My Boston Marathon

It has been a month!

The crying is done, the pouting is finished, going over this race again and again in my head is lessening.

It's time to move on!

The week coming off this race was particularly emotional.

I felt a little blue after the race, but the week after was worse, as the thoughts and self doubt set in.

In addition there were several things going on here at home that made for a trying week.

On the list of things to breakdown, was my Garmin.

I didn't turn it off as things were happening in the medic tent and it was almost out of battery when I did.  As I brought it home it wouldn't connect, recharge etc.  Anyway, I got it working, but lost all of my workouts and Boston.

As dumb as that was, it really bothered me to not be able to look at my miles and review stuff.

This race was such a blur to me and the numbers can help in recall.

Not having any type of record for this race, a finish time, Garmin numbers, really made me sad!

No proof of the effort that I did put into my time on this course.

Then Matt reminded me that he followed me, got texts at each check point.  I at least have that.

I will break this into three posts.  My race itself, (because we all want to know what the crap happened, right) the Boston Marathon as a race, and a post about our time in Boston before and after.

In short this race was the perfect storm, many things playing against me that ultimately broke me.  Could I have continued on and been ok physically?  Maybe.  That is what eats at me.  At that time, though, I chose to pull over and check in.  From there, there was no more choosing.


Too hot, blistered foot, hungry, felt a little dizzy and stopped a couple of times, slowed down, pulled off at mile 21 to the medic tent.  After an hour there the medic advised me to take the bus back, not to go back on the course.  I didn't finish.

{TEXT NOTICES} 10K = 8:02 pace, 13 miles = 8:35 pace, 30k (18.6 miles) = 8:57 pace.

I remember looking at my watch before it went out and at 21 miles where I finished my average was around 9 pace.  Again, I'm glad Matt got these, otherwise I'd have no record!


Before the Race

I got up around 6:30 feeling relaxed and ready to go.  We turned on the news and coverage on the race had already begun.  The news woman in Hopkinton said she was freezing, but knew it would warm up as the sun climbed.  I expected to be running in the 50's.  That was not the case!

Here is what I wore.  Because of foot issues I was having the week before I switched to my old Altra's.  Rookie mistake right?  They are nice and broken in, too broken in.  There is a reason you get rid of your shoes when you have worn them out, you are then no longer tempted to run in them when you shouldn't!*

I got all ready and headed downstairs to make my oatmeal.

My bus left around 7:20, so we left our hotel around 7.

I ate as we drove**.  I had steel cut oats, with peaches and almonds.  Typical for me.

Matt dropped me off near the buses, I started walking, made a friend, got on the bus, made another friend.  It all went so smooth.

I sat with Lindsey.  I loved getting to know her.  She became my buddy and I loved hearing her story, asking her about her running and hanging out together in athletes village.  She has done Boston a few times before and was all prepared, complete with something to sit on while we waited!

Crazy thing sitting on this bus... there are so many fast, talented, seasoned runners all around!

When asked what my goal was I answered that I just wanted to enjoy this race.  Again, I haven't put in the time and miles to result in a 3:27 marathon time.  I was prepared for that and really had no time goal finish.

I did have a plan to go out nice and easy at an 8 pace (usually start 7:30) and just stay there, knowing I'd slow in the second half.

We arrived in Hopkinton, headed into the athletes village.  I got a bagel to snack on because I was getting hungry.  I didn't want to eat too much, but now I wish I'd have eaten more.  Just 15 minutes in I took off my warm up pants.  I was already feeling warm.  About 15 minutes after that I was down to my tank and already sweating!  I was warm before we even started.  Really, I felt like I was on a beach in the Dominican, especially compared to the cold temps I was coming from!!!***

They called for the second wave, white bibs.  Lindsey was at the front and I was at the back.  We wished each other well and she headed out.  I hung out for a few minutes then went to donate my warmup clothing.

I walked to my corral with the other million people that were there.

We headed on our .7 mile walk to the start line!  Yep, almost a mile walk to the start!

I hit the porta's one last time, retied my shoes then got into my coral.

*  I figured my feet would be sorry, no matter the shoes I chose, although I did not forsee the huge blister I would get.

** I wish I would've held off and eaten later and/or brought something extra to eat with me.

*** Looking back at things I'd have done differently I would've for sure put on sunscreen and I would've sat in the shade prior to the start.  I didn't know it would be as warm as it was and I was not acclimated!  The week prior I was running in snow!

The First Half

Our wave start time was 10:25.  I crossed the start line at 10:30!

