2018 New Jersey Marathon Recap!

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2016 London Marathon: Winner Eliud Kipchoge’s reaction when he found out that he missed the world record by 7 seconds.  7 seconds!!

When I looked at my watch after the race, I was bummed that I missed a PR by 10 seconds.  Think about when Eliud Kipchoge ran London 2016 and he missed the world record by 7 seconds.  While world record > my PR, and I cannot run as fast as Kipchoge, it is the same feeling!  I have been thinking about how I could have made up those 10 seconds, but the only answer is that I should have run faster!  I know that I did not run the tangents well because I did not know the course.  My Garmin said I ran 26.5 miles.  Were my legs recovered from Boston?  Yes.  (Coach Brian would probably say “No!”) Did I run as fast & as hard as I could?  Definitely YES.  Knowing that I gave it my all, I can accept my time and set my sights on that PR at another race!

Andrew knows that I hate training, but I love to race.  I love a good race expo and I love a shiny new medal.  It is hard to just run one race a season so I have often run back to back races.  It is not as crazy as many people think.  You pick one of the races to race and you treat the other race as a training run.  Or you can race all of them!  Your legs will learn how to recover and manage the high volume over time as long as you do not get injured frequently.  If you are injury prone, then only sign up for one race at a time!  Here’s my history of consecutive marathons run 1-3 weeks apart:

New York – Philly 2011 (2 weeks apart)
New York (unofficial) – 60K 2012 (2 weeks apart)
Chicago – New York – 60K 2013 (3 weeks apart, then 2 weeks apart)
Chicago – New York – 60K 2014 (3 weeks apart, then 2 weeks apart)
New York – Philly 2015 (2 weeks apart)
New York – Philly 2016 (2 weeks apart)
New York – Philly 2017 (2 weeks apart)

Boston – Big Sur 2014 (6 days apart)
Boston – Big Sur 2015 (6 days apart)
Boston – London 2016 (6 days apart)
Boston – New Jersey 2018 (2 weeks apart)

As noted above, all of my back to back marathons have included the NYC Marathon and Boston Marathon.  Since those courses are tough, I have often used those as a training run.  Going into Boston this year, I was in great shape (minus the sprained ankle), but the weather in Boston was not racing weather for me so I treated it as a fun run and prayed to the weather gods for good weather in New Jersey.

Imagine my excitement when I saw this in the weather app on the morning of the race….

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Luckily, Andrew and I packed matching Marathon Tours ponchos!  We drove to the start and sat in the car for as long as possible before the start of the race.

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We managed to find our New York Flyers teammates before the race. The support from these teammates made this race more enjoyable!

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New York Flyers ready to take on 26.2!

My race plan was to try to stay at the back of the 3:25 pace group.  I felt that my legs were recovered from Boston and I felt that I still had some speed in my legs so I decided to try to run a PR.  I found the 3:25 pacers and fellow training teammates Justin, Mike, and Slava in the corral.  Justin, Mike, and Slava were also going to run with the 3:25 group.  I said to Mike & Slava that I hoped the 3:25 pacers run even splits.  Behind us, I recognized the the 3:30 pacer, who I thought ran too fast in the first half of the 2017 Philly Marathon!  He was one of the 3:30 pacers in NJ!  That was extra motivation for me to stay ahead of him!

At 7:30AM, the race started and we were off!  It was still raining a little bit and I noticed the humidity.  The weather conditions felt a little like last year’s Steamtown Marathon where I PR’ed.  Having PR’ed in those conditions gave me confidence that I could PR in these conditions as it was slightly cooler in NJ.

A 3:25 marathon requires you to run 7:49 minute/mile for 26.2 miles.  In training, one of the workouts that gave me confidence was running 100 minutes at marathon pace.  It was a workout that I dreaded, but with the help of two of my teammates, David and Na’eem, I was able to complete the workout at 7:47 pace.  Na’eem BQ’ed at Revel Mt. Charleston the day before New Jersey and it got me really excited to race.  I found myself during the race imagining that David and Na’eem were running with me just like during the 100 minute workout.  It helped me mentally as there was a gap between me and the pace group for most of the race.

