Hey Guys! Long time no talk! Maybe one day I’ll get around to explaining my absence when I can put it into words better, but for now, let’s get to this post! It's hilarious reading this post in comparison to the marathon post before this one when things went the exact opposite direction!
So, THE BOSTON MARATHON!! It’s currently 4am and I always have the biggest trouble sleeping the day after a marathon for whatever reason. I’m going to talk about everything, but if you want just the race recap, you’ll see where I begin talking about Mile 1 forward! :)
Last year, I shared all about the Boston experience so I’m going to link that up here, so that you are able to read all about what goes down as all of that was the same this year. I knew going into this race that I had just had my PR therefore I was treating this like a long run and just going to enjoy the day like I wasn’t able to do last year. If you are someone that already knows half of this story, I actually DID enjoy the day much more than last year crazy enough and I’m SO glad that I ran Boston this year. It gave me a new appreciation for Boston that I didn’t have before, and actually stepping out of the blogger/running world also gave me perspective for it. Some people at the gym in my hometown came up to tell me congrats before I left and said “We can’t lie that we aren’t envious but so excited for someone from Shelby to be going.” That hit home for me. Boston is a big BIG deal, and I’m going to go when I can!! Next year, I’ll have a red bib and be in the first corral because of my finishing time at Myrtle Beach so there’s no way I will miss that! :) Tanner will also be coming which he wasn’t able to this year, and I missed him so much. He also was DYING to be here but sometimes life happens! :)
I had planned to stay with a friend/client who lives in Boston (who I will be staying with tonight) but last minute she decided to go home for Easter before she moves states. I texted Bethany and of course she immediately was like “Um come stay with me!” She’s the best. Seriously. So, I ended up having a slumber party for the past 3 nights with my best friend so that was freakin awesome, and I loved how it all worked out for the absolute best.
We also are in the same hotel (Sheraton near the finish line) with another best friend of ours, Sarah. Fun story: Sarah found me through another blogger who she is real life friends with (powercakes) like 3 years ago. She liked all of my posts so I looked her up and we became friends. A year later I got close to Bethany. A year after that, I realized that Bethany and Sarah live in the same town and introduced them. Nowwww, Sarah and Bethany are best friends in Pittsburgh and run together all the time. Haha! I love how small the world can be. We met up with her yesterday morning to walk to the buses for the ride to Hopkinton. That ride takes approximately an hour. It’s 30 miles that they are driving you out and a bunch of yellow school buses so it takes forever, which is one of the reasons the start time is so late always and we have to run in the heat of the day.
We got to Athlete’s Village, which is a few acres of grass that they set up tents, music, food, etc while we all wait until we walk to the start line. We had about 45 minutes until start at that point, so we all just rested and ate cliff bars and bagels.
Walking to the start line is about another mile, so our start time was 10:25 but they had us begin walking at 9:45 just because it takes a while for 30,000 people to walk in the same direction and then they have a final stop for the porta-potty. If you’re thinking it’s a huge mission to even begin this race, you’d be right! ;) I walked 4.1 miles before the start! (which if we are all honest makes it extremely difficult to do well in this race which is why it will never be an A goal PR course for me-I think we know that from my previous two attempts haaa).
My time yesterday was 4:05:30 which is almost exactly ONE HOUR from my PR 6 weeks earlier. That doesn’t happen. That’s a RIDICULOUS gap in times, but I am SO SO LUCKY I even finished this race and I literally walked the final 2 miles with run/walking the last 5. It was a hot mess express the second half, but I still loved what I could and I was pulling deep inside to do just that.
There were 5 of us that started together (me, Sarah, Bethany, Mel and then Michelle who I didn't know until the start ) and it was seriously such a powerful run squad. We all talked about how we are so lucky that we have found close friends in the marathoning world as we used to all do this alone.
The race is downhill at the start so this always feels pretty good for the most part. It’s always super difficult because you are trying to weave in and out of people and it’s a MAD HOUSE but we were keeping a really great pace and feeling strong through it. I always tell Tanner that I know the course of my day by the first 5K but yesterday was not that. I genuinely thought I’d keep the 7:35-7:45 for the entire race and be TOTALLY fine and was thinking how easy the pace felt with having done 7:10 for an entire marathon six weeks ago. I was excited to get around a 3:23ish time and had that as this semi time goal in my head.
