Boston Marathon: The Story

 

This is my story of what took place after I finished The Boston Marathon in 2013….

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I finished the marathon and continued to walk through the long line to get everything. First was the heat blanket, then medals, then water and Gatorade then food, then they told us to get our checked bags. I didn’t check a bag (big mistake because it was freezing after!). The way they had the finished set up it continued you over a mile past the finish in the opposite direction of where I was staying. I was staying on Hereford street less than a mile from the finish and also was part of the marathon.

I ended having to walk farther away from the apartment in order to back track. It took me about an hour to get back to the apartment. On the walk, I was filled with emotions. I was cold and upset because it was so far and I was all alone with no one to share the experience with. I was also so happy and was recapping how amazing of a race it was.

Once I finally made it back to the apartment right before I went in is when I heard the first explosion. Except, I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was just kids doing something. So I went into the apartment and since I was so cold I just went right into the shower and decided I would pack up and get a cab to the airport as quick as possible so I wouldn’t miss my flight. I figured I could text and respond to everyone at the airport.

Once all packed up – I headed outside and all I saw were people crying and running. I walked around a bit and a women asked if she could do something for me. I said I am trying to get to the airport and that is when she told me what had happened. It was terrifying. I had no idea what to do – or who to call. I finally checked my phone and had 50 missed messages. I got a hold of Duran and my mom and was trying to hail a cab. There were just sirens and emergency vehicles flying by. All the cabs that went by were full and people were in a massive panic. I tried to contact people I knew in Boston to pick me up but since I was a mile from the finish no one could get close enough to get me.

After an hour outside a cab finally stopped and said he wanted to be done for the day but would bring me where I needed to be. A woman and her husband got in the cab too and were incredibly nice. She paid for my cab and let me know if I got stuck I could stay with her.

Once at the airport, my flight was delayed and I would miss my connecting. Luckily, they were able to switch flights around and I was still able to get on a flight.

It was around 6 at this point and I still hadn’t eaten or comprehended anything. Once I sat down, the emotions started to come. People would talk to you and you would try to answer them but it was all so surreal.

I couldn’t wait to get home and see Duran and just be home in a familiar place.

Boston will not be tainted for me. It was an amazing experience – one I will never forget in a positive way. I will also never forget how horrific such an inspiring event can turn.

I called in sick to work today. I was in not physically (those down hills hurt my quads!) and more importantly emotionally to deal with the questions my students and co-workers would have. I went and got breakfast today on my own at a little cafe to just process some things. Once home, I turned on the Today Show and just lost it. I cried and it felt really good after. I think I had been so stimulated and in panic/survival mode I never had a chance to process and feel.

I have felt a lot better this afternoon and tonight. It is very similar to your race advice when you have to acknowledge a feeling. Instead of my knee feels funky it is more of it is okay to feel hurt but then move forward.

This inspires me more to continue with the lifestyle I have and if you stop doing what you love you allow them to win. If anything it has reminded as many things do, that it is okay to go for your dreams and reach big. It has reminded me that if you are not 100% happy in a situation then do something about it because you get one life. It has reminded me to thank my body for what is CAN do and not what it COULD look like if. It has reminded me to love with my whole heart because there is not room for anything less in your life.

September 11th is a date I still get chills when I hear – The Boston Marathon will be another day – I will never forget.

Boston Marathon: The Race

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Start:

I woke up around 5 AM to get ready for the day. Did my usually pre-day ritual of drinking a glass of hot water. Pre-race breakfast @ 5:30 was two rice cakes, a little almond butter on each with one banana. I ate this very slow to make sure it would not upset my stomach at all.

Once on the bus – I sipped my water which had NUUN in it. Waiting was not bad at all – My friend from home, Allison Conner was also racing so it was nice to have her there with me. It was funny to think back at what we talked about because you could tell it was just nervous/excited babble talk. My feet did start to go numb while waiting because it was chilly but I had brought a garbage bag to sit on and used that to wrap around my feet while in socks and they warmed up just before the race. Around 9 I started to eat bites of a KIND bar until it was gone. I tried to get coffee when we arrived thinking I may need to go to the bathroom again and that would help get things moving but they ran out which at the time I said must not be meant to be to have coffee. SO GLAD I didn’t. I didn’t have any stomach issues!

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Miles 1 – 5: Holy cow – they weren’t kidding about it being downhill! I had a race plan to stay conservative…nothing above 7:30s in the beginning. Once I saw the downhill – it was almost impossible to hold that. I could have easily gone 6:40s at the start so I knew that holding around 7:20s would be ok. I knew that the down hills were going to hurt my quads no matter what – if I was going 7:20s or 7:30s so my form felt good and I felt in control at the 7:20 pace. I was on top of this world and felt great! (I should point out that my run on Sunday was amazing and I knew I was going to feel good for the race).

