Outrageous (priced) Photos!

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You only run your first Boston once, so I splurged and paid the outrageous price Marathonfoto charges to download race photos.  I gotta get my $85 worth, so you – my lucky 5 readers – get to be the first ones to see them.  Feel free to right click and save them and make poster blow-ups of them. 😉  First marathon photos where I actually look like I’m having fun, instead of walking and like death!

I love this one – you can tell I was around the real serious runners – with two of us having cameras and one dude texting while he’s running. 🙂  And is that a BEER can on the course by my foot?  It’s not mine – I swear!

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Returning to Normal

Love love LOVE this version of Hallelujah by Jeff Bickley.  And the photos and then the soladarity of the crowd at the Red Sox game are just incredible.

 

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The best thing about today, for me, is that it was normal.  And I needed normal.  I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the news stories about the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt and the aftermath.  Seeing the images of the aftermath everywhere has overwhelmed me – I’ve been reliving the sound of the explosions and seeing the awful plumes of smoke – over and over and over.  And I’ve had enough.  So to get the kids and Norah back today and to go for a MUCH needed run – it all felt so wonderfully normal.

2013 Boston Marathon Weekend Memories

My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and now the victims of the terrorists attempt to escape.  I pray that the remaining terrorist will be apprehended soon.  Watching the manhunt on the news all day has been nuts.  It’s got to end soon.

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I already blogged about the 2013 Boston Marathon itself.  But the lead up to the Boston Marathon itself was also – seriously – the best three days ever.  It was filled with good times with my parents, Scott and runners from our Chan Life Time running group.  Good conversations.  Great food.  Excellent drinks.  And loads of activities.

Our days and nights were full:  the Expo (twice!); bars (LOVED Dillon’s Restaurant and Bar); good food (highly recommend Atlantic Fish – and I don’t even eat seafood!); good desserts (the cannoli’s at Mike’s Pastries did not disappoint); a run with some of the group over to MIT and around; taking loads of photos of the finish line area; the B.A.A. 5k (so fun to run it as a fun warm up run with Scott and our good friends Shelly and Mike); a bus tour of the Marathon Course (very cool to be able to spend time at the starting line and see the actual course before running it); donuts (love me those glazed sticks at Dunkin Donuts!); walking in the North End; and did I mention bars?? (Dillon’s, 10, Joe’s, 21st Amendment, Bukowski Tavern, Sidebar, McGreevy’s, and of course Cheers).

I was SO happy that I decided to do the marathon for fun, rather than race it, so that I could be on my feet all day and not worry about the effect it would have on my race (and so I could have an extra glass of wine or two . . . ).

Here is the rest the rest of my Boston Marathon Weekend in photos:

My parents, Scott and running friends:

The Expo:

My Purchases:

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The B.A.A. 5k:

The Food and Drinks:

Hopkinton for the Course Tour:

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The Finish Line:

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Random Good Times:

Thank you to my parents and Scott for making the whole weekend so memorable for me!

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.

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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!

Results:

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.

The Boston Marathon Finish Line

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On my way to the bus that would take me to the starting line of my first Boston Marathon this morning, we stopped so that I could pose for a photo on the finish line that I would cross later that day.

It is unbelievable that the finish line ended up being the place where such a horrific act of terror took place.  On a day that was supposed to be a celebration for 27,000 runners.  On a day that is a state holiday here – Patriots Day.

I crossed the finish line about 15 minutes before the bombs exploded (after the most incredible marathon experience I’ve ever had – loving every step of it and taking 167 photos).  I saw my parents and stopped to talk to them across the barricade just a block or so down from where the explosions happened, then went on my way through the runners corral to get my food.  I will never forget hearing the explosion, turning towards it and looking down to the finish line on Boylston and seeing a huge plume of smoke and dust, followed immediately by a second explosion.  That image, and that sound, will stay with me forever.  I am thankful that my parents, Scott and my running group are all safe.  My heart breaks for the families of the runners and spectators that were injured, killed and affected by today’s tragedy.

 

Speedy Boston!

After touring the course via bus today and really seeing that 26.2 miles is a really fricking long way to go, I’m mixed about whether I want it to SPEED by or go ULTRA SLOW so that I can savor every second.’

After dinner tonight I “ran” the course on some stairs on the way home from dinner.  Thankfully after a couple glasses of wine there were no falls. 🙂

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This has been THE BEST couple days ever. 🙂

Tick tock, tick tock

Do runners really get anything done at work the week before the Boston Marathon??  This week is dragging by.

My days have been filled with daydreaming about Boston, preparing packing lists (I’m on 5 pairs of shoes and counting . . .), reading race reports from previous years, planning all the fabulous things I’m going to do for 5 fun-filled days, eating hamburgers and drinking beer.   Friday can’t get here soon enough!

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Boston runners and supporters – fueling on beer and burgers

A couple of events this past week have made me realize the path of a person’s life can change in an instant.  I am – as always – so thankful for all that I have and am able to do.  Savor every moment, people.

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