We were still running 4 deep with our run squad and we all commented on how that never happens and how it was helping us all so much to keep the pace nice and easy and we all agreed that we felt great!! No issues! The heat was there, the pavement was hot, the humidity was HIGH, we were sweating like crazy but at every single water aid station I took water (which I never do lets be real) and I would grab a second and pour it all over me. So every time I’d pour a cup of water all over me and would cool off.
I thought to myself “Eh I probably won’t make it with the run squad all day but it’s all good. I’ll let them do 7:45s and I’ll do 8’s. I also thought to myself for the first time, “I don’t think I handle heat well.” Ha! I run in the heat at home sometimes and I don’t feel awful. I ran awful last year at Boston but thought it was just a fluke, but this year kind of confirmed that I need to be careful in the heat. It’s also INSANE to me that 7:45’s can begin to feel hard as that’s not a hard pace for me to hold ever. Heat is a crazy thing.
We all continued to stay together. It truly was amazing how well we all were doing running together. We weren’t chatting. We all were in our zones and running our races with the quiet reassurance that the other one was right beside us. I absolutely loved it. So much.
From the start until the finish, there are ALWAYS people lining the sides of Boston. It’s simply unreal. There’s never anything else like it, and people are screaming for you the entire way.
At mile 13, I dropped back a little but eventually caught back up to the girls. I felt a wave of nausea but it subsided. Up to this point, I’m still honestly pretty good.
At mile 14, I decided to officially leave the run squad. Mel went out ahead and then Bethany and Sarah continued to run together while I dropped back. It pretty much went down SUPER fast from there.
I want to interject here that I knowwwww that sometimes these stories can look like excuses and just plain annoying. I want to just simply share my story and not some big conjured up story of why my time was not my best. I’m NOT NOT NOT a time/PR focused girl. It’s always freakin amazing when it happens, but we all know there are good days and bad days, so I’m just sharing one of my bad days so that you have a mixture of this sprinkled in. I’ve actually had loving people in my life tell me to just not share stories like this because people judge. Can I just say HOW SILLY?! So, then all we see are the PR’s and then when people don’t PR, they are terrified to even tell the story so then it is the constant comparison trap of thinking everything is perfect in everyone else’s lives. And it’s not and we all need to not be ridiculous and know that THAT’S OKAY TOO.
At mile 14ish, from what I’m remembering, there is the screaming “Kiss me” girls section in which girls make these signs that say things like “Kiss me. I won’t tell your wife.” Or “Kiss me. I’m lesbian.” Or just simply “Kiss Me” and there are people that legit go over there and kiss them. I know this sounds hella awkward and I don’t partake (ha) but it’s tradition and we can’t break that! ;)
I pulled back to an 8:10 minute pace which quickly dropped to an 8:40-9 pace going into mile 16. Miles 15-16 is when all of the hills began and I just wanted to be able to go by effort and not even look at my watch, so that’s what I did and when I would look down, the pace that felt REALLY hard was 8:40 and then 9:30’s started to feel labored. OH.BOY. I always know that when I’m struggling to hit an 8minute pace then something is seriously wrong with me. But I didn’t think too much of it and just readjusted my goal to go 9’s for the rest of the marathon and still get like a 3:35.
I don’t really remember mile 17 and then at mile 18, I had to pull to the side and started dry heaving. I had been taking water and energy/electrolyte chews, but I knew if I was dry heaving then I didn’t have anything in me, so I asked someone for water and chugged. Mistake. Haha!
Right when I started back up, which I basically like dry heaved then quickly started back, I knew that water wasn’t going to stay down. I can’t remember exactly but I want to say I threw up 5-6 times on the course. Fantastic I know. Haha! I kept trying to get in Gatorade and water, but it wasn’t happening. I knew I had to keep trying though.
At mile 19, the cramping began. It started like in my quads (left to be exact), which I’ve never had a Charlie horse in my quad. Supppppper weird feeling. It makes your leg straighten out completely, so I was trying to run with a straight leg. I had to pull over. I worked out the soreness and began on my way again (at like the slowest that I could be considered running at this point).
