Now that I gave it some time and found a place in my heart of this adventurous, mixed feelings weekend in Boston, I am ready to write about it!
Monday April 15th was a day of extreme emotions: From extreme happiness to have crossed the finish line of the Boston marathon with a Personal Best to an extreme sadness, fear and disbelief within an hour after I finished when I heard the bomb exploded ...
My marathon performance has nothing to do with the explosions that is why I want to only talk about the race and the rest will forever stay a memory that I will never forget...
Where to start from? I can honestly say I have never been as happy during or after a marathon as I was on Monday. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been this purely happy at a race.
It’s no secret: I like to run fast. I am internally competitive and incredibly driven by time goals. But this time when I finally made my mind to run Boston, my goal was just to run without having a goal time in mind and finish healthy without any injury and enjoy every km of this race.
Since my arrival to Boston on thursday and after a relaxed flight on a business class where I got to lay down for 8 hours, I have been feeling super relaxed, no jet lag, no knee pain from sitting 8 hours everything was just cooool and easy.
|Sunday the day before the race~|
While the nervousness and the excitement combination started to increase I had to adjust my expectations. From having no goal to running a sub 3:09:09 my PR of 2011. How on earth I can run a race without giving my best whatever is my best on that day!! This is it, a goal is set I am going for a PR, I know I can do it if my body allows it! I checked the Internet to see what should be my splits time if I want to run a PR.
Early morning Lindsay and I took the bus to the athletes village. It was so quiet when we arrived I was wondering where are the 20000+ runners? there was no line to the restrooms it was too relaxed of atmosphere. I headed to my corral 15' before the race.
"Welcome to Hopkintons, it all starts here"
|"At the start"|
This time I made sure to keep drinking water thanks to my small water bottle attached to my hand. Kms after Kms I felt good my legs had to get used to the rolling hills and at 10k I took my first Powerade gel which is unlike my first 2 marathons where I took only 1 gel the whole marathon.
I ran through Ashland and Framingham, simply taking in the sights and enjoying the amazing crowds.
Up till now I feel comfortable confident and happy. Here I knew that I could stay on that pace. I havent pushed too hard. My pace at 15K was pretty on par with the 5K and 10K marks. I kept enjoying the amazing surrounding and people, I haven't seen yet 1cm without crowds cheering, screaming, giving water and just being happy!!
After the deafening screams I see out of the crowds my cousins and toss them my water bottle, this means that the next half of the race I have to drink out of the cup and manage not to get them in my nose like usually :) At the half point I took my 2nd gel and I was still feeling comfortable.
I wrote the splits time on my hand and when I checked to see how I am doing I was over excited to see that I am ahead of my splits but I had to remind myself that the race doesn't start until 30 km and everything can change.
I stayed positive and kept running and still feeling as if I am in an imaginary world.
From km 26 the hills started to look steeper, I kept trying to maintain my pace, I lost some of my pace but kept going, I didn't want to give it all since at the 33km point comes the famous heartbreak hill.
I am not used to run on hills, I live in a flat country and this is definitely not my strength, after 3 steep rolling hills all of the sudden, I was on Heartbreak Hill. People were stopping. Spectators shuffling alongside runners, offering water and ice. I just focused on powering up and passing people. I threw couple cup of water on my back to get refreshed and suddenly, I reached the top and broke into the Boston College crowds which is indescribable and instantly felt a wave of relief! The worst was over and less than 10 km to go....woohooo
To my surprise I have no signs of knee pain or anything... After the hill I took my third and last gel...
The crowds at BC were my absolute favorite. Heartbreak Hill was over and I powered down a sweet, steep downhill. The college kids made you feel like a rockstar. I high-fived and smiled this entire mile. The wind started to blow, my shirt was all wet from all the water I threw on me and I started to feel cold!! My stomach started to bother me, all I wanted now is to see the finish line! Still trying to get busy with the view of Boston and starting a countdown to the finish line!
"Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston…"
|Almost there after last turn!|
Finish in 3:06:28 a PR of 2'+
Every marathon has its own flavor but Boston marathon is by far one my favorite marathon maybe because of the crowd or the number of runners running it or even maybe because I run my fastest marathon without having expected that!!Everything came together to make it a race I’ll never forget. I couldn’t have done it without the incredible spectator support.
Thank you to all those who cheered on Monday and spotted me. And everyone for tracking from afar, and texting, calling, Facebooking, Tweeting, Whatsapping and any other method of communication. I felt very, very, very loved and supported before, during and especially after. I still read every ones messages, it gives me wings!!
On Monday, I reminded my overly stubborn self that running is about so more than PRs; I run because I love it. That pure love and sheer enjoyment drew me into the sport .If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. I hope I haven’t become too robotic and numbers-driven to forget that. I am happy to say it’s not always about the numbers. Sometimes, it’s simply about enjoying the run.
I flew back to the Netherlands on Tuesday and soon after my arrival I was scheduled to an interview with the Lebanese TV!
|Nervous Face :)|
"NB: Sorry if I chose not to describe how my Monday the 15th ended up. All I can say It was very sad, scary and still emotional about it!"