Sunday, April 23, 2017

Boston Marathon 2017!!!

It happened!  And it's now history!  I ran the 121st Boston Marathon!  It was the thrill of a lifetime and as I write this a week later, I am still sailing high on Cloud 999!  There really are no words to describe the experience, but if you know me, you know I will make an effort to try! This post is about the race.  I will do another post on the trip. That's what I always say and it rarely happens because it's so time consuming with all the pix I take!  But I will try!  
The start of the 2017 Boston Marathon.  I believe this is Wave 1.

*WARNING:  This is a marathon, not a sprint.  I'm talking about this post, not Boston!☺ But there is a sprint version if you scroll all the way down to the bottom for those that aren't up for a long endurance event.☺

The entire experience was incredible.  On Friday Dave and I headed to the John B. Hynes Convention Center where the Expo was held to pick up my bib and check out the event.  I was looking forward to this because I heard it was amazing.  There were tons of photo opps and it was so fun to see everyone wearing their Boston jackets from this year and many previous years.  We were given tons of free stuff including these cool sunglasses (if you zoom in on them you can read what they say).
The first thing I did was pick up my bib.  We did the obligatory photo of me taking it from the volunteer.  At that moment I was giddy with excitement realizing my dream was really coming true!  I had my bib!!!  #24130.  
We then made our way downstairs and ran into Robin and Grant
Robin took the picture of me on the left and said I was posed like this because I was so happy to see her.  True statement!  I really was!  We hugged and chatted and then she wanted some photos with Grant and me as well.  
This was a huge poster we all received and it has every single persons name on it that is running the Marathon.! In the top photo my name is right under the unicorn and the N of Boston.  I guess they usually have it blown up huge so you can take a photo, but this year they made everyone posters instead. Pretty cool...
We headed inside the expo and I was loving all the fun stuff related to the marathon to buy! Dave was not so enthusiastic!  Mostly shopping!  hah  More photo opps.
The Utahns are coming!  The Utahns are coming!

I was panicked for a bit because I thought I lost my phone and a bag of stuff I bought.  I found the phone and I hope I didn't really lose a bag because it appeared everything was still with me. Whew!  I met some of my running heroes.  
A few photos from the day.  Top left - the course  *  Middle - left on Boylston.  The blue line traces the marathon path on the Boston streets * Right on Hereford Left on Boylston.
We then walked across to the Running World store and saw more running icons talking about race day strategies.  One happened to be Bart Yasso.  I met him and told him he was the reason I was there because of his Yasso 800's.  That is the name of the speedwork I have incorporated into my training and what I believe made me faster.  He told me, that no, I was the reason I was there not him because I did the work. He was very gracious. Ryan Hall was also there and Amby Burfoot.  We sat down and listened to them for a bit.  
With Bart Yasso * With Ryan Hall & ? * With Amby Burfoot * With Meb (I wish!)
We then found some lunch and waited while the boys came and picked us up.  They had been touring Harvard.  We got some killer gelato!

Sunday morning was the scheduled photo for the Utah Runners.  I really wanted to be there but originally wasn't going to be able to because we were going to be in Maine staying with my friend Shauna but as fate would have it, they all came down with the flu and since I didn't want to even risk getting sick we made other plans.  We ended up staying in Rhode Island! I know, I know!  But it did make it so I could be at the Utah Runner's photo.  It was a great group!  I also reunited with Mitra, who I met at the airport. She is in my age division and was darling.  We became instant friends!  I feel like I've known her forever.  I saw the lady from the Lucky 13 half as well as Robin and Grant.  Jared Ward showed up at the end and so we chatted with him. I told him to tell Ed (his coach) hi from his high school pal Jodi.  Not sure he will remember.  The energy and excitement in the air was thick.  It was a very fun place to be! Dave and the boys went and sat on the bleachers while I had fun talking to everyone.  We ended up having to leave so we could make it to church on time. But it was fun while it lasted.
Utah Runners 2017
*With Mitra * With Grant *With Olympian Jared Ward and Robin
With the fam * The Memorial where the first bomb went off * Silly bros

