Giving Thanks: Boston Marathon 2013 Race Report

Part of me doesn’t want to write this race report.  Blogging about my running of the 2013 Boston Marathon feels a bit selfish and trivial, in light of the horrific events that transpired with the bombing at the finish line.  But a bigger part of me wants to write this race report.  As a big Fuck You to the terrorists who ruined so many lives and tried to (and did) instill fear in thousands of people Monday afternoon.  We are still learning the identities and stories of the victims of the bombing.  But I think it’s safe to say they were all runners or supporters of runners.  And I think it’s also safe to say that most of them loved the Boston Marathon experience, prior to being victimized.  So with no disrespect to the victims and their loved ones intended, I’m going to blog about the most incredible marathon experience that I’ve ever had:  Boston Marathon 2013.

2012-04-16 05.50.45

My Race Plan:

Those of you following my blog for any length of time know that I have worked my butt off for the last 5+ years to get to the starting line of the Boston Marathon.  I qualified at Twin Cities Marathon in 2011, with a 3:42:19, with marathon #8.  Boston 2013 would be marathon #12 for me.  For all previous 11 marathons, I’d raced them – trying for BQs or PRs.  For most of the 11, I ended up disappointed with my race time and experience.  So I decided that instead of racing Boston, I was going to just RUN it.  For fun.  To soak up the energy.  To take pictures.  To experience the marathon.

So in line with this race strategy, I set my garmin screen to just keep track of the time as a running total and not show me pace or splits or even mileage.  I still wanted to track the data, so I could look at it later (and because I’m Type A!).  But I didn’t want to worry about time.  I honestly didn’t care if my miles were 8 minute or 10 minute miles.  I also wore a belt that carried both my camera and my iphone, so that I could photograph my Boston Marathon experience.

2012-04-13 18.40.11Chan Life Time Boston Runners, pre-race

2012-04-13 20.11.45In my starting corral, ready for some fun!


Success! I had the time of my life. I was out there for 4 hours 11 minutes and 57 seconds and I literally loved every step of the run.  I took 167 photos and 1 video from the time I loaded the bus in the morning until the time I crossed the finish line.  This was the first marathon I’ve ever run where I didn’t want it to end.  Usually there is a point in the marathon where I just get tired and am in pain and want it to be over – not this time.  It was SO incredible.  It exceeded my expectations.

The Spectators:

The crowds were amazing.  Everywhere.  There were a few stretches that were just minimally populated, because of where they fell in the course, but for the most part the entire course was lined with people.  In many areas the crowds were 2, 3, 4 people deep.  The thing that struck me the most about the crowds – compared to other marathons – is that it was like spectating the marathon was a family event.  Marathon Monday is a holiday in Massachusetts because it’s Patriots Day – so kids are off school and most parents aren’t working.  So they were out spectating and picnicking and having fun.  I slapped hands of at least 100 kids along the route.  And they were all SO excited!  The spectators got a kick out of me carrying a camera.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard “Oh my gosh, she’s running and taking pictures!”   There was just so much enthusiasm, energy and excitement every where along the course.  It was amazing!

The Signs:

So many entertaining signs along the way. Here’s a sampling:

Wellesley College:

No, I didn’t kiss a girl.  The screaming co-eds seemed to go on forever and ever.  For the entire stretch of screaming girls I held up my iphone in my left hand and videoed it and had my camera in my right hand snapping photos.  The girls went NUTS when they saw I was video taping it – guess they figured they’d end up on a blog or you tube.  I took 2 and a half minutes of video, but I’m technologically challenged and can’t figure out how to get it from my iphone to the blog. So you’ll have to check back later and see if I have figured out how to add it in!  For now, some photos:

Self Portraits:

I went a bit crazy with random self portraits throughout the marathon. 🙂

Random Thoughts:

  • My mom ventured out to mile 16 to see me, but the crowds were too crazy so even though she saw me, I didn’t see her.  I was glad she was out there though – with her pink signs!
  • Boston College was my favorite part.  The students were packed deep and were SO loud and crazy.  I was running around a bunch of people who must have been students/alum of BC and the crowds were going absolutely nuts for them.  SO fun! 
  • Each mile FLEW by.  It seemed like I would just pass a mile marker and get some water and then the next mile marker was already there.  I never once thought – as I do in so many marathons – please let this mile end.
  • I didn’t end up stopping for a beer.  Never really saw the right opportunity.
  • I didn’t think the Newton Hills – especially Heartbreak Hill – were that bad.  Seriously.  Granted, if I had actually been racing, I’d probably be saying something different.  But they were manageable because I’d trained on lots of hills all winter.  If a dude hadn’t been standing on the sidelines with this sign saying I’d reached the top of Heartbreak Hill, I don’t think I would have realized that it was actually Heartbreak!2012-04-13 23.38.22
  • Most people talk about a highlight of the race being seeing the Citgo sign because then you are almost done.  When I saw it I was a bit disappointed, because my Boston Marathon experience was going to be ending soon. 2012-04-14 00.24.46
  • Seeing the “1 mile to go” sign gave me SUCH a rush.2012-04-14 00.26.07
  • Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston gave me an even bigger rush.  2012-04-14 00.31.36 2012-04-14 00.31.51
  • Seeing Scott on Boylston, at the Mile 26 marker, and stopping for a quick kiss before heading to the finish line was icing on the cake of a perfect first Boston Marathon.

Giving Thanks:

  • I’m thankful that after years of hard work I finally made it to the starting line AND the finish line of my first Boston Marathon.
  • I’m thankful that my mom and dad made the trip to Boston to share my first Boston Marathon experience with me. finish momfinish dad
  • I’m thankful that Scott has become my biggest fan – in marathons and life.
  • I’m thankful for running and the confidence, physical and mental fitness, friends and good times that it has given me.
  • I’m thankful that a higher power was looking over me and my loved ones on Monday and that, for us, Boston Marathon 2013 was filled with more good memories than bad.   My heart breaks for those that weren’t as fortunate.

14 thoughts on “Giving Thanks: Boston Marathon 2013 Race Report

  1. Terzah

    I’m glad you took this approach with your post–it was good to hear some good out of the day, and I don’t think you should feel bad about celebrating your hard work in this way. Congratulations!

  2. I love this. And I totally agree with every one of your thoughts on the course, etc. Next time I will run Boston like you did. I am so glad you and your family are safe. F@%^&*&^%^&*#CK those evil people who tried to rain on this parade. I am so glad you wrote your race report. Congratulations Cindi! Cheers!

  3. MOM

    BRILLIANT !! loved your great observations and glad you Finally had a Marathon to just enjoy!!

    Proud to be a part of this Marathon and SO SAD for those whom it ended in tragedy!
    Hoping dad and I will return to Boston for at least one more MARATHON !

  4. Maria Pfeiffer

    Great post and perspective… I was so glad to hear that you and your family were safe and together! Love all the pictures too!!

  5. i’m happy your first boston was filled with good memories rather than bad. i hate that this horrific event marred anyone’s first boston – or 100th boston. violated was a perfect word used by another blogger. i think it sums it up well.

    our boston races were very similar. i ended up being so thankful for the heat that day so i could soak it in. i never wanted it to end either!

    congrats, boston marathoner 🙂

  6. Pingback: 2013 Boston Marathon Weekend Memories | Runnin' From The Law

  7. Teri Byrne

    I loved your blog and I love your writing style. It does look & sound like you had the time of your life. You are such an inspiration and I find myself laughing one minute at your quips & side notes, and on the verge of tears the next minute because of your love of life and the people in it.

  8. Really enjoyed reading your Boston Marathon experience. It was like being there…which I was. Re-living the thrills and fun of the race made a great end to my day and helped with healing. Also today, exactly one month after Boston, I received my medallion by FedEx, as I am one of the 5700.

  9. Reblogged this on Runnin' From The Law and commented:

    In honor of the 2017 Boston Marathon coming up on Monday, I’m rebloging my 2013 Boston Marathon Race Report. I still get emotional thinking about that day. I’m finally feeling healthy and ready to try to qualify again and get back to Boston!

  10. Pingback: Boston: The Documentary – motivation! | Runnin' From The Law

  11. Pingback: Reflections on Boston Marathon – 5 years after the bombings – Runnin' From The Law

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