OK. I don't even know where to begin. If you follow my blog, you already know about my journey getting to the Boston Marathon. Now that I have experienced it for myself, I have to say, I LOVE BOSTON!
For those not familiar with the Boston Marathon and it's rich history here is a brief lesson (via Wikipedia):
The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon hosted by several cities in greater Boston in eastern Massachusetts, United States. It is always held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. Begun in 1897, inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics, the Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's best-known road racing events. It is one of six World Marathon Majors, and is one of four major events held in the United States through the years of both World Wars (Kentucky Derby, Rose Parade, and Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show are the others).
Since 1897, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has managed this event.
The event attracts 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England's most widely viewed sporting event. Though starting with 18 participants in 1897, the event now attracts an average of about 30,000 registered participants each year.
So yep, this race is the oldest marathon in the country and one of the most prestigious. If you ask a runner what would be their ultimate goal is, running the Boston Marathon is high on the list and I felt honored to be there.
I left for Boston on Thursday morning. My friend Rob was nice enough to let me stay at his house Wednesday night. This saved me a lot of time in the morning and gave me a place to park my car. At 5:00am, I caught an Uber to the airport and was on my way!
I flew into Providence, RI instead of to Boston as it saved me a lot of money and David and Gail Martin (with whom I was staying) lived about half way between PVD and Boston. It was a win/win!
I arrived in Providence at around 4:30pm and caught an Uber offsite to pick up my rental car (renting a car offsite rather than at the airport saved over $100!).
I had made these great banners for the Maniac and Utah group pictures, but in my haste to get to the gate, I left them at the airport security. Luckily, I remembered on my drive to the Martin's and pulled over to call the SLC airport. They actually found them and I had them sent Fed Ex to me.
I made it to the Martin's, ordered good Chinese food for dinner, visited a little bit, then hit the hay. I wanted to get to the expo early to beat the rush.
This was in my fortune cookie at dinner. I found it profound for the occasion.
Macy is the Martin's cat. She is a DIVA and I love her!! If you whistle the Beatles "Penny Lane" she will come and sit in your lap!
I slept in a little later than I wanted, but was OK with it as I was exhausted and knew the schedule was about to get even crazier! The Martin's lived in Sharon, MA about 35 minutes by train into Boston. I drove to a train station a little further away just to avoid changing trains. The green line was a straight shot and I got to the expo around 11:00am.
On the way to the expo I saw this and have to admit, I got a little weepy! The last two turns in the marathon...Right on Hereford, left on Boylston!
Met fellow Salt Lake City friend, Martin Crous at the expo!
Always great to see Chris Jones and Bart Yasso.
I was excited! (photo credit: Chris Jones)
I got my bib!
This wall had every participant's name on it!
There is my name!!
You could print out a pace band right at the expo! It may have helped if I would have remembered to wear it on race day!
I met my friend Bart Yasso (Runners World's Chief Running Officer) at the Runner's World booth and we headed over to California Pizza Kitchen for lunch (Thanks Bart!), then I headed over to the Marriott where the Adidas Boston 365 VIP Lounge was (Thanks Tony for getting me a spot!) to hang out for a little.
My friend Bart Yasso and I after having a nice lunch!
I FINALLY got to meet my Facebook pal Tim Christoni and his lovely wife Helen!!
Waiting to go into the Adidas Boston 365 VIP Lounge, I ran into another Utah friend Ruthie Veater!
As I entered the VIP lounge, I was asked to draw a wooden chip out of a bag. I drew out a chip with the Adidas logo and was given my choice of prizes between a Boston Marathon hat of my choice, Red Sox tickets (as a Yankees fan, that's more of a punishment than a prize), or a $50 Visa gift card. I took the gift card and went an bought a hat for $22! Score!
Inside the VIP Lounge
Free food and drinks were flowing in the VIP Lounge!
Goofing off in the VIP Lounge! Who runs with the same arm and leg?
I started my fashion shoot here!
Is this hipster running Boston or just running to Williamsburg?
The Adidas Boston 365 was having their kick off VIP party at McGreevy's, probably the most popular pub in Boston on marathon weekend, but I had about an hour to kill so I headed back to the expo and was glad I did! I got to meet Meb Keflezighi (Silver Olympic medalist, NYC and Boston Marathon winner) for the 3rd time!
Just waiting for Meb!
BFF's! Ha Ha!
Even Trader Joe's had marathon fever!
