Joanne Kurtz, RD
The day of the marathon started at 5:30 am with a quick breakfast and goodbyes to my family as I got on the hotel shuttle heading to downtown Boston. I’ve never seen so many school buses as I saw lined up along Copley square, or so many people waiting to shove their way onto them! I finally boarded my bus around 7am and tried to relax while we made our way to the small town of Hopkinton. The 55 minute ride felt long, especially when I thought about the fact that I had to RUN back! The next two hours were a mix of lying in the shade, waiting in the porta-potties line-ups, eating and hydrating.
As I made my way to the start line of the Boston Marathon, I felt a little like I was in a herd of sheep. With 9000 people in the second wave with me, it took at least 20 minutes to walk to the start line.
After hours of waiting, it was finally go time! I started running and the first mile was mostly downhill. The first uphill came quickly and spectators were blaring the Rocky theme song, which was my favourite part of the whole race! I continued running and the crowds of runners never let up. The first 15km went by and I felt pretty good, but it all went downhill from there – or up many hills rather. I would love to say that the race flew by but I’d be lying. It crept by. I would swear it had been 20 minutes and my watch would remind me it had only been three. The many downhills were shredding my quads into little pieces, and the uphills kept coming. I kept asking mysef “is this heartbreak hill?.... Is this heartbreak hill?” At mile 20 I ran by a clock that also displayed the temperature and it read 87F. The heat was by far the greatest challenge: I was dumping water on my head at each water stop, but couldn’t manage to cool off for longer than 30 seconds. There was no wind and no shade, only blazing sun. People around me were stopping to walk, and some were stopping altogether. The spectators with their garden hoses, sprinklers and ice cubes were a godsend.
After the half way mark, my goal became ‘just don’t stop running’. This was by far the most challenging race I’ve ever done. Slowly, the mile markers went by and I saw ‘26’. I have never been so happy to see the finish line!
After drinking water, sports drink and collecting my belongings I met up with my husband and burst into tears. It was an emotional experience and I was just so happy that it was over!
Now, almost 10 days after the race, I look back on that day a little more fondly. The positive moments burn a little brighter in my memory. I am grateful for the opportunity to run a race with 27,000 other dedicated runners. I am especially grateful for my supportive family (parents, sister, parents-in-law, grandmother-in-law and husband) who all followed me to Boston to cheer me on in the heat and for all my coworkers and friends who supported me back home.
Even though my thoughts during the race were along the lines of “i’m never running again” and “DO NOT ever sign up for an Ironman,” now I am thinking “which race can I do next?!”