Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2012 Boston Marathon Race Recap- The Race (or Part 2)

So, I have done all this work, and spent all this time WANTING to run the Boston Marathon.  I am checking the weather reports, and it is not looking very good.  It looks like it is going to be hot.  The first report I saw said 70s, then it dropped down to 60s, and then it went back up to the 80s and just kept climbing!  Oh no!  And then my Garmin breaks, my CPA calls b/c I sent the wrong form for our taxes, and ACK!  The stress!  I borrowed a garmin, got the taxes straightened out, but the weather remained problematic.

The BAA starts sending out all these notes warning people that if they are not really fit, have experience with training in the heat, or are not an experienced marathoner, that they can defer until next year.  WHAT?  This was scaring me, but it was OUT OF THE QUESTION!  I mentioned this to Ryan, and he was not amused.  Basically, my options were 1.  Not run the race and die by Ryan killing me over all the money we spent or 2.  Run the race and maybe die.  I opted for #2.  I mean really, I had been wanting this for SO LONG, there was NOTHING that was going to ruin it for me.  NOTHING!  I had to try.  I could do it.  I was trained.  I had asked for character building in my training, and here it is on race day.  With the heat the way it was,  there would be no PRs.  We were cautioned to slow down anywhere from 30sec to 2 minutes per mile, depending on who you talked to.  Finishing would be winning today.  It was an experience, not a race, is what I have been told many times by friends and now by the BAA.

It would be my dream day.  That was what I had wanted for so long, and I was going to take it!

I woke up at 3:30am too excited to sleep anymore.  We had gone to bed around 10pm since we were sharing the room with the kids and it took us that long to get them to go to sleep.  So I had about 5 hours of sleep, plus another 1.5 hours of laying in bed, trying to fall back asleep and at least rest.  That is really not too bad when I think of how early I have gotten up before for races just because they are that early and I haven't had my stuff in order the night before.  I got ready, and my dad rode the subway with me to Boston Common where I rode the bus to Hopkinton. 

The wait for the buses took a long time.  I really needed to go to the bathroom.  I should have stopped before leaving my dad to enter the Common, but I didn't think I would need to wait that long for a bus, or realize how long the ride would be.  I was pretty stressed and uncomfortable on the bus ride.  My stomach knotted up just because my bladder was so full.  I put my gear back on my leg, and it turned my whole right quad orange from the sunscreen!  It was mortifying!  As soon as I got off the bus, I went to the bathroom, and then straight to medical for alcohol wipes to try to get rid of the orange!  It was no use.  I finally got a sufficient amount off, but my stomach still didn't feel great.  I told myself it was just nerves, and that it would take a few minutes for the pain to subside.  I was sitting there in medical, and I was so afraid to mention my stomach for fear that I wouldn't be allowed to start.  I kept quiet and found my Team Aquaphor teammate, Cristie, and finally settled down. 

I went to the bathroom with her friend Karen, and it took forever!  By the time we got done, they had already called my wave to start assembling and putting our bags on the buses.  We ended up missing our wave, and then hit the bathrooms again, and tried to make our way to the front.  They wouldn't let us just go ahead and start on our own, but held us back to the final wave, second corral.  Had I realized the advantage that the folks that started earlier would have on us that started later due to the temps rising beforehand, I would have made a better effort to be on time, but I don't know that it mattered too much.  I was glad that I could start with an empty bladder for sure! 

And then we were off!  There was a bit of jostling for positions, since we had several corrals worth of people ahead of us, and it was hard to know how fast to run.  I wanted to just keep it to a training pace, like 8:30s or so, I thought at first.  I had a strong start, and got to the 5K checkpoint in under 26 minutes, my 10K time was 52, and my half time was 1:52!  At this point I was projected by the tracker to be done at 3:45!  Not a PR or a BQ, but totally acceptable.  The spectators were amazing.  They lined the entire course, and had hoses, ice, water, fruit, candy, super soakers, EVERYTHING.  It was great.  I kept putting ice in my sports bra, and I felt pretty good.  Hard, but good.  It was hot, but I was hanging in there.  And then it got really HOT!  The half way point was when it just seemed to really start to take its toll.  Running through Wellsley was fun and a great pick me up.  I didn't see any ladies holding KY signs, but I saw a Yooper and some MI gals.  It was fun to read their signs.

