Read Part 1: Reality In Boston
Mother Nature didn’t have time for us on Marathon Monday. Sure, she graced us with blue skies and sunshine for the two days prior, but as we unloaded the bus in Athletes Village in Hopkinton, we were greeted by 20 mph wind, rain, and cool temperatures.
Of course we were.
I hid inside a garbage bag.
Of course I did. Everyone did.
Weather is about as fickle as running. Rain? OK, sure. If I have to, I can deal with it. Forty-two degrees? Perfect. Wind? Hell no. No every time. I asked the Department of Nope about running in the wind, and they referred me to NOPE.
All three at once? I just… no.
Needless to say, morale was low.
My pals and I huddled on the ground on top of garbage bags while inside garbage bags, anxiously chatting and nibbling on bagels, attempting to stay warm and dry. I tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to keep my mind off the fact that I’d be spending the next few hours in the wet, cold weather.
It was right about then that I began negotiating with my goals.
Originally, I had my eye on running a 3:35. That’s the qualifying time required for me to even get into the Boston Marathon, so it felt like an appropriate benchmark. It slowly shifted to, “OK, so if I can at least run below a 3:40, I’d be pretty pleased.”
Then 3:45. Three hours and 45 minutes was definitely it.
OK, can I just break 4 hours today?
FINISH. JUST FINISH AND BE HAPPY.
The downslide was swift.
The long walk to the starting line allowed plenty of time for my nerves to peak. THIS IS THE BOSTON MARATHON. I’M ABOUT TO RUN IT. Self, remember all that time you spent moaning and bitching about winter and running awful, long miles on the treadmill while the temperature dipped below zero and you cursed the day someone scheduled the Boston Marathon for April? IT’S HERE!
Despite the cold rain, the little bits of excitement began to warm me up.
And then, in the most surprising and random turn of events, I ran into an old friend and running teammate from high school. I hadn’t seen Sarah in 15 years, yet here we were, halfway across the country, at the starting line of the Boston Marathon, in a sea of more than 30,000 runners. The two of us, who started running as kids and spent years as cross country and track teammates, would end up running nearly half of biggest race of our lives side by side.
I KNOW. Blew my mind, too.
But before that we had to start.
The start of the Boston Marathon was strangely anticlimactic. My wave didn’t begin until 10:25 a.m. (nearly a half hour after the race officially started), so all the fanfare and national anthem-ing and starting gun hullabaloo had already passed. There were so many people around, I wasn’t even sure where the exact start line was, nor did I hear any actual signal to start running. Suddenly everyone just started running.
And just like that I was running the Boston Marathon.