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.
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.|
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.|
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|
|Post race with some awesome new friends. (Ashley, Mary, Lindsey & myself)|
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.