Okay just a warning this is going to be a long one.
Boston was amazing. I know that I won't be able to do just justice to what a wonderful experience this was. It was one of those things that I went into with all kinds of expectations, how could it be SO great, its just another marathon right? Wrong, it is magical. I wish I could bottle up the feeling of crossing that finish line to always remember it.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Boston started on a Friday night. After a LONG flight and getting so nauseous I was finally there. My flight was filled with men and women who were obviously runners, toned legs and running shoes all over the place. Of course we all wanted to talk about how we were going for the race and how excited we were and what do you think about the weather, etc.
Aaron picked me up at the airport and we grabbed a quick dinner and met my parents to just say a quick hi and bye before they head to their hotel and we went to Aaron's good friend's Jon's parents' house. (Phew that was a mouth full) They were nice enough to let us stay with them for a couple of nights in their beautiful home. Oh just a gorgeous home on this quaint little lake in Boston.
I was exhausted so we went to bed early but when we woke up we did a quick run around the gorgeous lake. Such a cute town.
Then we hurried to get ready to head into town (no time for showers!) to meet Jeana and Scott at the expo. Oh the expo, I could do a blog post just about the expo. It was amazing!! It was huge, you could lose a person real quick in there. I was already beyond grateful that I didn't have my kids. (I love you kiddos but I would have lost you on that day). The expo had famous people, every food, gel, gu you can imagine, and so much clothes and running parapheniala.
Aaron and I making our way through the crowds.
I quickly found Jeana and we started trying on clothes. Oh I got SO much clothes and I love every, single thing I got. The lines for the dressing rooms were out of control so we just tried everything on right there and I used Aaron and Jeana as my mirror. Does this look good? Okay sold then onto the next thing. There are lots of things that I love about Boston but the clothes I came home with is a big one. I tried them on for my parents when we got back to their hotel and my mom said she had never seen me so happy. :)
After walking around the expo with our husbands for a bit we decided to put everyone waiting for us out of their misery and I went and picked up my bib and we head out for lunch.
We were so excited to have our bibs! It just felt so real at this point.
After lunch we met up to do the Freedom Trail. This is really neat. Boston is just rich in culture. Every street we drove down was awesome and had such a colonial look. Our tour took us to some of the spots of history in Boston.
Our tour guides led the way. They were great but the girl was kinda hard to hear.
(Already putting my new clothes to use - it was cold!)
After the tour we went to my parents' hotel and then met up with Jeana and family for dinner at Bertucci's. This is a pizza place I had recommended to me by a few people and it was delicious.
We did have to wait for awhile.
After dinner we drove back to our house and I was again so wiped out and had to get to bed. I slept great and Sunday morning was super relaxed. We hung out, talked to Jon's parents and Aaron read his scriptures out on the boat dock.
Then we packed up and went to church. Oh just a casual church with Danny Ainge. We knew we were in a nice neighborhood. His son gave his homecoming talk from his mission and the whole meeting was really good. They welcomed the marathon runners - everyone loves this marathon I tell you. Everywhere we went people were so happy to have us there to run the marathon. Boston just embraces this race.
Sunday afternoon Aaron and I went off the deep end and attended a Red Sox game. Jon's parents offered us their seats (ahem 4 rows behind home plate) and we couldn't turn them down. Aaron was like a kid in a candy store he was soooo excited.
I was excited too. It was a cool stadium and fun to be so close. Again everyone at the game wanted to talk about the marathon and how fun it was that we were there. There were so many Boston Marathon jackets on at this game.
Just a few selfies from during the game. It got SO cold in the shade.
We had a hotel for Sunday and Monday night so we checked in and I got everything ready for the race, what do you wear in a marathon in cold, wind and rain??? Aaron met up with Scott to decide their route for meeting us and that took a really long time. They also spray painted some umbrellas so that we could find them easier in the crowd. It worked like a charm. Our sweet husbands, they were amazing, like beyond amazing. Anything I wanted to do, Aaron was great about, any clothes I wanted, he didn't say a word. He was just so proud of me. I ate it up. Plus he spent so much time making sure he would be in just the right spot to cheer us on. It meant a lot to me.
And then it was race morning!! Weather turned out just as predicted. Cold, rainy, and windy. Luckily I had gotten some throw away sweats at Walmart and I had purchased a rain jacket at the expo. I honestly don't know what I would have done without them.
Getting on the buses. So we had planned to meet Jamie at the buses but she was running late so we just went on ahead and without cell phones happened to spot her while were waiting in line at the porta potties. it was crazy. So we were all able to start together. It was so fun to all cross the starting line together!
The first miles of this marathon are really crowded. Like you are packed in like sardines. The first couple of miles were a little slow, which is fine, but it is hard to fall into a stride because you are constantly going around people. We all stayed together for about four miles and then Jamie fell behind but Jeana and I stuck together and finally found our pace and settled into a consistent run. The first 6 or 7 miles are pretty much all a slow downhill and that is a nice way to start a race.