Sunday night, I was a bit of a nervous Nellie.  It was here!  Ready or not!  I better be ready, I have been training for this for a year and a half!  The journey here was not always easy, but I made it. I was feeling healthy and my injury was at bay and so everything was coming together nicely with the exception of the weather.  I was really stressed about the weather.  It was going to be in the 70's!  That is what I was really hoping would not happen!  I don't do well in the heat!  Especially after training in 30's and 40's all winter.  But it is what it is.  At least it wasn't cold and rainy. I think that might be worse.  Although, I would be faster.  I spent a LOT of time trying to organize the things I would be wearing and carrying and all my fuel etc. There is a lot to think about when running a marathon.  I need to just do what I do on my long runs and not think so much!  But this is kind of a big deal.  I set it all out and then got to bed around 11 pm.  As soon as I relaxed, my legs were feeling very cramped up. That only happens AFTER a marathon, not before!  I had no idea why they were doing that.  But it was bad enough that I got up and took some Advil.  Anyone that knows me, knows I rarely do that.  Only in times of desperation.  This was one of those.  I think it must have been all the walking with the sight seeing.  I slept pretty well, other than trying to calm my thoughts of what ifs: What if this is harder than I expect? What if I hit the wall on the hills?  What if the heat makes me sick like St. George?  What if I trip on a train track?  What if my injury flares up and it becomes a suffer-fest?  What if I can't finish?  I finally told my brain to STOP!  I then told myself that this wasn't my first rodeo (sometimes that is a disadvantage in a marathon because you know it's going to be hard No. Matter. What.), but I needed to get the positive vibes flowing again.  I visualized running the course and enjoying it.  I told myself over and over to trust in my training and even if the hills eat me up, I can do hard things and I will not quit unless dragged off the course against my will. I kept saying, "You got this!". It was also a great feeling to not have the pressure of finishing with a time goal.  This race was a victory lap for getting here!  And then I thought about who I was doing this for.  This one is for Tyson who would have loved to run if his little body would have allowed him to.  He was such a great, fast little basketball player, and I know he would have been a fast runner if his physical limitations wouldn't have prevented the opportunity.  I  knew he was going to help me along the way.  I could feel it.  I started to feel much more calm and at peace and finally drifted off.  It was nice not having to set my alarm for 3:30 a.m. like most races. 
I had planned on pinning the This One's For You Tyson!  on my back, but I made it too big and worried it would cause chafing, so I decided against it. 
My mantra.  I made this cute little sign at the Expo by running on a treadmill thing while the computer generated it for me.  Cool!
When I put my shoes on, I noticed these shiny quotes on them.  I had no idea who put them on.  When I came out of the bathroom, I asked Sky if he had done that? He said he had.  Ahhh..... What a sweet thing!  It made me tear up!  He is amazing.  I looked at them through the race and I can't even tell you how much it helped me.  Now I know why he was asking the night before what shoes I was wearing!  
This popped up as I was going to sleep!

I got up at 6:30 a.m. and got ready and then Dave gave me a blessing.  It really helped calm me.  We then headed down to the breakfast.  It was packed but I didn't see any other runners. The people were starring at me and watching the TV newscast which was broadcasting from the starting line.  They were probably wondering why I wasn't already at the starting line.  But the TV coverage was pretty cool. The boys came down and ate with us as well. Then Dave and I hopped on the shuttle that took us to the subway.  We rode the train to Boylston to the bus loading.  It was fun on the train because once again people were treating me like some Rock Star.  Even the subway driver went out of her way to make sure I got on the right train.  I could really get used to this!  I actually got a standing ovation the first day we were here on the subway!  True story!  I was talking to an older man about the subway stops and then he started asking me about the race and before I knew it about six other people were joining in. The marathon is a big deal around Boston. As I stood up to exit, I heard a loud burst of clapping and I turned around and they were all standing up and applauding me!  Like I said, I could get used to this Rock Star treatment!  :)
TV coverage
Last good luck hug with the boys before I left.  Waiting for the train. Can you see the nerves?  The subway was PACKED because everyone was headed to the Red Sox game or to spectate at the marathon.  I was given a lot of  "Good luck!" wishes by perfect strangers on the train.

When we got off, we had to walk forever to check in my gear bag.  I was really getting excited now!  On the way I ran into Forrest Gump!  Pretty cool!   We walked back and took a few photos and then I kissed Dave goodbye and got in the long line for the bus.  I ended up being pushed through with some group.  My bus partner was named Roberta De Sante and he was from Rome.  He didn't speak or understand much English, but he was very nice.  I usually chat the entire way to the start but it was kind of nice just being quiet. It gave me time to meditate and pray.  I know how big this whole thing is and I really needed some comfort. I felt calm and peaceful.  However, it was one LONG ride.  I kept thinking, "And I am going to run this far?"  Yep.  I think it's better to chat the whole way so you don't notice the distance!
With Dave - my #1 Athletic Supporter!  lol  *Forrest Gump!   *The cemetery I walked past...I will probably feel like taking up residence there after!
Here we go!  Ready or not!!!
My bus buddy Roberto from Rome Italy!  

We arrived at the Athlete's Village in Hopkinton.  There was a lot of energy there as well. I had time to use the Porta Potty and grab more sunscreen (they had tables and tables of every brand and kind you can imagine!) and take a couple photos and then it was time for Wave 4 to line up. They kept announcing over the loud speaker to stay hydrated because it was going to be a scorcher.  The temperature at the start was 70°!  They said it was the second hottest in ten years. Just my luck!   Since I was in the first corral, I headed to the front of the line.  It was almost a mile away.  I practically ran because I had so much nervous energy. I had to keep telling myself to slow down and conserve my energy for the race!  I ended up being about 7-8 rows from the front.  I chatted with a lady who had run it before and she was telling me that it was going to be a hot one today and to be sure and stay hydrated.  She told me to pour water over my head at down my back and front at every aid station to keep my core cool.  I learned that all too well at St. George last year. The energy in that crowd was electric!  Everyone was standing there waiting for their dream of running the Boston Marathon to come to fruition!  I can't even imagine all the incredible stories gathered in that crowd of how they made it to the world's greatest marathon.  I would love to have heard some of them.  WOW!  Here I was, little old me, lined up with some of the best runners in the world.  It was very humbling, but SO exciting!  I said out loud, "Wow, the Boston Marathon! We're about to run the Boston Marathon!"   Everyone around me grinned and beamed and knew exactly what I was saying.  It's been a dream for so long, that I could hardly believe it was real. 
My mantras for this race!  Right at the start!  Coincidence? I think not!

