Sunday, April 21, 2013

Marathon Monday Boston 2013

I just can't believe I ran Boston Marathon!! It was not a dream, at the same time I can't believe what happened before the finish line, it was not a nightmare, everything was REAL!

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~
Sunday the day before the race I woke up early to watch the finish of Rotterdam marathon and support my twitter friends who were running it. When the race was over it hits me that the next day I am running a marathon and not any marathon I am running the Boston Marathon!!
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.

"Marathon Monday"
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"
5k: 21'52
"At the start"
The gun went off and as soon as we crossed the starting line, I started smiling. This was so cool. Seeing the packed crowd of runners ahead trail down the narrow street was so surreal I hadn’t ever witnessed anything like it. I was running the BOSTON MARATHON! Everything about it was so novel.

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!! 


As we approached the shady streets of Wellesley, someone said, “Can you hear it?” I tuned in and took in the deafening sounds from ahead. It was incredible. As we approached, I drew right and stuck out my hand, high-fiving a group of girls which are known to stand there holding signs"  kiss me "

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.  

"Newton Hills"

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... 

"Almost Home"

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!
The turn onto Hereford felt like an eternity, but I started smiling the moment I hit Boylston Street and saw the finish line, the crowd was insane I felt like a movie star, the finish line is getting closer and closer but these were the longest kms ever!! Here I am crossing the finish Line in DISBELIEF , in an extreme HAPPY-NESS!!I had to scream out loud I DID it to get it out of my chest!!

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!"


  1. Wow!! Well done, what an amazing race! Awesome time and a race you'll always remember!

  2. A great story about a great race Nesrine. Well done and enjoy your PR, getting closer to the sub-3. One day you might reach that, maybe also when you don't expect it. I guess that makes a marathon, I'm almost talking like an experienced marathoner ;-) , so unpredictable in my humble opinion. Greetings, Dick

  3. What an amazing story of an amazing marathon, you're so right to concluded that your achievement has nothing to do with the bombs, but it's something that happened and will always be a part of history.
    Running has sadly lost a part of its innocents...

    Your running is truly amazing! You did it again..! You're getting closer to your goal every day!!
    But more important, you're enjoyed so much what you're doing, that you inspire other people.

  4. Wat een super gave belevenis zeg en wat een voorrecht om daar te mogen lopen. Ik hoor het je nog zeggen "Ik ben even geen fast-lady meer" maar dat was van korte duur. Wat een top tijd zeg. Respect hoor. Ben erg blij voor je dat je knie zich netjes heeft gedragen. Nu op naar de Sub 3. You're ready for it!!

  5. Fantastic running and an incredible finish time - well done!

  6. Congratulations! What an amazing experience and an awesome time!

  7. Wow, great story! Congratulations on your PR, back on the block! Thanks for sharing, it gives me inspiration!

  8. Boston Marathon is the greatest experience a runner can have.
    It's marvelous. And so is the city.
    This one, you'll never forgive.
    And, a PR as a result: congratz!

  9. Wat een verhaal zeg. Leuk om te lezen. En wat een tijd. Daar dromen de meeste (vrouwen) van. Fijn dat je geen last meer van de knie hebt.

  10. A marathon never to be forgotten! Gefeliciteerd met je PR!! heel graag tot snel!! En als je zo doorgaat zit jij eerder onder de 3 dan ik :)

  11. Wat heb je hier naar toe geleefd en met een super goed resultaat. nogmaals gefeliciteerd, super blij voor je.
    Leuk verslag, je neemt ons mee in je avontuur.