Boston Marathon Race Recap

12 Jun

Almost two months since Boston, and it is still on my mind every single day.

Every time I run, I think about it. Every time I hear a “boom”, I fear what it could be. Every time I hear a siren, I get chills. And every time I read something or someone talks about it, I have to hold back tears. Boston continues to weigh heavy on my mind and in my heart, and I have a feeling it will continue to do so for a while. Just as it will for the many others out there that experienced this, some not nearly as lucky as I was.

For the past few weeks, I have been debating whether or not I would write a race recap for Boston. Partially because I didn’t know if it was appropriate, and partially because I didn’t know if I was ready. To be honest, it has taken me time to even remember things from the race.

Well, I have made the decision that I am READY to write this race recap and I will CELEBRATE the finish of that race. I must remember that before 2:50pm on April 15th, I was having one of the most amazing days of my life. And I had been experiencing an amazing weekend in Boston prior.

Everything I write in this recap will be prior to 2:50pm. While much of my experience is still a blur, I do believe I have enough memories to write a pretty good recap!

Morning of the Race

5:15am on the morning of the race, I sprung out of bed. I was so darn excited! My clothes had been laid out since the night before, and I was ready to run. I got dressed, did my hair, put on some makeup (yep, I wear makeup when I race, judge away!), and headed downstairs to meet my friends.

Lulu all the way.

Lulu all the way.

I had my Girls on the Run girls with me.

I had my Girls on the Run girls with me.

At 6:15am, I saw my friends in the lobby and we had one big group hug. We were nervous but excited for the adventure to come. We took some pre-race photos with our families (we have the most amazing support systems!) and headed to Boston Common to meet our bus.

So supportive.

So supportive.

Looking our best in throwaway clothes!

Looking our best in throwaway clothes!

Mom and Dad :)

Mom and Dad 🙂

When we got to Boston Common, I was stunned by the lines. I had seriously never seen a line that long, and we had to wait in it in order to get to the starting line in Hopkinton! At first I panicked a little bit thinking we should’ve arrived earlier. The “what ifs” of not making it on the bus were going round and round in my head. Thankfully I had Stacy with me, who calmed my nerves and assured me we would make it to the start on time.

The insane lines!

The insane lines!

Happy, excited and nervous as can be!

Happy, excited and nervous as can be!

At 7:45am, we FINALLY made it to the front of the line and got on the bus. Note to self the next time I run Boston: get to Boston Common earlier!! We were one of the last buses to load up for the 26.2 mile journey to the start line.

Breakfast on the bus.

Breakfast on the bus.

Hopkinton!!!

Hopkinton!!!

Runner's

No Stopping Monday!!!

Around 8:45am, we got off the bus in Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton, MA. The sight there was amazing. It was FULL of runners and porta potties – I had not ever seen so many porta potties in my life. Photographic proof below!

CRAZY!!!

CRAZY!!!

We decided that our first order of business would be a trip to the previously mentioned porta potties before we were in an emergency situation (pretty sure I drank at least one bottle of water on the bus). We got into line, and 20 minutes later, we were still in line. All those porta potties, and they could’ve used 100 more. As we got to the front of the line, a man approached us and offered us toilet paper if we let him cut in line. Pretty smart guy if you ask me….as almost every porta potty was out of toilet paper!!

He was awesome.

He was awesome.

Diana did not cooperate!

Diana did not cooperate!

Stacy and I eagerly accepted his offer, but Diana did not…girlfriend had to go BAD and no one was cutting in front of her!!

We didn’t get out of that porta potty line until 9:30am, and by then it was time to start walking to the infamous starting line.

Pre-race jitters were in full bloom. I am pretty sure that everything on my body was shaking I was so nervous and excited for the journey ahead! When we finally got down the start (it felt like it was at least a half mile from Athlete’s Village) we found a little spot to sit down.

Follow the arrows.

Follow the arrows.

BABY GUURLL!!!

BABY GUURLL!!!

At our spot, we put Diana’s pretty pink blanket to full use. The story of the blanket could be its own blog post….we had to force Diana to bring “baby girl” (quick back story: the blanket was originally meant for Di’s “baby girl”…but Di had two baby boys, therefore “baby girl” never served her true purpose) to the start line of the race and leave her behind. We needed baby girl to keep us warm and shield us just in case we needed an emergency impromptu bathroom break (no comment on whether or not it was used for that…)

Baby Girl ended up saving the morning for us, and she will be remembered dearly. (Diana, I hope you read this so you can see that I paid tribute to your blanket in this post!!!)

