Boston Marathon 2016: The Race

Warning… This is a long one, but if you missed the Pre-Race Post make sure you read it first.

With a later start, I set a 7am alarm but woke up with the sun about 6am. I had all my race gear set up the night before. I had a leasuirely cup of coffee and enjoyed a medium breakfast.

After everyone was ready to go, we headed towards the Boston Commons where I was to catch the bus to Hopkington. I hugged everyone and snapped a few photos then proceeded to the security line for the buses.


Waiting in line I got to meet a few folks while the set of buses headed out while a new set pulled in. I was so impressed with the efficiency of the logistics of this race – I guess they have been doing this a few years, this being the 120th running of the race.

 On the bus I chatted with the runners around me and met a 55 year old lady who was running her first Boston marathon from England. She had qualified the year before and was so excited. On the bus so many runners were voicing concern of the “heat”. The high was supposed to be 63 degrees and the sun had very little clouds to hide its rays. They asked where I was from and they immediately said, “Oh you’ll have no problems today!”

After leaving the bus, I joined Claudia in the bathroom line and chatted for a little while. Then found a spot on the grass to stretch and eat a bit. At this point I had about an hour left before my race, so I ate my granola bar and a package of chews. I said goodbye to Claudia as she was in the wave before me.

 The nerves started to creep in so I pulled out my phone and scrolled through Facebook to find some of the Rett team posting their locations and I met up with Shannon. Within minutes of finding Shannon, they called our wave to the start.

 The walk to the start line is just shy of a mile through the little town of Hopkington. There were homes with signs and people outside with sunscreen to share with runners. The energy started to build. Within every one of the four waves, there were several corrals – we were in wave four, corral six! We heard a shot to signal the start of our wave and minutes shortly we were moving forward.

The only portion of the entire experience that was lack luster in my opinion was the start. We came up on a very understated start and we were off. Nothing big, just a start.  Pictured below is not the start… I wasn’t ready with my phone to snap a pic!

 The first 6 miles or so were packed with people, but I did a good job of not bobbing and weaving between people and just enjoying the race. Those of you that run races on a regular basis know what I’m talking about. We can expend a lot of energy trying to get around people. The difference between the Boston and all other races is that they people in front of you (for the most part, charity runners excluded) have earned their spot in front of you with their time – so the amount of people that I wanted to pass wasn’t huge.  (Pictured below: my mom, aunt and daughter who got to experience the excitement of the finish line area while they waited for me!)

 I had my music locked in and was having a great race so far. I started to feel my calf tense and I slowed down to a slower, more comfortable pace. I cruise controlled to the half mark until Wellsley where the scream tunnel and the girls are. For those of you that missed my post on Facebook about a week before the race, the girls in Wesley hold signs that say “Kiss me…”fill in the blank: I’m a math major, I’m from Canada, etc. I had made up my mind I wasn’t going to kiss a girl until I saw this sign. I, without thinking, kissed her, snapped a selfie and kept going!

 After the half marathon point, I knew I only had about 3 miles to the Rett stop. So I set my sights on “just three more miles”. About mile 16.5 I started to think that I missed them until I heard my name! I came over and immediately hugged and kissed one of the two girls that were there. Then the parents hugged and thanked me. They had oranges and asked what did I need. With my nagging calf, I asked if they had Tylenol or Ibuprofen. No one did, but one precious mom said I do, but in my car. She ran to her car and back with two options. So sweet! After taking some meds, I met and hugged the last girl or the old lady of group at 34 years young (I believe). Through a few tears I said goodbye and kept on going!

 At this point I was just a little before mile 17 and I knew I had the Newton hills before me, but I was only 4 miles from the top. The hills weren’t bad, I did walk some, but none of these hills had anything on Clearwater or Sand Key! (Two bridges near me!)

 During this section I had a technical glitch and had no music! (Deleted playlist and poor connection for iTunes Radio) So I took my headphones all the way off and put them in my pockets. I soaked in the course, the spectators and the runners around me. It was during this section that Elvis (or a man dressed in full Elvis attire with the wig) was near me. He got lots of attention from the fans.

Once at the top of Heartbreak, I knew I could make it. 5 more miles. There is something that no one tells you about heartbreak… After you’ve crested the hill, there’s a slight dip down and back up again. That last bump felt like another mountain. Now onto the downhill into Boston. The crowds were incredible at Boston College and near Fenway. It was at mile 25 that I started crying and really didn’t stop until after I finished. The energy of the crowd, coming into Boston, the girls I had on my mind during the race (one per mile), and the weight of what I had just accomplished just left me no choice but to cry. As I turned right onto Hereford Street, you can see the raw emotion in these pictures. Both sides of the street crowded. People screaming my name or Team Rett. Overwhelming.

As I approached Boylston, I remembered two texts. My mom, daughter and aunt were on the left well before the finish and my husband was mere yards from the finish on my right. I decided I would stay on my left see the girls and then slide over to the right to see David.

As I turned down Boylston… The overwhelmed feeling I had already became something I couldn’t control. Here’s the view. Just imagine being at mile 26 of a marathon and seeing this… Much less THE Boston Marathon!

 After passing the 26 mile marker I heard my name and gave very tear filled hugs with words that I’m not sure made sense to the girls and kept going.

 David was on the right and snapped a video that most of you have already seen.


Up next… Post race!


3 thoughts on “Boston Marathon 2016: The Race”

  1. I will just see this over and over and over. I am so proud of MY Jessica, the one I have always near worshipped. YOU are the one, Jess!! The one. Love you, Grandma

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