At mile 20, the cramping began to fully be the biggest issue. Both of my quads seized up and I was trying to run with two straight legs. I just wanted to keep moving forward. I would be danged if I was going to walk 6 freakin miles. Yuck. I would stretch them, ask for Gatorade, throw up Gatorade, try to walk with straight legs, try to jog with straight legs, new cramp. This was on repeat for the next 6 miles. I actually would take Gatorade at the aid stations but then ask the people cheering if they had anything and this one girl handed me a Snickers. HA!! I was like BARF no thanks!
Mile 21 was probably my longest mile although not sure of the split. My splits are crazy. I could not stop the cramping. It moved into my back (yes my back which was bizarre and unexpected) so I would have to stop, calm the muscle spasms down in my back and quads, and try to shuffle step forward. I realized at this point of course that any time goals were absolutely 100% out the window and I wasn’t sure I would finish. Every time I’d throw up, they’d ask me to go to the med tent, but like seriously I have a “few” miles left, and I didn’t go through this sufferfest to stop now before I get my medal.
At mile 23, I had a missed call from Bethany so I called her back and she asked where I was thinking that I was finished. I was crying and blubbering hearing her voice and explained I was not doing well and just going to have to walk/hobble the rest of the way. So, that’s what I continued to do for what felt like forever. I also was truly not being reckless out there. Like, I was walking. It's not like I was trying to push pace or do anything crazy. I just wanted my medal. ha!
This is when the crowd gets insane. My head was throbbing and the screams were deafening, but it was just what I needed to get me through. My body would go into cramping (calves, back, quads) and when I would slowly work them out and continue forward, the people would go nuts for me. Then I’m like crying as they cheer.
At mile 25, you see the Citgo sign, and I knew I was almost there. I remembered on last year when Tanner and my mom and best friend Brandy were sitting at the top of the bridge and I was able to see them. I envisioned them waving and I was pretty delusional at this point so the hallucination was pretty real and gave me strength. Hahaha!
At mile 25.5, Bethany calls me again to see if I’m okay. I thought she had seen me doing the death straight leg march so I answered. I don’t just like take calls on the course normally FYI. Haha! She was like “YOU ARE NOT OKAY! MED TENT!” and I was of course, through slurred speech, telling her that she was crazy if she thought I wasn’t going to walk the rest of it. She said later she knew she would have done the same exact thing, so she of course understood.
I could finally see the right on Hereford and thought AND THEN JUST A LEFT ON BOYLSTON AND I’M THERE! So, that’s what I did. I was able to straight leg run (my legs just would NOT bend). Right about at the finish line, the full out cramping happened again and I wanted to yell “SON OF A BISCUIT JUST LET ME GO TWO MORE STEPS BODY!! GOODNESS GRACIOUS!!!!”
I look in front of me and I see the ex marine carrying the American flag and with a prosthetic from stepping on an IED in Afghanistan. I start crying. I thought if he can do it, I can do it. I put my hand on his shoulder just like runner lingo of YOU INSPIRE ME SO MUCH!!!
Of course, I began again and the crowd went crazyy. This made me super emotional, and a lady came up and did what you see on those viral videos. She put her hand on me and I told her to run her race and she refused. She helped me hobble to the finish which of course then I start crying.
POST RACE DRAMA DIVA FESTIVAL 2017
I lean down (head between legs) because I felt dizzy and when I stood back up my chest started hurting really bad. I zombie stiff leg walked forward, and they watch for you so a guy immediately grabs my arm and says “Maam are you okay?” I didn’t speak and then I felt my chest and couldn’t breathe. I started hyperventilating. They asked if I had asthma as I’m gasping for air. Two people grab me and start coaching me “IN THROUGH YOUR NOSE OUT THROUGH YOUR MOUTH” and I was able to calm down. They put me in a wheelchair (but I couldn’t bend my legs so they had to hold them as I went into the med tent.)
