Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Boston Marathon!

Innovative Fitness joined 25,000 other runners this past month at the 113th Boston Marathon – one of the most prestigious races in the world!

For us, this started many months earlier. The Boston Marathon is one of the only marathons in the world that you have to qualify for. For some it’s a dream to run Boston, and they will try again and again to qualify – finally to make the trip and take part in the experience of the event.

Every adventure starts with the journey to get there and we had planned ours last summer – specifically we wanted to get a large group there to race together. Some had done it individually, but to have an entire group there to support, cheer, and take part with would be much better. We ran and trained, chose our qualifying races (New York, Victoria, and Honolulu) and raced our hearts out to qualify. In the end – 11 in total made the qualify standard and would be heading to Boston in April!

The 11 of us arrived throughout Friday & Saturday – a few days before the race so we could relax, adjust to the time change, check out the course, and experience the expo. We picked up our race packages and numbers and were able to purchase the famous Boston Marathon jackets… and shoes, shirts, hats, socks, bags.. etc etc.! We were also able to take in a few Boston sights – a beautiful city full of historic buildings, beautiful churches, and American Monuments. Among many places we visited Harvard, Little Italy, local markets, and the downtown core.
The day before the race, and for the first time ever, the Boston Marathon Association decided to hold a 5km event for those who were spectators of the marathon to take part in. This worked out great since many in our group had friends and family that had come out to cheer them on. So Sunday morning, bright and early, we all headed to the 5km start line to cheer on those who would be cheering on us the next day. 6 in total completed the race – and they all got their own experience of the Boston Marathon weekend!

Race evening was relaxation; a small wine toasting congratulating each other on getting this far – to even qualify and make is a huge accomplishment in itself and we didn’t want to forget that! Regardless of how the race would turn out the next morning, we were proud to be sitting here together and taking it all in!

Race morning – up bright and early to catch the buses to a location 26 miles from the start line. There would be 2 waves to start the race – the 1st being for the fastest seeded runners. Arriving at our location we were shuttled towards a school where we would attempt to stay warm for the next few hours with 25,000 other Boston Marathon runners, representing at this moment the largest and most concentrated collection of physically fit people on the planet! As well as the largest single concentration of nervous energy from 85 different nations! Emergency blankets and hotel pillows would come in handy for this! Before long it was time to go – getting rid of our layers we headed to the start line to begin.

I can’t begin to describe the race itself. After the initial downhill start (which we would eventually figure out feels great in the moment, but not so much on your quads as you progress into the race) we were able to settle into the race. It was absolutely incredible and gives me shivers just thinking of it. The crowds were amazing – from the very first step on the course people lining up to cheer – 10 people plus deep the entire way; little kids with their hands outstretched to give you high fives.. and not for a few miles here and there, but the whole way! Going past the colleges and having the students all lined up, people yelling out their apartment windows as you ran by. The Wellesley College girls lined up with signs saying ‘Kiss Me’ and the men marathon runners taking a break from the running to line up and get their good luck kisses!. The continuous up and down hills and thinking ‘is this heartbreak hill, maybe this one is?’ Starting to feel your quads cease up more and more as at the beginning you’re thinking ‘yes, a downhill!’ and near the end ‘no, not another downhill!!’

The entire race was remarkable and words can’t begin to describe it. Heading into the finish line it was the crowds and the knowledge that you actually did it propelling you for the final steps. And that’s what we did – we did it! Every single one of us had an amazing race – personal best times, re-qualifying, pushing through unforeseen aches and pains to get there. In one sense this was 26.2 mile journey. In another it was a three-day weekend. In yet another sense it started about this time last year when we decided this was where we wanted to be - testing our physical limits at one of the most prestigious races in the world – Toeing the line at Hopkinton start and arriving on Boylston street – we ran our hearts out! We Ran Boston!

A huge congratulations to Boston runner Anna, Darcie, Jen, Sue, Cindy, Barb, Catherine, Caroline, Molly, and Joyce. An even bigger thank you to our supporters, fans and 5km runners – Sid, Pete, Lesli, Carlota, and Marie!

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