After I left the expo I headed to McGreevy's for the VIP party. The place was packed, but we had the whole back of the pub roped off for our group. There there was a buffet of finger food and drinks were free!
The VIP party!
Free Shock Top!
I met a few cool runners from Sacramento and Ohio and before I knew it, it was time for me to get the train back to the Martin's. I had to get up early to run the B.A.A. 5K, so I headed to the nearest T stop.
On the way to the T stop, I passed a firehouse and fell in love with this little beauty!
Cool bench in front of the firehouse.
The next morning, I was up early to make it downtown by 6:30am. The 5K started at 8:00am, but I had offered to help Cindy from Sport Hooks out at the expo from 12:00-4:00pm. Bart Yasso was a prince and gave me the key to his room so I could shower up after the race while he was working, so I met Bart and a few of his Runners World colleagues for coffee and was able to drop my change of clothes off and pick up the key before heading to the race.
I got off the T and went to cross the street, when I saw this on the light pole. Never forget.
There were 10,000 runners in the 5K! The weather was perfect! I got there in time to line up in my corral and before I knew it we were off!
Just waiting for the 5K to start.
And we're off!
As one would expect in a 5K of 10,000 people, people were seeded in the wrong corral and even though I started in a faster corral, I was dodging slower runners and walkers the entire time. That was fine as I was just doing a shake out run and wanted to take a few pics, but it did slow my flow a couple of times which was kind of annoying, but I still had a total blast!
We get our glimpse of the famous Citgo sign!
The race takes us past the marathon finish line!
Looking forward to crossing that finish line on Marathon Monday!
I crossed the finish line in 26:08, picked up my t-shirt and medal then headed back to Bart's to shower and head over to the expo to work.
Saw my sweet pal Sandy at the finish!
Me and my 5K bling!
The 5K shirt and medal.
When I got to the expo, I saw a few more friends while working at the Sport Hooks booth!
The Maniac/Fanatic gatekeeper, Marc Fromer and I!
Memphis Maniacs and Run365'ers Scott Stader and Terry Glover
One of the perks of the Adidas Boston 365 VIP, was having a private coach (with a bathroom) to the start in Hopkinton. The bad part was I had to be on the bus at 5:30am. Which meant that I would have to leave the Martin's house before the T started running. This meant, I would have to drive in on race morning and hope I could find parking that would not cost me a fortune.
That was when two more angels came to my rescue! Cindy from Sport Hooks offered me the extra bed in her room on Sunday night and fellow streaker Tony Shilling, who also happens to head up security for the marathon offered me two parking passes (both good for 24 hours)! I was able to drive in Sunday morning and have parking until I left after the celebration on Monday night! This was so helpful and I can't thank them enough!
It was so great to meet Tony Shilling! He was not only helping keep us all safe, he saved me with parking right near the finish line!!
The super speedy Kirby Mills and I! Kirby runs on the Marine Corps team! OORAH!
I finished working and I was heading out of the expo, when I saw one of the Pioneers of the Boston Marathon and of women's marathon running in general. While we were celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bobbi Gibbs being the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1966 (as a bandit because women were not allowed to enter the marathon), Kathrine Switzer is the first registered woman to complete the race in 1967. Women were still not allowed to run, but Kathrine registered with her initials and got a bib! (Read the whole fabulous story here!)
The photo on the left is Kathrine in 1967 as RD Jock Semple tries to physically remove her from the race to no avail! I was so happy to finally meet her!
I made it back to the Martin's house and we went to dinner at a delicious Indian restaurant, then we went to bed.
Did I mention how much I love this cat?
Sunday morning, the Martin's had a local race to run, so I packed my bag and drove downtown and parked my car. My sweet friend Sue Mantyla had told me about the church service at the Old South Church. This church is just feet away from the finish line and was a refuge for runners and spectators alike after the 2013 bombings. Every year they bless the runners. I like blessings and felt that I had been blessed so much this weekend that I had to give thanks.
Carlos Arredondo was one of the may brave spectators turned hero back on April 15, 2013. Today he was giving the "Prayer of Blessing" in the Blessing of the Athletes service.
Runners from all over the world came together in the Old South Church.
After the service, I walked over to the finish line to organize the FOUR group pictures I had set up. It has always been tradition to hold the Marathon Maniac group pic on Sunday at 12:00pm. This gave people time to get there, but not mess up people's dinner plans by doing it later and race morning pics are impossible with all the different start times.
Since so many of us crossed groups, I scheduled the Utah, Run it Fast, and Revel Ambassador members to meet at the same time. The finish line was crowded, but we got some great shots. So glad my banners made it to me on time!
