Wednesday, April 30, 2014

2014 Boston Marathon



The title of my last post before Boston amuses me now.

“I have no idea what to expect.”  

It was true! I was prepared for the best – a safe, wonderful race with a shiny PR.  I was prepared for the worst – having to stop to stretch, warm weather, a new blog-marathon-worst somewhere above my previous blog-marathon-worst of 3:11:47.

I left my expectations wide open for Boston to surprise me, because I simply had no brain capacity to imagine the experience of running a race with 32,000 others, on a historic course, with more energy and pride and everything buzzing.

Still…I never prepared myself for the possibility of flying all the way out for the Boston Marathon…. and not finishing.  Not stepping over the painted concrete that I and thousands others had swarmed around in the days prior, like the celebrity that it is.

But there I was. Lying on the ground with one mile left.  Causing a nuisance to all the tired runners trying to trudge around me.  And I was not going to finish the Boston Marathon.

Dramatic enough?  Let’s rewind.

*****

For anyone who reads here and is not immersed in the obsessive running community such that they have already read (or experienced) an account of the 2014 Boston Marathon, I want to share details that illustrate what made this year so….Boston.  So unique.  So Special.

And so this will be a bit long. 

About to see the Finish Line for the first time

From the moment I arrived at the boarding gate at SFO, to the moment I exited the BART train to taxi home, I was surrounded by runners (or supporters) adorned in Boston marathon finisher jackets and other clothing.  It is such a freaking cult, and I don’t mean that in a mean way, I mean it just is that way.  It's easy to get sucked into.

Boston was heavily saturated with Boston Strong energy and pride.  It was on everybody’s mind at all times.  This year….is for last year.  That is what it was.

I ran a 2 mile shakeout run Sunday.  I made an executive decision that I hated the arch support that I was “prescribed” by my physical therapist, and so I took them out and never looked back.  Who knows if things would have played out differently if I stuck with them.

Dinner was pho.  I slept about 5 hours, and honestly? I dreamt about terrorist attacks.  I’m telling you, last year is all that was on anybody’s mind.

The Gentleman took this photo so he would remember what colors to look for.  I bet I was super easy to find in this special color called red.
Monday morning, I got on the bus by my lonesome and was so tired (very little sleep all week, work and travel related) that although as excited as I’ve ever been about anything, I decided to play calm and not engage too much with bus-mates.  There was constant engagement throughout this trip – strangers have never had so much in common or such easy topic starters  But this morning, I wanted to be in my own brain and take it all in.

The bus ride was long.  The Athletes Village was huge.  I smiled ear to ear entering under the Athletes Village sign.  Welcome to Hopkinton!  (which is the most beautiful unusual town I’ve ever seen…the spread of homes is so different from anything in California).

I ate what seemed like a lot for a "brain time" of 4:00 a.m. (PST time, no chance to adjust to the time change).  I had most of a bagel with a tiny bit of peanut butter; half a banana; a honey stinger gel; and chugged probably 150-200 cals of electrolyte carb drink (tailwind nutrition endurance fuel, found at a local running store.)

I sprawled out on a space blanket after using the bathroom and sunscreened up. Tip: they hand out free packets of sunscreen at the Athletes Village (although I sacrificed a full bottle that I brought and tossed).

There was a moment of silence in the Athletes Village in honor of last year's losses. Thirty thousand chattering and excited voices fell silent, and even the portable bathrooms were left untouched. Chills.

As I approached my wave around 9:40 a.m. (Wave 1, Corral 8), jets flew overhead to fly the course from start to finish.  More Chills.

I took off my warm-up clothes.  No chills.  

This would be a warm day.

I met blog reader Dana who was running 3 months after giving birth.  She ran a 3:18, making her one of the only people I know who did better than planned that Monday.  Tell me how!

After I finally skipped over that starting line, about 6 minutes after 10:00 a.m., this is how it went for me:

“I’m in mile 1 of THE BOSTON MARATHON. Woo hoo!”

“I’m in mile 2 of THE BOSTON MARATHON. OMG!”

“I’m in mile 3 of THE BOSTON MARATHON. High five! Power five! You are wicked awesome too!”

And so on and so forth.

For at least the first four miles I was jammed enough in the crowds that I had zero say over my pace.  It was all right on target however, between 6:50-7:05.

