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 ️ 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!