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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

#120- The 121st Running Of The Boston Marathon!

When I qualified for Boston last May, I decided the rest of 2016, was going to be spent having fun running. I had been working so hard in 2015 that I really just wanted to relax a little. 

I started dating my dear friend Bart Yasso at Boston last year, and for most of 2016, we traveled around, running races and having a great time. I was not trying for any PR's or BQ's, I just ran for fun and to spend time with him.

In late November when we suddenly broke up, I went through a deep depression and running was no longer fun for me. Every step reminded me how happy I was with him and in the blink of an eye, he was gone and I was grieving the loss hard. Very hard and I would be lying if I said it still didn't hurt.

I pretty much stopped training, but did keep going to the gym. I also am going through menopause which for the last year has messed with me big time! The sudden weight gain, the hot flashes, the emotional roller coaster, were all things I was dealing with on top of the grief. I could barely get out of bed let alone get out and run.

I felt fat and self conscious in my running clothes and I could feel the extra weight weighing me down as I ran. I really thought this might be the end of my marathon running. I felt running was ruined for me (both physically and mentally) and that really left me with no outlet for  my anxiety. 

I tried hard to get motivated, but with nothing to look forward too, it was hard. Then I remembered the two races I was most excited to do this year, Boston and the Yeti 100. I have been waiting all year to do these races, so I had to do SOMETHING if I was going to be ready to run either of them. So I started running the trails at night and on the weekend with my best friend Rob. (We are doing R2R2R at the Grand Canyon in May and needed to get ready for that anyway).  

Before I knew it April was here and I was still under-trained for what I wanted to do at the Boston Marathon. I knew I didn't have enough miles on my legs to run well, but I told myself "You earned your spot. You deserve to be there. Boston can be your victory lap." And that's what it was. 

I had been looking for flights to Boston shortly after I was accepted and everything I found to Logan airport was between $700-$900.  Yeeouch! After Bart and I broke up, he rescinded his invitation to stay with him in his hotel, so now I needed to find lodging too and with hotels at around $600 per night, even a share would run over $1,000! I was panicked about how I could swing it financially.

I stayed at the Gail and David Martin's house last year (they are the best) and they told me that I could save money by flying into Providence, RI. It was only an hour or so out of Boston, so I looked at Providence again this year and saved about $400 flying into T. F. Green airport. 

It was great to see a few Utah friends taking the red-eye to Boston. I was flying to Providence.

I got the red-eye out at 12:20AM Friday morning and (with a short layover in Charlotte) I arrived in Providence at around 10:00AM. 

Last year I rented a car, but this year I decided not to, so I had to find a way to get to Boston from Providence. Looking at schedules I decided on the Peter Pan Bus Line. For less than $20 I got on a clean bus, without having to schelp my luggage on a crowed train. I sat in a comfortable seat and closed my eyes until we got to South Station in Boston 1 1/2 hours later. It was great!

I posted on the Maniac Facebook page asking if there was anyone local that could put me up for Friday night (as my room share didn't get in until Saturday) and was so lucky that fellow Maniac, Ana Santa Cruz reached out and welcomed me into her home. This is what I love about the Marathon Maniacs, there is always someone willing to help you when you are in a bind.

Ana and I  had matching manicures! 

When I got to Ana's house, I changed my clothes and we headed down to the Runner's World pop up shop! I wanted to secure a "Boston Is For Runnahs" sweatshirt before they sold out. While there I ran into my friend Chris Jones and stayed for the "Super Secret Mystery Meeting LIVE" with Ali and Hannah from Runner's World, where we were given goodie bags and got to play "Pin the Race Bib on Matt Damon followed by a 3 mile shake out run with Bart.

Between Matt Damon and Chris Jones, it's hard to say who has the most star power!!

It was nice to see Bart that day. We made a decision to always try to stay friends and though it was awkward, we had a nice chat during the run. I think we both did the best we could that day. 

Bart introducing Hannah and Ali.

Me playing pin the bib on Matt Damon!

Chris Jones going for it!

After the shake out run, I met Ana (she didn't do the shake out run) and we walked over to the expo for a quick look around. I should have picked up my race packet, but I had forgotten my race passport at Ana's. We were told I could not pick up my packet without it, so we would need to come back on Saturday.

Walking through the expo I saw fellow Utahan Ruthie Veater getting her compression on! She was surprised to see me.

After the expo we headed to a place for dinner near Ana's apartment called Anna's Taqueria. The food there was great! I had wonderful Mexican Bowl and Ana had one of their famous burritos. 