Miles 6 – 11: I welcomed the change up with some short little hills to break up the downhill’s. At this point – I noticed my feet were burning a little bit which I contribute to the downhill madness but just kept going. I still felt very comfortable in the pace I was running and was not breathing hard in the slightest. I did notice that I would speed up anytime the crowds would come which wasn’t a big deal then but I am glad I realized it and just made a point to be careful about it. Best tasting things on the course were freeze pops being handed out by little kids! I had half of two of them during the race.

Miles 11 – 14: Girls everywhere! Still feeling strong at the halfway point. My legs were feeling the down hills but not in a way where I was worried about the finish. I was more than ready for some flat and hills though.

Miles: 15 – 16: This is where my quads started to feel a bit “shredded” and my water was completely gone. I started to grab Gatorade and water at the aid stations. I need to work on getting them in my mouth haha. It started to warm up on the course at this point too. The thought of a 3:15 marathon came in to my head. I just reminded myself to do the best you can – you may not have a 20 mile run in you but you have the fight!

Miles 17 – 21: This is where the hills started. They were very welcomed. It was a break for my quads. I did not think the hills were much at all. The only one that was difficult was the last one because it being at mile 20 but I remember just keeping it steady and being strong going up it. At this point though – I am feeling my quads quite a bit. My boss was at mile 20 and ran with me up one of the hills and gave me a water bottle to drink. I remember him saying you shouldn’t look this strong at this point in the marathon. I told him I felt great besides my quads. He said I had one more hill then it was home free. I knew my pace dropped a bit but knew I had time in the bank from the beginning of the course.

Mile 21-23: This is where it finally got to me: the downhill at mile 22. OUCH!! It was painful having to go down that hill. My quads were not happy about it. But I continued to motor on just a bit slower than I would have liked.

Mile 24 – 26: This is where I felt my calf cramp up a little bit. I stopped and stretched it out and stopped at every aid station to make sure I got some fluids in me. My body was tired and it knew it hadn’t been at this distance or on my feet for this amount of time in awhile. I had a little cramp in my side too in Mile 25. I remember I saw a sign that said, “You are at mile 25, you can’t stop now.” It kept me moving as I would take small 10 sec walking breaks to keep things going. Once I turned the corner and headed home, all the cramps and pain went away as I ran to the finish in the last .2. It was an incredible feeling running that final mile of the Boston Marathon The sense of accomplishment you feel and rush is indescribable.

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I was so happy to be finished and so proud of my accomplishment. I thought I executed this race very well. I was amazed at how strong I felt on the hills. The challenge of this course is not the hills, it is the down hills for sure. The crowds were incredible! This is a PR course for sure. I am trying to keep it out of my mind that I want to do it again to see if I could 😉

Day 6 – The DL Experience

Since yesterday was more of an off day for us during this “training camp” we knew that we wanted to get in all three sports today.

We got up around 7 AM and headed back to Marion to swim and run. I did 2500 yards with drills finishing with 4 X 300.

After we swam, we geared up to run. The weather was great this morning and we ran around Marion for 35 minutes. As much as I wanted to enjoy this run, my legs were tight and heavy. I expected this after all of the riding we had been doing but it still always frustrates me. D ran ahead of me most of the time and after the run he said I could feel how much you hated every step. I’d say he knows me pretty well 😉

After our run – we headed back to Lake Lure and grabbed lunch at Medina’s again! That is 5 times already!

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Once ready to go it was off on another ride. We decided to climb out to Asheville and I decided to take Willy out on his first day of climbing. Here is what our trip looked like:

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After we came back in to town we met up with a nice gentleman (who came screaming down the hill to pass me) who lives in the area. He showed up some more of Lake Lure that we hadn’t explored. It was a tough day because of tired legs but anytime I am on the bike I am happy!

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Once back – we relaxed and made dinner at home – turkey sandwiches for the win!

Tomorrow is our last day and it is suppose to rain 😦

Day 5 – The DL Experience

Not much to report on for today.

We had a lazy morning today.  Once we ate and enjoyed some coffee – we were off to Asheville to explore.

We wanted to get in a long run today (longer than an hour) and we wanted to enjoy some trails. We asked around and were told about The Mountain to Sea trail that runs along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It consists of 900 plus miles of trail to explore and goes from the Smoky Mountains all the way to the Outer Banks.

