It takes so much time and work to get to the starting line of a marathon. Add in the goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, training and running Boston and you are taking on a massive multi-year task. Marathons are a huge commitment and part of our family lifestyle. That’s why when I found this note my 8 year old daughter prepared for share day at school my heart completely melted.
My husband and I qualified and ran the Boston Marathon twice. First in 2012 (the hot year) and again in 2016 (also quite warm!). Each trip to Boston was extremely special, but having our girls with us was the right choice this year. They were old enough to really understand the process and appreciate why this race is so special.
Each trip to Boston was extremely special, but having our girls with us was the right choice this year.
This year’s expo felt very different. Four years ago the expo space was much larger. You could walk around to each vendor with ease despite the crowd size. This definitely wasn’t the case this year! After dragging our kids around for a couple of hours we were all a little beat up. The shoulder to shoulder crowds often came to a dead stop in the aisles. I know it stunk for the kids, they told me so! A couple of years past the point of being held, but not tall enough to be out of elbow range made the expo difficult. Crowds aside, I LOVE a good race expo and Boston will always be my mecca. We still got in a little trouble and managed to find a few goodies. Hell, we were at the BOSTON MARATHON expo! Time for some fun!
The history, dining (running makes you hungry!), beautiful parks and the energy this city gives off is downright addictive.
We really love Boston. We could live there we love it so much. The history, dining (running makes you hungry!), beautiful parks and the energy this city gives off is downright addictive. Our girls love big cities and Boston was no exception. There’s so much to do. The aquarium (the sea turtle is amazing), Freedom Trail, Paul Revere’s House, Boston Commons Park are just a few of our girls favorite activities.
Race Day. I’ve run 8 marathons, but I can’t imagine anything being more exciting. Even the walk to the bus pick up is great! Watching people descend from every direction to a massive queue of school buses… that gives me chills just to write. It’s soo good! The long bus ride to Hopkinton is the perfect time to get some great stories from your fellow runners. Learn how far people traveled, how many Boston Marathons they’ve run, meet some crazy fast people and see people emotionally overwhelmed by the fulfillment of their dream. I’m so lucky because this year I shared the bus ride with my husband and my running partner.
The Athlete’s Village. It seemed fuller than 4 years ago. To be fair the corral system changed and in 2012, although my BQ (Boston Qualifying) time was slower than this year, I was in an earlier corral. It is so cool to be in an Athlete’s Village. Yes, I’m athletic, but to be at an event that you qualified to run, alongside crazy talented runners and for the day they are your peers. It’s just one more reason the Boston Marathon is the ultimate goal for amateur runners.
When my corral was called I was in a massive line for the bathroom. Glamorous, right! That’s what we do in the village, cycle through the bathroom lines until you are called. Basically you are either in the shade trying to stay cool (my corral had a 10:50 start time) or in the bathroom lines.
With Yankee Doodle blasting over the loud speakers and people already cheering we walked into our assigned corrals.
The race itself is everything you’ve heard and then some. High-five as many people as possible, prepare for hills (17 total!) and reflect on your journey. This race is a beast. If the weather doesn’t get you the hills will. If you have friends or loved ones along the race I recommend that they pick up a few helium balloons. That’s the best way to spot them in the crowds of people lined up 5-7 deep for the length of the race. If you want a mile by mile recap read this. I’ve yet to see the race course broken down any better.
I can sum up this race with one word – memorable. I’ll never forget sharing this experience with my wonderful husband, children and mother. Training with my running partner and husband was an absolute gift. The race day itself, seeing my children just before I turned onto Boylston Street, the overwhelming feeling of elation and total fatigue as I crossed the finish line for the second time was so incredible.
After all that you’d think I did it, so move on. I am moving on. On to run it all again in 2017!!