The Mexican Bowl at Anna's Taqueria

After dinner we headed back to Ana's and pulled out our stuff for the 5K and hit the hay, but not before snuggling Ana's Chinchillas!! 

OMH! I have never seen a Chinchilla, but I think I know what Stitch (from Lilo and Stitch) is now! So flipping CUTE!

Saturday morning we got the train to Boston Common for the start of the BAA 5K. Doing a shake out run with 10,000 people is fun! It was great to run into many friends at the start!

Ana and I waiting for the train before the 5K.

I saw my friend Ruthie again and her husband Royce too!

We dropped our drop bags and headed to the start. The weather could not have been more perfect.

Ana and I waiting to start!

There were so many people there it took a few minuted to get across the starting line!

Once we were off, we settled into a brisk but easy pace. At one point Ana ran ahead of me while I stopped to take some photos. The 5K is fun as you get to run across the finish line of the Boston Marathon about a mile from the finish. For those wanting to run the Boston marathon, but have not yet had the opportunity, this gives them a chance to feel what crossing that iconic finish line feels like.

Lot of runnahs!

I had to get a picture with Spike!

I don't expect a medal for a 5K, but this is so cute! I love the little unicorn medal!

The 5K shirt and medal.

We finished the race, picked up our bags and headed to the expo! I really think all 10,000 people running the 5K did the same thing as the line to get in was around the block! It was sooooo long! Once we got in, we picked up our bibs and did some shopping!

Be Boston!

My coveted race bib!

While at the expo, I had my Achilles taped at the KT Tape booth. They are a Utah company, but I was so surprised to have my foot taped by Ricky Minor, brother to my co-worker Brenna! Small world! 

Celebrating Patriot's Day!

Can you guess which Patriot I like better? LOL! 😂😂😂😂 (For the record, I was not responsible for the graffiti. I wish! LOL!)

After the expo, I headed back to Ana's, picked up my bags and headed to the Westin Boston Waterfront. This hotel was a few miles from downtown, but pretty convenient to the T station or Uber.

When I got there, I met up with my friends (and fellow Maniacs) Paula and Stacy. Paula is a FABULOUS former Torpedoman's Mate 2nd Class in the United States Navy. She is a wounded veteran running with Achilles International  (an organization that enables people with all types of disabilities to participate in all kinds of running events). Stacy is a wonderful, giving person and would serve as Paula's guide during the race.

They invited me to tag along with them to a wreath laying ceremony at a new memorial dedicated to those service members (of all branches of the military) who have lost their lives since 9/11/01. It was quite moving to see these men who sacrificed so much laying wreaths honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 
The most difficult part for me was not being able to pet all the cute service dogs!

Great people here!

Stacy, Paula and I with two of Boston's finest!

After the wreath laying I headed down to Quincy Market to meet the Utah 2 Boston gang for dinner and a beer at Cheers! We were not at the original Cheers from the TV show, but a second and bigger location. There was all kinds of Cheers memorabilia in there though.

Quincy Market welcomes the runners!

Just a few Utahans ready for some fun in Boston!

We didn't have to wait very long for a table and when we got in we had a great time laughing, eating and drinking! The beer in Boston is much stronger than in Utah and I felt a little tipsy after just one beer! HUGE THANK YOU to Paul Fulton for picking up the tab for our whole table! That was soooo nice!

It's kind of sacrilege to not have a beer when at Cheers! 

Cheers at Cheers (Photo credit: Paul Fulton)

After we left Cheers, we took a walk down to Bova's Bakery. Now most tourists go to Mike's Pastry, but when we asked the locals which was better, they all said Bova's, plus the line was a lot shorter!

How can I pick just one thing?!! (Photo credit: Paul Fulton)

I bought a mini eclair and a mini cream puff, both of which were delicious. I took a photo of them, but I must have eaten it because it is not saved anywhere! 😀

After we ate our pastries, I went back to the Marriott downtown (where a couple of the girls were staying) to try and find a charger for my phone. My phone had died and I couldn't even call an Uber to come get me. The front desk plugged my phone in for 10 minutes at a time, but with for some reason 2 Uber drivers cancelled the ride because they didn't know how to get around the road closures. 1 1/2 hours later, I made it back to my hotel! 

What a great group of runners! (Photo credit: Melissa Stuy Willie)

Sunday was Easter so I wanted to try and make it to the Old South Church for the blessing of the runners at 9:00AM. No matter what denomination you are, this is an amazing service to attend. Unfortunately, I left the huge banners I made (for the Utah and Maniac pictures) at Ana's house, so I had to grab and Uber and rush back to pick them up before Ana left for her Easter plans, so I missed the service.

