I am not a blogger or writer but here goes: 37 Random thoughts from 37 years of Boston Marathon
1)Ran my first in 1978 as a senior at Merrimack College. I qualified before the hoop season, played the entire season and then ran it in the spring.
2) I watched my first in 1977 bc Dave McGillivrey (college XC teammate) was running. I said that I would never watch it again
3)The old finish line in front of the Prudential Center funneled you into a parking garage where you got a bowl of beef stew and your bags were in a chicken wire "area"
4)I finished right behind Rosie Ruiz in 1980 (google he if you were born after) She was wearing a MCI softball shirt and gym shorts hmmm
5)The qualifying time started out at 3 hours and later dropped to 2:50 for years. It has been relaxed in later years.
6)In 1982, I paced Julie Isphording for about 17 miles. She ended up 7th women but got blisters and fell back, She made the 1984 olympic team.
7)In 1984, we had a monsoon rain. I ran the first 6 miles with a 30 gallon trash bag . I got 5 gallons to the mile.
8)I was getting a coffee in the hotel lobby that same year and a man was smoking a cigarette, A runner asked hmi to put it out, He apologized and did put it out. That man was Sparky ANderson and he managed the Tigers to the World Series title
9)I still make the sign of the cross after every mile (Catholic)
10)In 1986, the restraining rope was not "pulled" before the runners took off. I passed Rob Decastella who wa on the ground saying some bad words. He won the race.
11)There was little crowd control until 1986. The crowd would open and retract like an accordion as you went by, especially if you were in the top 500
12) In 1987, someone handed me a cup of water at mile 25. I drank it. It was vodka
13)The Red Sox have a winning record in my 37 years with one rain out (1984)
14)I ran in a pair of Nike nylon cortez my first year. These later became famous in the Forrest Gump movie,
15)I wore an Air Florida shirt in 1982 as part of a promotion. If you were one of the first 50 people wearing one that finished , you won a trip anywhere in the United States. I won one. They folded 6 months later
16) I was sick in 2003 and walked the entire race in 5:19. I was ssicker after
17)Many celebrities have run over the years. I have met one ( Jag)
18) My average time for 37 years is 3:23. I am running slower now so I can make my average time. Makes sense eh?
19) Dave McGillivrey was and still is a huge inspiration. College teammate and now race director. He has run 41 in a row
20) My daughet Melanie ( age 19) has gone to the last two with me. Her first was the bomb year. She is going back this year too smile emoticon
21)I have worn a shirt the last 5 years that says "I love Wellsley College" I am treated like a rock star there (google the college if you have no idea)
22) The last two years I have changed my shirt to "I love Boston College" at mile 20 . BC is at mile 21.7
23)In 1991 I tripped on a random kick ball at mile 17. I split my elbow open and had to get stitches when I finished.
24)I have 969.4 Boston MArathon miles
25) Out of 37 years, I was a business owner for 16 and a teacher for 21. The schools I have taught at have been very gracious
26)The race used to start at Noon and changed to 10 AM in 2007.
27) 2007, wind rain, snow , sleet, I saw a port o john blow over on heartbreak hill
28) I guy dressed as the Old North Church passed me in 1979 going under 6 minutes a mile
29)Women have emerged tremendously in the last 37 years which I think is awesome!!!
30)Results in 1978 were sent to you on a postcard about a week later. We are spoiled with instant gratification now.
31)There was no chip timing for many years and you were allowed a "time allowance" based on your number seeding.
32)I used yo run through Wellsley College looking at my watch. Not any more!!!
33)I have worn Nike shoes 32 out of 37 years. I wore Converse the other 5 bc I ran for them
34)I have run 12 sub 3 hour Bostons. The rest have been over 3. I have run 1 over 5 and 4 ovr 4 hours
35) I think the hardest hill is mile 16 going over the highway.
36)I hope that the streak keeps going but that is in God's hands
37)The marathon is special to me bc I can share it with my daughter. I can also give the glory to the Good Lord. I hope that you enjoyed. Let me know if there are any questions or favorite stories
If someone had told me at the beginning of the year that I would be an ultra marathoner, I would have accused them of being into some fairly serious drugs. I've only been running for 4 years, and my first half marathon was in January of 2012. I attempted to train for my first marathon which was scheduled for January 2013, but I gave up after chronic injuries left me in constant pain.