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What a find!! This trail was amazing and was exactly what we were looking for. No pictures today 😦 but we ran about an 1:20 and couldn’t get enough. D and I both said that we could run on the trail for days. 

We spent the rest of the day just walking around Asheville not worrying about what training we needed to get in, which was refreshing to both of us.

Tomorrow it is back to the grind!

Day 4 – The DL Experience

We got a late start today because someone has trouble getting out of bed! But, once we were up and fueled. We headed out to Marion again to get ready for our climb for the day.

D told me this climb would be just as hard as our first climb on 80 and then there would be 2 of them!

We made our way to the climb on 226. I lost my chain twice on the way there which did not help my confidence going into the climb but D and I made a pact that there would be no negative thoughts on this ride and the only way we would be going is up!

Once the climb started I knew it was going to be a great day. My legs felt strong, my mind was in total zen mode plus riding along with D always puts a smile on my face.

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Once to the top, we made our way on to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I had always heard stories about how pretty the Parkway was but it is something you have to see.

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We made it all the way to D’s hometown of Spruce Pine but the weather did not look good and it was getting colder so we decided to turn around and make our way back home.

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Once back from our ride we stopped for some food then it was off to the pool to “swim” which really meant float for about an hour to give our legs a chance to loosen back up.

After our swim we called it a day and got ready to head to Asheville to find some trails to run on.

Day 3 – The DL Experience

Another day in Lake Lure, another day full of training.

We woke up again with overcast skies but perfect for a run. We made our way down from our cottage to town to get in a 45 minute run. This run went really well for D and I. We started with a nice little hill and then finished up with a good push with sub 7 mile.

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Once we had breakfast – it was TT day! The day before we found a good route that looked fun and challenging. We set out around 2:00 ready to have a strong ride but not over do it. I’d say we were successful. The ride had a lot of good climbs mixed with some good stretched where you were able to stretch the legs and push with speed. Here is what the elevation chart looked like.

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I think this prepares me very well for what Lake Placid could look like and I can’t wait to ride that course!

Once back from our ride we headed to D’s cousins to have a Sunday Easter dinner. D’s family has been such a blessing to have since moving down to NC. They have allowed me take part in all of the holiday’s that I would usually be celebrating with my family back in NY. I couldn’t ask for a better family to be with.

Tomorrow is all about climbing again! Catch ya later!

Day 2 – The DL Experience

Good morning and Happy Easter!

D and I had big plans yesterday to conquer  Mt. Mitchell, which is “the highest peak east of the Mississippi River”. Unfortunately, we ran into some roadblocks but I will get to that later.

Our day started at 7 AM when we headed downtown to start a 35 minute run. My legs felt tight in the beginning but loosened up by the end of the run. We did 5 miles at about a 7:30 pace and were greeted with these views on our run. It was a perfect start to the morning.

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After the run, we headed to the same restaurant we had dinner at to grab breakfast.  As you can assume already, breakfast did not disappoint either. We each got eggs and toast and split an order of blueberry pancakes.

Once fueled up and packed up we headed to Marion, NC to swim and start our ride. We found a YMCA in Marion where we could get free trial passes to use for their pool for the week. We swam for an hour and felt very good in the pool. Towards the end my left shoulder started to feel sore but nothing unbearable.

After grabbing lunch, we were off the tackle Mt. Mitchell. I had to decide whether to ride Finn, my triathlon bike, or my new road bike, Willy. The first climb to Mt. Mitchell is filled with difficult switchbacks and you gain about 3,000 ft. in less than 14 miles. I had done this climb once before on my triathlon bike and decided comfort and familiarity would be best for this climb and went with Finn.

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Since we were headed to Mitchell where the weather can be 30 degrees colder we had to wear a bit more clothing than the weather called for on the first climb. Twenty minutes in I was burning up, it made climbing very difficult and turning around sounded like a good idea. But, I kept telling myself I had done this before and just to keep pedaling. It seemed to work. Once it cooled off a bit, my legs started to come back to and climbing felt a lot easier.

Once we made it to the top and took the left to head towards Mitchell and were greeted with this sign. This is how D felt about the road being closed. Our day to Mt. Mitchell will have to wait for another day.

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We bundled back up and made the descent back to Marion. I am terrible at going down and is by far the scariest part of the entire trip.

Once down – we grabbed coffee from D’s favorite coffee place and headed back to Lake Lure to finish off the night at Medina’s again for one last meal.

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Tomorrow is a run and bike focus day with two 45 minute runs and a long bike TT ride on Finn and Sashka!