It’s hard to believe that this was my Boston Marathon. It was the worst weather that this race had experienced in 30+ years. I decided a few weeks before the race to invest in my ride to the starting line in Hopkinton in comfort. I paid $80 for a seat on the Marathon Maniacs motor coach. After a quick confirmation with Amy Flynn on “will this be worth it,” I am so glad I did. Not only did I get to sit with my crazy marathon bretheren, I was able to stay dry before the start of the race. As a charity runner, I sort of didn’t feel like I fit in. Even though this was my running club, most of the people on that bus qualified for Boston. I was able to listen to their previous Boston stories and ‘contribute’ to other runners. For example, I had an extra plastic bag for someone’s phone–they took, and I needed a pair of gloves, so I took a pair someone was offering to the bus. This was awesome. For this Boston though, the alumni even admitted these were the worst conditions they had experienced in some time. The weather was barely 40 degrees. It was raining sideways and the race course brought us straight into 30 MPH winds. It was the worst conditions I have ever, ever run in.
I embraced the SUCK!
It was hard, really hard. We were basically running through storm cells. The winds truly were head-on at 25-30 MPH. The temperature didn’t reach 40 until mid-race and the rain was heavy almost the entire time. I was soaked and chaffed from head to toe. The streets were flooded with rain water and with every strike of my foot, I could look down and see water seep out from my sneakers. My poor orthodics would surely be done from this race (held together by packaging tape because I have no desire to break a new pair in). My iPhone 8–supposedly waterproof–stopped working right before mile 10. The worst thing in the world other than horrific weather conditions is horrific weather conditions with no music. No Trey? Ugh. The text messages that were streaming in also stopped. No phone, no text messages of encouragement on my Garmin. This. Sucked.
I trained for this. I wanted nothing more than to have a strong race at Boston. I did hills repeats for weeks on end, I did speed work (a little), and I kept to a good weekly base, all to have a strong finish. I did not have a strong finish. As a matter of fact, I trudged through the water and trudged over the finish line in 5:12. Terrible. I had one porta-potty break, and I was so wet I couldn’t get my pants down over my big wet butt or back up. When I was exiting the porta-potty, I dropped my freebie cotton glove into a giant mud puddle. I needed it, so I put it back on, mud and all.
Right around mile 15, I saw a n00b runner, also named Carrie, that was apparently struggling. We all had miserable faces, but just by what she had on, I knew her struggle was a different kind of struggle. She had on a visor, a flimsy poncho, no gloves and just a running shirt. I asked her if she was okay, and she said, “yeah… um… no.” She had told me that her hands were hot and tingling (well, no duh, you have nothing on them and this is hypothermia weather). I asked her how many races she had done, and she said 3. I knew I needed to help her. I explained to her that even though her layers will be wet (her gloves), she needed them to retain heat and protect her skin from the wind. I told her that I would find her a pair of gloves. She was so confused (like, where–in your pocket)? I told her to follow me. I ran up to four people that were cheering in the rain. I asked the guy if she could have his gloves. I explained that her hands were hot and tingling and she needed to put something over them, even if they were wet. He frantically took them off and placed them on her hands. I hugged him, told her to give him hug and said, “c’mon–you need to keep moving.” We were going to try and find a better poncho, but she said she could take gear from her husband when she saw him at 17. I told her to take whatever he was wearing and to keep moving. If you stop, you freeze. I left her as she called her husband.
I saw Craig, Kristine, Owen & Peter at mile 10. I told them the conditions sucked. I was so thankful that they were out there–kids and all in the pouring rain. I looked for Paul for miles. I missed at mile 24. He traveled all the way for NYC for this moment for me. He has always been my running inspiration. I was lucky enough to hear ‘mommy, mommy, mommy,’ right around mile 25 (parallel from our hotel), and I saw Nish and Reilly. I was so grateful for my marathon crew. They all melted my heart.
Regardless of the suck, I did it. I ran the entire time. I was running slow and through puddles and in inches of water most of the day, but I did the best I could. I didn’t stop running up heartbreak hill. I loved hearing the Wellesley Girls about a mile out (it’s true, you can hear them a mile away). I love my Boston Marathon Celebration jacket. I loved how many people stood in the freezing cold and still cheered the on runners. This was my Boston. I said the F word a million times with my inside voice with the gusts of wind and rain shrapnel that pelted me on the face non-stop, but I finished. I thought of Camp Kita and all the people that were tracking me all day long and I didn’t want to let anyone down. I thank every single person that has believed in me through this journey for that day. It was an amazing experience.