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When your teammates’ “EASY” pace is your Marathon Pace.  Photo from my 100 min MP workout with David and Na’eem!

I stayed behind Justin, Mike, and Slava for the first half of the race to make sure that I did not go out too fast.  Justin fell back after the half, so I kept my eyes on Mike and Slava.  I had joked with Mike early in the race that he should not wear such a bright orange shirt because he was an easy target to see.  Miles went by and I stayed on pace, but the 3:25 group seemed to be getting further and further away from me.  Mike stopped to use the bathroom at mile 16. It took Mike about a mile to catch up and he said “Why didn’t you wait for me like Des waited for Shalane?! You could have won this race if you waited!”  Haha.  Mike quickly caught up to Slava and passed him.  I caught up to Slava at mile 18 and he said he was okay, but ended up having to walk a little bit.  After mile 19, I started to see other Flyers teammates on the other side of the road and it gave me a huge boost to see them and cheer them on.

The boost from seeing my teammates helped me stay on pace during that stretch because there was a serious headwind all the way to the finish.  Our coach told us that he was going to be at Mile 20 to run people to the finish line.  Coach Brian appeared a little bit after Mile 20 and he ran with Mike to Mile 21.  I chased them for a mile and then Brian waited to run a mile with me.  My legs were really hurting at that point and even though I was really happy to see Coach Brian, I could not show it.  Sorry Coach!  He asked me how I was doing and I think I said “Terrible” or “I hurt.”  I ran behind him for a mile and we managed to catch up to Mike and then he went back to run other runners in.  I told Mike “Let’s work together!”, but I ended up losing Mike.  Sorry Mike!!  I managed to hold my pace for another mile and then my legs started to shut down.  The last mile was a blur.  I knew the finish was on the boardwalk, but I did not know that we had to run off the boardwalk and back on right before the finish line!  I remember seeing the New York Flyers cheer station at mile 25.5 and then running as fast as I could to the finish line.

Here are my splits!  How I wish I could run those last 3 miles again!

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After the finish line, I keeled over and leaned on the barricade for support.  Someone told me to keep moving and I almost missed getting my medal.  A volunteer saw me struggling to walk so she held me up and helped me walk through the finisher’s chute.  I recognized a MarathonFoto photographer, Drew, who I met in Boston and I called out her name.  She came to my rescue and helped me the rest of the way.  Thank you guys so much!!!  My legs were screaming “Why did you stop running?!”  They were in a lot of pain.  Imagine someone squeezing your leg, your quads want to explode, and someone is stabbing you at the same time.  That kind of sums up how my legs felt after the finish.  I cannot remember a time when my legs hurt that much after a race.  I chugged a Gatorade while waiting for my teammates to cross the finish line.  Many teammates ran PR’s, BQ’s, or PW’s that day.  Andrew had a huge blister develop under his big toe and he had to stop twice to try to pop it.  I was so happy to see everyone in the finish area and celebrate with them!   Congrats everyone!!

Special thanks to the super Flyers Cheer Station at Mile 10 and Mile 25.5!  Thanks to Andrew for driving both ways!  Super husband!

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Team Andretty in New Jersey!

Funny story: I always carry 2 Biofreeze packets on me just in case I get any leg cramps.  They have saved me many times during a marathon.  I did not cramp during the race, but my legs needed a little boost in the later miles so I used both packets.  After the race, Andrew asked if I used Biofreeze on the course and I said “Yes! How did you know?”  He told me that he saw an empty packet on the course and wondered if it was mine.  It was!  Hehehe=)

Race Statistics:

2055 Finishers (812 Female, 1243 Male)
Men’s Champion: Leif Fredericks 2:23:56
Women’s Champion: Caitlin Phillips 2:41:43
My time: 3:27:02
Andrew’s time: 3:57:09
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2018 Boston Marathon Recap!

The one word I would use to describe this year’s race is EPIC.  If you have 5 minutes, here are the other words that I would use to describe my experience. =)

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EPIC.

