Up at 5 am. I was sleepy, I felt like crap and I was worried I hadn’t slept or eaten enough.
But once I sat on the bus, I was totally relaxed. I was happy and READY. Ready to “make it happen”, ready to “get my Boston”. The trip to Hopkinton is an hour long and by the time we all get there there’s very very long lines at the stink-a-potties and not enough time to get ready. Still, Andrea and I met with medievalistrunningincircles (in the pic below) and runwithjill for a short bit chat while lining up.
I was so totally relaxed that we got the start line 9 minutes late; so we started like a few corrals back, and who cares! I was ready to enjoy it and soak it all in, in my 26.2 “victory lap”. The plan was to enjoy the race, go cautious and pace for an even effort. Basically, hold it in for the first 22 miles and then see what we had left for the last 4, where the race starts.
I like to divide and conquer, and split the race into segments to make it easier, so I’ll do the same here.
Mile 1 to 5
Bushes, downhills, and a very very crowded road. Andrea and I started together as we have similar finish times, but we didn’t have a plan to stay together or not. I always have to stop to drink water, and who knew what my leg would do. She had a messy toe. We just decided just to do whatever we felt like doing, but there was no space to move at all. She was a step or two ahead of me most of the first miles. I held my pace tight, not pushing at all. The weather was perfect (though most people were over-dressed), 50s, sunny, with a little cross-wind. Thank you very much.
Mile 6 to 11
This is looking too easy, this “being relaxed”, but I don’t question the plan. I was really pumping the crowd for attention and we run into Jill, she does pictures while running!
We are relaxed and enjoying it, such a change from all my other races!! I also had never raced a marathon with anyone before; we chatted a lot, we grunted, I swore a few times, it made it so much better. By Mile 8, I just couldn’t wait any longer to get to the Newton Hills; I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I was shocked I was having this much fun; why do people say such mean things about this course? We high-fived about 200.000 people. Got a few “Vamos Argentina”, and lot of “Go Liz”. By then, Andrea had agreed to put her name on her shirt for the next one. I was counting the seconds to the famous Wellesley College screaming girls, and the minutes to my hills! They couldn’t come soon enough!
Mile 11 to 20
You hear the screams from far away, and the signs they hold up urging you to kiss them are hilarious. And it was over too soon ;-). Mile 14 I feel a sharp pain in my hip flexor, it hurt like hell for half a mile and then it goes away just as fast as it appeared; but the ITB is mute so far. Shhhhhhhhhh, don’t wake him up. Now I am being pulled to Mile 17 where Dimi would be, I stopped for a hug and went right back to it. Andrea and I are still together and when I see the Mile 18 sign I scream in disbelief “Mile 18 already?? This is going to end too soon!!!!”... yeah, ridiculous, but I am not lying. I was feeling the course slip right by. I barely noticed the first two hills. I had been gelling every 4 miles and drinking every two. By the Mile 20 marker I screamed “There is no wall!!”. Yes, I was screaming most of the race. It was fun like that.
Mile 20 to 22
Bring it. I was SO ready to make it happen. I had stuck to an “easy” effort and it was paying off. I was feeling great up Heartbreak, which I now renamed Heartfix Hill and I can not tell you how great it is when you get to the top and you realize it’s done, you’ve conquered the hills, and then you also leave all your fears behind. Heartbreak is really not bad, if you are running this relaxed and happy. This was my first marathon ever where I never stopped to walk or listened to even 1 minute of music (and so much work went into that playlist!). I was IN THE ZONE! The crowd had gotten thicker and louder and at Boston College it all goes out of control. I might have lost my pace there a bit. These kids were just OSOM, louder than Wellesley, and fun; I think that was my favorite part… I am now ready to check the tank and see what I have left.
Mile 22 to… Heaven!
From here it was all downhill, and that’s when the race starts for many. My ITB was not a problem. I had NO pain whatsoever so far; I felt good, strong, and, HAPPY. I saw my friend T with a sign on the course
and off to mile 25 where Dimi would be. I spot him and then I saw a bank with those big clocks…
I am horrible at math when I run, but for the first time, I look at my watch to see what’s going on… I tried adding numbers, and it seems like I am doing decent time… I recheck, and seems like I could come under 3:50, which would be amazing. But I am starting to lose Andrea now, I turn around every few seconds and I see her behind me but she doesn’t seem to catch up. I tried to alter my stride but my legs are locked I couldn’t. We are close to the finish and with less than a mile to go I see I could come really close to my PR from last November, and I hit the gas. I turn left, I see the finish line 500 yards ahead and I find the extra gear. My last mile at Boston was my fastest. I finish in 3:45:21. A PR by 1 second! In Boston.
The most amazing thing is that I felt like a million dollars at the finish line. I could walk. This is totally new to me. I had NO PAIN. NO pain!!! This is the first time this happens. My ITB said nothing, not a peep, just the regular blisters. Andrea comes in a few seconds later, we hug and cry like maniacs. We then take her to the medical tent as she’s dehydrated and needs a whole bag of IV. She was fine after a bit, we hugged some more, and once you see the official pictures you’ll see how well she recovered, we even got pictures with all two Elvis Pressleys! We met our friends, took some more pictures, and I just couldn’t shut up about what an amazing day I had just. Well, I still can’t.
I did get my Boston but I didn’t have to make it happen. Once I relaxed, it all happened on its own. You just have to trust yourself enough. It all just came together, and on race day there is not much you can do but put one foot in front of the other, trust yourself, and let it all just happen. I could not be any happier today. I feel like the Queen of the World. That’s what I’ve been screaming all day.