When I backed out of my marathon experience, I realized that I really wasn't all that sad. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that I didn't really want to be a marathoner. Sure, it would have been nice to put in the training and get it done, but I wasn't doing it because I wanted to do it, but rather because it felt like the only logical step after completing countless half marathons already.
I'm a back of the packer. I'm overweight. I struggle with health issues. Sure, I wanted to take my running to the next level while overcoming great obstacles, but deep down, I knew that marathoning wasn't for me. Friends would ask me all the time when I planned to take that leap, but after that failed attempt at training for a marathon, the answer was always the same: I just don't want to. Maybe you want to, but I don't.
And then something crazy happened.
I spent the weekend at a race with my dear friend Mel, and he paced me through a 15k, a 5k and a half marathon. And he kept talking about this crazy event he would be doing on Easter Sunday in Jacksonville: a 50K Ultra Trail race called the Run Til You're Boared. I thought he was insane, but I wanted to check out the website. He told me repeatedly that this was the perfect race for me to take my running up a notch without the pressure that is normally associated with a full marathon.
But I was so untrained...
By the time my interest was piqued enough to pull the trigger on registration and get airfare to Jacksonville, I only had 5 weeks to train. And training wouldn't be easy. I had never logged over 14 miles at a time, and never logged over 18 miles in a day... somehow I had to get my head around how this was all going to work. I messaged Bobby Green (the race director) a few times to ask about terrain, I talked to a couple of established ultra runners for their advice, and I told a couple of very select friends. I was afraid that if I told everyone before the event, that they would think I was a failure if I didn't cross the finish-line.
On the day of the race, crossing the finish-line seemed like the easiest thing in the world. The real struggle for me was crossing the start-line. From the moment we pulled into the park, I was nauseous and overcome with an intense feeling of dread. 10 seconds before the start of the race I burst into tears and started to hyperventilate. But my friend Mel was right there by my side, as were other veteran ultra runners who turned to me and gave me encouraging smiles and words
Even after the gun went off and we started our VERY long day of running, the attitude of other runners never changed. People were absolutely exhausted, some were downright miserable in their own socks and shoes, but they were each out there doing their own version of epicness... and they were supportive of each and everyone else on the course.
We were taking liberal bathroom breaks, breaks to change and refuel, and enjoying the opportunity to be in such a gorgeous setting, and this reflected in our time. For the most part, the course was fairly straightforward. 5 loops of 6.2 miles, all relatively flat, mostly in dirt roads through the wildlife preserve. But there were a few tricky areas of the course where we were routed through burn-breaks (where the course significantly narrowed and the footing was through deep loosely packed dirt and sand).
But although the course was tricky at times, the support more than made up for it. There were 3 aid stations on the course, and the race director did an excellent job of anticipating everyone's needs. My stomach was so upset during the race that I had to survive almost entirely off of pepsi (for sugar) and pickle juice (for salt), but there were options for both vegetarians and carnivores alike... with food ranging from gummy bears and marshmallow peeps, to bananas and oranges, to pb&j and bacon. Because the field of runners was so small, the volunteers at the aid station quickly learned what each runner preferred and made certain that it was immediately available to them when they came through. In retrospect, the only thing that I think the aid stations should have had at the very front of their tables was sunscreen... the weather was perfect, but it was overcast... so although I applied sunscreen, it clearly wasn't enough... note to self: next time be more careful.
Anyway, There were a few moments where I worried that I wouldn't be able to finish the race in the prescribed 10 hour time limit, but not once did I allow my mind to go to the negative side of questioning whether a finish was possible or not. Which I think leads me to the most important revelation of the day...
Anything is possible with the right attitude and mindset.
With an eye on the finish, you can do anything you put your mind to... as long as you really put your mind to it, failure is not an option. Barring any unforeseen injuries (which are always possible), your mind gives out long before your body ever will. If you enter a situation with the right attitude, the power of positive thinking will get you far. This is obviously not just a lesson for running, but sometimes it takes a crazy experience like an ultra to bring something like this into perspective.
My name is Amy, and I'm an ultra runner!
Check out more at Amy's blog.
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