I started running at age 46 while living in Fulton, Mississippi. Since then I have been blessed with a great network of running friends who have encouraged me to keep improving.
I ran Huntsville’s Rocket City Marathon in 2011 and missed qualifying for Boston by about six minutes with a time of 4:01. With more intense training and lots more encouragement, I returned to Rocket City in 2012 and qualified with a time of 3:48:38. I tell people I got the “old people discount” because in between I had crossed over into the 50 year old age bracket. I don’t mind: I will take all the time the BAA will give me!
My emotions ranged from excitement to trepidation as my husband and I flew up to Boston. This being my first Boston Marathon experience, I was scared, not really knowing what to expect. Fortunately I was with a strong contingent of veteran female runners from Mississippi, and these friends had prepared me as much as they could beforehand. For that I am truly thankful.
|A race number four years and several miles in the making…|
|With the North Mississippi contingent…|
|…together, ready to run!|
|Waiting for the bus, BigFoot and I are dressed
for Boston’s post-Easter parade.
The morning of the marathon we headed out to meet the buses and take the ride to Hopkinton. The Athletes’ Village was packed and the port-o-potty lines went on forever!! Before long we were lining up in our corrals to start the race. I was amazed at the number of people lining the streets and sitting on rooftops. My energy level was high as the race began.
|Long lines in Hopkinton allow plenty of time for phone calls…|
One of the highlights of this race was the amazing fans. I slapped so many hands along the way. I really tried to slap hands with as many children as possible: their smiles were amazing. The noise level along the route was really loud, and the crowds just pulled me along.
Due to the down hills, I actually went out faster than I had planned. I passed the half way point at 8:13 pace, well ahead of my qualifying average back in Huntsville. However, by the time I reached the Newton hills, I was starting to have leg cramps. As a result, I was about 15 minutes slower over the second half of the course.
At one point I was stopped in my tracks and grabbed the railing. The people along the route gently but firmly told me to not stop and to keep going. I had to dig deep but I kept going.
My running friends had told me to watch for the famous Citgo Sign. When you see that landmark you are almost done. What a relief when it came into view!!
I did make a trip to the medical tent after I crossed the finish line. My leg cramps were that bad. Eventually, I was able to walk out, get my medal and find my sweet husband. I needed a hug. But, I had done it: I had completed the 2014 Boston Marathon, and even better, re-qualified for 2015.
For more personal accounts of the 2014 Boston marathon, click here.
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