Recaps are always long. Buckle your seat belts for this one. haha!
Sometimes you just need a lot of words to explain a day that you've waited for almost your entire life...most definitely my entire adult life. I can't believe it's behind me. Time is such a weird thing. You wait for something for so long. You plan for it. You pay for it, and just like that, in moments, it's gone and the ONLY thing that you have are memories. I can most definitely tell I'm going to have post marathon blues wishing that I could relive it again and relive it when I didn't feel so off. I'll go ahead and preface this by saying I never EVER give up on runs. None of my training runs do I stop. None of my marathons do I walk. No training runs do I walk. It's not even something I consider, so let's begin with yesterdays good, bad and ugly ;)
To start, let's back up to Sunday. I didn't post about it but my connecting from Washington DC to Boston was missed due to a late flight from Charlotte. PANIC.MODE. I had to get to the expo by 6pm to get my bib to be able to run. You couldn't get it after that. We got to Boston around 4pm and went straight to the expo via cab ($44 for one mile-not even kidding). Bethany met me outside of the bib area and we attacked one another. This was our first time meeting in real life, and it was instant connection. There was absolutely no awkwardness....just perfect friends from word one. We talked about how we planned on "racing tomorrow" (ha). We then went to find the finish line to take a picture were I would be the following day!
We also visited the spot one block from the finish where the bombs went off in 2013. So sad, but it makes the marathon mean even more now which is incredible to see everyone come together.
We did dinner separate and my mom, Tanner and I went to a little pub close to our house. I got a sandwich and fries. I have decided this is a TERRIBLE pre marathon meal. I always feel like I need lots of calories and carbs, but it's just also loaded with so much saturated fat that I felt GI distress all night long and into the morning. Luckily we had a late start. #nomsayin This is very important in running. We do NOT want to have to stop.
So, now let's get to race day.
550 am Clock went off! I had my LONG SLEEVED shirt with bib attached and capris. I get cold easily so temperatures were 45-55 and I thought I'd be good. I saw everyone's posts about wearing tank tops and thought they were crazy but it made me nervous so I decided to switch to my short sleeve shirt. THANK YOU JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH.
615am I couldn't eat oats due to my upset stomach from food that I ate way too much of. I always stress not eating too much crap and then I did it. I told Tanner I needed high calories so we got a scone at the bakery until we waited on the Uber to take me to the buses.
645am There are buses that take us to Hopkinton. The race is not a circular race. It's point to point which means that you have to get on buses from the finish to take you to the start. It's super organized, and so easy to navigate even though I was scared about that, but the buses loaded at 645am for a 1025 start. YIKES.
720am I saw a girl sitting by herself on the bus so I asked her if I could sit with her. We ended up talking for the entire 26 miles to the start. We hit it off so well, but she didn't have her phone so we couldn't exchange numbers. I hope she finds me on instagram. hahaha! I invited her to hang with us at the Athletes Village, so we talked from the buses to the village (that's over a mile-yall I walked 3.5 miles before the start per my watch. BOO!)
820 Met up with Bethany and her friend Melissa and Mario (@_mr_sure on instagram) and then went to go to the bathroom where I ran into CHELSY!!!! (@fitandfaithfulllc) She was just as much of a doll as you would imagine! Loved getting to hug her!
9am Walked to meet the runners of my hometown! We got some pictures together and talked about how excited we all were.
It was toasty at the athletes village, but I felt so confident. No nerves, enjoying every moment..just waiting to go! :)
930am They sent off the red bibs (elites and sub elites) and the announcer guy made a comment that if you weren't in that group, maybe you should learn to run faster. ha. ha. ha. ;) Don't we wish! HAHA!
10am They had us line up to walk to the start. I met up with my client (and friend) Katie West!!! She is an absolute JOY and we talked to the start (a whole MILE-crazy). It was very sunny and I thought "Shew it's going to be very hot" but I didn't get nervous. Whatever was going to be was going to be. We found our corral ( I was in the one ahead but they let me bump back to be with my friends. You can go backwards, but can't go forward).
Nutrition: I was able to get in a scone, White Macadamia cliff bar, and an entire bagel pre race so approximately 160g C but still not enough calories. I drank tons and tons of water though. I knew it was going to be a hot day.
1025am FINALLY START TIME!!!
We knew we had to be conservative and run around 7:35ish/mile because it's so easy to go 7:00 out of the gate and screw yourself over. We both said at the end of mile 2... "Why does this feel so fast? Why is 7:35 feeling tough?" This was a bad sign. I literally thought to myself IMMEDIATELY... "This feels tough. Hmm...that's odd."
