2018 Boston Marathon Recap

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I am kind of a sissy in the cold.  I really don’t like being too cold at the start of a run and I really don’t like running in the heat either.  I can endure a lot, but if I have the choice of weather for running, I prefer 50 degrees and sunny.  The week before we left for Boston, my father-in-law kept asking me if I was tracking the weather.  Yes. I was, and it said raining, but I have several social media friends who live just outside of Boston and they told me that the weather changes rapidly: it may rain one day but be warm and sunny the next.  SO, I was hoping for a weather change before packing! The Thursday before the race came along and it was time to pack. I packed what I planned to run in; shorts, compression socks, a tank top and arm sleeves with sweats and a sweatshirt that I would throw away at the start line.   Thankfully as I was packing a friend asked if I wanted to borrow a thin raincoat to run in.  I thought she was crazy because who runs in a raincoat?  I ended up never taking it off! It was a huge lifesaver!

Friday night, April 13th, we took a redeye flight to Boston.  We arrived in Boston at 5:50am Saturday morning.  Jon’s parents were getting in shortly after us, so we decided to get coffee and wait at the airport until their flight arrived.  Once their plane got in we all bought a “Charlie Ticket”.  For $21 this ticket allowed us unlimited trips on the “T”, which is Boston’s local transportation system, and it also included the subway and bus systems.  We rented an Airbnb in Revere, which is only about seven miles by car, but we couldn’t check in until 11am. Thankfully we were able to drop off our luggage.   After dropping our bags, we headed into the Boston for brunch.  We ate at Quincy Market and I had the best clam chowder I have ever had! I ended up eating it two more times during this trip. 

Saturday the weather was perfect! Sunny and cool (would have been great weather for a marathon!!) and we did a ton of walking. We went to the race expo and picked up my bib, then we did a lot of sight seeing!  We finally got back to the house around 7pm and I was pooped.  The next morning I slept in a little and woke up so sore from all the walking.  I had been fighting a sinus infection from a pretty bad cold I had the past three weeks, so I felt pretty awful!

Sunday morning after sleeping in, Jon and I left Nora with Grandma and Grandpa (my in-laws) at the house and we headed into the city to go to the Rambling Runner meet-up at the Boston Common Coffee.  It was awesome getting to meet so many great Instagram friends and hanging out with people that I had never met before that day, but we instantly became friends!  After the meet-up, we had dinner reservations in Little Italy.  We had a delicious dinner, a beer and then stopped at Modern Pastry for some delicious dessert before heading back to the house for bed. 

I woke up Monday morning bright-eyed and excited for the race! I got dressed in all of my layers and headed down stairs for my pre-race coffee and a bagel with cream cheese.  Usually in all my races my husband drives me to either the start line or the busses that take me to the start line, but this race was a little different, which made me nervous. I took Uber from the house to a Starbucks where I was meeting some friends from social media. We planned on starting the race together.   Based on my qualifying time of 3:19 I was in wave 2, corral 4, but I made the decision to stay back a few corral’s to be with the friends.  Being that I am only five months postpartum from delivering Nora, and I had had a pretty sub-training cycle, in addition with the weather conditions, I was in this race for the experience and not trying to race hard or PR.  The Uber dropped me off a few blocks away from the Starbucks (due to road closures) and I jogged the rest of the way.  It was now pouring rain! I got a coffee, met my friends for a photo, then we loaded up on a bus and set off to the starting gate. It was about a forty-five-minute drive, but I was warm on the bus, so I didn’t mind.  We got to the start and it was another half-mile walk from where the bus dropped us off was into Athlete’s Village.  The Village was really not a “village”, but about one-thousand port-o-potty’s and a bunch of giant white tents that people were huddled in for warmth.  The weather was a numbing, frigid thirty degrees and it was now snowing! Everything was a muddy mess, so instantly my shoes and feet were soaked.  Some people brought an extra pair of shoes to wear until the start of the race and then they would ditch the old ones- smart idea because I already couldn’t feel my toes! We hung out in the tents, shivering and getting colder by the minute, for about forty minutes, until we heard our heat called.  It was then another mile walk to the actual starting line!  It was absolutely pouring rain, and I started shivering so hard! I was excited to start running just to warm up. 