Old South Church is right near the finish line. It served as a refuge during the 2013 bombings.

I got the banners and headed back downtown and walked around the expo until 11:15AM, when I headed to the finish line for the Utah photo which was to take place at 11:30AM. 

This firehouse had a Dalmatian last year. I hope it is the same dog. She was a sweetie!

The most famous corner in Boston (for runners anyway)!

At the Expo!

The finish line was really crowded!

I got excited thinking about crossing that finish line!

At 11:30AM we gathered all our Utah runners for the picture. In our Utah 2 Boston Facebook group, someone asked if we thought Olympian and elite runner Jared Ward would come for the picture (he lives in Utah)? Well, HE CAME!! 

Jared Ward and I. Such a nice guy!

Utah Runners do LOVE Boston!

Jared Ward jumped in our photo! Jared would place 10th in the race the next day!

Martin and I with my dear friend Sue and her daughter Jennifer. We were so excited for Jennifer as this was her first Boston!

At 12:00PM we took the annual Marathon Maniac picture! So fun to see so many friends!

Marathon Maniacs in Boston! 

Always great to see Tony (MM #3). He was the only main Maniac in Boston this year. 

So happy to see my dear friends, Andrew and Elizabeth (who are recently engaged! YAY!) and Daniel and Heather!

So great to see my friend (and Maniac Nashville Ambassador), Brian Wright walking down the street!

After all the pictures were taken, a group of Utah runners (and thousands of others) were going to the Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Paul Fulton once again was very generous and gave me one of his extra tickets to join them. Now, as a Yankee fan, I thought I would never set foot in Fenway, but that would not be the first of my sins.

Hanging on the Boston Bench!

Enemy territory!

It would not be a baseball game without a hot dog!

Once we got into the stadium, we had great seats, but there was not a speck of shade anywhere. It being 80 degrees and me forgetting my sunscreen, I could already feel my head getting sunburned. Well, I think the sun actually fried my brain. I became delirious. I didn't know what I was doing. I am so ashamed to say that when Paul offered me his brand new Red Sox hat to wear, I PUT IT ON! I should have known it was the wrong thing to do when it hit my head and the flesh began to burn, like when silver touches a vampire's skin. What was I thinking?!  

Fenway Park

Can't you see me crying out for help? LOL! (Paul, Aaron and I).

It only got worse!

I am NOT having fun! 😂😂😂

When word got out of my betrayal, my punishment was immediate. Jorge Garcia told me he thought he lost his best friend and reminded me how a true Yankee's fan goes to Fenway!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, sunglasses, hat, outdoor and closeup
Jorge and Paula setting me straight! To be fair, if I had my Yankees hat with me I would have worn it! I'm not scared! (Photo credit: Paula Burke) 

After the game Paul, Aaron and I went to find dinner. We headed to the North End. A lot of the Italian places had long lines to get in, but then we happened upon this small place called Pushcart Pizzeria. When we got to the door, this huge guy was just standing in front of it. When we asked "can we come in?", he rudely answered "I don't know can you?" We found out we could! (After reading some yelp reviews, I am to assume this was the owner and his people skills may be lacking). Our waitress was very nice and the food was excellent! Paul and Aaron ordered a calzone that was basically a large pizza folded in half. It was HUGE! I ordered two slices of cheese pizza. If I would have known that each slice was the size of two slices, I would have only ordered one. They had great Sangria too. This place was a cordial bar, which means they are only allowed to sell beer, wine and flavored liquor. If you want a shot of vodka, it had to be flavored vodka!  

HUGE THANKS TO AARON for buying us dinner! I had a blast hanging out with these two great guys!

After dinner I headed back to the Hotel. I saw Stacy in the lobby as Paula went to bed early and she was hanging out with some of the Achilles team. She invited me to hang out and have a beer with them. I was so glad I did as not only did I get to talk to some of these amazing people, they let me snuggle their dogs!!  

Noonan wanted to lay ON me!  SWEETIE!

Laying on the floor surrounded by doggies = heaven!(Photo credit: Stacy Bolyard)

One of the coolest people I met was this guy who's name I will keep anonymous. He was missing one leg and his other leg looked like it had been severely burned. When we got talking about service dogs, and how they can really help with PTSD. I showed him a picture of Zoe and that got us talking about 9/11 and how my dogs (first Spike and then Zoe) were critical in getting through my own battles with PTSD.