Leading up to the Boston Marathon, people asked me if I was going to race Boston.  I told them that it would depend on the weather.  Once the weather forecast was 100% rain, I decided that I was not going to race for a PR, but I would try to match my course PR (3:31:16) or run a course PR.  I trained really well this winter with only one injury (sprained ankle that did not happen while I was running!) and I have run in rainy and windy conditions before so I thought my goal was realistic.

I decided to stick with my race outfit of singlet, arm sleeves, running skirt, hat, earband, and gloves.  I added a shower cap, latex gloves, and a clear poncho to my outfit for the rain.  Someone suggested wearing throw away sneakers to the start, so that I could start the race in relatively dry sneakers.  My sister gave me the best throw away clothes including a one-sie that covered my feet.  Now my socks would also stay dry pre-race!  I was actually more worried about my spectators than about myself. It was going to be a miserable day for spectators and I did not want anyone to get sick.

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Pre-race outfit!  Pajama pants, 3 top layers, and one-sie on the outside!

My friend and former Back on my Feet teammate, Andrea, invited me to hang out with her team (Team with a Vision) so I would have shelter from the storm pre-race.  As I walked through Athlete’s Village and saw the mud pit surrounding the tents, I was so grateful that Andrea offered me refuge.  At Andrea’s refuge, I was able to get ready for the race and hear the start of the mobility impaired and women’s races.  The rain kept coming down harder, but the weather did not bring down my spirits.  I was running my 12th Boston Marathon and a monsoon was not going to stop me.  I love this race!

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At Athlete’s Village with my buddy Sarkis!
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Back on my Feet Hope House Reunion!
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What I wore to the starting corrals!

At 10AM, I took took off my one-sie, changed into my dry sneakers, wrapped them in plastic bags, and headed out to the starting corrals.  I had 3 layers on top of my singlet that I slowly took off in my corral as it got closer to 10:25AM.  Once I was down to my singlet and clear poncho, we started moving up closer to the start line.  I noticed that a runner dropped a glove and I quickly picked it up and chased after him.  I did not want him to start the race with only 1 glove!  I felt good about my good deed before the start, but my smile quickly went away as another runner looked at my race outfit and said to me “You’re going to be cold in that.”  Instead of telling him to “F*%! off”, I said “I will be fine and I will run faster to warm up if I get cold.”  Fellow runners, do not say negative things to other runners RIGHT before the start of ANY race.  Be supportive of each other, especially when weather conditions are less than ideal.

The race announcer found Meb in the first corral of my wave and it got me excited to know that Meb was actually running in the same wave as me!  It was the coolest thing!  As I stood waiting for the gun to go off, I noticed that my sneakers were already getting wet.  I had to mentally prepare myself for 26.2 miles with wet feet!  My feet were soaking wet by the 3KM sign and runners were trying to avoid the big puddles, but there was no point.  I just ran right through them.

The last time it rained on Patriot’s Day was in 2015.  I remember being so cold that my bladder shrunk and I had to pee for many miles, but could not find an open porto potty.  I learned that it was very difficult to make yourself pee while running so when I stopped to see my family at mile 18, I was able to start peeing and continue peeing as I ran.  I hoped that I would never have to pee on myself again, but then we had a monsoon on Monday….

The rain and wind really did not bother me, but it affected my bladder and I had to pee by mile 8.  My clothes were still dry because of my poncho and I really did not want to pee on myself again!  I stopped at a porto potty at mile 9 and felt amazing afterwards.  I thought that was the end of it, but I was wrong.  By mile 13, I had to pee again.  My clothes were wet by then so I did not have a problem peeing on myself as the rain would wash it away.  Why waste time going to the porto potty?!  The problem was that I still could not start peeing while I was running!  This is a skill that I do not wish to learn!  Luckily, I had many friends along the way and each time I stopped to give them a hug or say hi, I was able to start peeing before running away.  Some I told, some I did not!  =)

I knew after my first pee break at the porto potty that I was not going to run my goal of a course PR, so I just made the most out of my experience.  I debated throughout the race about taking my poncho off or leaving it on.  Every time I wanted to take it off, it rained harder, so I ended up leaving it on as it offered some protection from the elements and it was clear so my bib was visible to everyone.