At 9:55am, we went to the starting line and waited to be lined up in our corral. We watched the first wave start their journey, then made our way into corral #9.

At 10:15am, I posed for a pre-race photo and uploaded it to all my social media outlets. I wanted all the positive energy I could get, and I knew my social media friends would take care of that for me. You all are the best!

"It's go time"

“It’s go time”

Stacy at the start too!

Stacy at the start too!

Race Time

10:20am, the journey from Hopkinton to Boston began. I had just crossed the starting line of the BOSTON MARATHON. Holy freaking cow. I was living a dream.

I think I ran with tears in my eyes for the first mile. I was so excited to be there, and what I was about to accomplish really hit me. In a few short hours, I would be crossing the most exciting and prestigious finish line in all of marathon world!

The first few miles flew by. The main thing I remember about these miles is how many pregnant women I saw! I ran by at least three obviously pregnant women, all with little signs attached to them that said “running for two”, or something of that nature. Seeing these pregnant women out there running a marathon reaffirmed what I always thought and knew – you cannot stop a woman on a mission!! Especially a woman-runner on a mission. If she qualified for Boston, she is running Boston and you can’t stop her!

Around mile 6 I met a girl that reminded me of myself. We were almost the same age, and had both qualified for Boston at rainy races in Dallas. We ran and chatted for about a mile, and then she pulled back because she was battling an injury and had promised she would take it easy. I still think about this girl and hope that she was able to get her finish and was safe.

Mile 9 we hit Natick and I loved how familiar it felt. I used to have a client in Natick and have been up there a few times, so I could recognize the streets. I am sad I wasn’t able to see my old clients along the course, but I understood why I didn’t. Natick had some of the most amazing crowds along the entire course. I remember running through an intersection and I couldn’t believe  how loud it was. People were screaming and cheering to a point that I couldn’t have ever imagined. I remember looking at Diana and making eye contact with her. We both had tears in our eyes because we could not believe the experience. It was incredible and I cannot wait to experience it again.

Another one of my favorite parts of this race was leaving Natick and heading towards Wellesley. Around mile 12, we passed through an extremely loud cheering section with gangham style blaring. I love that song, so I perked  up immediately when I heard it. Then I saw something that made it even better. Lined along the right side of the road were at least 15 kids jumping on mini trampolines doing the pony. I still laugh every time I think about that.

Wellesley College was everything I heard it would be. Screaming girls waving their signs throwing out their hands were everywhere. I now understand why people say to watch your pace through Wellesley, because it would be so easy to get excited and run too fast. The energy passing through Wellesley was incredible, and it was one of my top 5 moments of the day.

My favorite sign from a Wellesley girl: “Kiss ME! I’m in a long distance relationship!”

After Wellesley we hit the halfway mark. It was so fun to hit the race “milestones”, because we would make sure we ran over the tracking device at the exact same time. When we hit them we would say, “HI!” to our family and friends we knew were following us.

My brother was tracking us! Loved how it showed us as little runners!

My brother was tracking us! Loved how it showed us as little runners!

We knew if we hit them at the same time, our supporters would know our plan was working out and we were doing it all together. No matter what, we would finish this race together. That was always the plan.

Following the halfway, we started to hit our big hills. I remember thinking on one of them that it might not ever end. This is the first time in the race when I felt tired and questioned if my legs would be carrying me 26.2 miles that day.

Diana zoomed up these hills with grace, while Stacy and I brought up the back. Di was having her “A” day, I was about a “B”, and Stacy was probably a “C”. Having a B or C day on the Newton Hills was tough. But with the help of each other we would make it through ‘em.

Running by Dick Hoyt and his son. Don't know who they are? Google it NOW!

Running by Dick Hoyt and his son. Don’t know who they are? Google it NOW!

Mile 16ish.

Mile 16ish.

