Well...that's a wrap. The 2014 Boston Marathon has run its course and the athletes have started to move toward home. We think it will take a while before the race can be put into a truly historical perspective but in our humble opinion, it may have been one of the most meaningful sporting events in the last decade. We knew April 15th would come and we'd have a full year between us and the terrible events of 2013 and we knew that heroes would be racing and spectating. What we didn't know is that a hero would actually win! To our enormous delight, we watched Meb put in the performance of his life. When he lifted the tape at the finish, he lifted all of us with it.
In the Coeur office, we almost went hoarse cheering for our Ambassadors who were racing. Emily came in at 3hrs and 4 minutes, Katie followed at 3hrs and 19 minutes and Melissa crossed in 3hrs and 51 minutes. All three exemplified heart and courage on the course and we send our most heartfelt congratulations to them.
In addition to racing, Melissa also volunteered to keep us updated on her journey. Here's her last blog post.
The logistics for Boston are crazy. Even though the race doesn't start until relatively late (elite at 9:30 followed by 4 waves at 10, 10:25, 11:00, and 11:25), you still have a lot of traveling to do before you get to the start. I like to be at races early, because you really never can be too early, and I am a lot less stressed once I am there and close to where I need to be. I had planned to be at the buses early this year, because in 2012, I felt like I waited in lines forever to get on the buses. I was hoping to find Emily before she got on the bus, and texted her my location. However, she didn't have a phone. She texted me when she left her hotel and I waited near one of the bus loading entrances. They weren't calling my wave yet so I was fine to just sit and wait. There were a lot more crowds outside of the bus loading area than inside. I didn't plan to use the gear check because everything had to be checked before loading the buses. I just had a bag of things for my family to bring to me at the finish instead, and would donate my pants, jacket, long sleeve tee and gloves at the start. Then they started allowing my wave to load and I waited a bit more, but then they really wanted to clear out the area where I was and asked that anyone who had already completed gear check to go through security and get in line for a bus. It went quickly, and I got on the next bus to arrive at our line. It waited a while for all the buses to be filled and we were on our way. About 1.5 hours after clearing security to board, we arrived in Hopkinton!
I called Cristina and we found each other fairly easily, and then met up with Anita who joined us in line for a port o potty. We took a few pictures, and then it was time for Anita and Cristina to load into their corrals. The time flew while in the village. I got in line for a different set of Porto potties, and it took forever to move. They called my wave and corral to load, so a few people let me go ahead until I was only behind others also being called to load. One of those was a former Aquaphor teammates Kirstin!! We snapped a quick photo and then made our way to the start.
The feeling was so electric. Everyone was so energized. The sun was out and it was warming up. Volunteers were passing out sunscreen and people that lived in Hopkinton along the walk from the village were outside with tents with all kinds of support for us from the more practical items such as band aids and Vaseline to the unusual as donuts and beer.
We got loaded into the corrals after our long walk from the village and were set to go! I was surprised how relaxed I felt and how smooth everything went getting from the buses to the start. It was less stressful this year for me.
The race started and the course was packed with runners. It was thick and stayed fairly thick the whole way. The best part of this race is the crowd support. Everyone comes out to cheer with their signs, water, tissues, ice, oranges, candy, and one little girl handed me a blue and yellow Rainbow Loom bracelet that she was handing out to runners. My favorite pair of signs said "run all the miles" and "eat all the food" with the little guy from The Oatmeal cartoon on them. Not the Blerch though. Wearing my name was such a good idea because people would cheer for me by name when it got tough. I got lots of birthday wishes too.
Boston is a tough course. I tried to start really conservative, but the energy and the downhills make it hard to hold back, and then my legs just died later on in the race. My second half was much slower than my first. I felt like my gear rate was ok, but that my legs just didn't want to go. I tried to just enjoy the sights and towns we passed through. I think the hardest part was passing the Boston city limits but still having several miles to go. The Citgo sign appeared, and it took forever to get to Fenway Park, and the I could see how far away the John Hancock tower was. I kept pressing forward and finished with a 3:51:33. It was about 14 minutes faster than my 2012 Boston time, but not fast enough to go back next year. It was my third fastest marathon ever.
People were so supportive. The best comment I received was "thank you for helping Boston heal" at the finish line from a volunteer. It was so amazing to be a part of this and be so well supported. There was hardly a quiet spot on the race course.
Because I had anticipated finishing a little bit faster, we had the great idea to schedule a duck boat tour for 4pm, and I had hardly any time to recover or change. I laid down in the Boston Public Garden for a few minutes before it was time to get up and make our way to the tour. The duck boats are cool because they are former military vehicles that can go on the land or the sea, and you take a tour of the city in them. It was nice to just chill and ride around. Both of my kids got to drive the boat on the water, and our driver, Flo, was very entertaining. There was one other marathoner on our tour, and she was amazed with us.
I finally changed my clothes after the tour, and we had to rush over to dinner at the Legal Seafood on the wharf. It was excellent, and I had a piece of chocolate birthday cake.
We wrapped up dinner early because my two youngest fans were exhausted so they needed to go back to our hotel. My parents took them so Ryan and I could attend the Fenway Park Open House. It was cool to go in the stadium and check it out. We passed on having our picture taken with the World Series trophy because of the line, and just sat in the stands and ate ice cream!
The most amazing part of this experience is how much the city loved the race and the runners for being there. Everywhere we went, I felt like a rock star for participating in the race. It was so great to be a part of this event. I'm so blessed that I could do this and have so much support and help Boston heal. It was such a celebration. I'm thankful for my family, my friends, and my sponsors, Coeur Sports, X-1 Audio, and Earthfare for helping me get here.