Up until about 4 weeks ago, I wasn’t 100% sure that the Boston Marathon would even happen. I didn’t have a hotel yet and knew that I couldn’t afford or justify a couple of nights in Boston in a hotel by myself (hotels are super expensive that weekend). I happened to catch something that Kris tweeted and decided to take a chance and message her to see if she would be interested in sharing a room. It sounds SO strange because up until this weekend – we had not met in person. But I’ve been following her on social media for over three years and knew other female runners who were friends with her…so it was worth a shot.
Rooming with Kris set the tone of the entire weekend. From the moment we met in the expo, I felt like we had been friends for years. I spent a lot of the weekend asking her endless questions about anything and everything even remotely related to running – her diet, her strength routine, what she eats on race morning and during the race and so on. But we also spent countless hours just chatting about everything NOT related to running – family, background, future plans.
I went straight to the expo after a 4.5 hour drive from NY. We met at bib pickup and got our bibs (mine had just a few more numbers than hers!!) and then spent some time in the expo.
I FINALLY got to meet Shannon. She is even more amazing, sweet and loving in person than she appears on social media. I felt like we had known each other much longer than 5 minutes – and we immediately planned a coffee date for Sunday morning so we could sit down and really chat!
We headed to my favorite company – Sparkly Soul – to see my best friend and stock up on some Boston gear! I was all set to rock my Boston Marathon headbands on Monday but the weather prevented them from being seen under my hat!
Kris and I made our way back to our room, relaxed for a bit and then freshened up for the Runner’s World party. We walked the mile or so to the party and stayed for about an hour (it didn’t start until 8pm) before calling it a night (we’re old and 9pm felt so late!). BUT, I got to see my sweet friend, Kristin – and meet her MOM! Kristin and I had first met 2.5 years ago at the Runner’s World Festival and have remained close since. She almost didn’t make it to Boston this year either – so glad she did!
I also FINALLY got to meet Mac (Sarah)! She is just as stunning and sweet in person as she appears online!
Kris and I both decided to skip our shakeout runs. We had walked about 5 miles the day before and knew that we were going to be walking 3+ miles on Sunday, so a shakeout run seemed redundant. We lounged around for a bit then made our way to Starbucks to grab some coffee, check out the start line, RunBase Store and memorial area.
Boylston Street was buzzing with excitement and anticipation. There were countless runners doing their shakeout runs up and down the street, taking photos of the finish line and just hanging around.
I had the pleasure of meeting one of Kris’s good friends – Megan – who qualified for Boston during her first marathon! AMAZING!! And she smoked Boston on Monday with a new PR! We checked out the finish line and the locations of the bombings from two years ago. It was both exciting and sobering to be in that area – excitement for the race and finish line but so much sadness for what happened right where we were standing just two years ago.
I then popped over to Shannon’s hotel to have some coffee with Shannon, her husband and her son. This hour+ time was so special for me. I feel like I’m a broken record but Shannon and I connected instantly and I didn’t want our coffee date to end. She is an amazing runner – despite training very little on hills or in cold weather (she lives in Florida), she set a major PR on Monday!! But more importantly, she’s a genuine person who exudes love and happiness.
Janae texted while I was leaving Shannon, so I decided to hop over to the expo again and meet up with her (plus I needed to get a few last minute things). I was so happy to see her in person again after first meeting two years ago! We talked for close to an hour about SO many things and I walked away feeling excited about the race on Monday and some future goals.
The three of us (me, Pavey, Linzie) went to Whiskey’s Smokehouse to have some lunch. As we walked in I realized that it was the same pub that my husband and I ate at the day before the 2009 Boston Marathon. I’m a fairly superstitious person and I felt like this was a good sign! Lunch was delicious (chicken with mashed potatoes) and the company was even better – we chatted about upcoming races and goals for most of the meal.
It was around 2:30/3pm by this point so I decided it was time to get back to the hotel to put my feet up and relax. Kris and I spent the rest of the afternoon in our rooms. I had brought some magazines, a book and my computer but didn’t open one thing over the weekend. Kris and I talked for hours about everything and anything.
It was both eye opening and comforting to learn things like: she eats all food (no special diets or restrictions), it’s a constant struggle for her to train at the mileage and intensity she wants while juggling time and energy for her kids and she has hopes, dreams and fears just like any other runner – she is not exempt because she is an elite runner.
We decided to lay low and ordered take-out from an Italian restaurant just around the block. Kris insisted that I keep my legs up and rest while she go get the food. It just seemed SO wrong to me. Here I was, rooming with an elite runner for the Boston Marathon – and she was out getting my dinner. Like what?!? But that’s how down-to-earth and thoughtful she was the whole weekend.
We went to bed a couple of hours after dinner and before we knew it, it was race morning! (I wrote all about race day here)
A couple of days before the race, I received a beautiful delivery of flowers from Sharon, a woman I coached in the fall and someone who has remained a friend.
And then on Monday, after getting out of the warm bath/shower, I found a surprise waiting for me in the room from my good friend, Jen. Two unnecessary acts of kindness from friends – that meant the world to me.
The Boston Marathon was so much more than just the race for me. The entire weekend felt like a surreal, euphoric dream. It sounds so cheesy, but from the moment I arrived in Boston until I left Monday evening, I didn’t stop smiling. There were so many moments where I just thought How am I this lucky? to be surrounded by these AMAZING people who truly love and care about me, to be running Boston again after the events two years ago and to soak in the support and love from the crowds. I can’t even begin to tell you how many spectators had signs that thanked us – the runners! We should be the ones thanking the city of Boston for their unwavering love the last 119 years and especially since 2013.
I initially planned to spend the night in Boston after the race, but I was just too excited and happy and all I wanted to do was get home to see my little faces. And I was literally bursting with joy when I returned home.
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