It took me 5 minutes to get to the start line!  That is a lot of people!

It was an exciting start, wall to wall people.  Technically road side to road side people!

As I hit the first little downhill in the first mile I could see pretty far ahead of me.  The road was covered with people, sea of runners!

I started out at an 8 pace, felt good and easy, but I didn't really feel my legs shake out.  They felt rubbery and weird.  They didn't feel solid, they felt a little shaky with each step.  I don't know what that was about.

There was no people dodging, no jumping ahead, everyone ran at the same pace for the first couple of miles.  Very cool.

Although, I did have a strange experience where a guy behind me said something I didn't understand, then actually put his hands on me and moved me!  What the crap!?  I ran a bit faster to get away from whatever that was.

As I listened behind me I could hear him continue to call to people.  I think he was an escort for possibly a blind or vision impaired runner and was trying to keep the path clear.

It was new, never had anyone grab me while I was running!

I saw Matt around 2 miles.  It was great to see him so clearly!

There I am, all smiles!  See 'team Hoyt' in front of me?  The dad didn't run it this year, his sons did, and one of them pushed the wheel chair, which started way ahead of us.  Pretty cool.

Somewhere around here, mile 2 or 3 I started to feel my left heel burning.

I saw Matt again around mile 5.  I wasn't sure where and when I'd see him, and look at all of those people.  I saw him again clearly!  Yea!!!

Around mile 5 I felt so hungry!  I knew GU would be at 11 so I just had to make it there.  I'd be ok after that fueling right?  I was taking in Gatorade every 2 miles or so.

Around this time I am seeing that I'm not really paying attention to miles.

My mental breakdown of this race was 3 8 milers, then I just have to do 2 more miles to finish.

Somewhere after 5 I realized I was almost done with my first 8!

At 10k, 6ish miles my time was 10K = 8:02 pace  (49:55)

Between here and the half is a bit blurry.

I felt my heel burning and knew it was blistering.

I felt hot and was drinking, but still felt thirsty.

Some kids were giving out otter/freezy pops and I wasn't sure if it would make me sick, but I took one anyway.  It felt so good to eat ice!

I did get my gu at 11 and stopped a few seconds to take it in and drink a little and check my blister.

I saw Matt again near the half and told him I wasn't feeling so good.

He gave me the smack down and encouragement I needed!  Told me to finish this race!  Get something for my foot, but finish this!

At 13.1 miles my pace was 8:35 average.  (1:52:26)

Not too bad, but it was feeling pretty hard!

The Mental Marathon

I'm going to interrupt this race recap for a peek into my brain!

Now, looking back, I can see that my mental marathon was a mess.  Mentally I was all over the place and that is a big part of the marathon distance.

Staying positive, checking off miles as they go, good self talk, staying focused, these are all parts of distance running.

My head wasn't quite in this game.

There were several things that were off this day, that wore on me mentally.  The constant burn of my heel, the rubber legs, the hunger, the heat, the frequent water stops, where I had to start again, the constant noise and screaming the whole time, all of these wore on me mentally.

With all of those 'negatives' it is hard to stay positive and keep focused through this distance.

At the half there should be a celebration in my head!  I'm halfway through, only 3 miles from my second 8 etc.  I think I didn't even recognize that I could check off my second 8 at mile 16, and then there is only 4 to the 20!  When I pulled over at mile 21 I was so close to finishing my last 8.  There was no checking off for me to help push me farther.

Part of me 'just enjoying this race', may have hindered me personally.

I let go of my focus and fight that I need to get me through this distance in a good way.

Maybe it wasn't the 'enjoy the race' attitude, maybe it was all of the obstacles for me.

If it was just one thing, like the heat, I can overcome, but as things start to pile up it gets harder and harder to focus.  And focus is needed!

The Second Half

Seeing Matt was good for me.  I needed someone to push me, telling me bloody feet and all, finish this race!

After seeing him I put on my headphones and went to work!

Normally, if I listen to music it is at the end of the race.

It was when I turned on my music that I realized my head hadn't been in this game.

As cool as it is to have so much cheering, it is sort of numbing, constant noise.  The quiet of running has to be initiated by self!

I was so busy looking out the whole time, enjoying and seeing so much of this experience that, again it affected my focus.

I'm glad I had my headphones, when I put them on I was able to focus in.

It was either after I got my GU, or after I turned my music on that I ran a 7:50 mile.  Not so smart, but again, I wasn't really watching my time and pace.  When I saw that I felt hopeful for a minute!

