What a relief it is to be able to leisurely check in with everyone and explain that while slow I still finished. I tried to thank all the course volunteers, but especially the ones at the finish. I felt queasy enough running toward Copley Square and they spent all day there.
I will continue thanking people for the foreseeable future. I am so grateful for everything - on race day I am thankful my family stuck it out waiting for me, thankful for Connie for catching me and her friend Gerry trying to massage my calves, thankful for Rebekah walking me up Heartbreak.
I took about an hour and a half longer to finish than I'd expected I would.
I started strong, having trained pretty well although with a sore knee, and ran about twelve miles. The weather was a lot warmer than expected, and a lot of people were having trouble keeping things together. I thought I was drinking enough and taking enough salt/pretzels/sports drink to be replenished, but after mile 12 both my calves kept seizing up when I ran more than a few hundred feet. The sore knee I was running through. I could not solve the calves.
For the most part, I could walk, and as the day progressed the "Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston" refrain stuck with me. Perhaps if it was some other race I would have packed it in when I reached my family at mile 17.
I knew I was in for a long day if I had to walk it but I could walk it, and I really really wanted the finish line under my own power. #BostonStrong and all.
I was at peace knowing I'd get there long after most of the crowds had thinned, and I was touched that there were many people still along the back half of the route happy to have someone to encourage!
A medical tent at Cleveland Circle finally fed me some salty broth. I kept walking, and trying to run without being able to get more than a few hundred feet before my calves seized. At mile 25, something fired up enabling me to run that last mile + .2, the mile I wasn't able to run last year. Right on Hereford, left on Boylston. In tears, relieved.
I got my medal, my mylar jacket, a finisher's time for coming in just under six hours, raised piles of awareness and funds for Samaritans, got to know some incredibly strong Samaritans teammates, and learned a little something about how generous my community is. I also did my small part to help Boston reclaim its signature race.
I have said for years that on marathon day you do the best you can with the day and body you have. Until yesterday, I had the good fortune to be able to work with reasonable days and a cooperative body. Today I'm walking, slowly, and grateful for everything. I guess this experience confirms that I'm a real marathoner.
I did learn that it takes a lot of work to come in last at a marathon, because there were plenty of people behind me.
There'll be pictures forthcoming.