I noticed a little leggity-lockety at mile 2, but with all the sense overload…it was hard to feel anything except the sound of the crowds. I certainly did not focus on my leg the way I normally do in training or at "quieter" races.  At mile 4, I noticed the foot in my bad leg going a little stiff which was painful. Before long, I had forgotten about that too.

Also in these early miles, we passed a stereo blaring “Sweet Caroline.”  (Not a song I'd want to hear on repeat the full day.)  The mass of runners chanted along in chorus, still sprightly, early, cheerful.  Chills.

Through mile 13 it was smooth sailing and easy, to my recollection.  I passed the half in 1:31:37, which was a very conservative effort on my part given all the adrenaline, the caffeine, the downhills, the crowds, etc.  I had been warned about taking the first half easy or I would pay, and I honestly did not think I could have been more gentle. 


Feeling good at the half, as documented by the only flattering photographer angle

I checked myself at the half, and thought, “sure, I can run another 1:31.  Ok, maybe 1:32 or 1:33.  But A PR is something I can still fight for.”

Obviously Mile 13 was indescribable.  Those Wellesley girls cheering had me smiling ear to ear.  It’s funny, after the race my mom asked me if they were hanging out their dorm windows cheering, and I realized I had that similar image in my mind when I heard about the Wellesley girls years ago from a roommate in college (grad student) who had graduated from Wellesley. Ha, it’s not like that at all. 

You know what else? College-aged girls look way younger than I remember.  I’m getting old. They were little girls!

I hung on through the first serious hill that threw on the brakes for many runners (mile 16?)  I was energetically anticipating MILE 17, where I’d see my hunk and my mom.  I slowed down to a 7:10 pace by now, losing sight of a PR, but was feeling ok (at least I don’t remember major problems) and reached my happiness pinnacle when I saw them.  Two high fives! Put your camera down who cares I need high fives!

In Boston with Cheerleader # 2, my mom.
I was...probably not fueling very well.  I had tried to balance the fine line of starting the race fueled, but not full.  Instead I realized I was nearing "hungry" at the 10:00 a.m. start, so I started eating honey stinger chews at mile 3.  Then I ate 1-2 chews every mile until I ran out.  Then I started taking both a water and a gatorade at every other aid station (which was slowing me down) because I was hot and thirsty.  Dumped a lot of that water on my head.

One brilliant thing about the crowds was how much independent fuel they provided.  I grabbed a water bottle twice from unofficial "aid stations" where a crowd-clump was handing them out.  Chugged a little down, dumped the rest on me.  I also grabbed a banana from a kiddo sometime around mile 20 thinking the potassium would save me or something. 

A contributor to my failed fueling was, having noticed in my training that drinking too much slows me down, I was carefully trying not to drink....too much.  I did not nail this.  I may have been dehydrated.  This may have played a part in what was to come. 

About a mile after I passed my cheerleaders at mile 17 my focus abruptly shifted from "can't wait to see my cheerleaders!" to "hey, what's going on with my body."  I think we went up, down, and then up down again, my pace slowed to high 7 minutes, and I observed my left leg was feeling the toll of the hilly course.  

Specifically, my calf started to fail on me.  Every few minutes -- maybe about every half mile -- I would lurch forward as my calf began to twist into a cramp, and then I would kind of "save" it from cramping with a shuffle step, and I would continue on, a little bit slower.  

I'll never know exactly why this was happening, but my suspicions, in order of likelihood, are: 

1) I was so distracted by the excitement that I was not in tune with my body, and I failed to stop and stretch my bad leg the way I normally do in training; and this pushed my leg past its normal operating point so my calf completely broke down; 

2) it was hot, hilly, and I was not getting in enough electrolytes.  The traveling certainly didn't help with my hydration levels.

Regardless, my mind goes kind of blurry from miles 20-25.  I recall thinking about quitting a lot, because shit felt tough.  I was thirsty.  That same old stupid calf tangle-cramp that has bothered me at many of my last few races was worse than ever before.

I remember finally pulling over to stop and stretch my calf around mile 20-22, and talking to it

"Come on calf, come on, you're ok! Let's get going!"  

Up and down another hill; stop to stretch.  My miles were beginning to clock in at the low 8:00 minutes.  I was shocked.  I haven't seen an "8" on my watch in a marathon during the 3+ year life of this blog.

