twenty-six point two: a recap

so sorry for my radio silence, but you'll all be excited to know i successfully completed the 2014 boston marathon! hooray!
Boston Marathon 2014
if all you wanted to know was that i finished, you should stop here. i got redemption. HOLLA! if you want the nitty-gritty race recap, grab a drink and get cozy, because here it goes...

monday morning started off pretty uneventfully. i woke up around 6, ate some breakfast and got myself ready until i left at 7. went downtown, hopped on a bus and made my way out to hopkinton. geeked out with my morning busmate who has run a marathon in all 50 states and on all seven continents. she is seriously an inspiration. she told me that by the end of the day i'd either be satisfied with marathons or i'd have caught the bug (spoiler alert: i'm satisfied with marathons now).

the rest of the morning wasn't anything to write home about nor was it particularly hot, but i knew it'd be warm during the run. i thankfully remembered sunscreen, so my sunburn wasn't as bad as some others', but i still managed to fry my right arm. REGARDLESS, before i knew it, it was time to head to my corral. i managed to find my mom before i hopped into my spot (she volunteers at the start every year), and i managed to shed my first tears of the day. and then bam. it was 11, guns went off, and i made the official walk to the start line. i crossed the start about 10 minutes after the guns went off, and went off at a pretty decent clip. my first 10k flew by, but that was the only speedy part of my run.

boston is notorious for its downhill start, and everyone always tells you to not go out too fast at the beginning because it's so deceiving. i went out comfortably, but not so fast that i couldn't wave, cheer and talk to other runners. after the first 10k though, i started feeling intense pains in my IT bands (yep both), and my chest. i gradually became dehydrated and my stomach bloated. somewhere around mile 10 i decided i needed to start walking. i wanted to finish the race, and time didn't matter, so i figured i'd be smart about it. i didn't want to be that person wheeled off on a stretcher (i saw a few of them and they were so sad). i walked until i felt good again, then ran until i needed a break. i went off like this for a few more miles. the wellesley scream tunnel was louder than ever, the half marathon point came and went, and suddenly i was at the base of the newton hills. my stomach and chest were totally off, so i was walking way more. then i hit mile 18 and threw up everything i had in me.


after talking it over with the nicest medic, who assured me if i entered a med tent i wouldn't be taken out of the race, i started walking again. once i felt ok, i started running and traded off run/walk through the end. i knew i was blowing my time, but i wanted to finish. my hips were screaming, i was nervous about my chest and chewing on ice every chance i got. boston college was rowdy, and i crested over the hill to my neighborhood. craig was at my apartment with my friends, and i started crying. again.
Mile 22
//via my cool friend zac
craig told me i had to finish. i had no choice. i'd come this far, and it didn't matter how many hours it took me. i had four miles left, and he told me i was going to get to the finish line. it was just what i needed to hear after 22 grueling miles. i pushed on, and knew i'd be able to see many familiar faces in the next four miles. i saw molly, then kristen + michele, my sister + brothers, marissa, my amazing friends jen (who jumped in with me last year after the bombing) + emily + kevin, sarah, emily + then i saw the turn onto hereford.

i was struggling at this point, and knew i wasn't breaking any records, but as hereford came into view, i started to run. and i told myself, no matter how hard this hurts, you will run onto that right on hereford, then left on boylston. i took off and i never looked back. as i turned onto boylston i started sobbing. people cheered left and right and i just cried and cried. i couldn't believe, 18 months after deciding to run boston, i was finally finishing.
(i'm too cheap to buy my photos)
as soon as i crossed the finish line, i was hysterical. i saw a medical worker, who saw me crying, and she wrapped me into the tightest hug. i just couldn't believe it had happened. that i did it. that it was all over. i saw my mom shortly after that, then my sweet friends ana + janee, grabbed my medal and my blanket, hit up the medical tent so i could get my chest checked out, then left. i found my family, walked back to the T, went home and ate a pizza.

my time isn't anything to write home about, and i'm not particularly proud of it as a whole. but i'm more proud of my dedication. i feel a whole different kind of love for boston now that i've finished my race. i'm so incredibly proud to be from this fine, fine city.

i'm so grateful for every single person who cheered last monday. the people who didn't scoff at me when they saw me walking, but instead said, "you're moving! you're getting there! you go girl!" the people who handed me water, ice, ice pops and oranges. the runners who stopped and asked me if i was ok when i was throwing up. the runners who stood beside me all day. i'm so grateful to have so many friends who helped contribute to #seealexrun, who loved me enough to wait for me, even though i was going so slow.

i'm so grateful for everything about this past year. it was a tough one, but a great one. i'm glad i decided to finish my race.

aut inveniam viam aut faciam - i shall either find a way or make one.

i paved my way to that finish line, with blood, sweat and tears.

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