As we were waiting to start, I kept saying to myself, "I am actually running the Boston Marathon! I am really running it!"  It gave me chills!  Here I am, at the most prestigious marathon in the world running it with some of the fastest and best runners in the world following in their footsteps... literally. It was cool to realize the elites just ran the exact course, at a 4-5 minute pace no less!  How that is possible I will never get.  I noticed how fit everyone was because most races you see all fitness levels and sizes.  I was amazed at the amount of spectators even right at the beginning.  It seemed the entire town of Hopkinton came out to support us.  It is difficult to describe the amount of pride the town takes in this race. I am in awe of the overwhelming support.  The residents cheer you on as you walk to the starting line.  The race hasn't even started and the people are out offering first aid, food, water, and cheering loudly as you walk to the start.  They were like that along the ENTIRE course!  It was crazy!  The starting line was highly secure.  Helicopters, drones, bomb sniffing dogs, police, snipers.  I think we were in the safest place on the planet. Then they announced it was time for the gun to go off.  There was no countdown, just an announcement that the gun would be going off and then....silence. There was that pause - about 30 seconds....where it was dead silent.  I am sure there were many prayers being offered at that moment.  And then the gun!  Once it went off everyone let out a yell and we were off!  

MILES 1- 6
The first few miles passed by really fast.  I was going faster than I knew I should and so I held back some.  I was at a 8:23 pace which felt great but I needed to be at 9:20 if I wanted to endure the full Monte.  The adrenaline and excitement made it easy to go fast.  But I knew I would have nothing left for the hills if I overworked my legs early on.  It was really nice running side by side with runners who qualified with the same time I did because there wasn't any congestion as far as people passing each other like in most races. The first four miles are technically downhill at least by elevation.  It felt good. I knew this was the easy part and so I enjoyed each step!  I was amazed at the crowd. I high fived so many kids!  If you ran close to the edge, the spectators held their hands out for the runners to give them fives.  It was so fun to see how it brought a smile to the children's faces, not to mention the adults!  ;)  I loved doing that because it kept me from focusing on myself and how I was feeling. lol  When I ran past the Brazil bakery that we had gone in with Taylor a few days before, there were a ton of people in front of it and they had a huge Brazilian flag. When I ran past I yelled, "Go Brazil!"  They erupted in the loudest cheer you have ever heard!  It was crazy!  I had Bryce write my name on my arms so people could cheer me on by name and it worked.  I heard, "Go Jodi!", "You got this Jodi!". And a lot of good comments about purple! LOL  It was so much fun!  I had a smile on my face from the starting gun and it never left until I went to bed that night!  My injury was staying at bay at this point thanks to the Advil I took before the race.  

FUEL: *I took a banana/strawberry GU without caffeine at mile 6.  (This is added for future reference for me).

MILES 7-13
At mile 7.3 I saw a shiny penny right in my path!  I could NOT believe it!  I had hoped for so long that I would find a penny on the course, but I worried that even if I did I would not be able to bend over to pick it up.  But at mile 7 I was still able to do that without much effort. I was beaming! I KNEW that Tyson was with me and helping me all along the way!  Wow! What a miracle to me that was!  I didn't dare put in my pocket because I worried it would come out when I got something else out and so I held onto it the ENTIRE rest of the course. I was so happy!  I think I am going to frame it!  :)   I didn't even turn on my music until about mile 7.  I didn't need it even then but figured I might as well take advantage of anything that might help get me to the finish line. I didn't realize at the time, I wouldn't be able to hear it anyway due to the amount of cheering.  There were still so many people yelling loudly and handing out everything you can imagine!  They had bottles of water, orange slices, bananas, pretzels, Popsicles, licorice, ice, gum, beer (I politely declined), wet paper towels, sunscreen, Vaseline, band aids and many more things.  I am sure if I made a request, they would have found it for me.  That is how amazing the crowd is!  I have NEVER seen anything like it!!!  I actually took a couple water bottles when I needed a drink between aid stations (they even loosened the lid for you), and to pour water on my head to cool down.  I also took some ice, a pretzel, several wet paper towels, an orange, and a Popsicle.  I thought the St. George spectators were amazing, but this was that on steroids! At most races, the spectators in Utah only come to cheer on family, but in Boston, EVERYONE comes to cheer on random strangers!  I was grateful for all of them!  There were a lot of rolling hills during this stretch.  I was looking forward to the halfway mark and Wellesley College.  It is called the scream tunnel because the coeds are so loud!  I was a bit disappointed because there weren't as many as normal (as seen on video) because it was Easter weekend.  But they were still loud. I saw several men in front of me stop and get the free kisses offered by the coeds.  It made me smile. It gave me a boost to be halfway and getting cheered on for that long.  Just so amazing!  Still a lot of rolling hills.  I started to feel a sharp pain in my left thigh where my phone was and I couldn't figure out what it was.  It felt like I was getting stabbed with something really sharp. I looked to make sure my pin from my bib wasn't the culprit.  Nope. Strange.  I got some Vaseline and rubbed it on it hoping that would help.

