Countdown to Boston

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I did it!


This is my recap of running the Boston Marathon for Dana Farber Cancer Institute - 10 weeks and 3 days after having a baby!
Marathon DAY!!! Nick was up at 3:30 to eat, and unfortunately I put him on his back to change his diaper and he threw up most of what he ate all over my side of the bed – yes at 3:30am. He spent the next hour awake and fussing and ended up being still hungry since he spit up everything. 4:30 am – feed him again. He is still awake. He lied on Bill’s chest for a bit, and I move him and put him on his back in our bed (he was in a crib). He’s still moving around but finally goes to sleep. I’m clock watching at this point. I wasn’t nervous and had excitement going on, but really wanted to sleep. I didn’t sleep much from then on.

I got up around 6:20 and got all of my things together and got ready! I was getting pumped. I ate ½ a balance bar as I got dressed and drank water as I got ready. The last thing that I did was pump, around 10 of 7. Out the door- it was GORGEOUS OUT! Perfect running weather! Partly cloudy, high 40s. Headed to the buses in the Boston Commons – the line was really long and I left the hotel around 7:15 for a 5 minute walk. We had to board the buses by 7:30. There was an amazing line through the entire park. We hopped into small bus lines and caravans of buses were coming by, picking people up, and leaving, repeat. We left the Commons around 7:50. We arrived in Hopkinton around an hour later and sat in a bus line for a bit. We got off the buses around 9am. I headed to the athletes village and took a few pictures before headed to Dana Farber’s area, a church about ½ mile away. When I got there, I got in line for the bathroom right away. I pumped again, and walked to the start to lineup in the corrals. The bad thing was that my feet were already hurting – just from walking. I was a bit nervous about this!

When I first saw the town, it reminded me of the Steamtown Marathon – small town, tons of people. The marathon volunteers were tough about letting people into the corrals. By the time I got into the corral, we basically started walking to the start. We started walking towards the start, and they announced that the beginning of our wave had begun! As we moved up Rocky was playing. There were TONS of people. It was so exciting. I started smiling and didn’t stop for the majority of the 26.2 miles!

I took pictures for the first several miles then got tired of holding my camera and cell phone. I was getting choked up with the crowds, the excitement, and fun to be had ahead. I was thinking of my Poppy, Steph, Diane B., and Joe C. - all of these people that I know who have suffered with or are suffering from cancer and felt the tingling going through my body as I felt for these people who are dear to me and what they are going through or have been through.

Miles 1-6 were up and down – lots of hills. I think I started feeling the wind around mile 5. Headwind in our face! There were lots of people out and cheering like crazy. It made for such a great atmosphere. My first few splits were 9-9:30. I reminded myself it now takes me about 3 miles to warm up, but after 3, I still wasn’t feeling warmed up. With the wind, and my sluggishness, I felt like I was running in place. Through the towns, streets packed with people, it was really exciting. Once I made it to mile 10, I started to feel like I was warmed up, but shortly after I felt like I was running in place again! My feet hurt, and knee had started to be bothersome around mile 6. Mile 12, as we started to approach Wellesley – this was neat. Lots of college students out, many drinking and offering beer, and overly excited, due to the beer consumption, to get high fives. Wellesley looked really pretty and was filled with lots of girls holding up free kisses signs of all kinds. I watched an older fellow walk up to a girl and get a kiss. Probably made his day! The fans there were awesome and really carried you through. It was really loud.

