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Well, it's over, 4 months of hard training. Countless 4:40am wake-ups, many miles on the treadmill for speed work and to get off the icy streets, early bed times, saying no to other things, an often crabby mom/wife/friend.... hours and hours of reflective time on my own, many podcasts listened to, lots of early morning chats with my running pals, feeling myself getting stronger/faster, and crossing that finish line in Boston with a smile on my face!

I went into the race not totally knowing what to expect, I knew about the downhill at the beginning and heartbreak hill at mile 20, I knew about the crowds and how inspiring the other racers would be. But I guess you could say I still went into it blindly. I had pictured in my head this euphoric running experience, and I wouldn't say it was that for me. It was certainly inspiring and something everyone should be a part of at some time in their lives (if you're into this type of thing), but I think I went into it thinking I would literally run like a unicorn and feel amazing and have the best time ever-- and that did not happen. :)

I had set my goal, and I knew I could reach it, and then when it was evident that wasn't happening, I had to re-frame my mind and try to enjoy the experience for just that, THE EXPERIENCE. Not for the race, or for the time, or for my goal, but just that I was simply running the Boston Marathon.

My favorite part of the race was mile 25 when I got a surprise visit from Sten. I knew he'd be at the 1/2 way point (mile 13), and I was scanning the crowd from about mile 12.5 on. I was already struggling at that point, the temps were in the high 70s and I was feeling it. He said: "you look great, Er! How do you feel??" to which I said: "I'm dying!" :) a couple miles later I got to see our cousin and amazing host for the week, Lisa, and her 2 kids and that also gave me a boost. I felt the support of all the spectators and crowds so much throughout the race. But at mile 25, seeing Sten was like a beacon of light. I needed that final push (could have really actually used a push) to get me to the finish line.

The beginning of the race was just a SEA of people, I had been waiting at athletes village for 2 hours, and at the start line for 20 mins, and had SO much pent up adrenaline and energy, and then I couldn't really move, there were just so many people in front of me. I finally picked up my pace at mile 3 and then had my quickest mile around 6. I steadily inclined from there and stayed under 8 min miles until heartbreak hill at mile 20. My average pace was 7:48, and I officially finished in 3:24:08.

From the Expo, to the bus ride out to Hopkinton, to Athlete's Village, to mile 1 to mile 26.2 -- it is a memory I will hold dear, forever. Can't say I'd ever do it again, as it truly felt like a once in a lifetime experience. I really took it all in, no music and tried to give as many high fives as possible. I didn't take many pictures of the race itself, but good thing Sten snapped a couple ;)

 The EXPO was insane! A huge line wrapping around the convention center just to get in, and then more waiting once we got inside. They stopped the escalators right before I was about to get on, because of the amount of people in the actual expo itself. I finally got my bib and explored on my own, sampling a lot of cliff bars :)
 Here's me with my bus buddy. We took a selfie right before walking to the start line. She lives in Arizona and finished in 3:11! I think she excelled in the heat! This was her 3rd Boston Marathon and it was fun to get to know her.
Can you see me in this pic?? on the right 3 deep... Sten really outdid himself with his photography skills ;)
He did get me at mile 25 :)
 Sten and I finally found each other at the end. I can't think of a time in the recent past that I've been so excited to see him. I was salty from sweat, and I could smell myself, but he wrapped me up tight and all was well in the world. He has been so encouraging throughout this entire endeavor and literally I can feel him be my biggest cheerleader, with pride just ooozing out of him for me. The remainder of our time in Boston was spent traipsing around the city and it was magical. I'll write more about that another day.

Bucket List:
Boston Marathon ✓

xo. erica #12414 :)


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