Ali and I landed in Boston late Saturday night. Thank goodness we found a room close to the airport...like AT the airport! We stayed at the Hilton at Boston Logan Airport. It was so convenient to be able to walk off our plane, and on over to Terminal E where the hotel is located. Check in was really quick considering there was only one guy working the desk. We found our room easily and started making our preparations for the next morning. I laid out my race gear and set my alarm extra early. We had to be out of the room by 6 in order to catch the hotel shuttle to the T station. We were going to have to catch the train into the city so I could get to race packet pick up.
Sunday morning we were up at 5:30 to get ready for the day. I threw on my race gear and packed a bag of warm clothes to change into after the race, and we flew out the door. We were disappointed when the shuttle we needed to get on filled up and left without us, but another shuttle pulled up just a few seconds later. Our shuttle driver was awesome!! Not only did he take us to the T station, but he walked us inside and showed us on the map where to get off for Copley Square. He then marched over to the ticket machine and showed us how to purchase our 7 day transit passes. Talk about customer service!! With a "Have a great time in Boston!" he was out the door before we could even give the guy a tip.
The ride on the T was quicker than we expected too. Switching lines was easy, and even with our luggage the trip went very smoothly. We arrived in Copley Square around 6:45, just in time to pick up my packet and find a port-a-potty. It was FREEZING outside and the wind wasn't helping. Thankfully the packet pick-up was held inside a heated tent. I received my bib number and took a look at the map of the course I would be running. I hung out inside the tent next to a heater and did some stretching. Ali made his way to our next hotel to drop off our luggage. Luckily for him, our hotel was less than a half mile away. Here is the map of the 5K course from the BAA website:
About 30 minutes before race time, the announcer directed everyone to the starting line. I reluctantly left the warmth of the tent and ventured out into the cold once more. Once outside, we were directed to find a place near our predicted pace per mile. I positioned myself at the 10 min mile sign...as there was no 12 minute mile sign. I was really nervous as there were only a handful of people behind me! I didn't want to be the very last soul across the finish line. Luckily for me, the chute slowly began to fill up as more people made their way to the start. At this point I began to pray that my KT tape and knee brace would be a magic combination. I also realized at this point that Ali had my sunglasses. I quickly called him and asked him to hand them off to me along the course.
The National Anthem was sung, and before I knew it we were off! It was very crowded in the beginning, and I had a hard time getting going at a steady pace. The roads were very crowded, and then someone had the bright idea of jumping up on the sidewalks. The poor spectators were quickly enveloped as the runners descended down on them. By getting off of the street, I was able to develop a steady stride by the time I saw Ali at around a 1/2 mile. He was waiting by the Public Garden at Boston Common. I was so happy to see him!! He took this photo of me as I was reaching out for my sunglasses.
I was feeling really good at this point and I was just beginning to warm up a little. I continued around the perimeter of the garden and saw Ali again! I let him know I was feeling good and continued on my way. I spent most of my run looking up at the buildings. There are so many beautiful old buildings and churches to see. I am surprised that I didn't fall and break my neck as I did trip a few times on the uneven roads.
Around mile 2, I realized that my knees were feeling fantastic!! I believe I had some huge cheesy grin on my face the whole time beyond this point. I was feeling elated at how well I was running. I hadn't run more than two consecutive miles since the Double Bridge Run in early February. This realization gave me the boost I needed to carry on though to mile 3. I surprised myself by not needing to take a walk break along the way. The only time I slowed was to grab water at two of the water stops.
The most memorable part of the course for me was turning into Boylston Street. There were spectators cheering loudly on both sides of the street...and I could see the finish line in the distance!!! The atmosphere gave me even more energy and I started running downhill towards the finish line. I picked up the pace and my goofy grin turned ridiculous at that point :) I heard my name being called, and looked over to see our friends Steve and Tristan cheering me on. Moments later I heard Ali calling me from the VIP stands on the finish line. I waved to him and crossed over the line. My goal was to finish in 36 minutes...and I completed the 5K in 34:51. I took great satisfaction knowing that I crossed the marathon finish line before Ali would! That will be the only time that would happen. Haha.
I made my way through the finishers chute and was given a food bag and an awesome medal. I was not expecting a medal for the 5K, so that was a huge bonus for me. I made my way back towards the finish line and found Ali and some more of our friends who would be running the marathon the next day. I was so touched that they came to watch me race. I may be as slow as molasses, but I felt like a winner with them all there. The runner's high I got that morning lasted well into the evening for me. After the 5K we walked on to the marathon expo, and then walked part of the Freedom Trail. The day was perfected by a pre-marathon carb loading dinner out with our group of friends. Stay tuned for my thoughts on the marathon expo, and Ali's recap of his marathon experience.
Here I am before the race, and with Ali afterwards.
And here is my big finish :) I crossed the line before Ali!!