We kind of hinted to one another that PRing was NOT going to happen. It was WAY HOT. WAY WAY HOT. (I heard from someone it was 75 at our start and into mile 10ish before we got more shade but then shade turned into head winds). I saw a sign that said "RUNNERS DRINK EARLY. HEAT EXHAUSTION WARNING!!" Oh no. Everyone was fighting for water. Let me just drop a picture of how many people were running right here. It was a crazy fest just trying to get water, but we got it. Someone handed us a water bottle so we decided to hold onto that.
I could NOT believe my legs were hurting. Was I having heat exhaustion already? What? Like WHAT? This was Boston. Don't PR..jUST ENJOY! That was the plan. We confirmed to one another there would be NO PR as we couldn't fathom running 7:20's in that heat. Everyone was screaming at every single spot of the marathon. So many people. So much fun. So much yelling. WOOO!! Kids lined up with their hands out and hitting their signs that said "Tap here for POWER!" WOO POWER!!! ;) So great! We both decided we were too sick to take a gu already. Soooo, we didn't.
We were running around 7:45ish. I told Bethany I thought she would have to leave me as I didn't know why, but my hip/groin already hurt, I was already feeling dehydrated and I knew I was in for a very long, hard, and dark day of running to be honest. There was never a doubt that I would finish, but I told Bethany something was VERY WRONG. It wasn't just heat. It was different. She told me she wouldn't leave me, and I thought to myself "No no she shouldn't do that. I will hold her back" She never did nor did I her when she needed me. It was a really amazing experience with a best friend. We were already close, but dang it's on a whole new level now. I tried to take parts of a gu, but it was making me sick.
We ran into Victoria Phillippi so that was so fun!!! She ran with us for that entire mile and Bethany talked to her. She said how she didn't plan to PR either. I told them to go ahead and leave me behind. I couldn't hold 7:45min/mile (for reference to my normal this would be VERY easy. In my last marathon, I was holding 7:10-7:15 with ease on hills and this was downhill). I was baffled. She insisted on not, and Victoria went on ahead. There were kids passing out icy pops and I grabbed one of those and was able to get the entire thing down which I believe is the same carb as a gu.
I remember thinking many times... "Katie...please soak it in. This is Boston. This is everything." We were going around 7:45ish still-8 and it was a blur. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other. I RUN THAT MILEAGE EVERY WEEK. WHAT WAS HAPPENING? "Katie LOOK AT THE PEOPLE YELLING FOR YOU. GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD. GEEZ LOUISE!"
Let me stop here. IT WAS NOT THAT I CARE THAT MUCH ABOUT TIME. I wrote about this before. Competitiveness is not what this is about. To be honest, I was scared. My body was like reacting very odd VERY VERY early and I was drinking at every stop. I didn't know what was going on and I already found it hard to talk while running which I can always hold conversations and laugh and cut up while running even 7:20 pace.
Bethany says "MAN SCREW THIS! I need to stop at a porta potty. Are you okay with that?" I was like "Yea WHO CARES" by this point so I waited for her and texted Tanner, telling him it was awful and hot and I couldn't explain what was happening but that I wasn't right. He was sad I didn't feel good but of course just told me to finish smart. I took another gu here.
So that's what we did. I'm not going to lie. I thought during the marathon ... "REMEMBER THESE MILES! DON'T LET ONE GO BY!!" and yet I felt very delusional and couldn't focus at all. The only thing I could focus was the shuffle/run I was trying to keep in pure exhaustion. I felt sleepy and felt it difficult to hold open my eyes. We had taken off our shirts at mile 10, but I had to put mine back on because I wasn't sweating anymore. I felt cold. My body was in a bad place, and it was only halfway done. Oh.no.
Mile 16-18 I think we stopped one more time at a porta potty for Bethany who had some GI distress but other than that, we were still running constantly. At mile 18, we decided the walk/run situation would begin. I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS IN MY LIFE WHAT THE HECK? We talked so many times that the only reason that we didn't just start crying was because we had each other to know we weren't alone.
ONLY 8 MILES RIGHT? THAT FELT LIKE A LIFETIME! PEOPLE WERE SCREAMING EVERYWHERE!!! Can I be honest? I felt as if I was going to come out of my skin. I was delusional from heat exhaustion, my legs literally felt as if they were going to just explode from constant throbbing pain and people were screaming at me. I felt as if I was in some sort of weird dream I can't explain. I couldn't speak. Bethany could. She talked. I could barely breathe. I just picked up my feet as I like drolled a little. HA! Legit, my mouth was like hanging open. Who knows what I was about to do next? You just lose all sense of pride at this point. HAHAHA!
