Wednesday, April 22, 2009
First and foremost, thank you so much to everyone who has supported, encouraged, coached and cheered me on throughout this training season. I cannot describe how much it helps to know there are so many people rooting for me as I put in the hours of training and then run the actually marathon. So, thank you once again!
So, Marathon Monday... Betsy and I woke up bright and early (5:00AM). I had my coffee, a slice of toast with peanut butter and honey, and we headed down to the Boston Common to take the BAA buses out to Hopkinton. This is the first year I have made it to the buses before the huge crowds arrive. The lines were not too long at 6:15AM. Fred found us and we made it out to Hopkinton by 7:30AM. This is a HUGE improvement over my 9:30AM arrival last year, 30 minutes before the start of my wave of runners.
We headed over to the parish hall refuge, where we DFMC runners get to stay warm inside before lining up for the start. It was great to see all of my running buddies before the race. Jack Fultz gave us a little speech, Jan let us know that Dana Farber has raised 3 MILLION dollars so far from our efforts, and I got to say good luck to all of my close DFMC friends as I headed out the door at 9:40AM for the 10:00AM start.
The race itself has all become a bit of a blur. I kept reminding myself throughout the first half of what Jack kept telling us "if you don't feel like you are running too slow, then you are running too fast". I was keeping about a 7:40-7:45ish mile pace throughout the first half marathon. I was nervous that that may have been too fast, but I felt good and like I was not expending too much energy. In some ways I felt like I was risking hitting a wall, but by the time I was at mile 16 and I was still feeling strong, I decided that I was not going too fast, I was doing alright.
Mile 17-18 are when we finally hit the Newton Hills. At this point I was running with an older man who had run Boston 11 years earlier and told me thank you for running for Dana Farber because his wife had been treated there for breast cancer a few years before. I was feeling fairly strong over the hills and so I pulled him along at my 7:45/7:47 minute per mile pace over the first two hills. The "Katie" on my shirt was attracting lots of attention and I felt the crowds yelling my name throughout this section of the course. At one point, some of the runners around me looked back and said "ohhh, so you are who everyone has been cheering for!". I was glad my name was so visible.
When I finally made it up over Heartbreak Hill I was starting to feel my legs quite a bit. I hit mile 22 and kept trying to remind myself that there are only 4 more miles to go and that I was very familiar with this part of the course. The big hill was behind me, my co-workers and friends were only 1.5 miles away...all of these thoughts kept passing through my head. I had completely forgotten what mile Dana Farber was cheering from... and for some reason I had mile 22 stuck in my head. I wanted to look good for them so I was trying to stay as strong as possible until I at least got to wave to my coach and friends. After I didn't see them at mile 22 or 23 I assumed I missed them.
Coolidge corner came quickly and I got to see my co-workers and then my parents and then my AMAZING roommates!!! My brother, who is about 6'2" saw me and held up a big sign that said "I"... my mom and dad shot a bunch of pictures and I was back on my way towards the finish line. Apparently Dennis saw me and was screaming my name, but I was so focused at that point on A) seeing my family and B) making it to the finish in one piece, that I did not hear him at all.
As I approached mile 24 my legs hurt, my body ached and all I wanted to do was walk. I don't feel like I have ever felt like I wanted to walk so extraordinarily badly. I kept trying to think of Al (my grandfather in whose memory I was running) and asking him to pull me along. I kept thinking about how little 2 miles really is... but it was HARD. Just as I was coming up over the little hill into Kenmore Square I was just about to give up and walk, I was really struggling. When...all of a sudden... I hear Jan (the head of the DFMC) yelling through a bull horn : "Katie, look to your right, Katie look to your right!" Sure enough, there I was at the Dana Farber cheering zone, looking about as weak as can be... Regardless, they helped me to pull myself together and realize that I only had 1.2 miles left to go! I didn't walk, I picked myself up, and I pulled myself through to the finish line in 3:29:14! I was hoping that I could do the marathon in 3:30, so I made my goal!
After the marathon I headed over to the Dana Farber recovery zone and was able to see, and congratulate, all of my fellow runners on their finishes as well. I loved that! Yesterday I was extraordinarily sore, and I am slowly recovering into today. Now I am extraordinarily excited to take a few more days fully off and then to dust off my road bike to start a new season all over again... :)
Posted by Katie Irving at 10:06 AM