We knew we were meeting our families between miles 8 and 9 so we started looking for them. It had rained on us non stop but we were also ready to drop the arm warmers we had on under our rain jackets. We were both feeling strong and it was so fun to find our cheerleaders.
My Mom and Dad were such troopers! It was not a fun day to be a spectator. My Dad asked Aaron if I would stop and give them a hug. Aaron said, "um no she doesn't stop." If I could go back and do it again I would have stopped and given them both (my parents and Aaron) hugs. Seeing your support system is the best during the race.
The three were the absolute best. We are so lucky to have such supportive husbands who follow us around during these races. Aaron was unbelievably supportive of me for this race.
Miles 10-16 were pretty uneventful. We both felt pretty good, although I started getting hungry, like for real food not gus or gels. The crowd is just amazing the entire time and you are surrounded by amazing runners so it is all just incredible.
At mile 16 you start the hills. The hills, they are tough. We train on a lot of hills so we were prepared in a lot of ways but they are pretty big. Our pace stayed pretty consistent though and we met our boys again at mile 19 right before heart break hill. I was feeling bad at this point. I took an extra gu and it kicked in just in time for me to head up the hill. Aaron said I looked really tired when he saw me and I was feeling low.
We are in there, running up the hill!
Heartbreak hill - okay so its not huge, really it is a big hill but if you had hit it at mile 10 you would just charge right up but when you already have 20 miles in you, its hard. But we charged up, Jeana fell behind me at this point and I continued on. I started to feel stronger on my way up and then suddenly I was at the top. The fans are awesome at this point, letting you know you have made it through the hardest part. It was true, after that I knew I was going to make it. Even though there would still be some more hills and I would slow down, I knew I was going to finish this race strong.
The last miles are all about adrenaline. It is a mental game at this point. My legs are tired, my stomach is growling and my fingers were completely useless. I couldn't get my gu open. I had to tear it open with my mouth and just stick it in and use my teeth to get the gu out because I couldn't use my fingers to push the gu into my mouth - they were frozen. The head wind was most noticeable as we got closer to downtown and I got worried my hat was going to fly off. The crowds are unbelievable all the way to the end, they line the streets just cheering and cheering. I stopped looking at my watch but I knew at mile 25 I was going to finish around 3:38. I picked it up and ran strong until the finish, trying really hard to put it one final kick at the end to cross the finish line. (Mile 26 was my slowest mile due to a prolonged gatorade stop :)
Crossing the finish line was amazing. I was so proud and happy and proud and I've just never crossed a finish line stronger. This was an experience I will never forget.
I've also never crossed a finish line colder or hungrier. I immediately started looking for food. They were handing out food and I found clif bars. I had the volunteer cut it open for me and stick it in my mouth since my hands were useless. Then they handed out blankets and medals. Oh that blanket felt so good. The walk to meet up with family is a long walk. Real long. I finally got there and Aaron was no where to be found. I was really sad. I waited around for a bit and then Jeana was there. I was so happy to see her. We just hugged and hugged. She finished 2 minutes behind me. We found a calling station and found out the guys were still on the train trying to get there. Luckily we found Jeana's brother in law and he gave us hugs and found a building for us to get out of the cold.
So the volunteers at this race deserve so much praise. They were unbelievable. They were so nice,so willing to help with anything and did everything with a smile on their faces. I just fell in love with the people of Boston this race.
Then we took a few pictures before we stripped off our cold, wet clothes.
And then Aaron was there!!! I jumped up and gave him a huge hug. He was so proud of me, like legit proud. He just kept giving me hugs and telling me he had never been prouder of me. He made me feel like a rock star.
Then Jamie made it to us. She had a tough race and was in bad shape but after some rest and a change of clothes, she was back to her high spirited self.
Love these girls and how hard we worked to get here!
These guys who also deserve a medal.
And a whole group shot. We are lucky to have such great friends.
Eventually we had to leave this building. We were so afraid to go back out into the cold but we bundled up and made the walk to the train station. I had a few big blood blisters and I had changed into my sandals but I was feeling pretty darn good. We were just all so excited to get back to our hotels and take a shower and change and eat!
I received incredible support from people who were not in Boston as well. My friends were tracking me on the website the entire race. we had friends keeping our kids, people transporting our kids, friends dropped off good luck gifts and I got so many encouraging and congratulatory calls, texts and Facebook messages. This was the closest I have ever felt to being famous. :)
After a quick change and hair brush out (you know how long that takes, those tangles were bad) we head out to a small Italian place for dinner. I was starved, I got the steak and it was delicious. But the company at dinner was the best part. We just talked and laughed and reminisced about the race until we had to get our parents home.
The portion sizes were a bit out of control.
After we all had dessert and had laughed until we cried, we got huge congratulations from everyone at the restaurant, we were sporting our medals of course. Then it was time to go home, take a very long shower, change into comfy clothes, roll out, ice and go to bed. I slept like a rock.
The next day I woke up sore and happy. I loved this race.