For many runners, the Boston Marathon is the bees knees. It's the oldest continuously running marathon (this past one was the 121st running), it requires a time qualifier to secure a spot (unless you raise a ridiculous amount of money for charity), and the city of Boston comes out in force to make it an EVENT.
When I qualified for Boston last year, I had simply promised myself that I would throw myself into training and see what happens if I really do my best. The marathon isn't really the event that I'm most comfortable with - it turns out that it's really hard - and I had finally run a race that I felt good about the previous Fall and I was really hesitant to give myself a goal that was too aggressive. Because that's the thing about the marathon: you can't bank time. You have to run a measured race, and if you go out too fast you're robbing from your later miles - hitting that wall HURTS. It's not a pleasant feeling. But in the last weeks leading up to my qualifying race everything seemed to come together, and when I crossed that finish line at 3:37.23 I knew that I'd most likely secured myself a spot, along with my sister and dad.
Boston may not have been my ultimate goal, but it was most definitely my dads. This past weekend, one of my dad's biggest dreams came true: running Boston with BOTH my sister and myself. He used to talk about the day that one of us would run it, and now here both of us were making the trip. To get to do this as a family was so amazingly special, I can't believe how lucky I was.
The race itself.
The Boston Marathon is a massive event. 30,000 runners, and spectators lining the entire 26 miles of course. To give perspective, mile 6 had more people cheering than I've seen at the finish line of any other race I've done. People cheer, play music, hand out food, popsicles, ice bags, and all the high fives any person could get. Since the race is on a holiday, Patriot's Day, the whole city comes out. There is simply no comparison. On our race day, we knew it would be a hot one, and everyone was ratcheting down their goals accordingly. This was never going to be my 'big' race - Boston is notorious for crazy weather and I didn't want to train my heart out only to end up with an 85 degree day (good call!) - but even then, we had to slow down. My sister and my dad ran together ahead, and I ran with my friend (like, all the way back to our Stroller Strides days!) Kendra.