Heartbreak Hill was something I feared for months. Mile 20 is one of the hardest miles of a marathon, and knowing we had a huge hill to face at 20.5 was terrifying. But guess what? I ran up Heartbreak Hill and didn’t even know it! At the top of the hill I saw a sign that said “You just conquered Heartbreak Hill!”. I didn’t believe it. I had to ask the give girl running next to me (remember…Di was A, I was B, Stacy was C, so we weren’t together at the top!) if I really just ran up Heartbreak Hill! She confirmed that I did, and when I saw Diana I screamed “WE JUST RAN HEARTBREAK HILL!!!!!”.

The last few miles of this race were miles of survival and getting to the finish. The downhills started to hurt far worse than the uphills because of the pounding on our already sore hamstrings.

We knew our families planned to be between mile 24 – 25, so we were on the look out. By this time of the race, we were hurting BAD. We were hurting so bad, we weren’t even talking anymore (that means it was BAD!). It was really a moment of thinking, “every step is one step closer”.

Mile 25, we saw our families and it was so exciting!!! We heard them yell and saw their excitement for us. We ran to them and got our high fives and the last bit of encouragement we needed.

ahhhhh hi!!!!

ahhhhh hi!!!!

I love our faces here. You can tell we were so tired, but so excited.

I love our faces here. You can tell we were so tired, but so excited.

We love you!

We love you!

The best support group!

The best support group!

After passing our cheerleaders, we had our eyes and minds on the finish.

We approached Boylston Street, and knew we were so close. The volume of the cheering on Boylston was incredible and I soaked in every step.

As we got closer to the finish, we veered towards the right side of the street and embraced our hands. We threw them up high in the air, and celebrated the finish exactly as we had planned.

The happiest photo.

The happiest photo.

The entire race went as planned and was one of the best experiences ever. For the first time ever, my running buddies and I all three ran a race together. And it was the best race we could’ve possibly run together.

I will be proud of this finish and celebrate this finish. I will hang my finish line medal in my home, and reflect on the amazing time we had during those 26.2 miles.

And I will run Boston again.

Xo,

Ali

 

Top 5 Moments of the Race

  1. Passing the Starting Line
  2. Wellesley
  3. Seeing Our Families
  4. Running 26.2 side by side with Stacy and Diana
  5. Crossing the most exciting and famous finish line in the world of marathons

 Splits:

  1. 8:31
  2. 8:33
  3. 8:38
  4. 8:20
  5. 8:48
  6. 8:23
  7. 8:35
  8. 8:41
  9. 8:21
  10. 8:32
  11. 8:37
  12. 8:35
  13. 8:40
  14. 8:48
  15. 8:45
  16. 8:32
  17. 8:53
  18. 9:02
  19. 9:07
  20. 9:10
  21. 9:47
  22. 8:53
  23. 9:07
  24. 9:33
  25. 9:14
  26. 9:43

 

More photos from the weekend (before the bombings)

The finish line on Saturday. I cried when I was taking this photo. So excited to be there.

The finish line on Saturday. I cried when I was taking this photo. So excited to be there.

14445 - my new lucky number.

14445 – my new lucky number.

:)

🙂

Excited!

Excited!

Glad they talked me into a jacket!

Glad they talked me into a jacket!

Cheers to us.

Cheers to us.

The whole group.

The whole group.

laying on the finish line. Dirty, but fun :)

laying on the finish line. Dirty, but fun 🙂

We did it!

We did it!

Mom and Dad.

Mom and Dad.

24 Responses to “Boston Marathon Race Recap”

  1. runner1313 June 12, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    Awesome recap! So excited for you and your great run. I ran the Blue Ridge Marathon the following Saturday (the first US marathon after Boston). We were running for everyone in Boston that day. We paid tribute in many ways, and ran for each one of you that were there that day, in our hearts. You should read my recap on that race, it may warm your heart a bit to know that Boston was on our minds.

  2. Jen @ Jens Best Life June 12, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    I love, love, love the friendship and camaraderie shining through in all the photos of you with Diana and Stacy! The relationships I’ve made through running are one of the reasons I love the sport so much, and I love that you made Boston a celebration of your friendship. And it was so great to read this recap! You WILL run Boston again and I hope you are always proud of qualifying, of running, and of finishing.

  3. Raquel June 12, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    Reading this brings such joy to my heart and tears to my eyes. I’m remembering this day and felt the same exact way as you did. Such an amazing recap 🙂 I am convinced that we would be best friends – haha 🙂

  4. lauradempsey75 June 12, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    Ali – I’m so glad you wrote this recap. These are the memories that should be associated with Boston, don’t let anyone take them away from you. Come back and see us in Boston soon!