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Mile 18 with Andrew!  I was so happy to see my family cheer squad!

One of the best parts of the race was when I got to mile 17 and saw my New York Flyers teammates!  Andrew was there waiting to run a few miles with me.  As we left the cheer station, Andrew told me that Desi won the marathon!!  It was just the boost that I needed to get me up the hills.

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The NYC Marathon poncho came in handy and kept my mom dry and warm!

Andrew ran me to mile 19 where we saw our friend Greg.  After a quick chat, I headed up Heartbreak Hill solo.  I managed to roll my bad ankle in a crack in the road at the bottom of the hill.  Serious.  A few expletives later, I gathered myself and slowly ran up Heartbreak Hill.  My poor ankle was going to hate me later.

After making it up Heartbreak Hill, several things pulled me to the finish line.  Seeing my good friend Caren at the end of the Haunted Mile, seeing Kurt (a BOMF teammate) on Beacon Street at mile 24, and seeing the Dana Farber cheer section at Mile 25.  I gave hugs to all of them and then powered my way to the finish line.

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Running down Beacon Street! Photo courtesy of Kurt!

I would not have made it to the finish line without the support from everyone.  The volunteers were amazing and they deserve a medal for being out there longer than most of the runners!  Thank you for volunteering!!

This makes 5 years in a row of bad weather at the Boston Marathon.  2014: hot. 2015: rain & cold. 2016 & 2017: hot. 2018: torrential downpour. Next year, I am sure it will snow. Bring it on!

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3:45:02. 11th Consecutive Boston Marathon. 12th Boston Marathon overall.

Race Statistics:

Number of registrants: 29,978

Number of starters: 26,948 (3,030 did not start)

Number of finishers: 25,746 (95.5%) <-drop from last year’s 97% finish rate

Men’s Champion: Yuki Kawauchi 2:15:58

Women’s Champion: Desiree Linden 2:39:54

Men’s Wheelchair Champion: Marcel Hug 1:46:26

Women’s Wheelchair Champion: Tatyana McFadden 2:04:39

 

Things that might have helped/worked better for those conditions:

  • dishwashing gloves duct taped to my arm to create a seal so my hands stayed dry
  • GU that was taped to my body and not in a pocket so it would be easier to access
  • life preserver =)

2017 Steamtown Marathon Recap!

To finish a marathon, you have to respect the distance and do the training.  To PR in the marathon, you have to do better training and commit to your goal.

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This is how I finished the race on Sunday.  Fully committed right up to the finish line.  

This summer, I joined the NY Flyers Marathon Training Program again to work towards breaking 3:30.  I was more determined to reach my goal after missing it by over a minute last year.  I agreed to train 4 days a week (up from 3 days/wk) and only signed up for 1 race during the training period (NYRR Team Championships 5 Miler).  I was tempted to sign up for other races and PR in the shorter distances, but I kept reminding myself of the real goal.  I did not want to risk injuring myself before the marathon.

After the Boston Marathon this year, I developed plantar faciitis in my right foot. I took a few weeks off, but it never went away.  I knew the only way it was going to go away was rest, but I decided to get treatment and run through it (Do not do this at home. Rest and let it heal!).  I saw my massage therapist almost every 2-3 weeks, had my foot taped regularly, and did a lot of foot exercises.  I also had to modify workouts because I figured out the shorter repetition work (200m & 400m) caused a lot of pain in my foot.  Surprisingly, my foot felt better a few weeks before the marathon!  It was not 100%, but it would survive the marathon.

The forecast for race day kept changing from rain to cloudy to thunderstorms.  All three were bad for running a marathon, but there was nothing I could do about the weather!  I could only focus on my race strategy and stay positive.  I hate running in the rain, but I did not let that get to me.  Instead I thought, well, if I have to pee mid race, I won’t need to go to a Porto Potty. No one will know if I pee on myself!  Positive thinking despite horrible weather conditions!  Negative thoughts will only bring down your race.

