Meagan: 3/3, Boston: 0/3!
Wow - yesterday was such an incredible day! The weather was great (maybe a little warm for runners), the crowds were huge, and Justine at mile 20 was a site for sore eyes (and feet and legs)!
Due to some intestinal mishaps that I will attribute to the rather large jump in temperature, I ran the last 16 miles of the race without my training partner. I must say, it's the best day that I've ever had with myself! The saying goes "run the first half with your brain, run the second half with your legs." I prefer the backwards version. The first half of the marathon I felt great and set a very comfortable pace. But as Wellsley and mile 14 came around, I had to start coaching myself: "Ok, Meagan, here comes mile 16....you hate mile 16, but you've done it twice before and a few weeks ago and you felt amazing, you know what to do....don't stop! focus on reaching mile 17, you can do this, you hate mile 16, but you own it." That was pretty much the running mantra in my head for miles 14-26.2.
Justine and her family and some friends were at mile 20 - such a welcome respite! Of course, Justine got the first big hug, and had I not been so dehydrated, I would have cried! It was so great to see her and her family and the rest of the MGH team - I was deafened by the cheers! I only stopped for a few minutes as my legs instantly started cramping up. Then UP I went toward mile 21 - The last big push up Heartbreak Hill.
Beacon Street is always the worst - I'm still not quite sure why, but it's longer than it seems and it always takes forever to make it those 4 miles. However, I was able to concentrate on seeing some friends at mile 25.5 - right at the turn on to Hereford from Comm Ave. Friends from my nursing program at Simmons were right on the corner and I made a beeline from across the street to see them - what a welcome site! Again, had I not been so dehydrated, I would have lost it! But I was feeling good, and with the finish line a half mile away, I gave them a quick hug, and kept on running!
I was watching my stop watch and the seconds were ticking by. I knew at mile 13 that I would not make the qualifying time of 3:40:00. But a more reasonable goal was to finish in 4 hours. As I rounded the corner on to Boylston, I gave my last 1/4 mile everything I had left and crossed the finish line ecstatic at 4:00:08!!!!!
I managed to shave 40 minutes off of my time this year from my past marathon times of 4:40:00 and 4:39:00 - no small feat, and one that I contribute to the MGH team and the great camaraderie that we had this year. I also made it a point during my 4 hour run (man I had a lot of time on my hands) to think of each and everyone of you and your generosity and contributions. Thank you thank you thank you! My first thought after crossing the finish line was how I couldn't wait to tell everyone how well I did!
So thank you for all of the love, support, and positive thoughts my way yesterday and over the course of my training and running the past 3 years. Boston has yet to beat me, and I don't plan on letting it next year, either!