FUEL: *I took a GU (can't remember what kind) with 20 mg caffeine at mile 14-ish.  Did not enjoy it.

MILES 14-16
I knew that this was the last part of the race before things got really tough. There was an amazing downhill in this stretch and I loved it. I am a downhill lover no matter what. It was like a breath of fresh air!  Every town we ran through was amazing. I have never seen anything like it!  I know I keep saying that, but it was crazy!  I drank water at every aid station and then also poured it over my head and down my back to keep cool.  I ran through every sprinkler and fire hydrant.  The city had all the fire hydrants open for the runners due to the heat.  I knew the heat was not my friend and I wanted to try to beat it.  We had some nice breezes at certain points in the race which really helped.  There is no shade and so it got really hot!  
Spectators along the way... (taken from Boston Marathon's Facebook page

As I approached mile 17, I was getting really excited because that is where my family was supposed to be.  I looked on both sides to try to find them in the crowd.  I finally saw Dave and then the boys.  Talk about a highlight!  There is nothing like seeing your own cheering squad at that point in the race!  So happy to see familiar faces!  They were happy to see me too!  It helped me SO much!  I stopped and we took a selfie. They told me to get moving and didn't want me to stop for too long, but I didn't care because I wasn't worried about my time. I just wanted to soak every single second of it all inside of me!  I wish I could bottle it all up and save forever!  I needed that boost because the hills were fast approaching.  Boston is famous for it's Newton Hills.  Heartbreak Hill is the most infamous.  When we drove the course, I couldn't believe how many hills and how long they were.  They aren't Veyo Hill steep per say, but they are long and at a very hard part of the race.  Heartbreak Hill starts around mile 20 when your legs are tired.  Mile 20 is usually a crucial part in marathons because that is when the glycogen stores are gone. Many marathoners hit the wall about that time. I was thrilled that my injury was still behaving itself.  I was blessing my PT while running for getting me healed as well as he did. 
Can you spy my boys?

I am under the red arrow.  Hah  Those are Bryce's hands clapping.
There I am!  I am smiling so big because I was so happy to see my family!   
Selfie at mile 17!

MILES 18-21 (Newton Hills)
The hills were everything I have heard they were and more.  I was doing great and just kept pumping my arms and looking down.  However, that didn't last long because I couldn't not interact with the crowd, so I choose to look up at the crowd instead.  They were so nice to cheer me up those hills.  They called me by name and gave me encouragement.  I would give them a thumbs up to acknowledge them for it.  My mantra for this race was YOU GOT THIS!  I was amazed at how many people told me just that. Usually with a, "You got this Jodi!" , or "Judi".  If I ran on the left, I was Jodi, but if I ran on the right, I was Judi.  I think my sweat or the water I poured on me smeared the O.  It made me smile either way.  And it really helped to hear you own name called so often.  I even heard, "Go purple lady!"  "I love your style!"  "I love your outfit!", "You look good!", "Go purple runner!".  It was fun.  I decided I was going to interact with the spectators no matter how tired or how much pain I was in, and I must have high fived over 300+ kids (and college kids)! Those kids faces just lit up when you go out of your way to make them smile. It was magical.  When I ran past Boston College, I have never felt more loved or more like a Rock Star!  It was A M A Z I N G ! There are no words to describe it!  Boston College was JUST. SO. LOUD!  I think most of that crowd was drunk and happy and I was offered beer several times. Like I said above, I politely declined. Haha I didn't see any runners accept, but I have heard they do because at that point in the race, numbing the pain sounds tempting! The energy was so thick you could feel it!  I'm not gonna lie, the hills were tough! But I did much better than I expected. I refused to walk one step and I kept going and pushing and let the crowd help me up.  The first hill was brutal, I think it was the toughest of all four - or was that the second one?  Kind of a blur now.  With each one I wondered when Heartbreak was coming or if I was already on it, but I knew it was at mile 20 so I tried not to think about it until I was there and took each hill one at a time.  When I hit it, I knew I was finally on it.  Heartbreak Hill was looooong and I kept wondering when it was going to end! It went on forever!  Of course, that is mainly because the three hills before it wear you down before you even get there. When I reached the peak and saw the sign, "Top of Heartbreak Hill" I was so relieved! You get a tiny downhill and then another smaller hill that is called "You've Gotta be Kiddin' Me Hill" because you are SO DONE with hills!  I was really happy with how I did on them. I did a lot of hill training to prepare and I was grateful I had.  I now know how I need to train even better for them next time.  I will have to do hill after long hill after long hill when I am tired. I was impressed how well everyone was doing on the hills.  But, remember it is Boston and those running this race had to qualify to get here. However, there were still a lot of walkers, and you could see the conditions were starting to take it's toll on people.  I saw some pretty miserable people, but overall, most seemed to be prepared in the little group I was in. However, Dave and the boys told me they saw a lot of people struggling. I passed a guy wearing a CF charity shirt and I gave him a shout out as I ran by.  He caught up with me to chat. I think he was struggling and wanted some company. We talked for a bit. He said his ankle was injured and it was hurting pretty bad.  We talked about CF for awhile. Then we got separated at an aid station.  One thing I noticed that was different than most marathons, was I didn't chat with other runners much (other than this guy).  I think it is because the crowds are so loud and you are focused on them, that there isn't time, whereas other marathons are mostly quiet and you NEED to find someone to talk to you to distract you.  I almost always finish a marathon with several new friends, but Boston is completely different. I felt like I finished with a million new best friends!
The guy you can barely see on the right is my running buddy that was running for the CF Foundation.
What a sight for sore eyes legs!