On race morning, Andrew and I drove to downtown Scranton and found a great parking spot 3 blocks from the finish line!  It was a good start to the day until it started to rain.  The bus ride was about 45 minutes so I took a nap.  When I woke up at Forest City High School, it was pouring!  Gah!  We were greeted by cheerleaders and volunteers, but all the runners ran into the high school for shelter.  Andrew and I hung out in the gymnasium and finished getting ready for the race.

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We got here around 6:40AM! 

Screen shot of the weather from my phone that morning……

After several trips to the porto potty and drawing on my hand, we were ready to run!

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My coach told me to aim for 7:55’s for a goal time of 3:27:37.  I would have been happy with 3:29:59!

We found Coach Stephen at the start.  He was pacing the 3:35 group and I told him right before the race that I did not want to see him until the finish.  Maybe knowing that he was behind me the entire time gave me a little motivation to not slow down.  At the sound of the boom from the cannon, we were off and running towards Scranton!  I positioned myself in between the 3:25 and 3:35 pace groups.  Like the Wineglass Marathon, there was no 3:30 pace group so I was on my own.  I took everyone’s advice and started out very conservatively in the beginning. I let the 3:25 pace group go and let everyone pass me.  It felt like the beginning of the Boston Marathon!  I ran alone for the first few miles and did not waste any energy making friends along the way. By mile 8, I was running alongside this guy who was running about my pace so I decided to be friendly.  His name was Dave and he was also running his first Steamtown Marathon and hoping to run 3:27-3:30.  We stayed together until about mile 15 and then Dave fell back a bit.  I decided at that point to try to run a little faster because I was feeling pretty good.  I knew there were hills in the last 3 miles so I thought I would bank some time before hitting the hills.  I hoped that taking it easy in the first half saved my quads for those hills.

The aide stations were great and well organized.  There were only 14 official aide stations, which I thought was not enough given the weather conditions, but we were saved by all the unofficial water stations set up by the locals!!  Thank you!!  I took water bottles whenever they were available and poured water on my head to keep me cool.  I poured a lot of water on my head.  There were also a few sprinklers along the way, which helped as well.  Needless to say, I was completely drenched by the finish.

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Can you see the water/sweat on my arms and legs?!  I don’t remember what mile this was, but it was really pretty!

I noticed that in 2 of my attempts to break 3:30 (Myrtle Beach & Wineglass), I had 1 mile during the race where I lost focus and ran a very slow mile, which cost me my PR.  In addition to drawing the train on my hand, I wrote “SNAP OUT OF IT!!” on the inside of my wrist.  I would only look at it if I got off track, but the rain and sweat washed my drawings & writings off within the first few miles!  This was going to be a mental race as much as a physical race.

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What my hand looked like after the race!

At mile 19, 2 female volunteers told me that I was the 27th female and that I could be in the top 25.  My focus at that time was not placement, but to get to mile 20 so I could eat my last GU!  You run 1 mile at a time!  I was amused by the comment, but when I looked ahead, I could not see a single female runner so I did not focus on trying to catch them.  I focused on keeping pace and staying cool.  If they told me I was 4th female, then that would have made me run faster to try to catch 3rd place!

Mile 23 to 24 was the hardest mile because of the gradual incline and it was mile 23!  Crowd support was amazing during this stretch, but it did not make my legs run any faster.  I clocked an 8:29 that mile, but when I looked down at my Garmin, the total time said 3:11.  I had 18 minutes to run 2.2 miles!  I knew I had sub 3:30, but I also knew there was 1 more big hill at mile 25.5 so I had to continue to stay focused.