So excited to be here!
Run It Fast
My pal Georges would be proud of me. I put my selfie stick to good use!
Scott, Jen (Big Sexy), Terry and I
The Maniac Big 3 and I!
Marc and I
Ruthie and I sitting on the Finish line!
Celebrating 50 years of women running!
Steven Yee (The Prez) and I!
Mr. & Mrs. C!
I love to see my hats on people!
The great Larry Macon (Guinness World Record Holder) and the beautiful (inside and out) Stacy!
The marathon was everywhere!
After the photo shoots, I had a guest pass to the VIP lounge so I brought my Maniac friend Stacy to the lounge to grab some food and just relax before I had to meet Patti Krebsbach and some other Maniacs for dinner at Wagamama!
Wagamama is Patti's favorite place. I bet she ate there 5 times! It really was good!
After dinner at Wagamama!
After dinner Bart Yasso and I went to Pinkberry then I headed to Cindy's room at the Hilton, and prepared myself for race day!
Even the hotel staff got into the spirit of the marathon!
The next morning I woke up, packed my bag, thanked Cindy and wheeled my bag to my car (which was parked 10 feet from where the bus was picking us up) and I headed into the Marriott and into the VIP lounge. There they had a nice breakfast spread laid out for us. I grabbed 2 bananas, a toasted bagel, some tea, and a bottle of water and just relaxed before loading the bus.
At 5:30am we loaded our coach and headed to Hopkinton! The awesome thing about the VIP bus was that we could stay on them for as long as we wanted, so I slept the whole way there and had a warm place to continue sleeping for an hour after we got there! By the time I got off the bus it was almost time to start heading to my corral.
On the bus to Hopkinton!
It was already warm so before I checked my bag at the bus (we had our own gear check), I took off my gloves and arm warmers. I would not be needing them today.
At the start wearing the shoe charms my friend Sue gave me. She has been such a huge support to me in my journey and I wanted her to know she was with me.
I remember walking into the athlete's village at the NYC marathon for the first time and feeling excited and overwhelmed. When I hit the entrance to the athlete's village in Boston, I had the same feeling. It really felt like I had hit the big time!
The entrance to the Athlete's Village.
Oh boy! Here we go!
When I got in, the first thing I wanted a picture with was the Hopkinton sign. Someone had told me that there was a long line for photos in front of it, so I wanted to get in it before they called our start, but everyone I asked could not direct me to it! While I was looking, I ran into Ruthie again! This was our first Boston and we were so excited!
Ruthie and I ready to go!
Having fun in the village!
Everyone just hanging out in the sunshine.
I met a fellow Run it Fast member in line!
I never though I would see this day and here it is!
Suzy from Utah!
Heading to our corrals.
Always great to see Big Sexy!
Patti is another person that has been a huge inspiration and friend to me! Love you PK!
As I was standing in my corral, I looked next to me and SCOTT JUREK WAS STANDING RIGHT THERE! Without looking like too much of a lookie lou, I did congratulate him on his Appalachian Trail achievement and took a selfie with him and then ran the first 4 miles of the race right next to him! He was pacing Supermodel, Christy Turlington, who was running for her charity "Every Mother Counts".
Yeah, that's my new BFF Scott Jurek. Hee Hee!
Fely and I at the start!
Look! There they are again!
And again! OK, I AM a lookie lou!
Before I knew it, we were off! I was actually running the Boston Marathon! I yelled it out loud a couple of times and was met with cheers from the other runners! I guess they were as excited as I was!
I can't believe I am here!!
As I started running, I felt like I did running NYC. The marathon in Boston is not just a race, it is a community event! Everyone comes out to support the runners!
Every town had their own way of celebrating.
Forever Boston Strong!
I knew I was going into this race a little under trained, but I was keeping under my BQ pace for the first 10K. Then I had to use the bathroom. This was a drag as the lines were long, but I had no choice. I had to stop.
This continued 3 more times before I hit the half and with all the stops and waiting in long lines, I had to make a decision. I either kill myself trying to make up the time, not take in any of what makes the Boston Marathon so great and possibly not even be able to make it up, or soak in the rest of the race and just have fun. I opted for the latter.
I slowed down, took in the sights, took some pictures and just had a great time!
A little taste of Utah right there in Boston!
The LDS Missionaries came out to cheer too!
The kids were so cute! They loved giving us high-fives!
