Boston 2014: The Race (Finally)

Some people like to give you a mile by mile recap of their marathons. In fact, I am guessing you can find thousands of recaps of Boston online if you look hard enough. But I will spare you the details. Outside of it being shoulder to shoulder for the first 12 miles or so (because of the ridiculous, er, incredible amount of runners) and the lack of bombs, it was pretty much just like last year. Same start, same stop. Same hills. Same water stops. Same landmarks. Same distance. You get the point.

But I….I was not the same as last year. Interestingly enough, there is comfort in running a race you have run before. I knew the lay of the land, so to speak. I knew what to expect (unless you factor in that part where, because I was searching for Kurt,  I completely forgot about the hills coming up and thought I had hit a wall around mile 16, only to realize I had just finished the first hill….phew! For a moment there I was cursing at myself for having used a different training plan because clearly I wasn't ready to run more than 16 miles!!!!) And most importantly, I knew that when somebody offered me to take over wearing their bunny ears because the ears were making their head too hot, that I should probably say no even though I really wanted them, because why take the risk of bunny ears slowing you down?!

At any rate, I went all out this year. I didn't hold back. I just assumed I would make it to the finish, one way or another. And I did. Crossing the finish line in 3:18:59, exactly six minutes faster than last year, I felt like I could finally be done with this whole running thing. I had pushed myself to run a marathon in under 3 hours and 20 minutes (because that was the goal a friend of mine had and if it was good enough for her, why shouldn't it be good enough for me??) and with this success, I was done. And my body agreed. So much so that after the race, four different medics approached me to ask if I was okay. One of them stopped me and started asking me questions: "What's your name, runner?" (Oh, oh, I know this one! "Karen"!) "And where are you from, Karen?" (Oooooh……hmmmm…...well, I just moved to Mars……shoot, no, I can't tell him that because then he will think I clearly have a problem. Well, maybe he means where am I from originally, but what if he knows where MojoRunning is because that is clearly displayed on my hat??? Shoot…. oh, I got it….."Pennsylvania.") Apparently I passed the test because he let me out to wander the streets on my own.

After what seemed like an eternity, I finally ended up at the free massage place near the family meeting area. As I was leaning against a wall, almost in tears from the cramps in my legs and the emotion of the race (or perhaps that sudden drop of adrenaline!) I began to talk to other runners. One man told me about his pre-race anxiety, how he was so convinced there was something wrong with him last year that he went to the ER the night before the race. This year, he made an appointment with his doctor and changed his asthma meds a week before, which he said made a huge difference. I made a mental note of this and then asked him what symptoms led him to the ER.

"A general feeling like I was going to die…..some chest pains, shortness of breath, you know, basic heart attack symptoms….."

Halleluja and Amen! Apparently this is a thing…..not just my "thing" but something that other runners go through.  Phew!

Boston this year was a race to end all races. If I do it again, (which I won't), it will be at a slow and leisurely pace. It will be without the stress of someone who thinks they are dying and it will definitely include a post-race massage because, PRAISE THE LORD, there is nothing better than a cup of hot broth and a twenty minute rub down after running your tail off for 26.2 miles.

Oh, and it will include some bunny ears.

And perhaps some Xanax.

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