A year ago today one of the most prestigious races in the world was brutally attached. The Boston Marathon is a life-long dream for many runners. Plenty of runners will never get the opportunity to run the race due to it’s challenging time cut-offs. I have had the huge honor of running this race twice.
Last year, lives and limbs were lost at the finish line, which is supposed to be one of the best moments of a runner’s career. I still remember the feeling of crossing that line- some of the most intense emotions and self-confidence I’ve ever experienced took place those days. Both times I had family waiting for me at the finish line. I am grateful that both times we all left safe and happy. Today I pray for those affected by the tragic events.
There is no reason to write about understanding why it happened, I never will, but I would like to do a recap of some pictures of my two wonderful years in Boston and more importantly, to remind myself how lucky I am. While I hop around on crutches, I often feel bad for myself but I understand this is just a set back- I will come back stronger and run again for those who cannot. You should too!
So here is a throwback to two of the greatest days of my life and a post to acknowledge, I WILL run Boston again.
The first year- it was only my second marathon. I had completed The Twin Cities Marathon the summer before and finished in 3:25. I trained hard for Boston after I learned I qualified. I was in college and waking up (hungover) running 15-22 miles every Saturday… how the hell did I do that? I have no clue. My Mom and Dad joined me and we had an amazing weekend together.
I was a total rookie and the Boston Alumi could tell- I think 50 people asked me “Is this your first Boston?”, the twinkle in my eye and complete look of awe must have given it away. The entire city welcomed us with open arms.
I ran the race 15 seconds faster than my time in The Twin Cities Marathon- 3:25 something… I don’t remember the seconds but I knew it was a PR. Boston is known for it’s hills… Heartbreak Hill is known as the killer. I was so proud to even have the tiniest PR in Boston (it still is to this day)!
This is me heading up Heartbreak Hill where I saw my parents- I was smiling because the crowds were unreal, it was the first time I saw my parents and I was living out a dream. I trained so hard for this race, the hills honestly didn’t even phase me. I welcomed them and often times cried because the crowds were so insane.
I was so proud (and sore) that course is no joke. It was the only run/ course I’ve run that I actually got sore while running. I refueled, showered and headed back to MN, I had class the next morning. HA!
More than anything, sharing this amazing weekend with the most supportive parents in the world made it everything. I am so blessed- they were screaming their heads off, crying and cheering me on… mind you, my Dad HATES crowds. Crossing that finish line to find my parents was magical. I cried and had never felt so elated and proud in my entire life. The crowds were huge and all of the runners walked in a daze to find their loved ones.
The following year I didn’t sign up- it’s a pricey ordeal… but I got the itch the next year. I registered and got in, this time my older sister was coming with me!
I spent about half of this season with an injury so trained via yoga, sculpt classes/ circuit training and elliptical… not ideal AT ALL for Boston but I decided I was going to give it a shot. I should mention this was the year it hit 110 degrees and the Mayor asked runners to defer. Well, my sister and I were already there and I wasn’t sure what the next year would bring so I decided to stick with it and run. I told myself and my sister the night before at dinner I’d stop if I had to (which I knew I’d never do)…
I believe it was 88 degerees when we started.
Well I really started to feel it around mile 12 this time- my legs were not happy. I contemplated stopping but hadn’t seen my sister yet… so I just kept on going and going and going and going. I was SO hot- it hit record highs that day and they told us to add at least 3 minutes per mile to our pace. Naturally, I didn’t listen and kept running as fast as my little (untrained) legs could take me. I finally saw my sister jumping up and down around mile 22. She was dressed in blue and yellow, screaming at the top of her lungs and waving her arms like crazy! It makes me cry thinking about it- I have such incredible support.
I honestly don’t know if I would have made it without her, I know it was only 4.2 miles left but it was 110 degrees and I was to the point of pouring water on my legs because they were burning on the inside and outside. But when I saw Megan, I kept going and started to smile again. I owe that second Finnish to her.
I crossed the finish line that time at 3:42 I think… I tacked on about 15 minutes to my first time, which due to the weather and lack of training, I wasn’t mad about. I was elated to be DONE that time. I was so hot, smoked and dehydrated I didn’t care what time it was. I remembered thinking as I approached the finish line “I just want food and a cocktail with my sister!!!” There was also a very cute man who came up to me and said he’d run with me the last .5 miles- he could tell I was dying and he talked me through it- thank you whoever you were!
I finally saw my sister!! She was screaming my name and gave me a huge hug- she looked so happy and proud. It was so awesome. I climbed the fence and walked with her back to the hotel. I also told her I thought I was over marathoning for a while. It was my fifth one in three years, it was HOT and my toe nails no longer existed.
Hotel selfie! I couldn’t do much that night – I had heat stroke but my sister and I got food (and Ben and Jerrys) and then hung at the hotel. Regardless of how hot I was and that my body was completely messed up/ dehydrated/ I lost a few toe nails… I was proud and more than anything, happy to be celebrating with my sister.
We took off for NYC the next day and enjoyed our favorite city together. She’s an amazing sister and her support means to world to me.
Both weekends were amazing and are so close to my heart. Not only did I live out a dream, I was welcomed by an amazing city, spent time with my family and felt more support than I’d ever experienced in my whole life. Whenever I am working out, or dealing with challenge (being on crutches) I remind myself I am tough- I RAN BOSTON! I often think of heartbreak hill- it continues to motivate me everyday.
The individuals who were affected were cheering on their loved ones or crossing the finish line, which is a life-long dream. My heart goes out to them and encourages them all to be and stay strong. As for the rest of us, whenever you think you’ve got it rough or you can’t keep going… do it for someone who can’t and remember how you actually are pretty damn lucky.