But I'm resisting that - because I'm going to bring you - blow by blow - my Boston marathon experience. Yup - sit back and pop a cold one, because this is, finally, it.
As you know, we all flew to Orlando for 10 days before Boston. This worked out great - apart from the fact that the kids enjoyed it enormously, I got some hot-weather training in, and we were all relaxing together it also gave me an opportunity for the first blogger meet-up of this trip - I got to meet someone who I have been wanting to meet for years - Shirley-Perly!
|Sorry for the poor quality - we should have made more of an effort to get our cameras right!|
On Friday April 15th we headed north to Boston - after last year, our arrival in Boston was completely uneventful. But there was no mistaking just how excited Boston was about its marathon - this is our hotel, the incomparable Lenox Hotel. Not only was the place festooned with marathon posters, the staff were also incredible - helpful, kind, attentive. Situated about 50 yards from the finish line, we could not have picked a better place.
|The kids and I on this momentous moment.|
|some support from Sophia|
|View of the finish from a bus in front of our hotel.|
Emily, who was not running but staying with her sister near Heartbreak Hill and patiently walked with me up and down the worst bits... And took this photo!
|see what I mean about Bostonians taking the city to heart?|
EMZ! I also - yes! - met her PITA and Peanut who are both absolutely lovely and SO proud of this wonderful woman.
|The angle does not show how tall and slim this lady is. Or gorgeous. And she's hiding her buckle.|
With all my gear laid out the night before, it didn't take me long to get dressed and down to the hotel lobby where they'd laid out a free runner's breakfast (did I mention how GOOD this hotel is?) which I packed up to take with me to eat on the bus. And somehow did NOT have with me when I walked out of the hotel door. Oh well. The buses were about a 5 minute walk away, but the line! The line! By the time I had got myself another bagel the lines were enormous. I started queueing and immediately started talking to the lovely girl below - Allison. She was on her own as well and so we hung around together while we were moved from line to line. I was amazed we were on a bus by 7:30 as the lines were so horrendously long. The bus ride was long and uneventful while Allison and I overshared our lives and running stories. By the time we reached the athlete's village (does that sound professional or what, by the way? A very glammed up term for a field with portapotties..) we were firm friends. And so I managed to convince her to join me to try to find Steve Runner and Chris Russell - the former was located very quickly after some intervention from the announcer on the soundstage, the latter was, unfortunately, in a portapotty line.
|Allison and I on the bus to Hopkinton|
|Steve Runner! I would not have KNOWN about Boston had it not been for him.|
Finally - the race. The race. What can I say? I did what I said I would do. I went balls to the wall. Pretty early on I realised that my Garmin was measuring the miles slightly short and so I went by my pace wrist band and aimed for 8:15 min/miles on my Garmin to get to my 8:20 min/miles on the course. The beginning of the course is downhill and rolling - and I pegged it. I reached the halfway point at 1:49, exactly where I needed to be for a 3:40 marathon. But - here is the but. I could tell the pace was costing me. Even on this, the first (and easier) half of the race, the pace was hard. By mile 14, the cramps in my legs started. I've never cramped this early and I could feel that I would soon have to slow down, or stop. While I'd used all sorts of mental strategies to get through the first 14 miles, it now was very clear to me that my choices were to either slow down, or risk a DNF. And I was not risking a DNF. I suddenly had this insight that I was not going to ruin this amazing experience of running this amazing race by walking half of it, or sitting in a medical tent, or crying for the last 10 miles. I decided to slow down, and soak up the love. Which I did. At mile 18.8 I got some very personal love from Emily who was waiting for me and who cried along with me (I was hurting here) and ran up Heartbreak with me for a while. And then, at mile 21, a banner told me "the Heartbreak is behind you" and I relaxed and enjoyed. More than any race before, I loved this race. The people were incredible, I felt like a rock star with everyone calling out my name, I was running as fast as I could given where I was and how I was feeling, the sun was shining - all was good with the world. And when I crossed that finish line - in 3:47:02 - I did cry. With happiness. What a wonderful, wonderful day!
|Could I look any happier?|