So you can imagine how I can get when I talk about running. I can easily get carried away.
You can't say you haven't been warned...
Alright, let's rewind back to this post, where I glazed over some of what went on race day. For those of you interested in the actual running part itself, allow me to carry on with some more deets of what went down in between the start and finish line.
|Image via here|
Miles 1-2: I continued trying to make my way through the crowds. I felt really strong, knowing it was largely due to adrenaline and the slower pace of the group. But gosh, it was wonderful to be able to look around at all the sky scrapers in the financial district of my home city. So wonderful, in fact, that I had a brief moment of overwhelming emotions and felt that burn in my eyes right before tears form. Yeah, I know - pathetic/ridiculous/over-dramatic; but I totally soaked it up for all it was worth. And then out of nowhere came this manhole cover sticking out a good 1-2", and before I knew it I was down on the pavement on all fours. I pushed myself right back up and continued on my way, but I could feel the burn in my knees that let me know I definitely broke skin and was bleeding. All I could think is how lucky I was to not have been trampled or severely injured. I reached the Mile 2 marker, saw 22 minutes on the timer, and thought "OH CRAP!" I knew if I continued at this pace, then I would not meet my goal of finishing in under 2 hours. So I picked it up big time.
Mile 3: I made it across the Longfellow bridge to Memorial Drive. There was a nice breeze coming off the water at this point and plenty of shade, which was nice. Little did I know, this shade was to be short-lived. I still felt really strong, which I was thankful for.
Mile 4: I had skipped the first 2 water stations, so I opted to stop and grab some water, Gatorade, and a GU gel pack. I start to think, "these GU things are genius. Why didn't I think of this? I could be a millionaire right now! Wow this vanilla bean flavor is delicious." I try not to suck it down all at once, and I carry it the next few miles with me. All of a sudden, police cars and motor cycles are coming down the other direction on Memorial Drive. I realize this must be the leading male pack. Everyone (spectators, volunteers, racers) start cheering uncontrollably, myself included. There were two guys in the lead, running ~5 min/mile, and I felt my jaw drop just a tad when I saw how fast they passed us. I then start to try to calculate how much further ahead in the course they are than me, try to estimate their completion time, and I feel instantly envious. I was only about 1/3 of the way done, and they were already on their return journey. It made me run a little faster.
Mile 5: The course is not very well shaded anymore, and the sun is beating down. I can feel the sweat building up on my upper body. I keep looking over to the runners traveling down the opposite way on Memorial Drive and can't help wish it was me. Damn you, switch back courses! I also look up at one point and see this 70-year-old woman of steel. No lie, this lady was at least 70, no more than 5% body fat, and trudging along in tiny shorts and a sports bra. If that isn't inspiration to pick up the pace, I don't know what is.
Mile 6: The turnaround point is so close! There are more spectators out cheering us on at this point, which makes me smile. There are little kids reaching their hands out for a clap, which kind of tugs at my heart strings a bit and reminds me of when I used to watch the marathon as a young'n from the end of my grandparent's street in Ashland. I'm feeling really strong when I reach the turn around point, and I wave to some of the spectators cheering us on. I make sure to grab some water at the next station.
Mile 7: Over half-way done! I hit one of the few hills on the course at this point, and it definitely took some extra energy to get over it. There hasn't been good shade in almost 3 miles, and the sun is strong. I see a good number of people sneak over to the shaded grass in the sidelines. Some people are not looking so good: spitting uncontrollably, bent over trying to catch their breath, and some even throwing up. I feel very lucky to be still feeling strong, so I push on.
Mile 8: There's another Gatorade station, so I grab some of that, more water, and another GU gel pack...delicious strawberry banana this time. I've managed to keep very well hydrated at this point, which was one of my biggest concerns coming into the race, so I mentally pat myself on the back. I also happened to look around at this point and noticed how many (for lack of a better word) overweight people there were still running strong. I have an overwhelming urge to go up and tell each one how absolutely inspirational they are. Instead, I use it as fuel to pick up my own pace.
Miles 9-10: My legs are starting to feel a little tired when I hit the mile 9 marker, but I silently rejoice that there's only 4 miles to go. Aaaand then, I hit the Longfellow bridge again, which is the beginning to a ~2 mile incline. Not going to lie, I kind of feel not so great as I make my way over the bridge, and when I get to the top, I'm a tad light-headed. My legs are feeling it, I am mentally tired, and running directly into the sun for the past 4 miles has been quite intense.
Mile 11: For the first time all race, I have the overwhelming desire to stop and walk once I see the mile 11 marker, but I know it's more of a mental thing than a physical thing. So I keep on running, running, running. When I reach the commons, there are a lot more spectators on the sidelines, which is a great adrenaline booster. I grab my last water and Gatorade, and make a deal with myself to really push it the last 2 miles.
Mile 12: I can't really describe how I feel when I see this marker because I'm pretty sure my mind blacks out. The only thing my body wants to do is get to that finish line and as fast as possible. I make my loop around through Government Center, make sure to soak in the views, smile for cameras on the way, and give thumbs up to the spectators cheering us on. I also realize I'm totally going to cross the finish line in under 2 hours time. Hell yeah!
Mile 13: Up until this point, the first 3 miles were my favorite part of the race, but let's be honest. That last 0.1 mile is UNBELIEVABLE. Cresting the hill of Seaport Blvd and looking out at the last bit of the course reminds me what it's all about. I am pretty tired at this point, but surprisingly, not as exhausted as I anticipated. Maybe it was seeing the end point for the first time, or the crowd cheering, or the nice downhill, or 'Call Me Maybe' blaring in my headphones...or just pure adrenaline, I HAUL it to the finish.
Finish line: We are directed by volunteers to go into the World Trade Expo center, where there are water/Gatorade/snack stands set up. I am not much of an immediate post-run eater, so I opt for just a water and Gatorade, then exit the building. Brent comes and meets me, gives me the greatest congratulatory hug ever, and we walk around for a bit to cool down my muscles. I stretch a bit in one of the nearby parks before we hop in the car and head home, where I proceed to stretch another good half hour. I'm still convinced this is why I was not sore at all afterwards.
In typical Jen fashion, rather than spend the day recovering and resting, we head back into Boston for the day to celebrate. I definitely was exhausted by the end of the day, and Brent captured a less than desirable picture of me passed out on the couch once we got home, but it was SO worth it.
I've taken the last two days off from exercise. The last time I went 2 consecutive days without working out was almost 9 months ago - seriously. I planned to take the week off from running altogether, but let's be serious here...I kind of knew that wasn't a realistic plan. So I'll be back at it hitting the pavement tonight, just a few miles. It will sure be nice to get back into my regular non-training workout schedule.