The gun went off and I took off my sweats but left everything else on.  Miles one through six were pretty down hill and they went by very fast.  I was doing my best to soak up (pun intended) every second of this race! Despite the weather conditions, the spectators were die hard and awesome!!! There were families, people with their dogs and kids out cheering as loud as they could! By mile five I had lost all of my friends.  It was hard to keep track of them as the course was crowded and everyone was in shower caps and ponchos! Once I hit the halfway point I definitely started to slow down.  At mile fourteen I started to struggle and was already counting down the miles.  My bones ached because they were so cold, and I was visualizing that finish line.  There were medical tents every few miles and runners were dropping like flies.  Part of me wanted to stop.  I knew there were warming blankets and there was probably something hot to drink in those medical tents, but I kept trucking along.  I had to start telling myself positive things out loud!  Mile seventeen came and the hills began.  They honestly weren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be but they definitely wore me out.  In most Boston Marathon recaps you hear people talk about running past the CITGO sign, which is an iconic landmark on the course that lets runners know that they are only one mile from the finish line.  I never even noticed the sign. I didn’t soak up the energy when the course turns right onto Hereford Street, then left onto Boylston Street, where you then finish near the John Hancock Tower in Copley Square.  The rain was coming down so hard, my head was down and I was fighting back tears so I could breath. I was just completely focused on getting across the finish line still on my feet.  Finally, once I crossed, I began walking and it hit me how cold I actually was.  I couldn’t feel my feet, hands or face and I just wanted a hot shower.  There were medical personal everywhere with wheel chairs ready to catch people or wheel them to the medical tents.  It was tempting, as I knew they had warming blankets in those tents.  A medic stopped me as I was hobbling along, trying to think clearly as to where the heck my family would be. She made sure that I knew my name and knew where I was (I must have looked like I was struggling).  She then asked my last name and told me where the family meeting area was for last names that began with “D” and I headed that way.  Jon and I had not previously talked about a designated meeting place for after the race, and I never saw him on the course or at the finish line, but I just kept telling myself  “he is smart, he will find me” haha.  Once I got to the family meeting area (which was just on a street corner under a big sign that said “D”, I pulled out my phone to try to call Jon.  I had put it in a Ziplock bag to make sure it didn’t get wet, but it was frozen so it wouldn’t turn on.  There was a nice family from Canada waiting for their athlete and they let me use their phone and thankfully dialed Jon for me, since my hands were completely numb.  Jon didn’t answer so I left him a message telling him where I was.  By this point I was uncontrollably shaking and just praying Jon would find me soon!  I waited for about thirty agonizing minutes until I saw Jon running through the rain to me.  I swear I had never been so excited than this to see that man!! He hugged me and my tears started flowing! We ended up walking (hobbling, limping, waddling, whatever my form of walking was at that time) over a mile to a subway station that wasn’t so crowded.  On the way, I started to slow down and struggle.  I felt like I was going to pass out.  Jon and my mother-in-law, Jane, looked at me and immediately made me strip down and put dry clothes on.  Jon said my face was pasty white and my lips were blue.  I think that saved me! Right away I started to feel better, so we stopped and got burritos and hot coffee for me to eat on the train ride back to the house that we were staying at.   Once we got back to the house I took a long hot shower, it may have been the best shower of my life! Minus the chaffing burning in the water or the fact that my boobs were about to explode from not nursing Nora or pumping in over eight hours!

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While Boston 2018 was not even close to a PR for me (it was one of my slowest marathons yet), or the highlight marathon of my life, or even really the Boston experience that you hear most people talk about, I had a great trip, learned a lot and became a stronger runner from running in those weather conditions.  Now Boston wont be a race I run every year, with having four very young children, but I will definitely be back - ready to soak up every second with hopefully much better weather!

If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.
— Katherine Switzer