At the half way point, I was right on pace for my goal. But as the miles ticked by, they became more and more difficult.
After Mile 16, everything fell apart. My legs would not move. I walked more often and getting down anywhere near a nine minute mile was impossible. Even the downhills were painfully slow. The only thing that made it half way bearable was the crowds. They were unbelievable. During those hills, I grabbed oranges from families on their lawns. It was getting warmer and some people were offering ice, which was a nice treat. These miles are where my body failed me and my mind did too. I was full of negative self-talk. I was angry at my body for failing me again. I trained so well. I did everything I was supposed to do. I ran 22 miles with ease, why was this so difficult?
As I reached Heartbreak Hill, which didn’t feel like the hardest hill of the race, I hit a turning point. It was a mix of the spectators and the fact I was running the #@%$&@ Boston Marathon that got my head back into a good place. As I was in the middle of Heartbreak Hill, I decided I was going to run that thing and run the rest of the race. As I ran to the top, Heartbreak Hill became Triumph Hill. I punched my fist in the air and felt almost victorious. I took two of the only pictures during the race during that time. I wanted to remember that moment when I decided that the race was not going to eat me alive. I would relish in it and enjoy those last miles.
And I did until turning onto Boylston…. and that was it. I got it all but the crossing of the finish line…
Fort Collins, Colorado
[Lisa Roehm-Gensel discovered her love of fitness after the birth of her second child. After getting into shape through Stroller Strides, she became a Stroller Strides instructor to help other women adjust to motherhood through exercise and a supportive environment. The full story of her 2013 Boston race can be found on her Mom to Marathon blog.]