  5. Caitlyn June 12, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Amazing recap — and thank you for writing this. I love that you have so many perfect memories from that day as you were able to run Boston. Thanks for sharing your story — makes me want to run this race even more & more!

  6. Nicole June 12, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    Loved this and you! I can’t wait to come home and run with you three. This is an amazing recap and I’m glad your cherishing the good moments – you deserve it! And I like that your going to hang the sign in ‘your home’ – can’t wait to see it!! Love you!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Lindsey June 12, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Such a beautiful post Alicat! Brought tears to my eyes. This recap was great and I am so glad you chose to write it. Love you!

  8. Amanda Hall June 12, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Wonderful job Ali! I swear when I read your race recaps I want to go to the track and work on speed, or ramp up my cross training, increase my miles, etc. all because I want so badly to run a marathon to prove to everyone who thinks I can’t that I can. I want to be at Boston someday to soak up these awesome moments you wrote about. I can’t imagine how hard it is for you to live with that day and the events that occurred but you trained so hard to be there, you earned it, and you had a great race. 🙂

  9. Whitney June 12, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    Great recap, Ali! You ladies are incredibly tough!

  10. Tricia June 12, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    Great recap!! Very moving and I felt as though I was experiencing it right there with you. Be proud of the race you ran!

  11. Megan June 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    Wonderful recap Ali! So proud of you!

  12. Whitney June 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Congrats on an amazing race! I think it is so important that remember the good things that happened that day.

  13. Jeff June 12, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    Ali- Awesome recap. I too am very happy you chose to write the recap and have chosen to celebrate your well deserved “victory lap” in running the world’s oldest annually run marathon! Boston is a special race and noone can take away the experiences you had prior to 2:50 p.m. I too have continued to think about the events that transpired after finishing but your post has helped me to think about and focus on all the beautiful things I saw and experienced all weekend and prior to the horrific events later that day. Thank you! And yes, I fully expect to see you toeing the starting line in Hopkinton with me next year! It will be one heckuva comeback year and I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

  14. Caroline June 12, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    I’m glad you wrote this recap. While the day is certainly filled with lots of sadness, there was also a lot of happiness and goals being met and I think it’s ok to acknowledge that too. Congrats on running a great race and on sailing through those hills 🙂

  15. Shanna June 12, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    I’m so glad you decided to write this recap. I just received my special Boston issue of Runner’s World the other day and it was heartbreaking to read (although it was fun seeing your bits in there). It’s so nice to see something happy and proud regarding that day. You *should* be proud. If there is one thing I’ve learned through running, it’s that no one can take that pride away from us runners. Way to go Ali (and Stacy and Diana)!!!

  16. Allison | Cirque du Sweet June 13, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    Fantastic recap, Ali! You should be so proud of your accomplishment. I’m happy to see this as a 100% positive post in spite of the bombings. Like those pregnant women you saw running (incredible), nothing is going to stop a woman on a mission and being able to stay positive despite challenges is commendable. I really liked the part about running through Wellesley. My aunt and uncle lived there for a brief while when I was younger and I remember that lovely little town so well. Also, you looked great at mile 25 when you saw your family. You need to write “Tips for Looking Good After You’ve Ran for Hours” post!

  17. imarunner2012 June 13, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Great post. I’m so glad that you wrote this. All of the positive aspects of Boston came through. What a great race the three of you had. I hope you come back and run with us again someday. I had some tears a few times. It’s still hard.

  18. DeLisa Hicks June 13, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Great re-cap — I felt like I was right there with you…cheering you on!! You gals have so much to be proud of and so much to be thankful for. Even though I have run a marathon, my experience was far from yours. I am living my dream by watching you live yours 😉

  19. Amy June 13, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    LOVED THIS! It was fun to relive the good parts of the day again. Congratulations to all of your for finishing strong and together! And, if I ever get back to Boston, I’ll remember to take some toilet paper and offer it as a trade for cutting in line because that is brilliant!

  20. bohling262 June 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Congrats! Loved the recap, Ali. It’s nice to read about the good. Good always outweighs evil. Totally using bribery to cut in the porta-potty line at my next race!

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