Wicked Fast Runnahs

posted by Brittney

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WARNING--Long, long post ahead.

Hello there! Eric & I are finally home after a week-long vaca in Boston!
We LOVED our trip, but are very glad to be home. It has been quite a whirlwind of a trip. Let me first start out by saying that Boston is one of the coolest places to visit…I would NEVER want to live there, but I had such a blast visiting.

Our trip started out with us driving to Houston from Dallas to spend the night with my parents the night before we flew out. And I’m sure you are wondering why we didn’t fly out of DFW, well, it’s because it was about $175 more expensive per person to fly out of DFW. We decided we would rather pay for gas than $350 worth of nothing. So, on Friday morning we flew to DFW (which is where our layover was—go figure) and then we flew to Boston. When we arrived, we met up with my wonderful in-laws, Cindy & Kevin, at the airport. Cindy met us in baggage claim with a “marathon Monday” shirt (prob one of the most comfortable shirts I have ever worn), yelling “you made it to Boston…it’s almost marathon Monday!” as we were coming down the escalator! J She gave us quite the greeting!

We then got in a taxi and drove to the rental car place to pick up our Expedition! Come to find out, an Expedition will NOT fit 8 people plus 8 people’s luggage. I bet we looked like a bunch of idiots trying to figure out how to put everything and everyone in the car. We eventually had to get a second car for Kevin & Cindy to drive, since they were leaving Boston before we were. Problem solved.

We decided to go eat before we checked in to the hotel, which was all the way in Milford, MA, which is about 5 miles away from the starting line of the marathon. We chose a seafood place right in the middle of Boston called The Barking Crab…best seafood EVER! Like seriously, you have no idea. The shrimp was awesome, the crab was amazing, and the sweet potato fries? Oh. My. Gosh. Nothing tasted fishy like it does in Galveston, so needless to say we were very pleased. Once we finished eating, we were pretty beat from a whole day of traveling, so we headed to the hotel.

Finally in Boston!
Yummy crab claws!

The next day my entire family woke up before me. Typical. I have an excuse though…I was getting over a cold and I had to run a marathon in a couple days, so I needed sleep! Right? Of course!
Anyways, we decided to go to the race expo first to pick up my bib number and packet. We also did lots of shopping at the expo (yay!) and lots of sampling. I think Eric’s favorite part of going to expos with me is grabbing lots of samples of power bars and electrolyte drinks, getting free knick-knacks, and talking to complete strangers about different products. He really has such a good time at these things. And I absolutely LOVE expos because you are surrounded by tons of runners who have the same goal as you. It is such a cool feeling…I’m a running freak, I know.

Getting my bib number!

In front of the course map...straight shot from Hopkinton to Boston
Found a BAA Marathon jacket!
After the expo, we were starving! So we decided to go in search of a deli that happened to be closed once we found it. We got lucky though, because a couple who was eating lunch at a place right next to the deli told us that you couldn’t beat the food at this restaurant. So we decided to try it, and let me tell you, it was YUMMY. I had a corned beef sandwich that was to die for. And of course, I ordered more sweet potato fries. Probably my favorite food (other than sour patch of course). We did some sightseeing once we finished lunch, visiting the Old Granary Burial Grounds (where Paul Revere is buried), Cheers bar, Boston Commons, and Boston Public Park. We also went to Mike’s Pastry…if you ever go to Boston, you HAVE to go to this place. Seriously. I definitely ate my weight in canolis. I had to carb up right? Haha

Paul Revere's grave
At the Old Granary Burial

At Marliave's eating lunch


Boston Public Park

We did some more sightseeing and eventually made our way back to the hotel. The following morning, I didn’t get up until 11:30 am…it was awesome. Once I rolled out of bed, we all got ready to go to a Red Sox game! If you know me, you know I LOVE baseball. So, this was such a cool experience for me. Fenway Park is legit. I always see it on movies, aka “Fever Pitch”, and it always makes me want to go. I actually really like the Red Sox and being in Fenway made me love them even more. I probably took WAY too many pictures, but I don’t care. I would love to go to games all the time there.

My Dad & I in front of Fenway
My hubby & I at the game! 
Go Red Sox!