I remember seeing a lot, lot, LOT of people walking.  It was messing with my brain.  I've never seen so many people walking during a marathon.  Like, 50% of people were walking from mile 22 onward.  I started to think walking was normal.  What the hell.

I was nevertheless still in kickass marathon mode so I forced my leg on.  The hills were over (although some dude totally lied to me and told me the second-to-last big hill was Heartbreak; it wasn't) so I kept trying to pick up the pace -- but each time I did, I would lurch forward and trip as my calf seized up.

Eventually I found myself near the end of the 25th mile.  

Suddenly, I was on the ground.

I can't remember if I fell, or how I found myself down there, but I was on the ground clutching my calf. The crowds were yelling at me -- "massage it!"  So I did.  I urgently clutched and massaged it, but my calf would not, for the love of Boston Strong, stop spasming.

At some point I looked down at my watch; I remember seeing a 3:05.  This was a bad dream.  Maybe it really was a dream? Here I was, stuck to the ground, the clock ticking away.

Since I was embarrassingly splat in the middle of the road in all the other runners' way, a Boston police officer squared himself in between me and oncoming runners.  A medical volunteer crouched next to me on the other side.

There was a lot of conversing with the Medic.  "Can you get up? Can you Move? Can I help you up?"

Let me try -- yeeeeoooowww -- nope.  The calf kept spasming.  It was dancing.  I stared at it pulsing, undulating in and out.

"Did you train?" Yes, sir.  I'm sorry. This doesn't usually happen.  I have this problem with my leg...sometimes my calf just....

"Should I get a medical shuttle for you?" I guess....I mean I can't get up.  I'm trying.  I can't get up.  I'll try again.  Yeeooowww! (louder.  more painful)

"Well. The medical shuttle just left to bring someone else in." (Thank goodness. This bought me some time).

Meanwhile, the cop was talking to me too.  "What can I do for you?"

My mind was flashing with frantic thoughts.  Most of them surrounded the tought that...holy fuck....I came all the way out here to Boston....and I'm not going to finish this marathon.  

"....Can you call my husband?"

I don't know why I thought this needed to happen, but I was in full emergency mode.  As far as I could think, this was a disaster, and he was at the finish line wondering where I was.  Instead I was a world away, an impossible distance, it would take me hours to crawl to the finish, and he would be worried.

Hesitating.  "Sure.  What's his number?"

And the sweet cop called my husband.  The Gentleman sure enjoyed getting a call from the Boston police.  Ha. Didn't occur to me that would be momentarily scary for him.

There we sat, waiting for a medic to sweep me out of everyone's way.  20 million hours had passed.  My watch confirmed it. 

I made my 1,000th attempt to pull myself on my feet without the calf beginning to spasm.  For some reason, finally....it didn't spasm.  I got up.  OMG.

The medic looked at me.  I looked back. The cop stared at me. I stared at the cop.  

"I think....I'm going to try.... and make it?"

I took a few gentle steps towards the finish line.  The crowd roared.  I laughed. I took a few more steps.  I started trotting.  And I was back in the race! The clock was ticking with me instead of against me!

I looked at my watch: 3:15.  Damn.  I had lost over 10 minutes.  (I'm still confused as to how much time I actually lost -- I truly do not know.)

Unfortunately, my goal to not be negative, and instead to leak positivity, was not working.  I was passing all these landmark moments - Citgo sign! A banner that said 1 mile to go!  Right on Hereford! Left on Boylston! And all I could think was, "NO. Not like this. Not like this."  I was not feeling positive.  I wanted the noise to turn off and I wanted to be invisible so that if I fell again, which I feared was certain, no one would see.

As soon as I turned left on Boylston though... ha, yeah, try not feeling amazing there.  What a moment.  For a brief second I was happy to be hobbling (at what was actually an 8:00 minute pace) because I was able to take that Boylston homestretch in, moreso than if I was sprinting my last breaths for a PR attempt.  I was scanning the crowds desperately looking for my cheerleaders, but I later learned there was restricted access and they did not make it in.  

I thought that homestretch would never end.  I was terrified my calf was going to cramp again.

I made it.  I finished.

Why yes, thank you, I will take all of the ice

3:23:45.  I'll never get those lost minutes back, but that number says it all.  It says, "something went very, very wrong."  20 minutes off my goal time.  22 minute positive split.