Andrew and I drove the last 2 miles of the course the day before, but all I could recognize on race day was the last 2 turns.  I knew that once I made that left turn, I had 1 more right turn and the only thing between me and the finish line was “Cooper’s Hill”.  There was a nice downhill leading up to Cooper’s Hill so I hammered down the hill and then gestured to the crowd to cheer louder.  It helped power me up the hill and I was at the top in no time.  The next half mile was a bit of a blur (literally) because I could not keep my eyes open.  I pushed down the hill and gave it everything I had until I crossed that finish line.  As I crossed the timing mat, I knew I had broken 3:30 and I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I started crying like I had just won the marathon.  I scared all the volunteers at the finish line and they probably thought I was going to collapse at any moment. Hahah. Sorry volunteers!!

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Eyes closed and leaving it all out on the course!

After I calmed down a bit, I was able to tell them that I was just so happy to have PR’ed!  I got my foil blanket, got my medal, and took a deep breath.  I looked down at my watch and was even more surprised to see that I ran faster than my predicted time!  I also ended up 19th female and 3rd in my age group!

I am super proud of my PR and how I ran the race.  I am proud that I never lost focus and never got negative thoughts in my head about the bad weather. It was definitely a race that required more strategy and focus.  I remember when I ran 3:31 for the first time (Boston 2013), I was more relaxed, smiling, and giving out high-5’s throughout the race.  Maybe I could have run a bit faster, but that was not my focus at the time.  At Steamtown, I was so focused that I did not even wave or acknowledge the volunteers towards the end of the race.  Sorry volunteers!!  You guys were great!

I would love to go back and run the race again when the weather is better.  Could I have run faster in better weather?  We will have to wait and see. =)

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PR jump!

Men’s Champion: Hillary Too 2:23:40
Women’s Champion: Lauren Liuzzo 3:09:34

Andrew’s time: 4:04:13

My Time: 3:26:53

Nutrition during the race: 5 GU Roctane’s, 12 salt tablets, 8 ounces of regular Gatorade (I carried this in a small bottle for the first 4 miles and then tossed the bottle), and lots of water!  My left quad and right foot were on the verge of cramping up towards the later stages of the race, but they never did. Whew!

10 for 10!!!!!!!!!!

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This year I ran my 10th consecutive (11th overall) Boston Marathon! How did I get to 10? Seems like it was just yesterday when I ran my first Boston in 2005.

As a senior in college at Boston University, I ran on the Boston Marathon course because my apartment was at the 40K point of the marathon. During one of my runs, I thought of applying to run the Boston Marathon for the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC)! I did not know that DFMC was the largest charity team and a lot of people applied for the team. I was waitlisted. I did not have another plan, but kept running through the winter in case I got off the waitlist. Good thing I kept running because I got an email at the end of January saying that I got a spot on the team! I was so excited, but also very nervous because I did not have a lot of time to fundraise. I reached the fundraising minimum the week before the race (whew!)! I remember race day being sunny and I made the rookie mistake of not wearing sunglasses or a hat. I finished in 4:07 and was the happiest marathon finisher ever!

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2005 group photo in the corrals before the race!  (This is a scanned photo. I think I used a Kodak disposable camera to take photos that year!)

I made it a goal to qualify for my next Boston Marathon run because fundraising was too stressful as a student. It took me 2 years to qualify and I have to thank my Garmin for my time. Literally. In the 2007 NYC Marathon, there was a period of a few minutes where the finish line timing mats did not work. They asked runners who were affected to send in proof of their times. I was one of those runners!!  I sent in my Garmin time of 3:40:40 and hoped that they would make it official so that the BAA could verify my time after I applied. Back then, the qualifying time was 3:40:59 so I just made the cut!

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I will never forget the effort it took to run my first BQ.  I also secure my name tag much better these days.  hahah=)

New York Road Runners accepted my time and I was officially a Boston Qualifier for 2008’s race! I won’t bore you with race recaps of each year, but I will share with you my top 10 favorite things/memories of the Boston Marathon! In no particular order:

*The Dana Farber Marathon Challenge: I ran with the team again in 2012, 2013, & 2014. I owe a lot to this team and have made so many friends from being part of this team. I also met my husband on this team, so DFMC holds a very special place in my heart.  I ran in memory of my dad who passed away from cancer in 1998 and Andrew was running in honor of his dad who was fighting lung cancer when we met.  My dad never got to see me run, but Andrew’s dad was able to see us both run Boston in 2013.  Andrew’s dad passed away later that summer.  Though no longer with us in person, our dads will always be with us in spirit.