Coaching myself "Okay Katie, you can do this!" I said to Bethany "How about we try for just an 8:30 pace" to which she laughed "Katie, would you believe that we would have to try for an 8:30 pace in the freaking Boston marathon. What is wrong with us?" but that wasn't even happening. I felt as if I was SPRINTING and my body was going 9:00. I could not believe it. We had to walk some more up the hills. People screaming and we are walking. To be quite honest, I was so embarrassed I really did want to cry so I did a little. A girl ran up and said she followed both of us and we were WALKING. hahaha! I was like "So inspirational huh!" but I'm pretty sure I just thought it because I couldn't speak.
HEART.BREAK.HILL. And we walked half of it. Just being real with you. I'd love to say we even shuffled but it just wasn't in the cards :(
Still delusional. Still walking/running. Bethany still talking. Me still open mouth breathing. People yelling "YOU CAN DO IT. YOU'RE ALMOST THERE. DON'T WALK NOW" --> Bethany: I'm going to throat punch the next person who says that to us. HAHAHAH! Good lord I love her for being my mom when I need to be told to hydrate and smile for cameras and saying all the things out loud that I'm thinking ;)
Okay let's try to run to the finish all the way. PEOPLE GOING BUCK CRAZY WILD. I MEAN BUCK WILD OUT OF THEIR MINDS. hahah! It was actually quite comical, and fun.
Bethany asked me who I was running the last 2 miles for. I dedicated 25 to my grandmother who was just in the hospital and mile 26 to all of my other grandparents.
WE RUN INTO MEREDITH(She's a good one to follow @mere1118)! She follows us both, and is an absolute JOY. I had literally just said to Bethany "I'm going to pass out. My body is shutting down." and the next thing I know Meredith is hugging me and it like brought me out of it. She said she had an awful day too and was just wanting to finish. We decided to walk through the last water stop then make our way to the finish.
I see Tanner, Brandy and my mom at the top of the bridge coming under the underpass. OMG OMG They have signs. I started crying. I'm ALMOST DONE WITH THE BOSTON MARATHON!!!! IS THIS REAL LIFE? Oh, I love them so so much. They are my whole world I swear. We also saw the Citgo sign which is the mark that you are one mile from the finish!!! YES!!!!!
AHHHHHHHHHH "RIGHT ON HEREFORD LEFT ON BOYLSTON!" I was about to do those very steps!!!! We round Hereford. Bethany keeps saying "THIS IS IT. SOAK IT IN. TAKE IN EVERY MOMENT!!!" I just keep looking back and forth listening to the screaming crowds. It's electric. My whole being just one big delusional cloud of almost passing out joy and happiness.
We take the left onto Boylston. We can see the finish line. I start crying. They start running harder. I wanted them to have their moment, but I was literally seconds from passing out. Everything was going black. I whispered "I'm so sorry please don't sprint. My body is shutting down." Bethany said "WHO CARES? THERE IS THE FINISH LINE!" I dug into something I didn't know I had and somehow didn't pass out. (I feel like such a whimp admitting I said that on Boylston haha) She said "HOLD MY HAND AND SMILE! YOU HAVE TO SMILE. FAKE IT BUT SMILE!" I was crying but smiling.
My body had to catch up. I couldn't talk. I just had to focus on breathing and not throwing up. Bethany and Meredith were chatting it up and I'm not really sure if there were speaking to me. I don't really remember anything but how I was just a little nervous that I still couldn't talk. We had to walk like another 1/4 mile until we got our medals. WOOOO. They hand us a bag with food. None of us can eat at this point or much at all during the race. This guy asks us to take a picture because we are "so pretty" HA! He really was with Dole pineapple, and wanted us to take a picture for their stuff. It was odd, but we got our modeling debut with Dole so you could say things are getting pretty serious. I was shocked he didn't cut us a check or write up a contract right there. Bethany asked someone to take a picture of us to which she looked at the picture and said "Dear God we look like monsters" HAHAHA! So if you see us make jokes about being dole models, or looking like monsters, it's from the post marathon delusions.
Okay, now let me say, I feel as if this sounds so dramatic when reading over it. That annoys me at myself. I mean I know we all love a good story, but really, this is ridiculous. Marathons aren't THIS hard. I think it's pretty clear it was a sucky race day for all, but also clear that I had some other junk going on as well. I don't know what. I wish I had an explanation, but I don't right now. I'm so happy though. I'm so thankful. I'm SO DANG SAD IT'S OVER. AHHHH!!!! LET ME DO IT AGAIN!!! Now that I'm out of the moment and looking back, it was by far one of the best days of my entire life. I will never ever forget it. I also know now I have more in me than I even know....something deeper to be able to push. What an awesome feeling. I know I can do anything. Some people never get the chance to run Boston, and I'm forever grateful. Believe me Boston, I will be back. And I will conquer you next time ;) The joy of the finish line ALWAYS ALWAYS out weighs everything...always.