Physically, I did not melt, but my hopes at finishing in a specific amount of time melted. But that is ok! I floated along the course on the spectator's cheers, and it was all such an amazing experience, just as everyone promised me it would be.
The weekend was so great. We arrived in Boston early enough on Saturday morning, that we headed to the expo before the crowds were overwhelming. I picked up my race kit (and some extra goodies, like a jacket) and walked around, taking it all in.
|Yay! I'm here!|
|It's a really heavy race kit! Yipee!|
We walked out of the subway, and almost immediately ran into some of my running friends from Guelph! Of course I forgot to snap a photo, but we starting talking about the weather predictions for Monday's race. They had just driven the course, and said there were already warning signs about heat in a few locations (especially heartbreak hill). Hmmmm. Of course, I shrugged much of this off. As if it's going to be that hot!
The finish line area was closed off for the couple of days prior to the race, so it was awesome to be able to walk around, snap photos and just hang out in that "running buzz". It truly is like a Running Convention or something!
|The finish line! I didn't realize how much I would want to lay down on it after the actual race ;)|
|Papa, making some friends...|
|Officer O'Neil (not kidding on his name)!|
I waited in line (a LONG line) for the
Before long, it was time to head to the start corrals. It was a long, hot walk. In full sun. I think that was the point that I realized that it was indeed going to be a scorcher! I could feel that hot sun sizzling on my neck and shoulders, and I knew my time goal of 3:30 or less was all but out the window. I should have taken one last pit-stop before beginning the race, but I shrugged it off as nerves, as I just wanted to get going! (something I would later regret, as I waited SEVEN minutes in line at a port-loo!!)
I had a few tears as I crossed the official start line, but I reminded myself to pull it together, as it was going to be a long day, so crying continually would just make it longer.
I decided to go out slower than my goal pace. Play it safe. As it would turn out, "slower than goal pace" still turned slower as the hours progressed, and the sun warmed up even more!
The course was unbelievable. There was not one inch of that course that did not have spectators cheering. I may have been a bit sore that evening, but there were thousands of people with sore throats from all the screaming and cheering. I still can't believe it.
Because of the heat, there were so many kind and generous spectators with sprinklers, buckets of water, make-shift gatorade stations, coolers full of ice, popsicles, towels soaked in ice water, and pure energy! It was continuous. Crazy.
Papa met me just before "Heartbreak Hill" (more on that in a moment). I was so happy to see him! I had been scanning the crowds for him for about 5km when I finally heard his voice. I swerved over to him through the crowd, and decided to take a minute or two to catch up with him, and even eat a banana he had brought. He refilled my bottle with gatorade (ice cold, unlike the gross, warm stuff I had been carrying) while I teared up a bit at how thoughtful he was. Then, sadly, I had lingered enough, so it was time to get on with it.
|Don't let that fresh face fool ya...I was HOT!|
|The green sponge in my top was SO necessary!|
I continued on for a bit, then all of a sudden, people were holding signs, screaming, "You made it up heartbreak hill!!". Really?
That was Heartbreak Hill?
I don't know what I was expecting, but I certainly thought it wasn't too bad. "It's all downhill from here!!" they were shouting.
So I sped up a bit.
That speed did wear off, but those last 10 miles were much easier to handle than the first. Go figure.
Before long, I was so close to the "Citgo" sign (the famous 25 mile mark) that I felt like I could touch it. The crowds were wild with energy. The buildings in downtown Boston were creating the shade I had craved all day. There was a breeze. Or was that my speed causing wind in my hair?
I came to the finish line a pleased runner. I had finished! I was upright! I was sunburned!
It wasn't my goal time anymore. That had looonnngg passed me by. But, there will be other, faster marathons in my future. I had fun being part of "the hot one".
|Well-deserved Bling, I say!|
It took a good 48 hours for my tummy to recover...
But normal food is all good now, so I am ready to get out for some recovery running!!