After the game (which the Red Sox won!), we went on a duck tour. Yes, a DUCK tour. It is a tour in a military vehicle that not only drives through the streets of Boston, but goes in the Charles River and drives around like a boat. It was so cool! We got to see so many sights that would take forever to get to on foot. Side note: Everyone in Boston walks! It’s crazy! This is going to sound bad, but there were like no obese people in Boston and it’s probably because of this reason. I wish that I could walk to work or bike to work everyday. I’m totally jealous of Bostonians for this. Although, I wouldn’t want to ride the Subway. YUCK! We will get to that later on though. Sorry, my tangent is now over.
After the tour (see pictures of the sights below), we found a hole in the wall pasta/pizza place so I could finish up my carbo-loading splurge. The food was awesome! (Do you sense a pattern forming? The food in Boston is legit.) We then went home and got lots of sleep!

On the duck tour

Holocaust memorial

USS Constitution

The next morning, Monday morning—the day of the Boston marathon, I woke up at 5:30 am to get ready to go. [Side note: If you are tired of reading, then take a break and come back, because this part is probably going to get long...]
I left the hotel at 7:15 am to head to the starting line/Athlete’s village, which is where all the marathoners go to get ready to head to the start line. People stretch, eat breakfast, drink pure electrolytes, bandage up, and of course stand in line at porta-potties 2 or 3 times. It is quite the experience. Since I had already eaten breakfast, I sipped on water, ate some GU, stretched, and people watched. Probably the best part of my morning. Let me just say that I have never seen so many people with great legs all in one place. Seriously…

Really quick, let me give some background info on the Boston Marathon. Everyone who runs this race has to qualify for it. Meaning, that each person is put into an age group and given a time they have to run a full marathon in. For example, I am in the 18-34 year old age group and I had to run a marathon in under 3 hours and 40 minutes. I qualified in San Antonio in November of 2010 with a time of 3:37 and then re-qualified in Houston this past January with a time of 3:32. All of the marathoners running Boston have to do the same thing. The race is known for not only fast marathoners, but for it’s spectators. The volunteers and spectators are 100% amazing. They make the race. Also, the race typically has decent weather. Usually, the race is run in an average temperature of 50 degrees. Perfect running weather. Anyways, moving on…

So, here I am sitting in Athlete’s village, and I start to get sunburned. Yes, sunburned! Thank goodness I put on sunscreen! As I begin to notice this, I also realize that I am sweating profusely. I then found out that it was about 85 degrees around that time. Meaning, that it was only going to get hotter. I knew to expect a hot race, but not this hot. I was already miserable and I hadn’t even gotten to the start line yet. By the time I made it to the start line when my wave was supposed to start (10:20 Eastern time), I was drenched in sweat and already a slight shade of pink. The BAA kept warning runners to take the race slow and think of it as an experience rather than a race to PR in. So, I decided to TRY to have this mentality when I started, but I am so competitive that I felt the need to do my personal best. I started out the race at about a 7:30 mile, very comfortable, not too fast, and a little slower than what I was aiming for. I tried really hard to tone it down, and a 7:30 mile was about all I could do. So, it went this way for 4 miles or so…I maintained this pace very well and was even thinking about quickening my pace to what I had trained for. Well, around mile 5, my body told me that I needed to slow it down. I was drenched in sweat and parched, even though I had just drank 2 cups of water and a cup of Gatorade at the last water station. My Garmin started beeping at me, and I quote, “Heart rate too high”. I literally had to do a double-take because I had never seen this on my watch before. Around this time, I noticed people around me begin to stop and walk or step off to the side of the course to stretch or sit down for a few minutes. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I was already partly dehydrated. I have NEVER walked in a marathon before…EVER! So, making the conscious decision to walk was very conflicting for me. But in the end, my desire to have good health won over my competitiveness. I made friends who were choosing to walk, which were A LOT of people, and I took my time. Once my HR went down, I started running again, but every 10 minutes or so, my watch would beep at me again telling me my HR was too high. So, then I would walk. Looking around me as this was happening, I saw 2 or 3 people pass out right in front of me. It was the most overwhelming experience of my life. It was all I could do to make to the next mile, then the next, then the next. It was so hard to put one foot in front of the other at some points. The heat was getting to me…to everyone! It was almost 90 degrees about halfway through the race. My lingering cold was probably another culprit for making my heart rate spike and that was killing my pride. Like I said earlier, the spectators were the drive of this race, especially that day. People had hoses and sprinklers out to spray us with water continuously. Kids were handing out ice or cold towels to all the runners. It was amazing, even in the midst of this grueling experience. So with this in mind and being my competitive self, I knew I HAD to finish. I HAD TO! So, eventually I did. 4 hours and 13 minutes later, I crossed the Boston Marathon finish line…a little over 45 minutes past my qualifying time. I was aiming for a 3:20 and obviously that didn’t happen. But I finished.
When I crossed the finish line, I broke out into tears. I was so mentally and physically exhausted. This race was by far the most exhausting experience of my life and I was spent. As I rounded the corner past the finish line, I saw my Papa, my wonderful husband, my parents, my in-laws, and my Mimi. Another round of tears decided to flow. I remember the first thing I said to Eric…”It was so hot!” (as I’m sobbing). It was really attractive. NOT. I think this picture pretty much sums it up.

