There has been so much to take in over the last 24 hours. So many feels, so many emotions. The Boston Marathon was a dream I have been chasing for quite some time and yesterday exceeded all of my expectations. It was truly one of the most memorable days of my life. Every second, every step of my 3 hour 27 minute 8 second race was one I will never take for granted.
Out on the course, I was thinking of many things.
Mainly, I thought about what it took to get there. The goal I thought could never be attainable. Run 26.2 miles in less then 3 hours and 35 minutes, it used to seem like insanity to me.
All the miles, all the work, all the faith that came along with qualifying.
I made it, I earned it, I am here.
I thought about the chills I got immediately stepping out of my 4 hour car ride from NYC to Boston. Being part of "A History of Greatness."
Time to make my mark.
I thought about the overwhelming feeling I got the first time I saw the finish line on Boylston, wearing the jacket I've been waiting to own for what seems like forever.
I thought of my family and friends who came along to cheer me on and everyone tracking me from home, sending nothing but love and encouragement.
I thought about that summer I lived in Boston, how mesmerized I was with the charming city, its culture and its people. I thought about how that summer was the first time I really fell in love with running. All those morning miles around the Charles River, how they changed my life.
I thought about my amazingly supportive husband who proposed to me in this very city, 2 years ago. I thought about that blissful day, completely clueless as to what was happening. My best friend and sister trying to hurry me to the Charles River where he was down on one knee but all I wanted to do was go into the Boston Marathon Running Store. Showing up an hour late to my own engagement with a Boston Strong T-shirt in my hand.
And then just as I passed my husband and parents around mile 10 I thought Holy $h*t this course is no joke.
They tell you part of Boston's prestige is it's long, hard, rolling hilly course. You of course hear about it's infamous "heartbreak hill."
But you never really know until you are there experiencing it.
Well this course was hard. Harder then expected. And the beating heat, heavy wind and blistering sun made it no easier.
No matter how much water and Gatorade I drank, my entire body still cramped up at times. There were points when I thought I was going to faint or I had to call it quits. My left leg gave out at one point from what I assumed was from dehydration.
My pace got slower. My body got heavier.
I've never fully experienced (knock on wood) what it feels like to hit a wall, but I could imagine I came pretty close yesterday.
I prayed. "Please don't fail on me, not here, not now."
Then around mile 16 I looked around at where I was.
I knew my friends were close up ahead and I was just focused on getting closer and closer to them.
I looked to my left and then to my right. I realized that 500,000+ people came out that day to cheer runners like me on. I thought about all the media coverage circling me and the fact that the media coverage on Patriots Day is 2nd to the Super Bowl. I thought about all the children relentlessly waving their hands to high five me and all power I got from high fiving them back. I took that energy from the electric crowd and ran.
I began to think of all the people who would do anything to be running this glorious route from Hopkinton to Boston. It was those people keeping me alive.
I thought of those who lost their life or their ability to run in Boston 3 years ago.
I thought of those who missed their BQ by seconds. How hard they all worked and how heart broken they must have been to find out they wouldn't be running this day.
I thought of those who trained all winter, through snow storms and blistering cold, and came up injured or sick just before the race.
I thought of how much privilege it was to be running next to hundreds of other women; all because one woman was brave enough to prove to the rest of the world that women are more then capable of doing this.
I thought of all the elite, respected and inspiring runners surrounding me, all chasing the same unicorn. I became humbled.
And suddenly all the pain and suffering went away as I powered the mile up Heartbreak Hill. At that moment, I discovered that #BostonStrong is not just a slogan, it's a pulse, a living breathing, heart beating effort which represents far more then I ever imagined.
It could have been all mental, but no weather conditions or pain and suffering could have made it a bad race.
I ran the most incredible course of my life yesterday. And it wasn't because of my time or performance. It's because I have wanted this race for as long as I can remember and no matter what obstacles were thrown in my way yesterday, there were harder ones along this journey.
The last mile, I forgot about the pain, the heat and the hills. I took a teary eyed look around the cheering crowd, the majestic city, the inspiring runners next to me and let that carry me to the finish.