I took another freezy pop from someone, listened to my music, took wet napkins from the sidelines to try to keep my temp down.  I wished I could find another freezy pop around 18 and 19, but there were none to be found.

At 16 I should've checked off my second 8 yea!!!  There are a series of hills, at this point, that climb off and on until you get to the top of heartbreak hill at 21.  I did ok through these, but they broke me a little.  I didn't feel strong, obviously!  You can see that I did slow, had to take breaks occasionally.  My legs were feeling the hills, but mostly I felt hot!

I got another GU at 17, this time tried the caffeine one.

Matt planned to see me somewhere between 17 and 18, but missed me, it must have been that fast mile that put me ahead of him!

I crossed 30k, 18.6 miles with an 8:57 average.  (2:46:50)

I do wonder, if I'd have seen Matt, if I would've been able to push on.  

I did step off to the side a couple of times between 13 and 21 because my head just felt a little loopy, I felt a little dizzy.  

Anyway, I can't tell you much about those miles, they were a little hazy.  

I kept going back and forth on focusing in and feeling beat up!

When I saw the medic tent at the top of the hill I ran over.  It was a quick decision, I hadn't been planning to.  I wasn't really sure why, maybe just get a band aid, some salt?

The Medic Tent

I went in and told them I felt a little dizzy, felt super hot.

They had me sit down and gave me some Gatorade and took my blood pressure.  I can't remember what it was.

They covered me up and soon after I sat down my lips started feeling numb, so they laid me down. 

My numbness increased, from my ears all the way down to my chin.  I was talking funny because my tongue was numb and prickly.

I was trying to breathe deep and keep calm, get my circulation regulated again right?

They were so good to me in the medic tent!

My hands started cramping and I couldn't straighten them out - pterodactyl hands!

My nurse had to keep spreading them out for me.

I'm sure everyone gets cold after they run.  It doesn't take long for me to start freezing, no matter how warm it is.  My body stinks at warming back up.  My lips, nails, everything goes purple and I shake.

So, as I started shaking because I was freezing, despite being covered up, they took my body temp and checked my gums, which were not pink!  It was 94ish.  They put some medical blanket on me that pumped hot air all over me.

I was able to stop shaking after a bit (that I knew was coming) but not being able to feel my face was freaking me out a little.  I was trying to keep calm, but felt a little panicked.  I closed my eyes and tried to just breath, and some tears did fall out of my eyeballs.

They tested my blood sugar, pricked me 3 times because my fingers wouldn't bleed!  It was actually ok.  Took my blood pressure again.

It was pretty trippy for me.

My lady asked if this was my first marathon.  Nope, but first time in the medic tent!

I heard people come in and out with various things from being tripped to pulled muscles.  The girl in there with me was actually falling to

I was in there for nearly an hour.

As I sat up they asked if I was going back out or taking the bus to the finish.  I asked if I could/should go back out.  As I sat there and watched people pass by I thought I could at least walk/run it to finish.  The guy (with the English accent) who was helping me told me he thought I should just call it and be finished.  It was still hot, I was dehydrated.  If we were closer to the finish maybe, but there was still a 'long' way to go.

So I decided to take the shuttle back and not finish.

They let me be, my face was still de-numbing.  As I sat there I started to cry.  It sucked.

The cute lady helping me let me use her phone to call Matt, who was wondering why in the world he wasn't being notified of anything.

They were trying to help me feel better and told me there was no need to finish, I was at the top of the hill, I'd done all of the hard stuff, it was all down hill from there!!!

As I started to feel better I asked the lady if I really needed to stop, was anything even wrong?  Now all of the questions began and I wished I hadn't stopped.  Now I was feeling better!

Getting to the finish line was a long, long ordeal.  It really would've been faster if I would've just walked the rest of the distance!  I get it, but I just wanted to be done.  On the bus back is when I realized I wouldn't be getting my medal.  I didn't finish.  I cried again.

It really sucked.  I'm not going to lie!

And, like I said the week after was worse than that day, because of all the replay's and questions in my head!

It's hard to just let it go and move on.

Although this race was not my race, this race is AMAZING.  There is a reason everyone wants to run it!  I get it now!  It is so well organized, runs so smoothly, is so well attended.  It is awesome!

I am honored to have qualified, with a great time, and been part of the experience.

Next time I hope to finish!

I will finish this post with my fabulous blister that is partially drained here.

Aaand my turbo sunburn!  See, like a day in the Dominican!