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This is the 2012 DFMC team picture!
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My dad’s “In Memory” card for the pasta dinner.

*Boston College: Everyone raves about the “Wellesley Scream Tunnel”, but to be honest, the Scream Tunnel has not been as loud in the past few years. In 2005, I could really hear them a mile away.  The girls are still there with lots of signs, but there are not as many as in the past.  The Boston College kids at mile 20 are my favorite. They are loud, drunk, and sooooo happy to see you!  Wellesley girls: step it up!

*The Expo: I love the expo. Enough said.

*My family cheer station at Mile 18: My sister has a friend who lives by Mile 18, so she parks at her friend’s house and waits for me to run by to cheer me on. My mom usually comes up from NYC to watch me run and in the past 3 years, Andrew has watched with them too.

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I was so excited to see my niece (in the white jacket) in 2011. This is the year that Geoffrey Mutai ran 2:03:02 and it did not count as a world record!
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My sister & niece braving the cold & rain in 2015!

*Seeing my friends along the way: My friends are the best!  I have to give a special shout out to my City Sports Run Club friend, Jan, for sharing miles with me and helping me when I was having a tough time in the Newton Hills.

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2013 Boston Marathon: When I see a friend on the course.  hahaha=) 
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2014 Boston Marathon: Hiiiiiiii!!!!
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2016 Boston Marathon: Same pose EVERY year. haha=)
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2012. Felt like 100 degrees. Jan (in yellow City Sports top) helped me through the heat!  I could not have finished without him.

* Kenmore Square: Running by my old apartments and through Kenmore Square always brings back fun memories of college & post college. DFMC also has their cheer station at mile 25 so that gives me a big boost before the final mile. The Red Sox game is usually done by the time I run by, so the crowds are amazing there.

*Boylston Street: The stretch to the finish line is always special.  Here you can get the crowds to scream louder if you gesture to them and you can soak in all the energy and realize that you will soon be a Boston Marathon finisher!

*I cannot write about Boston and not mention 2013. The weather was perfect that day and I had the race of my life. I was having the best time until I found out what happened at the finish line. I am thankful that my friends and I were safe, but am sad every time I think about everyone who was affected that day. How we came together after that day made me realize how strong runners can be to overcome anything. We will always be Boston Strong.

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2013 pre-race photo with the guys at the DFMC refuge.  I love these guys.

*Meb: I first met Meb after the 2013 BAA 5K at the Fairmont Copley Hotel. Back on my Feet had a team run the 5K and our meeting room was in the same hotel where the elite athletes were staying. As I was leaving with my friend Seann, Meb was walking to get breakfast. He seemed to be in a rush, but when we showed him that we actually knew who he was and asked him about his injury and his plan for coming back, he slowed down and talked to us! We took a photo, shook hands, and let him go eat breakfast! Meb watched the race from the grandstands that year because he was injured. He came back in 2014 and won for the city of Boston. I was at mile 10 when someone told me that Meb won the race and it totally made my day!

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Me & Meb back in 2013!

*Andrew: We met on the day of the 2012 Boston Marathon at the church where DFMC runners gathered before the race. We did not start dating until after the 2013 Boston Marathon and got married last year! Andrew was stopped on Boylston Street in 2013 and he returned in 2014 to finish what he started. He decided to take a break from fundraising and watch the race in 2015. Unfortunately, it was cold and rainy in 2015. Terrible conditions for runners and spectators, but he was there again in 2016 and 2017. Thanks love! I will not talk about getting to the Quarter Century Club for a while. Getting to 10 in a row is a huge accomplishment for me. I will take it one year at a time from now! =)

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Andrew escorting me up the Newton Hills in 2016!

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I want to congratulate my marathon sister, Bethany, for also running her 10th consecutive Boston this year!  Here’s to many more!  =)

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