It was then he told me that he had lost his leg in the 2nd bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon! This drove him to work with Camp No Limits, a summer camp for children with limb differences. His story was absolutely riveting about that day, but it is his to tell. It made me think of how special these athletes are. Some were injured Veterans, some were not, but they all had a common goal to NOT let their disability stop them from living, moving and defining them. It was a real honor to be in their presence. 

I had to meet Sue at the Park Plaza Hotel at 8:30AM to catch our bus to the start. Most marathons we run in Utah are half done 8:30AM, so this was a late start for us and our actual start time wasn't until 10:50AM!

I made my way upstairs and laid out my clothes for race day and hit the hay!

Flat Angie ready to go!

In the morning I grabbed an Uber and headed downtown and I sent Sue a text to let her know when I was in the lobby of the hotel.

Sue's sweet husband Don came down took some photos and saw us off!

The Park Plaza Hotel was giving these cookies to all the runners! It was too cute to eat! 

Sue and I catching the bus!

Here is a little video I shot on the bus:

It was already hot when we got on the bus. I didn't even bother taking anything to the start but a Delta Airlines blanket Paula had given me. Sue and I were already worried about the heat and already decided to take it easy out there!

Sue and I enter the Athlete's Village!

Squinty selfie!

When we got off the bus, we made our way to the port-a-potties. The lines were very long. We met a couple of nice ladies and while I was in the bathroom, they were already calling the blue wave to the start! It was so fast!

Right when we entered the village, we saw Tony and some other Maniacs heading to the start.

So many potties, so little time!

We saw a few Utah girls at the start too!

And plenty of Maniacs!

You can tell how much the people of Hopkinton love the marathon. They were all outside wishing us luck as we made our way to the very understated staring line. Before you knew it, we were off and running!

These people decorated their house with encouragement!

There's Only One Boston!

It was so AWESOME to see one of my old NYC dance friends at the start! Noriko was guiding a blind man named Hiro from Japan! She has qualified to run next year, so she will get to run herself! I saw her at the finish and she told me that Hiro got a PR! Way to go!

Security was tight!

The starting line is very understated.

Sue and started off pretty well. We were having fun and taking pictures. We thought with the heat and all the photo stops, we would shoot for a 4:15-4:30 pace. 

The problem I have had since I started menopause, are the hot flashes make me dizzy and when it's already hot, I feel like I am going to pass out. Mix that with being severely under-trained and it's the worst! At about 5 miles it it happened. It was so hot and a hot flash hit me. I had to stop and walk before I passed out. 

Just before the 10K, I told Sue to go and I would try to catch her. It never happened. I was too hot and too under-trained. A pace that once was so easy felt harder than it should.

Sue and I entering Brookline!

I. CAN'T. EVEN with these cutie pies!!

This is a proud American if I ever saw one!

I love it!

They were raising the roof!

About mile 7, I had to stop and take off my cute compression sleeves. The were cooking me from the inside out! I plugged a long at an OK pace for the first 10 miles, then decided at the half that my legs just didn't have the miles on them and pushing it in the heat was not going to make a fun day. 

I saw a girl in a Team Challenge shirt cheering on runners! This is the charity I will be running Chicago for! You can help me reach my goal by donating HERE.  

4 Years After Boston Even Stronger

As much as running a 5:00 marathon did not appeal to me (this IS Boston after all), after getting too hot and having to sit in spectator's chairs and in the medical tent a couple of times, I played it safe. I reminded myself that qualifying was the hard part and slow at Boston didn't matter. It gave me more time to relish every moment of it!  

Just before mile 8 I saw Ruthie!


A little taste of Utah in Boston!

Around mile 8, the LDS Missionaries are out cheering!

Now, I never put my name on my shirt in races, but in Boston and NYC it is really fun. It felt like I had millions on people out there cheering just for me!

More cheering crowds!

In Boston, they really do know your name! LOL!

Army Strong, Boston Strong! 

Trying to get a little bounce in my step!

I break for cute dogs!

Right around the 20K point, you hit Wellesley. Home of the scream tunnel and where the tradition is to kiss a girl at the all girls school as you run by! It was not just boy's fun at Wellesley though. There were a couple of outnumbered guys out there too just waiting to kiss the women runners! 

Wellesley is Hillary Clinton's Alma Mater.

The girls are ready!

I got my Wellesley kiss from one of the outnumbered guys in the scream tunnel!

#NotASelfie LOL!

Thank you stranger!


Yep! And at my pace, I wasn't working that hard! LOL!

So I was probably around mile 16 or 17 when I saw a familiar face running next to me! I looked over and it was legendary ultra runner Scott Jurek! The funny thing about this is that at last year's Boston Marathon, Scott was in my corral and I spent the first 10K running right behind him!  

