Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Marathon Monday

i've spent the last two boston recaps talking about all the fun/crazy/silly things that happened over the course of the weekend. now that we are a week +1 day removed from the boston marathon you all know about the amazing world record finish, you know about the debate over the world record finish. i'm sure you heard about how the early women's leader kim smith had to drop out due to injury. this recap will talk about none of that (aside from what i just said!:) ). spectating any marathon at mile 26 (ive had my fair share of that in the past year) you see a lot. the good, the bad and the ugly. boston is no different. i spent a long time trying to figure out how i wanted to capture the awesomeness of this day and describe to those who weren't there, or who were running and only spent a brief time at mile 26, what it was like standing in front of TJ's on boylston that day. i'll do my best. 

so many emotions unfold at mile 26. excitement and fist pumps from knowing a PR is in the bag. disappointment, knowing that heartbreak hill really was a heartbreak and a 3:10 wasn't possible that day. feeling powerless because your legs just wouldn't carry you that final stretch to the finish. joy in knowing that you are moments away from completing the boston marathon, and a mixed bag of emotions knowing that boston is your 50th state and you are a member of an elite club.

i must preface this with the fact that i have never run a marathon. i don't know what it's like be on the other side of those barricades at mile 26. i don't know what its like to train for 18 weeks or go for those 20 mile training runs. with that said, i do know what its like to train hard, have a goal time and want nothing more then to cross the finish line with a smile on my face and feel good about my run. sometimes it happens and sometimes its just not my day.

the boston marathon is what everyone, or shall i say, most people work towards. there are some runners who have no desire to run boston but my guess is that there are a lot more that do. boston is that carrot in front of your nose on those 90 degree days when you don't wanna get out there and run. boston is a race that sold out in 8 hours to some 20,000 qualified runners (not counting charity). simply put, boston is a big deal.

what i was most impressed by was even though this was the boston marathon- there were runners out there who were sacrificing their own run, their boston, for a fellow runner. i wasn't able to get pictures of every runner who did this but i think this pictures below sum it up.

2 things i love about this. 1 a runner that wont quit and 2. a runner who stopped to help and sacrificed his boston time.

then there was this guy. being held up by an EMT on a bike long enough for him to regain strength and finish on his own.

these are just two examples of runners who had a rough day but gave it their all to finish. i won't forget the imagine of a women who's face was all banged up and bleeding. my guess is she may have fallen...and then gotten back up to complete her run. i loved the runners who put their name on their shirt or arms so that we could cheer for them as if they were our best friend. like the quote on the niketown photo says "never run alone again". none of these runners were running alone. they had thousands of people cheering them on from hopkinton to boylston. we didn't care if we knew them or not, they were one of us. a runner. a runner who needed any kind of support possible during that final stretch.

while boston is a big race and everyone wants to do well, it was so awesome to see so many runners having fun. the costumes, the smiles and the high fives. even though i was at mile 26 and i saw a lot of walls being hit and a lot of people having a rough day, i also saw some fantastic runners with outstanding attitudes.

take luau for example. i had been stalking him for a long time on twitter, don't worry, he knows and he's totally cool with it. he had a killer run at smuttynose and got his first BQ. he trained like crazy for boston. i would often swear at him when i saw on twitter that he had logged some crazy amount of miles before i even woke up. he was feeling ready, he was having an awesome run....until heartbreak hill. i'll let you read his recap here, because i want him to tell you his story. from mile 20 on he knew that his goal time was out of reach. after a few miles of feeling sorry he picked his chin up and decided to make the best out of the last 6.2 miles. danielle saw him run by and we all started screaming "luau! luau!" he was past us when he heard us screaming. he turned to looked and we jumped up and down and waved like 13 year-olds at a justin bieber concert. to our surprise  shock, he turned around, dodged several runners and ran over to us. we promptly said "what are you doing, keep going!?" to which he smiled and replied "my 3:10 is out the window, i'm having fun!". i gave him a big sweaty hug and he snapped this gem of a photo.

i remember looking at the cop who was looking at him like "whhhat is he doing!". i know this sounds like such a simple, little thing but we loved his whole attitude about boston not being his day. there are a few ways you can go about having a crappy run, lets face it, we alllll have them. you can feel sorry for yourself, be angry, or have fun! i urge you all to go stalk luau's blog. he has such an amazing attitude towards running and life. plus he raises money for autism, which obviously i love. granted he was disappointed about his run, but he didn't let it stop him from finishing the race and having fun while he was at it. he also won't let it slow him down.

ok brief pause for some more pictures before i continue.

joan benoit samuelson- representing maine!
(ms.v, this pic was for you!)
mark: "hey sarah, how long ago did you have your baby!?"
me: "shut it!"

a pickle in boston. really?

ok, back to mile 26.

and then there's sam. sam also had a killer training for boston coming off of 61 marathons a 2 ultras in 2010. again, ill let you read his 2011 boston recap here. i first met sam at boston in 2010. it was at the post race lunch in 2010 that i got the ass kicking i needed to a) run a marathon and b) make a difference while doing it. i followed sam and his crazy race schedule for the rest of 2010 and was eager to see him back in boston in 2011. boston is a course that sam runs well on and he has been chasing a sub 3 marathon since his 8th marathon. boston was his 92nd. sam is one of the most humble men i know. he doesn't gloat about his speed. he doesn't brag about 2010. he just goes out there and does it. however, ask him about train 4 autism or why he is running the san francisco marathon and he will tell you everything you need to know! it would have been easy for him to put a sign on his back last year and said "this is my X marathon this year" but that's not what he, and 2010 was about. if i were running a crazy number of marathons a year id be sure to tell everyone i came in contact with about it:-) not sam. i started off as a supporter of operation jack, i look up to sam and admire his work ethic and attitude. a roll model for all runners out there. an inspiration to me. i may have met sam because of operation jack, but im pleased and honored to call him a friend today. he is the reason i am running the mdi marathon in october for train 4 autism. 2010 wasn't about 61 marathons, it was about bringing awareness to train 4 autism and thats what he did. without sam, the maine chapter of train 4 autism wouldn't exist. he has even agreed to slog it out with me and pace me at mdi. he says if i can go 4:06:23 i can forever hold it over his head that i ran my first marathon faster then him (4:06:24). now thats a good friend, a sub 3 runner agreeing to run a 4+ hour marathon. i hope he knows what he's in for.

so sam was gunning for a sub 3 on april 18. he had his cheering squad standing in front of TJs waiting for him. i will never forget the moment when i spotted sam running down boylston knowing he had a sub 3 in the bag. i was jumping up and down on the fence, screaming, waving my hands, anything i could do to get his attention. he knew we were there and i know he was looking for us. i saw him put his hands out and shurg his shoulders as if to say "hello! where are you girls!?", right after that he saw us and gave us the biggest fist pump he could muster. there were a whole lot of teary eyed girls at this moment. 

danielle with the sign she made. 
so these are just some of the sights from boylston st, mile 26, boston 2011. these are the stories that you didn't read in the paper the next day, or on the live streaming of the race. these are the real heros of boston. the ones with an amazing attitude and determination like none other. these are the normal people. the ones who don't make a living off of running, but run because it means something to them. 

spike and redhead
OJ girls at TJs 
rockin boylston st

and this my friends is how you celebrate a sub 3.
"tonight, tonight there's a party on the rooftop top of the world!"
"never run alone again"

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