Busy, busy, moving, new house, and 26.2 miles of smiling in Boston!

Total nerd at the pre-race athlete's village
Total dork in the athlete's village. I know...nice knee socks.
On the starting line in our corral full of soccer moms.
Pre-race seafood feast

Warning…..LONG POST

Life has been turned upside down lately.  We are in our new house.  I won’t write out all the gory details, except to say it was waaaaaay more time and work than we gave it credit for.  There is still a little crap in the old house, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Are you planning on moving anytime soon with a toddler and a tight schedule?  Well, email me and I can give you some tips on what NOT to do.  But the main thing is we are in, and glad most of the work is done.

And, yes, in the middle of it all, I had a trip to Boston.  This was probably the year I enjoyed it the most.

This was my 4th Boston marathon.  My first was 2004, when Stephanie very generously treated me to most of the trip.  We loved it and said we had to do it again.   We had record heat that year (although this year was hotter, more on that later), so we took it easy.  I returned in 2005 and ran a little faster, and then again in 2008, taking it easy, thinking it was my last one.

I busted my butt to run a qualifier as my first post baby marathon.  I barely did it, but felt very proud of the effort in the midst of about 2 hours of sleep a night while nursing an infant.  Mike encouraged me to register for Boston, and when Mark got in too we decided it was a must.

Somewhere in our training we decided to not try to knock it out of the park, but to run a good honest effort.  For me that meant hitting another qualifier, but not a PR.  This turned out to be a good decision and neither one of us was devastated when the weather reporting started predicting temps over 85 degrees on race day.

We arrived to Boston late Saturday night and woke up early Sunday to hit the expo and be tourists for a day.  Our hotel turned out the be the best location I’ve had there yet….we were not near the marathon hubbub at all, but in Cambridge, right near a subway station, so getting downtown was easy.   We were also next door to a Whole Foods, so we ate very healthy most of the trip.  We also were next to a movie theater and pledged we’d see The Hunger Games as our post race celebration.

The Expo was fun….we both spent too much money.  We were disappointed there were not kids’ shirts and decided to hunt for them when we did the Freedom Trail, a 2 mile or so walk throughout downtown that hits multiple historical colonial sites.  We also hit the Bill Rodgers Running Center who were the nicest people I’ve ever encountered in a running store.  They were not allowed to make a kids’ shirt this year due the races’ affiliation with Addidas.  But, they did sell us last year’s kids’ shirt for only $5.  Such nice people.  We broke a pre-race rule and walked all day long, and then into the evening back in the Harvard area, where we ate dinner.  We said good night early, and settled in for Boston marathon eve.

We headed to our buses race morning via the subway.  We splurged and bought seats for $35 on a running club from Michigan’s bus.  Another smart move.  The seats were comfy, we got to leave about an hour later, and we had our own bathroom…..a big deal when you are in a race with 25000 runners.  We could come and go off the bus as we pleased, so we got to soak in the athlete’s village atmosphere without 45 minute portapotty lines.  We also had shade on the bus, as it was already in the low 80s.

We got to line up in our corral at the last minute.  Mark was in the first wave, but started back with me so we could have to option to run together.  I barely qualified for the women 35-39 age group, and when we got to our corral, it was obvious, as Mark was surrounded by soccer moms.

Ok, about the heat.  It was an 89 degree day.  I know that doesn’t sound hot if you live in Texas, but running a marathon in full midday sun at the temp is just hard.    There were lots of warnings to please slow your pace and toss out any ideas of a fast day.   I thought I could maybe run about a 3:45 in the heat.  We started off and right away I knew that wouldn’t happen.  I was dripping sweat within a mile, so I slowed and let Mark race ahead.  I knew if I dialed it back, I could hold the same pace all day.  It was hard to watch a literally a few thousand runners go ahead of me, but I was confident I would be running the last few miles and a lot of the runners racing ahead of me would be walking.

Of all my Bostons this was the one I really savored.  I ran alone the whole way with so much gratitude that my family was behind me being here.  I smiled, high fived the crowd, got soaked by all the hoses on course, and even called Mike from mile 7.  I had a little mental low about miles 7-11 and I realized just how hot the day was and wondered if I could even hold my very gentle 9:20 pace ( I was planning on running 8:20s).  Wellesley picked me up, and from there on I just enjoyed every minute of the party.  As I predicted, as I ran up the Newton hills, I watched masses of runners halt to a slow walk.  At this point if you were smiling, the crowd went nuts, and I felt every bit of energy.  I took as much ice as I could, took popsicles instead of gatorade, and knew if I could hold on just a little longer, I could finish smiling.  I watched runners going down left and right.  It was 88 degrees at this point with no shade, and no wind.  The last 10K is the best part of this race.  Once again, if you show that you have any gas in the tank at all, the crowd goes crazy.  I high fived, I hugged the college students who were requesting “sweating hugs”, and I loved every minute of it.  I quit drinking water and went just to ice as I felt a little queasy, but there was no way I was  going to let myself get sick at this race.  The last couple miles were so much fun, and I crossed the finish with a huge smile, in 4:07.   I ran about as hard as I could for those conditions.  I don’t like that I feel like I have to explain why my time is so slow, but there was no way I was going to let myself crash and burn.

Now I’m back home and already dreaming of a fall marathon.  I am itching to run faster, but would not trade one minute of this year’s Boston.  Met a ton of really nice runners, am super thankful Mark was willing to go and enjoy the run, even though I know how much he doesn’t love running in the heat, and just feel happy in general I was able to run it.

Now time to regroup, form some new goals, and plan out what’s next!

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13 Replies to “Busy, busy, moving, new house, and 26.2 miles of smiling in Boston!”

  1. Congrats to you, Clea! You ran such a smart race! I’ve read a number of reports of agony but I love that you held yourself back and could finish smiling. Any idea what fall marathon you’re looking at?

    1. Thanks! Boston is too much work to get there to not have fun. I like to run a really small little local race in the fall called the Frankenthon. You should do it…it’s at a park, so very family friendly with plays capes and trails.

  2. Sounds like you had a great time in Boston! Sorry the conditions weren’t great for running fast but you finished strong with a smile. Hope to see you at a fall or winter marathon!

    1. Congrats on your race too! I didn’t know you were going to do that one, and I cannot imagine pushing the stroller in a race….now that sounds like a challenge. maybe I’ll have to run it next year.

      1. It was a good time. We went out this weekend to do a 5-miler from Hays High School. It was a hilly/windy 5 miles, so with the stroller, quite a workout. Still, I can’t complain too much. I only had the Single Bob. Teresa had BOTH her boys in the Double!! Everyone had fun though, and after the kids enjoyed running around chasing balls on the football field. We plan to do more kiddo runs on Sunday mornings when we can find them. Just let me know if you and Jasp want in on the action.

  3. Very, very awesomely smart race, way to go! I did it in 2004 as well, post-100 miler and injured, it was hot, I walked a lot, it was my slowest, and I loved it. Way to be wise! Good luck on the house.

  4. Amazing!! Congrats! I was going to track you online (or I was if you could do that sort of thing), but our internet has been down since I got back from Montana last week. I’m glad you were able to keep a smile on your face!! I actually registered Joseph for his first “race.” The Governor is throwing a Derby Dash on KY Derby Day and it has a 2 yr old division. It’s a blistering 1/4 mile! At that distance even I can run it! No, didn’t stay with the running…my joints during pregnancy are whack….I’ll hopefully be back to it post baby. I still enjoy your running posts though!!

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