Scott and the founder of Cliff Bar!

Scott was so nice!

How fun to run into fellow Maniac David Goodrich on the course! I don't know why he didn't want to run Heartbreak Hill with me! Ha Ha!

I loved these ladies out cheering!

At mile 19, we were climbing this horrible hill. These guys were having more fun than I was!

Just before Heartbreak Hill, I saw Andrew!

The spectators really have fun!

Boston's Finest keeping us safe!

Around mile 20 we hit the infamous Heartbreak Hill (but the huge hills at 18 and 19 had already broken my heart).

Thank God!

In the last few miles, I ran in to Ken E. Nwadike, Jr. Ken is a runner and race director, but he is most well known as the founder of the Free Hugs ProjectThe mission of the Free Hugs Project is to spread love, inspire change and raise awareness of social issues. All things I try to do myself! 

Ken Nwadike and I shared a mile together and before I left him, I got my hug!

Hey it's Jackie Moon! 

So happy to see mile 25!

When you see the Citgo sign, you are about 1 mile from the finish!


Boston Strong!

Right on Hereford...

Left on Boylston!!

Coming towards the finish, I was so happy to see Stacy and Paula!!

Sometimes, teamwork makes the dream work!

I ran my race an hour slower than my BQ for 2018, but I didn't care! Crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon is so AMAZING!!

This picture sums up exactly how I was feeling. Free.

I caught my unicorn!


So great to see Karen at the start and finish! Sue, Karen and I brought the glamour to the marathon!

The marathon shirt and medal

Close up of the medal.

I made my way to the train and back to the hotel. We had set up a Maniac after party at Boston Beer Works at 6:00PM. The problem was by the time I made it back to the hotel and got a shower, I was already late! I finally got there about 7:15PM and the party was in full swing!

Maniacs celebrating at Boston Beer Works!

Only in Boston! Say hello toy your mother for me! 😂😂😂

After we had dinner and drinks at Boston Beer Works, we walked across the street to Fenway Park for the Mile 27 finishers celebration. This is free to all marathon participants.

So great to see Tim and Helen!


The band was rocking!

I finally got my head right to show my disdain for the Red Sox!

Balloons and bling at Mile 27!

After the party, I got an Uber back to the hotel and ran into a couple of the Achilles guys. I had a beer at the bar with them and we talked about our races. A lot of the guys got PR's which was very cool. I drank my beer and went up to bed and slept like a rock!

The next morning, Paula and I went down to Boylston Street one more time. There were long lines to have your jacket embroidered with your time on it (I definitely passed on that) and your medal engraved. It was free, but I didn't have my medal with me, so we walked around, Paula did some shopping and before we left we stopped into Whiskey's for lobster rolls. 

Long lines to get your medal engraved!

Paula and I could not leave Boston without having a lobster roll. 

It was sooooo good!

After lunch we headed back to the hotel, I grabbed my bags and headed to the bus station to get the 2:00PM bus back to Providence. Everything went smoothly and I made it home safe.

The next day I went to see the documentary, Boston. Wow was it well done. It was only open for one night only, so I hope it goes to DVD soon. I cried a lot in the movie. Some parts you would expect to cry, like when talking about the bombings, but I cried at parts that were just inspiring like Kathrine Switzer's story. It was so great to see her run this year 50 years after she she was almost pulled out of the race for being a girl.

In the days that followed the marathon I felt really depressed. I was very weepy. I knew the loss of a long time friend who meant the world to me had me very sad, but I was also sad that the way I am running now, I may never qualify again. I guess I have the Boston blues.

When I started this journey to Boston three years ago, I never thought I would ever qualify to run it once, but I was so blessed to earn my spot be a part of it twice. That is more than some people can say and if I never get back, I am grateful for the two glorious years I had.

I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who supported me through my Boston experience this year:

Rob Benson: My best friend for driving me to and from the airport.
Ana Santa Cruz: For giving me a place to stay Friday night and for your warm hospitality.
Paul Fulton: Thank you for dinner and the Red Sox ticket (but they still suck)! LOL!
Aaron Foy: Thank you for dinner Sunday night!
Paula Steinbach and Stacy Bolyard- You guys rescued me! THANK YOU!
Jenn Pellegrino- For listening and being a great friend. CONGRATULATIONS on your 1st Boston and your 50th marathon!
Sue Mantyla- For supporting me from day one! Love you!
Thank you to all of the Marathon Maniacs and Utah runners that made me laugh and cry over the weekend! You are the BEST!

And lastly, THANK YOU BOSTON! 💙💛

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