FUEL: *I took two blocks (black cherry) with caffeine around mile 20-21. Actually, I honestly do not remember what mile I took them. I am not even sure if I took two GU's early on or just one and blocks.  I always struggle remembering after a race with that even when I have it all planned out.  It never goes as planned.  I couldn't do the third block.  I was feeling too sick to eat anything.  I couldn't gag anything down at that point.  I have no idea how I got the ones down I did. I need to figure out what works at this point in the race when my stomach is queasy and feels yucky.  If it's a hot day, I have a hard time eating at all.  I did use my little grape flavored Mio and those squirts tasted so good and gave me a bit of a boost.

MILES 22-25
It was such a respite to not climb hills that I actually enjoyed parts of these miles. I was getting tired and it was hot, but we got a bit of cloud coverage and some tail wind which helped a lot.  It felt harder and my legs were feeling heavy but the crowds carried me through. I was so distracted by them that I hardly noticed the pain and tiredness.  At this point in most marathons, I am grasping into my head for all my mantras to help me push through, but not this time. It was crazy awesome!  I still had a smile pasted on my face and it wasn't fake. Often in races, I will force a smile because it mentally tricks your body into thinking you are happy.  Truth.  It really works!  But this time it was genuine. I had a lot of spectators yell to me, "And she still has a smile on her face!" or "You rock for still smiling!" or "That smile!" Those comments made me smile even bigger. What's not to smile about?  After all I WAS running thee Boston Marathon! I was passing people at this point as well. You could see the struggle that many were going through just trying to hold on knowing that finish line was getting closer.  I interacted with the spectators even more the last few miles. I discovered that when I gave them a thumbs up or just simply made eye contact, they would go crazy!  They would erupt with eardrum bursting screams!  I wanted to see if it always worked and so I would do it to one side and then run to the other side and do a thumbs up to them and it was so hilarious because they ALWAYS did it! There were a few other runners also having as much fun as I was with the crowd.  Some would raise their arms up and down signaling to cheer them on and the crowd would go nuts.  I played with the crowd for most of the last few miles.  I needed it!  They loved it when a runner would interact with them because at this point not many do because they are so focused on just finishing and it takes too much energy.  It's hard to do anything but just endure.  I've been there, but I felt like interacting with the crowd was what was helping me endure.  I was one of the few who used them to my advantage.  It is what got me through. It kept me distracted. I just kept thinking to myself I was living my dream with each step I took.  What an incredible feeling!  I had no idea what my time was during those miles because the crowd overtook me so I didn't even THINK about it.  It was so awesome to not be concerned about my time (or have to do math) and not having to push for a BQ.  That has never happened before.  Time is all I focused on for all of my other marathons just so I could experience what I did today!  And it was worth it all!  I did however for the first time in any marathon, actually walk for about 5-10 seconds at several aid stations while I grabbed a cup of water to either drink or pour over my head.  I usually just grab the cup, pour out half the water, squeeze the cup, and drink it while I keep running.  This way was much easier!
We are getting closer to the finish.  I didn't really notice when I took this but there are a lot of tired looking runners in this photo.  It appears many are walking.  The heat was taking it's toll. 
I wish photos came with sound so you could hear how loud the crowd were. 
The famous landmark Citgo sign.  All Boston Marathoners know what that means!  It means YOU ARE ALMOST THERE!  I took this photo at an aid station - I believe at mile 24. That means the Citgo sign is about a mile away and the finish line is a mile away from that.

