Race Report

#70: 04/15/2019 — The Boston Marathon (Massachusetts: 5:11:28)

When we visited the expo, Reilly found my name on the marathon participant board in seconds! He was excited!

Boston 2019 is in the books! McNishs raised a total of $10,241 for Camp Kita. The four Camp Kita runners combined raised over $50,000 for Camp this summer. How amazing is that?

We arrived in Boston on Saturday afternoon. We took Amtrak. Boston was pure chaos! We decided to avoid the ‘mini city within the city’ this year (a.k.a., Marriott Copley), and stayed at the Westin Copley. It was a block from the finish line and packed, but far less chaotic that our experience last year. As a general rule for me, Conference Centers, Gaylord Hotels, Marquis Hotels–not for me. The city within a city makes me sweat because I suffer from Direction Deficit Disorder (..it’s a real thing, ya know).

Our room at the Westin Copley. My hard-earned points at work with our spacious room!

We hit the expo on Saturday, and it was BOOMING! Boston was filled with elites and speedsters. Everyone had their Boston Marathon Celebration Jackets from previous years (because they come back year-after-year). Meanwhile, I’m walking around in my leggings, faux fur poncho and Birkenstocks, ha ha. I’m not the typical runner that flocks to Boston. I’m a high volume marathon runner, not a speedster like most of these folks, so I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t feel a little out of place. 🙂 The question is asked often, “what was your qualifying time…?” I think to myself: “my qualifying time was that time I got the phone call that changed my life forever–and eventually brought me to this amazing charity to help others–that was my qualifying time.” Don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for what it takes to qualify, however, charity runners are frequently frowned upon by non-charity runners. We have the stress of meeting the financial goals we committed to. There were over 100 charities represented in Boston this year, and because of this privilege, charity runners raised $36.6 million dollars this year. That is absolutely freaking amazing.

Our visit to the expo Saturday afternoon!

I am so grateful for all of you who continue to support me on this journey with Camp Kita. You are all incredible.

We enjoyed Boston! We walked around, took the T and embraced the excitement of this prestigious race!

Just a kid from Philadelphia…in his Camp Kita hat!

Onto the race…

I stalked the weather relentlessly. I had prepped outfits for rain, rain + cold, rain + cold + wind, warm + wind, and warm + rain. What I did not prep for was torrential rain + humidity + hot sun + cold rain again + 20+ MPH winds. I knew I would do my usual and wake-up and do a game-time decision. We had our pre-race dinner with the Daniel Family! We took Craig’s suggestion and had dinner at Lo Conte’s. It was awesome! Craig even brought me a ‘Craig-sized’ throw-away to add to my options for the morning (again, expecting cold..)!

Pre-race dinner with the Daniel Family in the North End!

I was ready for race morning, all clothing options laid out. I knew I wasn’t wearing the shirt they gave us (it’s like wearing that night’s Phish show shirt to that night’s Phish show–faux pas if you ask me). I did get my food bag ready to go. This is the ONLY bag you could bring to the starting area. I’m not used to starting to run 26.2 miles at 11:15, so I was nervous about my food. Three bagels and a bag of plain rice. I nibbled for 3 hours.

Food is ready!

When I left my hotel for the Marathon Maniac motor coach bus to the start (the best investment ever), it was hurricane like wind and rain. I tried to capture it, but pictures never do justice. I was drenched, already.

Weather scene 1: Wind and rain on the way to the bus to the start. 🙁 The streets were flooding and no rain poncho on earth was keeping you dry.

There is so much excitement for this race, as we were gearing up, I met and chatting with so many people. I actually DO feel ‘in place’ with the charity runners. There isn’t the competitiveness with the charity wave. It’s all about finishing!

When I got on the bus, I took my drenched socks off, rung out the rain water and propped them on the window of the bus where the air-conditioning blew out (that we didn’t need on), in hopes they’d dry. This was not how I wanted to start my day. They didn’t dry (surprise), and with all these races under my belt, you’d think I would have thought of back-up socks.

Dry socks, dry!

The rain stopped and we moved into gloom. The gloom was okay by me, only my wet socks felt like sandpaper and my feet were sliding around my sneakers the whole time. I actually decided that I need to give up on the Nike sneakers. I’m so done with the cushioning giving out within 2 months, the fabric stretching out and me being forced to buy a new pair every three months. DONE. I was looking around at all the other runners, dreaming of what it would be like to run on all that fancy cushioning. I’ve been running on the same model for 15 years. I threw them away this morning. All of them. Every single old pair in my house. DONE.

Weather scene 2: Sun melting off the clouds and the heat and humidity beginning to wreak havoc. It was HOT.

The crowds on this course are A-MAZ-ING! The Wellesley College girls are for REAL. The ‘kiss me’ signs are so funny and my God, they must all lose their voices after Marathon Monday. You could hear them screaming from 3/4 of a mile away. It was insane! The heat started to get intense. I ran into Amey right after the half (I think), and we started suffering with the humidity together. I was actually a little nauseous. We started breaking it down so early (a structured walk/run), but it was so awesome to have a fellow Kita team member to chit-chat with! We hit the Newton Hills. I told Amey that I don’t remember all the hills from last year because I was so focus on the 35 MPH winds and hurricane rain. We were crawling up a hill and I asked, “is this that hill that everyone complains about?” She said, I think so, I don’t know. We asked a stranger in the sideline, “where’s Heartbreak Hill?” She was so perplexed: “you’re on it–you’re almost to the top of it!” Amey & Carrie: “oh.” lol

Amey & Carrie at the top of Heartbreak Hill.

This is my 70th marathon. I definitely know how to get it done. My ‘struggle’ shifts around, depending on the day, the race and the conditions. Amey and I muscled through the suck, and I was ready to get it done. I find that I am always stronger toward the end (less likely to want to walk, more likely to just run to finish). With that, we parted, I was ready to put a bow in this race because the wind was getting intense, the rain drops were really cold, my feet were still sloshing around, and it was 3 PM and I’ve only eaten race food and I wanted food.

Weather scene 3: wind, wind and more wind + rain.

At this point, I was ready to be done. The last six miles are so intense with spectators. It is such a huge party in Boston! What was amazing was all the spectators recognizing that this wave of runners not only trained to run, but they acknowledged that we were charity runners and were so grateful for the efforts to the charities. You heard things like, “think of all the money you raised and how proud the people who donated are of you.” I was heartwarming to hear. Most charity runners are required to raise 10K.

That right on Hereford and left on Boylston is for REAL! It is serious business–the crowds, the excitement, the love! I was looking for the Kita Crew (Morgan and Sydney), and Nish and Reilly. I love seeing my boys at the finish. I saw Reilly in his Camp Kita baseball hat in the grandstand just as I was coming into the finish line! We were so grateful to receive grandstand passes from a Kita family member! WAY cool! I wanted under 5 hours, but finished in 5:11:28., but I STILL beat last year’s time by 1 minute, 5 seconds, ha ha!

A boy with his hat, monkey and phone, in the airport ready to go!

We flew out Monday night at 9:45 PM back to Philly. This was an amazing experience! I am so grateful for all of you donating to this amazing Camp! I will post an update when I get to Rome, Maine this summer for my volunteer week!

That’s a wrap!

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