It has taken me longer that I hoped to actually get the time to sit down and type out my experience from Monday. I am just going to take it slowly, and try to put into words what 4.21.14 meant to me.
Alarms rang at 4:20AM, but I had been up for 10 minutes. Roo and I drove into Boston from Beverly, with one quick stop at Dunks, to meet our team bus. We had booked a room at The Liberty, but we weren’t sure they were going to be able to check us in so early, given that this was the busiest weekend in Boston. Turns out we arrived JUST in time to get the LAST room, which was way easier logistically-speaking than leaving our bags with the bellhop. Also, just our luck…the only room left to give us was on the original jail side of the hotel, which means we had beautiful exposed brick overlooking Alibi. Score! Things were already looking up!
We boarded our team bus at MGH (next door to The Liberty) and it finally started to sink in. We were going to run the Boston Marathon. The bus ride out was long. How long can 26.2 miles be!? It was slightly delayed due to a last-minute security change, but we were at our MGH Team Tent in Hopkinton by 7:30am. All of that to just hurry up and wait! We had an amazing DJ who kept us pumped up, and we had lots of stuff to eat and drink. I didn’t know that my friend from college Anna and her sister were also on the MGH team, so we had lots to catch up on in the tent. Great job, Lebowski sisters!!
Around 11:00am, we started the short walk to the starting line, discarding outer layers as we walked. It was HOT. Hotter than the weather prediction. From here on out, thoughts and memories get sort of blurry, but I will never forget…
– The crowd at the starting line. We hadn’t run a single mile yet, but there were SPECTATORS and they were CHEERING. If that didn’t get you pumped to run 26.2, nothing will.
– The TV camera panning the crowd at the start. I THREW my arms up and expended a ton of energy but I didn’t care. Look, Ma! I’m on TV!
– Starting to run. We immediately run into one of Roo’s friend’s from Danvers and score a quick hug before she dodged the crowd.
– For all those moms out there who are germ freaks, you will love this. There was a mom on the side of the road, holding her 3-4 month old daughter, stretching out her daughter’s hand to high five runners. THAT is BOSTONSTRONG!
– Margaret (PLUS ONE) passing me with a baby on board. You go, girl.
– Running behind a guy who had written on his shirt “Running On A Heart Transplant”. So inspiring!
– Sign that said “The only marathons I do are on NetFlix”
– There were HUGE banners every time you crossed into a new town, and I loved the WELCOME TO NATICK signs, and the band and crowd at TJs bar
– On the same note, every time you crossed into a new town, the crowd’s would yell “WELCOME TO ___”. I would shout back “THANKS FOR HAVING ME ___” [Side note: may have expended waaay too much energy yelling at ppl]
– The wall of screaming Wellesley girls was amazing. They all held signs that said “KISS ME, I’M A REDHEAD!” or “KISS ME, I’M A HISTORY MAJOR” or “KISS ME, TO MAKE HER JEALOUS!” or better yet “KISS ME TO MAKE MY HUSBAND JEALOUS!” I was LOVING them.
– I still felt like I was floating on air at the half-way point. No pain. Just pure smiles. Roo and I got some pretty sweet pics crossing the half-way point, still running together.
– Mile 18: I saw Blair and Nicole and stopped to chat. Such a boost for me to get me through to MILE 20!
– Seeing my family at mile 20! Ellie said “are you done yet?” SORRY SISTA!
– Running (ok, walking) up Heartbreak Hill. Hey, everyone needs a little rest during 26.2, especially when its SO DAMN STEEP!
– Cresting Heartbreak Hill and telling two little girls that I was going to start running now. They cheered for me!
– Boston College! Seeing Heather, and getting a big hug, and screaming to all the college kids “I MARRIED AN EAGLE!” They went nuts.
– The downhill through Cleveland Circle past Mary Ann’s was WAY rougher on my legs that I expected. I took little baby steps but cruised that corner high fiving lots of spectators.
– Miles 22-23 were sort of rough. Chewed ice. Ate popsicle.
– Grabbing from a guy a Bud Light at Mile 24 and LOVING it (and I HATE cheap beer). It was so ice cold.
– Probably buzzed off of Bud Light, but Mile 24 and 25 were sort of a blur. I saw Rachel H and Jorge, and finally saw that elusive Citgo sign pointing me home.
– Kenmore Square was THUNDERING, and I think that spectators were literally scaling the barricades to get high fives.
– I saw the Mass Ave tunnel. I went through the tunnel. I walked up the little incline…then RAN.
RAN RIGHT ON HEREFORD. RAN LEFT ON BOYLSTON.
I was in my own zone where nothing hurt, and everything felt amazing. I could run that last 1/2 mile over and over for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. I choked up when I saw the finish line, and fought back tears when I passed the fire house, McGreeveys, and The Forum. I crossed the line. I crossed it for all of those who couldn’t that day, and I crossed it for the whole city of Boston. I crossed it for all the kids in the MGH pediatric cancer center, and I crossed it for all of my generous friends and family who donated to this cause. I crossed for everyone along the route that day, and for all of the amazing volunteers.