When I saw the famous Citgo sign in the distance, I knew once I passed it that meant only ONE MORE MILE!  That was a great feeling, but there was also a part of me at that moment that didn't want it to end.  That part quickly got squelched by the rest of my body that was begging to be done!   They had a really ingenious system of letting the people cross the street with ropes.  We then ran under a tunnel and then right onto Hereford, and left onto Boylston (that phrase is on many t-shirts here).  Right on Hereford, left on Boylston!  The most famous left turn in running. That last mile was incredible!  Just knowing I was almost there and that I WAS RUNNING THE BOSTON MARATHON and about to cross the most famous FINISH LINE in the world was very emotional for me.  Chills!  I decided to take a video as I crossed the finish line so I got out my phone and started it on Hereford. I wasn't sure if it was still working and so after I turned onto Boylston, I actually stopped to check. Wouldn't you know it, that is right where my friends saw me.  Here I just ran 26 miles without stopping except for photos and a couple seconds at the aid stations for water and when my friends who came all the way to Boston to see me cross the finish line, I was walking.  Haha It was only for a second, but they got it on video and we all had quite the good laugh about it! No one was surprised though.  Everyone said, "Only Jodi would stop to take pictures at the Boston Marathon finish line!"  I had to record it!  Both my friends and my family saw me and were yelling really loud, but I couldn't hear them.  The crowd was incredibly loud, and all you could hear was screaming! I kept looking for them but sadly I didn't see them.  But, I felt they were there and they were. As I got closer to that finish line, I was full of emotions!    
This is on Hereford where my family was watching before they decided it would be better to be on Boylston.  You can see Bryce's head on the far right. Dave took this, but it was before I got there.
On Boylston.  You had to go through security checks to get here.  Dave also took this one.
Here I come! (I'm in the purple circle)
I love this one because I am running right in front of Max Brenner's Chocolate!  I should've made a quick stop! You will have to click to enlarge.
There I go!  Finish line ahead! (in yellow circle)
Me when I was in front of my friends!  Trying to get my video to work so I don't miss this opportunity! I will NEVER live this down!  haha
Can you spy me on the Jumbo-tron?  My friend Kathy got this.  I didn't even know there was a Jumbo-tron!

WOW!  Running down Boylston was everything I imagined it would be!  Seeing and feeling the crowds cheering me on was a high like no other!  When I ran past the place where the first bombing happened, I actually had this feeling of emotion come over me just imagining what that would have been like to be at that spot when it occurred. I said a prayer of gratitude in my heart.  And then... it happened!  I crossed the finish line of THEE Boston Marathon!  What a feeling!  All of the hard work and sacrifice and tears and disappointments and injuries were all worth it in that moment!  I can not explain the feeling of it.  There are no words.  Such joy!  Such an emotional moment for me!  I even did a jump after I crossed!  I walked back close to the finish line and had a volunteer take my photo since I knew the professional ones would take a week or so to get. I was really feeling good. Nothing like after my last St. George marathon. In fact, I felt better than after most of my others. I was sore and tired and a little sick to my stomach, but the adrenaline was pumping me so full that I didn't care. My official time was: 4:25:30.  Not bad considering the heat (finish line temp was in high 70's) and all the photo stops I made.  But, I KNOW I can do it much faster if I focused on my time.  My secret goal time was 4:05 but with the heat I was hoping to finish under 4:30 and so I was happy. But all that matters is that I DID IT!!!


It was the thrill of a lifetime!   wish there were better words to describe the feeling I had right then, but there aren't any.
Screen shot of my jump after I crossed the finish line.
The penny I found at mile 7
I am holding up the penny and my medal.  I think you can guess which meant more during this race.
Gotta love those space blankets!  I found Forrest again!
They didn't allow for loitering but kept us walking.  I first got a space blanket (YES!) and then my medal and then a bag of food.  They had a few photo opps and water.  We just kept walking until we got to a place we could get out.  They run this race like a well oiled machine.  It was so organized. I saw Forrest Gump again!  hah  I loved the space blanket and I kept looking at my medal.  I went and grabbed my gear bag and then walked to the exit.  Happily, it wasn't as far as I had been told.

*I posted the video Sky got off the website of me crossing the finish line at the bottom.  

I got out of the gate and was texting my family and friends to tell them where to meet me and I went and sat down by a statue of someone important at the Boston Commons.  I started eating the purple chips (yes purple!) that was in the food bag they gave me and the salt tasted so good!  Then I saw Shauna!  She ran up and gave me a big hug, and the rest of the Sistas filed in (except Kathy and Patti who got separated). It was such a high point to have them all come just to support me!  We all hugged and chatted.  I was still feeling great.  Then I saw my boys and Dave!  They were so cute and proud of me.  It was a moment I will forever cherish in my heart.

LOVE these!  

Boys checking out my medal
Where was he at mile 20?
Now, I am as tall as them!
Bryce posted this on Instagram.  It made me cry.

It all still feels like a dream. This whole experience has been one of the most incredible things that has happened to me.  I feel such gratitude that I was blessed to be able to run. It is nothing short of a miracle when you consider all that could have gone wrong but didn't. Thanks to a great physical therapist and doctor (☺) I got my injury under control and didn't get another one.  I didn't get food poisoning or sick while here.  Throughout my four and half months of training, I have been watched over and protected so many times.  It isn't coincidence.  It is a blessing.  I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with this amazing gift.  I really think it's been life changing for me. I am so full of gratitude that my family would come and support me all this way.  I feel so incredibly blessed that they were there.  I am in awe that six of my friends traveled to Boston just so they could cheer me on at the finish line!  Wow!  I feel so loved and blessed.  This memory will live with me for the rest of my life.  Everything about it was so special.  It's like it was all orchestrated to turn out so perfectly wonderful.  I am truly grateful. And this race.  This race is like none other. The history.  The elites. The media.  The security. The incredible people. The charming town.  It isn't called the Holy Grail of marathons for nothing.  It was almost a spiritual experience in many ways.  The feeling of it all truly is indescribable with the limited language I have.  
The memorial where the first bomb went off in 2013.  There is a reverence at this spot.

