All you’ve done in your life, every experience, every thought, every moment, had led you to this; had led you to now. Everything happens for a reason. Every success, every defeat, everything.
But that’s not where my story starts. I’ve been watching this famous marathon for years. A little girl’s dream. A chance that came when I ran my qualifying time. And I’ve imagined every detail and emotion of crossing that finish line since.
I am shaking as I sit here ready to tell you about the best day of my life. I am speechless. Where to begin. How to even put something like this into words.
It was sincerely everything I had ever hoped it would be. And so much more.
From the train. The school bus ride to Hopkinton. And then standing in the middle of Athlete’s Village next to a sign with the words “It all starts here”, I had all the feels in the world.
To top it off, I had Coach, the man who has been my go-to, my training partner, my inspiration, and a huge influence in my life experiencing what we have talked about for a year now standing right next to me.
Race plans were compiled, Port-o john life was checked off, and we headed for the start line.
This was really about to happen. I could see the start line. I looked to my right and had someone new on my side. Someone who has ran Boston as an elite. Someone who ran her 90th marathon with me. Someone who I admire in life so much. A dream come true in itself to even run a race with her. And the brunette to my blonde. Krista.
I’ve stood on more starting lines of races than I could count. But standing on the starting line of the Boston Marathon is the most surreal feeling I’ve ever felt.
In that moment when I started my watch as we crossed the start line, I looked at her and had every ounce of faith that we would get to the finish line together.
The down hills were freeing. The uphills were awakening. And the crowds were absolutely alive.
Oh the crowds.
For 26.2 miles, the course was lined with spectators. Entirely lined. Even 4 deep. On both sides. I think I lost hearing in some places. It was roaring. It was goosebumps worthy. It was unreal. And it was something I will never forget.
Mile 10 came and so did the heat. Mile 16 came and so did the hills. I think I ran through every fire hydrant spouting freezing water, every hose turned on, and dumped any water on me I could. I was hot. And I was dehydrated.
If there ever was an award for the best pacer out there it would go to Krista, hands down. Not only did she have to read my poor hand signals but get my 2 cups of water and a Gatorade at every mile water stops 19-25 with only 2 hands.
She kept reminding me, in the midst of my struggle, in the middle of the road in some little town, with my heart spent on the miles behind us, that We were running the Boston Marathon. That we were accomplishing something great. That those loud cheers were for us. And that we were made for this.
I turned right on Hereford. I turned left on Boylston.
And then the best sight of all, the Boston Marathon finish line.
There are some things I will never forget about that last 600 meters.
I will never forget the journey it took me to get to that finish line. I will never forget what happened in 2013 at that spot I was running. And I will never forget the last few moments of this race.
I heard a voice screaming from behind. Coach had caught up to us. That was fate. You couldn’t have planned that. And for me, that was it. That was the icing on the cake. The perfect cherry on top. And with tears filling my eyes, hands linked with theirs, we crossed that finish line.
I am a Boston Marathon finisher.
I can’t recollect a moment in my life where I’ve ever been so proud. So happy. And in so much pain. Best day of my life.
Marathon Monday is surreal. I followed Meb on his last marathon, I ran on the 50th anniversary of the first woman to race a marathon, and got to humbly run next to a survivor of the 2013 bombings.
I can’t thank my mom enough for coming on this journey to Boston with me. My family and friends for every ounce of support they have given me, I could never repay you. Krista for every memory, every piece of advice, and for being there for me on this day. And to my Coach, I couldn’t have done this without you.