Our coffee grinder went off at 4:45 this morning…it was time to get up and practice my race morning nutrition a few hours before my last 20 miles run before the Marathon. I had a cup of coffee, a bagel with almond butter which is what I am planning to have for breakfast on Marathon day, I visualized the course on Google map and around 6:30 AM my wonderful husband Dustin drove me to Hopkinton to run the Boston Marathon course all the way to the bottom of Heartbreak Hill. Well, I wasn’t the only one that had that idea! After all with 3 weeks away form the race this should be the last 20 miler and it is definitely very helpful to have an idea of the course and get mentally and physically prepared.
Driving there was a little painful though, Dustin followed the course backwards and those 21 miles seemed to be going a really far distance and through various towns- Boston,Brookline, Newton,Wellesley, Framingham, Ashland , and finally Hopkinton. It took us about an hour to get to Hopkinton, I have to admit I was pretty nervous.
Once there I was surprise to see so much animation that early in the morning. There was a tent with water and snacks that the BAA set up for runners and a very friendly man with the orange Boston jacket on approached me asking me with what group I was running? I said my own group! He went on warning me to be careful as there were no sidewalks on the first part of the route and the traffic was flowing pretty good. A police man was directing the traffic for runners and helped me cross the street, also warning me to be aware of traffic. Tons of marathoners were there to prep themselves, the camaraderie was so palpable and invigorating! All the things I was worried about (like getting lost) disappeared I was feeling great, energized and really happy I was actually doing this!
Boston Marathon Corse Map
The route started downhill, and my understanding before today was that it was downhill for many miles. But for the first several miles, it was definitely rolling hills. I crossed the Ashland town line pretty quickly, then it was Framingham and sidewalks appeared! I passed into Natick running all the way on luxuriously sidewalks. And soon came to Natick Center, which is about mile 11 of the marathon and I was feeling pretty good! Along the all way there were several volunteers with water, food, gel and Gatorade that they were also applauding and celebrating the runners! It felt so much like a race, what an incredible supportive community I live in I was thinking to myself !
I then came to Wellesley where a loud crew of girls in two bright red and orange toaster cars were holding motivational signs and with the music pumping were cheering on the runners. I gave them a thumb up when I finally noticed a girl waving big, she was moving her arms side to side, I looked closely and I recognize Marisa from the Lululemon store in Natick! With her I clicked right away from the first time I walked into the store to buy my very first pair of shorts for my second Half Marathon. Since then every time I went to Lululemon it was just great to connect with Marisa with who I have so many things in common. Marisa is also a runner and she will be running a Marathon in May with the objective to qualify for Boston! Go Marisa! I got so emotional when I saw her, my heart started to beat faster, tears came to my eyes. It was such an unexpected surprise that made me jumped ahead of time and there I was imagining seeing my family and friends on Marathon day…I was a train rack and started to slow down! Sometimes, I get so mad with myself for being so intense and passionate but then it wouldn’t be me. So, I kept running while Marisa was still shouting out my name. I kept going, I went down the big hill, crossing into Newton, over Route 128, past Newton-Wellesley Hospital at mile 17 of the marathon route.
I continued on until I reached the Newton fire station where I took a right onto Rte 30 and started the Newton Hills. I was really familiar with this part of the course as I did most of my long runs practicing on it. However, it was a little different this time as I had 17 miles on my legs. I was happily surprised that even though I was tired I was still going at a pretty decent pace. I finally reached the top of the Hearthbreak Hill and on my way down I started to look for Dustin and our puppy Luna. Here they were at the bottom of the hill at the 21.5 mile mark. My plan was to run 22 miles, but when Luna saw me she got very excited and she started to whine/cry; my husband was looking at me with his handsome smile printed on his face. I couldn’t resist I stopped and hugged them and celebrated with them! I was really ecstatic with the run, the company and community out there running, definitely changed the run for me. It made it amazing! At the end, I was so grateful for having such a wonderful and supportive husband and the energy of all those people along the way, and this is what makes Boston a truly great running town!
Dustin & Luna