I could NOT wait to take off my shoes!  My toes were killing me!  I was so happy I had put my flip flops in my gear bag. I immediately put them on.  It was a lot of fun to watch all the finishers hobble around town.  I can say that because I was one of them.  Actually, I was walking totally fine.  It didn't set in until the next day.  Then I suddenly walked like I was 95.  I was going to meet my friends later and so I went with my family to take the subway back to our hotel. The subway was packed with finishers.  It was kind of fun being together with so many who had ran the same roads I just did.  The subway was even free for marathoners. On this day the marathoners are the Kings and Queens of Boston.  I was offered congratulations from the rich business exec right down to the homeless man begging on the street. Everywhere I went, people would stop and congratulate me.  It was fun talking to the boys and Dave about the race on the way to the hotel.  We only went there because that is where they parked the car. They had already checked out because they were catching a plane in a couple hours so I didn't have a room to shower or change my clothes. I was hoping the hotel had a shower in the gym I could use.  It didn't and so I had to do the lovely wet wipe sponge bath in a bathroom. But even that felt good! My face had so much salt caked on it.  Getting out of those clothes felt wonderful!   We drove back into town and ate at a place called Shake Shack.  They had burgers and shakes and frozen custard.  I was still feeling queasy so I shared Dave's hamburger and ate some of his custard and Taylor's shake.  That shake was good!  There were marathoners walking around all wearing their medals.  We then took off for the airport. All my friends were there waiting for me.  I said my goodbyes to Dave and the boys and my hellos to my friends and off to Maine we went.  
This was the coverage of the race we were watching as we ate dinner. It was mostly about the heat.
Airport.  My friends waiting for the next adventure!  The bottom right is the cool guy I sat by on the plane on the way over who was also on my family's flight going home.  He ran the marathon as well.  He served his mission in Boston and gave me lots of good places to eat.  He said he loved it but was 30 minutes slower than his goal time.  

If you made it this far, you seriously earned your own medal!  I would gladly give you one if I could!  I write these long marathon posts for my future reference and don't expect anyone else to endure them, but if you did...KUDOS to you!  Now you know what if feels like to cross the finish line after a long, strenuous, painful, endurance event!

Here is the video of my crossing the finish line.  I am the one that does the little jump after I cross.

A few fun pix I got off the internet

For my future reference

In the Ogden Standard

As I said above, about mile 13, I  started to feel a really sharp stabbing pain in my left thigh where my phone was in the pocket of my skort.  I took my phone out and felt around but couldn't feel anything. It felt like a pin was stabbing in my leg or like a piece of glass was in it. I grabbed some Vaseline from several aid stations and put it all over in case it was chafing, but it never went away. When I looked at it after the race, it was a huge swollen red sore about three inches long. I think it was from my phone being in the pocket and the pocket was loose so my phone rubbed and rubbed for 26 miles.  It ultimately ended up becoming infected and I had to be on antibiotics for a week.  It is still very sore and taking forever to heal....but it's a small price to pay for this experience!  I am also pretty sure I am going to lose three toenails.  Small price to pay for this experience. I would gladly give up three more if it was a prerequisite.  Hah
This ended up being the second hottest race day weather in the past ten years. It was even hotter than last year and I remember watching the runners cross the finish line so exhausted from the heat and hoping I wouldn't have to deal with that.  They said the average finish time was down even from last year's heat. The high was in the mid to high 70's at the finish.  The news reports were all on how the heat was going to mess with the runners and it did.  I checked that dang forecast three or four times a day for two months hoping and praying THIS would not happen. I fear the heat.  It wouldn't have been so bad but all my training was done in cold winter temps and my body was not prepared for this kind of heat.  But, I also didn't want to run in freezing temps or a downpour either, even though my time would be much better in those conditions.  I was grateful that didn't happen, but my worst fear happened and we got a hot one.  But, it's okay because even though most people I talked to ran it at least 15-20 minutes slower than usual due to the heat, it's okay because I conquered something I feared. I ran Boston in the heat and I survived!  So even though I would love to see if I could BQ at Boston, I am happy with the time I got.  But now, I want to do it again to see what I can really do if conditions are perfect.  Umm...hello. 
Conditions are NEVER perfect. That is what marathoning is about. You never know what kind of day you are going to get weather wise, health wise, injury wise, keep pushing yourself anyway when it gets hard and you want to quit. That's why it's such a feeling of accomplishment when crossing that finish line. You feel like if you can do that, you can do anything.  Running has taught me so many life lessons.  But that's another blog post for another day. 
And wouldn't you know it, the temps cooled to perfect running temps the next couple of days!