Props to my wonderful husband for putting up with me...and for the flowers ;)
Even after accomplishing a marathon in 90 degree heat, crossing the finish line, and seeing my family, I was so unhappy. I can’t even describe what was going through my head…disappointment, defeat, exhaustion, frustration, and most of all, doubt in myself. I kept wondering what I could have done different, what I could have done to make my goal of 3 hours and 20 minutes? It was frustrating have these thoughts and not having a solution. It was hot. I had a cold. I was dehydrated. My heart rate was too high. I was so pissed off…ask my family, they will tell you! Eventually (meaning today), I realized that I couldn’t have done anything different. The worst race of my life was actually a life lesson. And it was actually a feat in itself. I ran a marathon in 90 degrees and didn't die or spend the day in the medical tent. I’m not happy with my performance, but I know that it happened for a reason. I still qualify for next year’s Boston Marathon, so you bet I am going to be on that start line with a newfound recognition for myself and what I am capable of doing, because it can only get better from here.

Here is a wonderful recap of the race told through someone else’s eyes…if you have time, go read it! It’s amazing.

Sorry friends, I think I just wrote you a novel. My bad! If you have kept reading through to this point, then I applaud you. I sometimes get carried away! I will keep the rest short :)

After the marathon, we had to ride the subway (eww) for about an hour and a half to our car. The last thing I wanted to do was go on the subway. All I wanted was an ice bath then a hot shower! (Oh and salt…which I got via popcorn at the train station!)
After we arrived back at the hotel, we found a wonderful little deli that made the best sandwiches! I gorged myself.
Looking nasty and feeling like a sardine
Had to have popcorn!
The next day, we got up early and went to Plymouth, which was about 45 minutes from our hotel. We visited Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower, and Cape Cod. We had the best breakfast at Persy’s place…highly recommend it! Great post-marathon breakfast food :) Once we finished in Plymouth, we decided to make the last tour of the Samuel Adams Brewery…other than Fenway, it was once of my favorite things to do in Boston. Not only did they give me an awesome (and free) 26.2 brew mug, but we somehow ended up with plenty of refills of their taste tester beers. AWESOME! For the marathon, they came up with a 26.2 Brew that had salt, pepper, and coriander in it and it was perfect for runners! So good!
The pictures are better than me telling the story of Sam Adams and the brewhouse. Ha!

At Persy's Place eating breakfast
Love him!
I forced Eric to take this picture ;)
Overlooking the Cape & Plymouth Rock
Well folks, this is Plymouth Rock...kind of anti-climactic right?
Cape Cod
Just hanging out with Sam Adams...nbd
Coolest display ever!

Inside the brewery!
Taste testing
My 26.2 mug!
The next morning we got up at 3 am to make our 5:45 am flight to DFW then Houston. We were exhausted by the time we got home…so tired that Eric and I decided to stay in Houston for the night and drive home the next day. We were so glad to be home yesterday!

Thanks for staying with me during this whole recount of the trip (if you did!)…and if you didn’t then I totally understand :)
I hope you have enjoyed the story! And be sure to look for me on April 15, 2013 when I run the Boston marathon again!

Have a wonderful weekend!
PS--I took about 200 pictures in Boston, so if you are friends with me on Facebook, then go check out my album!

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