They took vitals (super high heart rate but I had just got done hyperventilating post marathon so it was 200) and my BP was like 90/60 at this point. They asked me questions and I laid down for a bit. I couldn’t take Gatorade as I knew I’d throw it up but a banana sounded good so I ate one and a bag of chips. I started to feel better and they let me walk/hobble. After I got a little way, I started feeling super light headed, nauseous and asked for a banana. I laid down like on the floor while they got me back on the bed because I knew if not I was going to pass out. That’s when my BP dropped to 80/60 but my HR had come down at that point. They let me lay there some more (still confused why everyone around me is getting IV’s and I’m like “uh I’m fairly certain I qualify but whatevs.” After a bit, I was okay/not okay but wanted to leave. I felt awful because I knew everyone was waiting on me. I was alone at this point.
I had to walk maybe like 0.5 mile to them and it felt so awful. I don’t know how to explain it, but just everything was off. I knew I wasn’t okay, but I thought it was carbs, so I ate another banana. I couldn’t find Starbucks then I finally do. I walk inside, they aren’t there, and things are getting really blurry. I called Bethany, then went outside to find them. I ask to sit down.
Robby comes over and asks how I’m doing. And that’s when my entire body went into full out cramping like I’ve never felt in my entire life. I can’t even explain my calf on the right that moved into my groin. I tensed up so much as they are yelling to get me a wheelchair. They tried to grab my legs/bend them to put them in the chair and I screamed DO NOT TOUCH MY LEGS!!! I can’t explain groin cramping. It’s unreal. Everything went black. I told them “I’m going to pass out” and I don’t remember the ride to the med tent. They said they were yelling clearing people, and asking me questions that I did in fact answer. I came to more once in the med tent, and I honestly don’t remember getting on the bed, but I was in it. My back cramps so I’m like in this weird contorted position.
Not even gonna lie folks, and I’m totally not dogging the volunteer care but they basically did nothing but give me a bed to lie on. They called PT over to massage my legs and just had me lay there. They asked me if I wanted liquids..NOPE. But they got me water to sip through a straw that Bethany held there for me. I kept it down for maybe 15 minutes then threw it all up with the bananas. Still no one is concerned or asking me questions or saying anything. Sarah is a nurse and was finally like “Um, what does she need to do for an IV? She clearly needs one.”
The doctor comes over and like asks me if I want an IV. It was super awkward. I was like “Well if it will make me feel better???” I’m still so confused how they determine the need because blacking out, low BP, full out body cramps, and throwing up seems to be enough cause, and so finally Sarah was my mediator and was like YES YES SHE DOES PLEASE.
They took vitals and did the IV and within 10 minutes of the IV, I started feeling better. It was like I could feel the cold liquid going into me and I immediately came out of this fog. I could speak normal again, my cramping was there but manageable and all was okay again. I finished up the bag of fluids (like could we not have done that an hour before and saved the drama, I mean really?). We were on our way!!!
We get outside and of course my calf is still cramping so Sarah and Bethany were like SCREW THIS PIGGY BACK RIDE TO THE HOTEL AND ROOM SERVICE. So they switch and carry me. That gets hard because it was a mile back so then they both like double carry me. Eventually, I’m finally able to walk on my own.
Wow. What a day!!!! It will be a memory that I never forget, but one that I’m taking very seriously. I’m going to really look into what happened, and avoid it all costs because I wasn’t reckless. I took plenty of fluids before, early on in the race and ate well (probably my best ever pre race food) and so I don’t know what happened. I know you can’t help the heat, but if my body does that bad then I will have to reconsider summer marathons. I have decided that a marathon that I was going to do in July just for fun with Shelby people, I’m going to simply cheer for them. I can’t be doing this again in the heat. This is the kind of day that makes you question running marathons in general, but that won’t happen for me. I’ll continue, but just smarter. My next marathon will be Chicago in October. I’m taking two weeks (maybe more depending on how I feel) completely 100% off. There’s no reason at all that I need to be running anytime soon. But for today, I’m going to try to enjoy it the best that I can with friends that are still in the city (which I'm not posting this a day later and I did have a wonderful day in Boston yesterday with friends)
I’m so thankful for the Boston experience once again, and for the memories that I’ll hold dear in my heart forever.