FINAL THOUGHTS: (The point TWO! Just when you think you've finished!)
Dreams become reality when you work hard for them. I honestly didn't think I would ever get to Boston.  I didn't think I could ever cut off that much time of my marathon finish time.  But, after working hard and changing some things up,
I kept getting closer.  I came so close many times and ended up disappointed many more times, but I was determined to not give up.  I planned to keep on trying until I was an old lady if that's as long as it took.  I truly believe it means more to me because I did have to work so hard to get here.  Now that I have actually lived my dream, I am still floating in the air and wondering how I was so blessed.  I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that I will forever be grateful to my Father in Heaven, Dave, my boys, my extended family, my friends, my running community, and anyone else who inspired me, put up with me, or encouraged me in any way.  Dreams do come true if you have enough support.  I am evidence of that.  I am still so giddy deep inside and still reeling in the excitement of it all even 12 days later as I write this.  I hope this feeling continues for a very long time.  I truly look up to those who have helped make this possible for me.  The one person who I feel is mostly responsible for me being able to live my dream is my son Tyson. He truly has been and is the inspiration for my running.  I have dedicated most of my marathons to his memory and to others that can't run.  I feel his presence many times when I am running.  Not just races, but while training as well. I know he is right there beside me every step of the way.  I have had too many experiences that confirm he is near to doubt it for even a second.  I started running 10 years ago this month. I never dreamed I would end up writing a blog post about running the Boston Marathon when I signed up for my first 5K....or marathon for that matter.  But here I am.  I hope I can inspire someone else in some small way to dream BIG and to do what it takes to make that BIG dream happen! Because it can and it will! 

Can't wait until Boston 2018!!!

***SPRINT VERSION (for those that aren't up for a marathon that I posted on Facebook): One week ago today I lived a dream that I often doubted would really happen. But it did and I'm still on Cloud 999! It was even more than I hoped it would be. It was worth all it took to get there. At the starting line I was full of fear mainly because of the heat, but also because I had studied the course and I feared it would eat me up. I've heard over and over how amazing (but tough) Boston was, but there are no words to adequately describe it. I have never experienced a race where the spectators (1 million +) are lined three to four deep most of the course and they come out to not only cheer on the runners LOUDLY (I couldn't even hear my music)...but to help them in whatever way they can along the course. To provide water, oranges, bananas, pretzels, Popsicles, licorice, ice, gum, beer (I politely declined)  wet paper towels, sunscreen, Vaseline, band aids, ANYTHING you needed they would get for you! They played music, squirted us with hoses, held up posters, cheered for us by name (even if sometimes it was "Go "Judi!" You got this!"), and encouraged us EVERY step of the way for the entire 26.2 miles! Even the police officers cheered us on. There were only two spots on the course (over bridges) where there were no spectators and it was the only time of quiet. My fear turned into gratitude and joy as I became so focused on soaking in the crowd, that I forgot when I was going up a hill or feeling tired or in pain. I literally smiled the entire 26.2 miles! I loved EVERY step of the way! They treated us like Rock Stars before, during and after the race. I decided I was going to interact with the spectators and I must have high fived over 300+ kids (and college kids)! Those kids faces just lit up when you go out of your way to make them smile. If you made eye contact with the crowd or gave a thumbs up, they erupted with eardrum bursting screams! The volunteers were also amazing. I know why they call Boston the world's greatest marathon, it's because of the people! Part of that crowd was my family and several friends who came just to support me. I am in awe of their love, sacrifice and willingness to come and be there for me. I am so grateful to them. Seeing my family at mile 17 when I knew the big hills were approaching gave me that extra push I needed and knowing they were at the finish line made me push harder. Finding a penny at mile 7 right in my path was also one of the highlights for me. I carried it in my hand the rest of the way. This will go down as one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I'm so grateful I was healthy and my injury was at bay. Before I ran it I wasn't sure if I would want to do it again even though I've qualified for 2018, but now I can't wait! Only 357 more days!  #lifechanging#Bostonmarathon2017 #dreamsdocometrue #totallyworthitall#thisonesforyouTyson #norunnerhighcancompare 
One of my friends made this collage and put it on Facebook.  

Here is a good article from Runner's World that explains a little bit about the obsession of runners wanting to run the Boston Marathon.  
A few of the quotes from it:
'Boston Marathon' is a big part of the vocabulary of runners."
"It's sort of like going to Rome if you're a Catholic."
"Earn My BQ" is on many 'before-I-die' lists. 
BQ—two syllables that have become the most prized in racing, representing an achievement more reachable than Olympic gold but more prestigious than mere marathon finisher.
"I've never seen people so driven by this goal—this holy grail."
"It's a heroic label," . And it's one people eagerly share, too. "I don't think anyone secretly runs Boston."
If you believe and are willing to work hard to achieve, nothing really is impossible."
"One of the most meaningful things in my life," he calls the quest for Boston "a soul-searching experience. It tells you what type of person you are deep down."

1 comment:

Audrey said...

Jodi, your journey to run the Boston Marathon is nothing short of amazing. You have worked harder than anyone I know and have achieved your dream. You are my hero. Congratulations!


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