginning because people kept saying that the race starts off going downhill and you will take off pretty fast. I actually felt my heal rubbing on the back of my shoe so I needed to stop at an EMT booth to get some tape to cover my heel. And off I went again. There were so many people along the course the entire way. In small towns and big towns…all types of people. It was really fun! Brian mapped out the course to hopefully meet up at different spots along the way to see me run. And as I hit the dreaded uphill miles around mile 17-21, Brian showed up! Right when I needed him.

I plowed through those last miles and I felt the crowds getting bigger and bigger. It was starting to become a reality that I was about to finish this race. I saw the tall buildings downtown and knew I was close. As I turned the last two corners I started to cry. I gave all I had that last mile. I turned onto Boylston Street and saw the blue finish arch and looked for my friends between the tears. It was an amazing feeling crossing that finish line. I still cry thinking about this race. I don’t know why, but this race was like going to the Olympics. It’s probably the biggest accomplishment for me.


Acceptance and Congratulations certificates

Some people get to go to the Boston Marathon once in their life; some get to go several times. I envy the latter. But I do hope to go again someday. However, if I never get there again, I won’t be disappointed because this experience was one of the best in my life.

See below for some tips for running the Boston Marathon -