Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Post Boston Thoughts: Race, Security, Time, & Experience.

Warning: Cheesy post ahead! Might end up being longer than the actual race recap...sorry about that.

I've been to Boston before, but never for the Marathon. I have NEVER seen a city/town get so into a race, it was incredible how excited everyone gets about it. This was the biggest expo I have been to for sure, this is both good and bad. So many great companies and vendors to see, but I'm not a fan of crowds. I get anxious when I can't walk fast or feel like I can get out of a situation if necessary. Chalk that up to my fear of being trampled. Swag wise, you get a poster, goodie bag, sticker, a shirt (but not in the size you ordered...really BAA? You knew my size for 6 months and still ran out?) a great medal and an awesome race experience.

The race itself was very well run, they really have it down to a science. Obviously being a point to point course, and in a big city...logistically it isn't the easiest and requires some extra walking etc. on race day and planning(for runners AND spectators). But all things considered, it is as logistically sound as it could be. I thought the course was pretty, and well marked (just stay between the millions of people on each side of the road and you can't get lost), Banner & clock at each mile. Definitely not a 'flat' course but I wasn't as traumatized by the hills as I thought I would be. Overall, Boston knows how to run a race (not like I needed to tell you that).

I've gotten a lot of questions on what the security was like, but its hard for me to compare to previous years since this was my first. For the most part I feel like it was non-invasive, as in I didn't feel like it ruined the atmosphere or the experience. There was clearly a strong law enforcement presence, but they were just doing their jobs and not causing issues. There were lots of 'eyes in the sky' on race day, from the moment we walked out of the hotel to get to train station. Even during the race, many helicopters flying overhead. I am sure that some of those were news cameras etc, but I'm also sure some of those were the watchful eyes of some government agency. The race officials were really big on your bib being visible at all time, especially in the morning. I lifted up my shirt for way too many people that morning (sorry mom!). As for the no bags thing in the morning, we couldn't have asked for a better day to not need a lot of things(had it been colder or rainy it might have been different story). I brought throwaway clothes as well as an old towel to sit on. I opted to bring my phone with me in the morning and run with it in my spibelt (turned off and put in plastic baggie), I don't regret it and I don't think it affected me.

My Time
I had 3:20 in my head for a few weeks, and even on race morning when the girls asked me what I was looking for....I said 3:20 or better. Even with a less than stellar training cycle, I felt confident in being able to beat my third fastest time (3:21) so I did just that. Obviously there were times I considered trying to do more (even that weekend I considered trying to at least beat my WG time, I knew CIM would be a stretch) but I knew that 3:20 was the most controlled and reasonable goal. So while it was 7 minutes slower than my PR, it was still the most consistent paced marathon I have ever ran and still a solid time. Also being able to say I came in the top 6.6% of women...yeah doesn't hurt my self confidence at all;)
Look at me being all consistent and stuff. WEIRD. 
The Experience
Boston itself is an amazing experience and no matter what I would have enjoyed myself. BUT my weekend was made even more memorable by the people I spent time with, I'm truly grateful for that. It was a weekend of chances WELL taken ;) , time with friends, and celebrating Boston/Running/Life.

It's a humbling experience to have friends who would do anything for you, support you through everything and truly enhance your life. I had friends with me, and friends supporting from afar but felt like everyone was right with me the whole time. Messages of encouragement and support, calls, emails, tweets, comments...all of it- nothing short of overwhelming (in the best way).
You don't get to this line alone. 
There aren't enough ways to say thank you to people. To family and friends supporting me along the way to BQ and then to race weekend. To those who went above and beyond to make sure I was taken care of that weekend when all of the sudden my life was turned around. In a time I expected to feel more alone than ever, these past few weeks (especially at Boston) I never felt like I didn't have a full blown army of support by my side.