heartbreak hill

From around 13.1 on, I felt like it was more exciting than the first ½ marathon. My half was 2:02 and I knew I wasn’t going to be keeping that pace but I was pretty happy with the time. I loved all the fans and excitement on the course. The fans really made the course. Mile 17 I got to see Bill, Nick, my dad and mother in law, I was thrilled to see them! They stationed themselves at the PowerBar Gel station – at the double latte flavor. They were easy to spot since I knew exactly where they were – thanks to cell phones! I dropped off my jacket and gloves to Bill, and gave him and Nick a kiss. I kept on trucking and was feeling good, and happy. Around mile 18, heading up a hill, a man with an Irish accent turned to me and jokingly said, “Is this heartbreak hill?” I laughed at him and told him sorry, not even close! At mile 20, I realized my last GU had fallen off of my fuel belt, and this was not good, because I felt like I needed it. I hadn’t taken a PowerBar Gel because my stomach doesn’t tolerate them as well, and didn’t need it at the time. I started feeling really hungry and I was taking oranges from anyone who was giving them out! I thought heartbreak hill was around mile 21.5, but after I made it up heartbreak, I realized it was over! It was good that I didn’t look at the map! It seemed like a long steady hill to me. It wasn’t terrible – the overall hilly course was what broke my heart! My sister Kristen and mom were waiting for me at mile 21.

I was able to spot the signs that my mom made for me, and my sister hopped in to run with me for the rest of the race. My mom had made shirts for all of the family to wear to cheer me on. Once my sister jumped in, I told her that I needed food immediately! She was my eyes as she scanned the crowds for any food! I managed to get more oranges and an ice pop but food was on my mind. And the finish line. I projected my thoughts to think about the children with cancer from the pasta party and really didn’t have any complaints. It gave me a mission. I couldn’t wait to finish! We saw my sister’s friend Mary somewhere between 22-24 miles – it was exciting to see someone I knew with all of the craziness! I felt like it was so much fun! Great, great atmosphere!

My buddy runner sister Kristen

Those last 4.2 miles were pretty tough but the race was full of crowds. I was really trying to enjoy every mile and take in the whole scene. That was a really helpful thing that my sister told me to do – “Take it all in!” There was so much going on to enjoy. The streets were lined with people, bars were full of people. Drinks were flowing freely! Fans were thrilled to get a high five or thumbs up. Throughout the race I hit tons of hands of little kids – and took oranges from their hands. They were so cute!

I remember running Disney with my sister and cheering her on and trying to motivate her and her telling me to shut up – totally understood that yesterday. You hear “Almost there!” and nice things like “You’re doing great!” but you don’t want to hear anything. You just want to cross that line. We ran a bit in silence which is kind of what I needed. I think I told her she could stop talking when there was about ½ mile to go. There was a one mile to go sign which was awesome, and you could SEE the finish. Victory was only a mile away – and in view! This was when I started to get delirious and excited. I tried to go as fast as I could but I’m pretty sure that last mile was in the 11s. I totally slowed down the last 10k. I couldn’t keep up the pace and my feet, knee and legs just HURT!

It was AWESOME crossing that finish line. Soon after we crossed, we saw my sister’s college roommate, Susan, and I felt like I was drunk! She took our picture, I got some food, a warm wrap, and finally my medal. Such a great moment. I kept walking and Bill, Nick, my dad, my mother in law, and Bill’s friend Matt were waiting for us. I was picturing and dreaming about this moment of seeing Bill and Nick at the finish for the last 7 months and throughout the race. It was amazing and a moment that I won't forget. My mom was still traveling back to the finish and met us back at the hotel.

I found out later that night that one of my former students, Christina, had missed me in the run. She was standing by the one mile to go mark and made me a sign! I was so sad to have missed her! Thank you for coming out Christina!

We took lots of pictures, I wimped out of an ice bath, and we had to pack up and check out! On the way out we stopped at a restaurant near the airport where I inhaled half a pizza before dropping off my sister to the airport. All in all, a great day, I couldn’t stop smiling, and I can’t wait to do it again. Next time I run with Dana Farber I want to have a patient partner to run for.

Today I am pretty sore and limping around, but it was all totally worth it. Thank you for all who have donated! I have not reached my goal of $5000 just yet and I am even more motivated after seeing the small children who have cancer firsthand. Every dollar that I raise goes directly to cancer research. Any donation, big or small, makes a difference. Thank you all for your support and encouragement! A big thank you to Bill for his support throughout the last 9 months! To Nick for putting up with the bouncing around in my belly! And to my family including inlaws for coming out to cheer me on!

Whew - that was tiring!

Final time: 4:21:03/ 9:57 pace


  1. Great pictures. I love to run, never ran that far before though. Great job!!