This post is going to cover the 2013 Boston Marathon up to 2:50 pm.
Up until that point, I had an incredibly positive and fun experience with the Boston Marathon. I want people to know that. I want people to know that the spectators and the volunteers, every single one of them, were fantastic. I owe the spectators in particular more than I can ever say.
As a caveat, I am a Boston College alumna. That certainly influences how I experienced the Boston Marathon. I already knew the excitement and joyousness of Patriots' Day and Marathon Monday firsthand. I had been there twice as a student. There is a tremendous amount of energy around Patriots' Day and the marathon.
My day started at 4 am. Woke up, had coffee and breakfast, slathered on sunscreen and Body Glide, got dressed, and headed out the door to catch a commuter train up to Boston.
All in for Boston. The Boston College Superfan shirt was a very wise choice.
While I was waiting for the train, I chatted with some people about the marathon. The conductor saw my marathon bag and gave me a free ride. Totally not expecting that. I looked at the course map, watched a pretty sunrise, and tried to keep myself calm.
I got off the train in Back Bay at around 6:35, near the finishing area, and then walked to the bus loading area at Boston Common. The lines for the bus were disorganized, but I was warm and everyone was heading to the same place. All roads led to Hopkinton. I chatted with a lady from California on the line and on the bus.
I got to the runners village at about 9am. Got in line for a porta-potty. Then dropped off my bag and started heading to the start line. I didn't have much time to hang around, which is probably a good thing. There are so many people and everything is so far away that you need a lot of time to get from place to place.
Start corrals this way
No stopping Monday
The porta-potties closer to the start had no lines. I literally walked right into one. I heard the national anthem. Then Wave 1 went off. Finally it was time for Wave 2 runners to start heading to the corrals. And wait just a little while longer.
Here we go. This is the only picture I have of the marathon.
Mile 1-2 - Hopkinton - I had a giant smile in the first few miles. I was running Boston! The early miles are in the middle of nowhere, but I was pleasantly surprised by the crowd support. People cheered me, "Go BC!" the whole way. It was incredible. I knew I had to be mindful of not going out too fast because 1) the first mile is mostly downhill and my pace was going to be off 2) I was going to be around runners who would be running much faster than me and 3) I really didn't know what was going to happen to my ankle.
Mile 3-4 - Ashland - Much the same as Hopkinton. Good crowd support. Mostly downhill. Go BC.
Mile 5-7 - Framingham - The course flattened out around this point. I started noticing that spectators were giving out all sorts of things. Water. Ice. Twizzlers. Tissues. Ice pops. Oranges. Sponges. If you ever needed something, someone had it.
Mile 8-11 - Natick - Still going pretty good. Cruising along and having fun. There was one isolated stretch where I almost pulled out my iPod. But then the crowds picked up again and I didn't need it. I actually ran the entire marathon without music.
The first 11 miles and the towns of Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, and Natick ticked away easily. And then I started slowing down and taking walk breaks. I was getting twinges in my right quad. The downhills in the first half wreck your quads if you aren't prepared. I've had massive quad failures before. That's not fun. Thankfully, the quad twinges never got worse than just twinges. Thankfully, I had banked plenty of wiggle room time and didn't really care if I slowed down.
Mile 12-15 - Wellesley - The Wellesley College scream tunnel was fun. The Wellesley girls have posters with "Kiss me I'm ..." Kiss me I'm a New Yawker. Kiss me I'm a scientist. Downtown Wellesley was full of people. I really loved the crowd support. Hit the halfway point at 1:51.
Mile 16 - Newton - Eagle coming home!! 5 miles to Boston College. This was where the course started getting hard. I saw my running buddies somewhere around this point. They were so excited for me! Just what I needed.
Mile 17-19 - The turn onto Commonwealth Ave. and then the hills. Oh, the hills. They are no joke. Walking is OK. Just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.
Mile 20 - Heartbreak Hill - I made a point of not stopping on Heartbreak Hill. Because I knew what was less than a mile away ...
Mile 21 - Boston College - My favorite part!! I cannot tell you how amazing it was to run past BC and hear so many cheers for me. The BC kids went nuts! "Go BC!" "Go Eagles!" "Go Superfan!" It was waaaay better than the Wellesley scream tunnel. The Heartbreak was over. Mostly downhill all the way into Boston.
Mile 22-23 - Brookline. Cleveland Circle and Beacon Street. Tons of crowds. Lots of cheers. You could see the skyscrapers in downtown Boston and the Citgo sign if you looked carefully. They looked so far away. I was hurting. Not excruciatingly hurting. Not the worst hurting in a marathon I've had before. But hurting. My lower back hurt. My quads were still twingy. My ankle ... was totally fine. Thank goodness.
Mile 24 - Coolidge Corner - Large crowds. The Citgo sign suddenly started to look closer.
Mile 25 - Kenmore Square. Welcome to Boston. Passed the Citgo sign with 1 mile to go. Looked at my Garmin and knew that I had less than a minute of wiggle room left. Go. Now.
Mile 26 - Right turn onto Hereford Street. Left turn onto Boylston Street. Less than a half mile to go. Go. Go. Go. Crowds and cheers everywhere. Finish line in sight.
Mile 26.2 - I had been on the right side of the course for the entire marathon but switched to the left side just before the finish line. The clock for my wave was on the left side. Crossed the finish line at 3:59:20, 40 seconds under my 4-hour goal. I cut it close, but I made it. Sweet. I was a Boston Marathon finisher. Double sweet.
Unofficial Garmin time and medal
I walked slowly to collect water, a heat blanket, my medal, a protein bar, Gatorade, a bag of snacks, and a banana. Then I went to the bag busses to get my bag and my extra set of clothes. I talked to my husband and headed toward the changing tent and exit.
By that time, it was 2:50 pm. I was in the changing tent. Warm dry clothes and Adidas sandals never felt so good.