As for race experience, nothing compares. I said it before and I will say it again- spending the morning with Danielle, Lindsey, Ashley and Sarah was HUGE. Lindsey had mentioned how she did her first Boston a few years ago and was alone that morning. I can't even imagine. I was lucky to have smart, funny, talented ladies around me who treated me like we had known each other forever. You know, no big deal taking a selfie in the back of a bus with a bunch of girls who up until that morning...I had only talked to via social media.
Back of the bus selfies are where it's at! Sarah, Ashley, Lindsey, me & Danielle-- Photo From Lindsey
During the race, well nothing has ever compared to that for me. I'd never ran through crowds like that, with screaming like that and with the general Boston atmosphere. I will definitely be going back to Boston, probably next year as I know my sister is going to BQ next month at Buffalo and some of my best friends are also going to qualify. It's definitely a race you do with others, it really makes the experience that much better.
Post race with some awesome new friends. (Ashley, Mary, Lindsey & myself)
I'm well aware that Boston isn't for everyone. Some people have no desire to run a marathon, and even some marathoners have no desire to run Boston. Some people will struggle qualifying, some people won't even try. I've been in those shoes. I've been the girl who said I'd NEVER run a marathon, let alone Boston. I've been the girl who then got the urge to run a marathon, and subsequently wanted to BQ. I ran 4 marathons before getting that BQ. I do believe that running Boston doesn't define you as a runner. Maybe it's easier for me to say that because I have qualified and now ran it, but it's true. I defined myself by it for so long and never realized that what defined me was that desire to push for ANY goal and not just one of one single race. With that said though, I do believe being there for Boston should be on every runners bucket list. Maybe not to run (because you don't want to, can't or whatever it is), but maybe to volunteer or spectate....I promise you won't be disappointed. The city, the people, the race- you can't walk away from it without feeling proud. Even with last year, look how everyone stood strong together- you just don't see that kind of thing every day. Something about it restores faith in so many ways. (look at me being cheesy again!)

So Boston, I miss you already. Cheers to close friends and family, new friends and new feelings, mile after mile...4-21-14 is one of those days I will always look back on...THAT was the day I knew everything was going to be okay.

Keep on running & keeping on laughing at me for being a cheeseball. 


  1. I hope you at least got some beads for lifting your shirt up all morning :)

    Sounds like it was such a great time for you, and lucky you to spend it with new real-life cool!

    And yes, you are a total cheeseball!

  2. Haha I love your quote about lifting up your shirt. I'm glad you had a great time at Boston, but like you, I would be mad about not getting the right size shirt. At a small local race, I don't think it matters much, but Boston is a different story. Even if the race was not a PR, a consistent race is amazing!

    I'd love to spectate or volunteer at the Boston Marathon. I know it would be a really moving experience. I have no plans to run any other marathons in 2014 and 2015 isn't looking good either, but I won't say I'll never do another or never try to qualify- like you, you just don't know where life and the running journey will take you. And I'm glad it took you to Boston and the amazing times you had there with your friends and running it.

  3. Love your recap. I crave the Boston experience so bad. However, even a 4 hour marathon is a huge dream for me. I never see myself breaking into the 3s.
    So I really want to go cheer sometime.

  4. Congrats!! Sounds sooo awesome! Your splits are amazing, that's alot of miles of being consistant... way to go! Hope your shin is doing better. Maybe now that its getting warmer we can do some runs together :)

  5. yay! Congrats! 3:20 is amaze-balls, especially with all those people! But I have a question. If everyone has to be so darn fast to qualify for that race, how did you finish in top 6%? Is everyone just killing it for their qualifier and then hanging back at the race? You're so impressive. As for being alone, I hear you!! After last year I have made a rule not to run any more races alone. It is the saddest thing in the world to drive home with shaky legs and it just doesn't even feel like it happened if you don't get a high five from someone you know at the finish. That's the best part I've found about racing - which I only started when I turned 30 - that even though it is not a team sport, the comraderie is amazing.

  6. Great job at Boston!!! Loved your this post and the last one!!! I know your sister will qualify at Buffalo! I am so excited for her!!!! It will be awesome for you two to experience Boston together!!!!

  7. Goosebumps! Great post girl. I def want to get there someday. You're keeping such a great attitude and you are strong! I don't think those #sassypants ever left your body.

  8. Not cheesy at all Laura! I love that you wrote all these feelings down so you will always remember what Boston felt like!

    Also...I nominated you for a Liebster Award! No's just for fun so I understand if you can't get to it. :-)

  9. Was not a cheesy post at all!! I know i will probably never qualify for Boston but its one of those races that would be awesome to run and awesome to be a spectator to cheer on friends. So glad you had a great time and were surrounded by awesome people!!

  10. Congrats on a great race! Sometimes it's nice to know that you can solidly execute on a plan. Well done! And the shirt thing--it never ceases to amaze me how wrong some of these races get it.

  11. Sounds like a fun race for you!! Love enjoying others recaps and pictures. What a great race too!!

  12. Boston really knows how to put on a marathon! The way ppl come out and cheer, is mind boggling!
    Glad you had fun, and got to meet up w/ friends! I was alone, but luckily, I met a nice man on the bus, and hung out with him. We still talk. :)


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