The way the starts were done, there were times that there didn't seem to be that many people on the course. I never had to slow down to keep my pace.
There was just NO WAY I could not stop for 4 bulldogs wearing top hats and bow ties!!
These were on every street pole. I should have drove by and taken one the next day!
Right around the half, we run into Wellesley, home of Wellesley College. Tradition is the girls at Wellesley come out and offer kisses to all the men. You could hear them screaming 1/4 mile away. It was amazing!
Wellesley girls ready to smooch!
When I joked about feeling left out, one girl came up and gave me a big kiss on the cheek. Then I saw this one cute young man holding a sign that said "Kiss Me, I'm Outnumbered"! This was my chance and I took it!
This cute boy was sweet to oblige!
I was exited to see a fellow Idiot on the course!
I was not running that well, so I was really looking forward to getting to mile 15 where The Martins were the aid station captains! I was so happy to see them both. They are the BEST!
David and Gail Martin were the awesome captains at the mile 15 aid station!
I was so inspired by the athletes with disabilities (and their guides) out there geting it done. Running a marathon is hard enough for those of us that have no disabilities. This guy brought tears to my eyes!
At mile 19 I ran into fellow Maniac Allison Black!
The highlight of my race was running into my friend Mary and her ADORABLE daughters!
Little Maya is just the CUTEST!!
At mile 21 we hit the famous "Heartbreak Hill". As I started up the hill a spectator handed me a sparkly foam core letter F and yelled "Get the F up the hill!!" I laughed and went to give it back to her and she told me that she had a whole bag of them. I handed it off to another spectator before I remembered to get a picture of it. It was so funny!
Heading up Heartbreak Hill!
I can do that!
I made it to mile 23!
At mile 25, you get to see the Citgo sign!
In the last mile
One mile to go!
Heading to the finish!
Crossing the finish line in 4:28:30 was not the time I was looking for, in fact it was my slowest marathon (outside of pacing) in almost 2 years, but it seems A LOT of people had a tough day. Looking at the winning times, it looks like even the elites ran a lot slower than normal. I still had a great time though!
I made it!
Catching my unicorn!
After I finished, I made my way back to to the VIP lounge to pick up my drop bag. It was so nice! They had lots sandwiches, drinks and other snacks. They also had massages!
Post race photo in the VIP Lounge.
I got some food and tried to score a shower somewhere so I wouldn't have to move my car. I didn't find anyone, so I did a sponge bath in the Marriott lobby bathroom changed into some clean clothes and met Patti, et al for dinner at Wagamama again, then met the rest of the gang for drinks at Boston Beer Works across the street from Fenway stadium where the after party was going on. Since we were having fun where we were, we didn't make it over to Fenway.
Maniac party at Boston Beer Works.
After we left I drove back to the Martin's and went to sleep. I slept so hard and it felt so good not to have to get up early. My flight home was not until 5:00pm, so I got my stuff packed and Gail and I went to lunch and headed over to the Sharon Fire Station where David worked so I could say goodbye.
Gail and I with the donkeys!
David is so cool!
He pulled out the truck and let me sit in the front seat (just like they do when little kids come to the station). Ha Ha! I was just as excited!
After that we went back and I packed my stuff and headed to the airport to come home.
This weekend was the culmination of all the work I did last year and there is little that can top it, but what made it so incredible was that I would have never been able to go without the help of some AMAZING and generous people.
THANK YOU 1-800 Contacts for sponsoring my entry fee. I am lucky to work for such a great company!
THANK YOU David and Gail Martin for immediately opening your home to me the day after I qualified! It was so much fun staying with you. I can't thank you enough!
THANK YOU Cindy and Marci from Sport Hooks for offering me a bed the night before the race saving me some sleep, Anytime I can help you again, please don't hesitate to ask.
THANK YOU Tony Shilling for the parking passes. They were such a HUGE help! You ROCK!
THANK YOU Bart Yasso for lunch, the use of your shower and the Pinkberry! I hope to see you in Ogden!
THANK YOU Tony Phillippi for getting me into the Adidas Boston 365. Getting a VIP experience on my first Boston was AWESOME!
THANK YOU Angel Whitworth, Sue Mantyla, Patti Krebsbach and Rob Benson for being the most supportive sister/friends I could ever wish for. You have all just been so AWESOME!
And last of all THANK YOU to ALL of you that contributed to help me pay for my travel expenses. Without YOU, I would have never been able to go. I really am truly blessed and touched.
This has been an incredible ride and while I may not have run a great time, I had a great time!