Before the bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line, the race was – and is – a place for normal people to try to do something really hard. I was one of those 27,000 normal people who drove up to Hopkinton on Monday morning so that I could run all the way back to Boston. I finished the race more than an hour before the bombs went off, and was on my way to my hotel room with my family when it happened. This account is my experience up until I crossed the finish line. It is simply about the race itself, and nothing more.
I’ve heard it said that you never get over the fear of the marathon. No matter how many times you’ve done it, 26.2 miles is a long way and no matter how well-prepared you are, there is plenty of time and space for unpredictability. And also, it hurts. Most marathon runners I know have had bad races, and as race day approaches, you always wonder if this race might turn out to be another one. (All this has nothing to do with random acts of violence.) This is especially easy to dwell on in the weeks of tapering when you are running less and the memories of your good, strong runs are farther away in your mind. Combine that with arriving at your race destination and seeing nothing but extremely fast looking people and you have a recipe for “What On Earth Am I Doing Here” Syndrome (which I just made up). Honestly, seeing all these human whippets walking around was a little intimidating.
I was pretty indecisive and vague about my goals leading up to the race. There was a part of me that simply wanted to avoid disaster. Just please let me finish the race, I prayed. There was another part that thought maybe I had it in me to PR. I went back and forth on my training: It had gone much better than expected, but then my expectations were really low. I had killed it in February, but March had nearly decimated me. I should be happy just to be there, but I wouldn’t be happy knowing I hadn’t given it my best.
The morning of the race I woke up plenty early to give myself enough time to eat, drink, dress, nurse my baby, take pictures, etc. and everything had gone smoothly – until I got to the buses and realized I’d left my bagel at the hotel. And suddenly I was worried that I would be hungry and cranky halfway through the race . . . read the rest of the story at Mother Runner.