What can I say about the feeling of a first timer running the world’s most prestigious marathon in the world?
I had an amazing time come race morning. And I had been so worried about this race for months… Only 3 months to train, then getting injured in the middle of it, had to skip a lot of training (tempos and speedwork were gone, less long runs), and no time on the pavement. I expected pain, pavement shock, the promised ITB friction, and having to gut it out just like in NYCM09. And everything was the oppositeof what I had thought. EVERYTHING. Don’t you just love it when life proves you 100% wrong like this? But let me start at the beginning…
My friend Dimi and I got to Boston early and went for seafood in the pier.
I was still struggling to eat as I had no appetite whatsoever and I was afraid to lose any more weight. Any kind of food looked disgusting to me, even the Nutella, but I kept at it all weekend, sighing a lot while eating. The weather was cloudy, rainy, cold, and windy. As long as Monday is nice, we’ll take it. We hit the expo next (the finish line is right there!).
It’s funny how this weekend I was more “MsRitz” than Elizabeth, but I loved it. I went by the RW’s booth and as Jeff and the Mayor were busy with people for a bit, I discovered the OSOM (because there is NO better word to describe her) Jennifer Van Allen there!
She’s just super super nice and SO inspiring. She says 1 word and I tear up. The expo, in general, was mayhem. Very crowded and very little space for this much people. I was ready for a panic attack every 2 minutes, so glad Dimi was there to keep me sane. We ran into Grete Waitz signing autographs, she said she was going back to Norway…
And Khalid Khannouchi, and it turns out we go to the same sports doctor and podiatrist in NYC.
While Dimi met his friend, I sat and watched the course video; by the second run, I was freaking out. I was so scared of what my leg would do with all those hills, I had to get out of there. My brain was spiraling out of control. We went to get dinner and (this is me showing off my hard-earned numbers)
then to Beerworks to meet the FE folks. There’s a Beerworks across the street from Fenway park (and there was a game right then, so the streets were crowded), but it was the wrong Beerworks and I decided my legs had had enough and I needed some rest.
We went back to the hotel but I didn’t sleep very well. My head was in total freak out mode.
I woke up early and headed to the Sheraton for the RW’s “How to run your best Boston” seminar. Bart was moderating; Warren Green had osom tips (sun is in the back, no sunglasses needed!). Mark Remy had the funniest tips ever, which he published right away as I told him they would make a great post and if he didn’t post them, I would! They are here, and I really don’t know what’s wrong about #8 and #9. If you only know Mark from his running pictures, you’ll very happy to know he’s a good looking man, I was shocked too! And he’s ridiculously funnier in person. Jennifer knows the course really well but she mostly talked about the feeling of doing Boston. Again, she says a word and I tear up. She’s that amazing. Tish was there too and I was so glad to finally catch her as I had missed her Saturday, we had tea after the seminar and I love love love her! You can tell she’s a task master, I like how her brain works!
But all this Boston talk was making me more and more nervous; met Dimi and his friends and we went to brunch at the top of the Prudential building, great views of the city:
See the finish line right there at the bottom left? Went back to the expo to wait for Andrea and run into Josh Cox (J, you OWE me!),
and … I had a OMFG moment… I knew I’d run into a lot of people this weekend, but I REALLY wanted to meet Bill Rodgers, the Legend, or Boston Billy as you might know him too… and I see him coming up the halls, people following him shyly. Not me! He asked me what the pikermi shirt was about, where I was from (I have an accent!), and he said he had many friends from Argentina. Then he said: Go Get Your Boston! Ok, Billy, now I am READY!
Andrea would be staying over with me that night. I met Andrea last year through the Loop: she commented on my marathon pictures as I was wearing my Argentinian soccer jersey. Turns out, she’s Argentinian too and lives in Michigan. You probably know her, she comments a lot. So, Dimi would stay with his friends Sunday night and Andrea and I would go full marathon crazy mode. While I waited, and to stay off my feet, I sat at the RW’s “Running Legends” seminar, with Amby Burfoot, Dick Beardsley, Kathrine Switzer, Lisa Rainsberger and Greg Meyer.
Dick told the story of the Duel in the Sun and how he was getting stiff but then he hit a pothole close to the finish and seemed to jerk his leg out and he felt better. It shows how something that would injure or stress you could turn into something great. Dick and Katherine both emphasized how you can turn adversity into opportunity… She was able to had the women’s marathon added to the Olympics basically because the marathon race director attacked her in the race course.
It was great to hear them talk but the more I kept hearing how important this race is to everyone just added a bit more stress… I went back to my hotel to relax, I needed to be alone, watch a couple of movies and regroup. Still, I wasn’t able to eat, but I emptied as much of the Nutella jar as I could. It was a struggle. If you know me, you’d never believe I had trouble eating. My stomach was all knots. I really feel bad for anyone who had to deal with me this weekend, I was a nervous mess! I should learn a bit from this… 😉
By 10, Andrea was out cold, and I was still trying. Short story is, I couldn’t sleep. That is SO not me… Eating and sleeping is what I DO; they’re my specialty, my talent. I gave up and just breathed all night. Toby had said “don’t hope for a good race, make it happen”. That really stayed with me. I just couldn’t wait to make it happen. I was going to “get my Boston”!