Everything seemed to just SLOW.DOWN.  It was crazy.  Everyone was struggling together.  The whole mass just sort of slowed down.  At one point, I didn't even realize how slow I was going because I was still with the same crowd of people.  Normally, when I fall off pace in a race, it is like I am going backwards, against the current, but not this time.  I got passed when I walked, but then I caught back up because someone else was walking.   Mile 18 was super hard.  I think this was in the Newton Hills, and I did a lot of walking.  Someone was counting the km, and I was unable to do the math to have any idea of how many km we even had left.  It was bad.  I refused to look any medical people in the eye, and any time I got near their tents, tried to drift inward to the center.  It was hard, but no one was going to ruin my day for me.  Keep making forward progress!  I took this picture of a sign as I ran.

At mile 20, I almost forgot to take a GU.  I took it, and then checked my watch.  It was just under 3 hours.  I could break 4 hours!  Well, not really when I looked at my current pace.  I had slowed so much!  I was going to need to speed up, but how?  I was walk/running at this point, but made a point to run up heartbreak hill.  At that point, everything sucked so bad that running up was so satisfying metally.  I didn't want to let it "get me".  It was actually easier to run uphill at this point than downhill because my quads were on fire.  They were killing me!  It continued to suck from 18-24.  I remembed one guy telling me/everyone "you want to be over there, it is better over there" in an attempt to get people to run faster.  I was also in front of a girl guys were calling "the six pack ab lady", and they yelled a lot at her.  I wished I would have written my name on either my bib or my arm so people would know my name.  I didn't have any distinguishing marks on me, really, but that is OK.  I was super excited when I saw someone with the scripture reference "run and not be weary, walk and not faint".  Equally as pleasing (and on the opposite end of the taste spectrum) was "Honey Badger don't care that it is HOT".  At mile 24, things got better.  It always gets better when there are only 2 miles left!  I did some math, and had it not been a BILLION degrees out, I should have been able to get under 4 hours, but considering that it was a struggle to run 10 min/miles at this point, I was pleased with my 4:05:18.  I LIVED.  I did not die, get pulled off, and most importantly, I saw my goal to the end!  Here are some pics I took leading up to the finish line!

I had a guy from medical take this picture (we had gone to the finish are the day before, and I refused to be photographed by it): 

I felt like I had to walk about a mile to get my medal.  I am not sure how far it was, but it felt like FOREVER!  I got all teary when the woman hung it on my neck.  I took a mylar blanket, but did not want to be wrapped.  It was too freaking hot!  I had a volunteer take this picture.  She wasn't sure if she was allowed, since the race photo people were all over the place, but her friend didn't think there was anything wrong.  They were amazed I had my camera with me at that point.  Yup, it was with me the whole race!
I finally got all my stuff and met up with my family.  I just sat for a while on the ground, and then laid down for a while, but was worried about being stepped on.  I was just so happy to have finished!  Living out the dream felt so good!
I have a huge list of people to thank:
Ryan, My parents, Jessica, Craig, Dave, Cristina, Valerie, Cristie, Anna, Meredith, Dale, Mary, Peter, and everyone who has believed in me, ran with me, watched my kids so I can run, and congratulated me on my accomplishment. 

Thank you so much to all the spectators!  Without you, I would not have made it.  You had ice when I needed it, water in between water stations, hoses, squirt guns, music, and funny signs.  Thanks so much for your support!  I can't imagine how hard it would have been without those ice cubes in the sports bra and those extra hose downs.  I was sopping wet almost the entire race, and I needed to be to stay cool!  It is such an amazing feeling to have your dream come true.  I wasn't a PR, but it was an experience.  It is a race that will always be remembered!  THANK YOU!


Robin said...

Congrats on finishing...

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats on the race

Anonymous said...

Sorry I missed commenting on this post! But again, congratulations on a great race in tough conditions :)
And I love that you had your camera!

Anita said...

Melissa. I am so proud of you. You did it. The heat was so bad and you finished and finished great. The hills are terrible. I remember thinking...another hill..I thought heartbreak hill was the ONLY hill..I think I am going to die! The Spectators are amazing. They are like the greatest cheering squad ever. They make you keep going. My PT guy was verbally coaching before I ran it. He came 10 Overall about 7 years ago..He was telling me where all the best crowds were and how to stratigize my running using the crowds and the momentum of the hills to get me to the finish without blowing out my hamstrings. I couldn't believe how right on he was!
I really enjoyed reading your post. You looked amazing at the end!! Congrats!!!

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Nice time! Especially with the heat. Heat is SO hard to run in- I don't think non runners "get" it about how much it takes out of you! Me? I'll never make it to Boston, so I love to read the recaps!