Facts:
Overall finish number is still, miraculously, lower than my bib number.  Huh. Everybody had a bad day?

The wreath from the hotel was a very cool touch. I hear Shalane really wants one of these, all she needs to do is stay at the W.
I could talk and talk and talk about my thoughts in hindsight.  It boils down to these simple things:

1) I had an amazing time
2) I had a terrible time
3) My result disappointed the shit out of me
4) I got over it; it's not that significant, and at least I finished
5) I really, really enjoyed my short 9 week training cycle in my new city
6) Thank you Boston for sharing your city in such a huge way
7) I am capable of so, much, better, and
8) I need to get an MRI.

More thoughts and Boston remnants to come. 

Fine print: "not even with a cramping calf."

68 comments:

  1. You are one determined lady! Great job in pushing through and I hope you sort out the calf problem. Congratulations!

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  2. Your story had me in tears literally (and I am no crier!) Actually the beginning reminded me of the beginning of Scott Jureks book except without the bodily fluids. I cannot imagine being on the ground during a race, especially Boston, but you just had yourself an experience that in a way might shape the rest of your life. Go get that MRI and rock on! You're unstoppable, congrats!

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    1. Well now I have to read Scott Jurek's book! I swear I didn't plagiarize.

      You are right; I think this race will leave a greater impression on me than a PR race or one with the normal challenges of hitting the wall. Thanks for the kind words.

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  3. That calf issue sounds horrendously painful. I can't imagine even walking, much less running, with that. So glad you somehow managed to finish that last mile - Boylston sounds incredible.

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  4. This story almost made me cry!! You are so strong and determined! Congratulations! I hope you get answers on your calf issue soon.

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  5. You just described the last 5 miles of my Boston 2010 experience...a double calf cramp struggle to the finish. That course on hot days must be an evil beast that takes over calf muscles causing them to act as their own beings in an awful painful manner.
    Stupid calf cramps, they really are horrible.

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    1. Double calf cramp! Double rainbow man. You win. I still can't decide if the heat really played a factor or not, because the way my bad leg is wired, that calf often "tangles" up and feels like it might cramp....sometimes even at mile 2 on a cool morning workout.

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  6. Wow, I don't normally comment on your blog but that was some inspiring shit! Do you even realize how strong you are? You should be extremely proud of yourself. Damn! Way to go.

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  7. I'm glad you were able to finish. I cannot even imagine how you felt at that mile. You are truly awesome and I hope you get an MRI that gives you some sort of answers.

    Reading people's recaps I don't know a lot of people who had a day they wanted...maybe 1 or 2 people at most?

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    1. It was a rough day, 65-70 degrees feels much worse with still air and no cloud cover at noon after 20 miles of running. Amazed by the people who did very well!

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  8. I am so glad that you finished! Not reaching your goal time is disappointing, but not finishing would have been worse! ...and I know exactly what you mean about the calf. I have the issue too, and it has been on and off with me for the last few years. It feels exactly like a tangle and then it gets extremely tight. Sometimes the pain can ease off quickly. Other times, it lasts for days. The worst is when the tangle begins to "pop" during a run. When that happens, I know it's time to end it for the day and hobble back home.

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    1. Yes....not finishing would be so much worse. I feel sick when I remember exactly how it felt to believe that I wasn't going to finish.

      Ouch to your calf! one difference for me is mine never hurts "for days" or at all once I'm done running. It hurt after the marathon because of all the spasming, but normally my calf "tangle" is done the second I stop running or stop to stretch.

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  9. I always read your blog but rarely comment...but wow. This is really inspiring and I'm so glad you were able to get up a finish, despite it not being the way you wanted to finish. I can't imagine how painful that was. I have suffered from calf cramps a lot, but they usually strike after a race. My biggest fear is having it happen during a race. Graston/ART has definitely helped me, as has upping my salt/electrolyte intake, but I'd say an MRI is definitely in order. Good luck!

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    1. Thank you! Same - before this, the only time I ever had a full calf cramp was in the middle of the night. That happens like 2-4 times per year. Never happened while running, because you can usually stretch that out before it gets bad.

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  10. Awesome recap, and thanks for the shout-out! :) I'm sorry to hear about your calf. Hopefully it was just a hydration/fueling issue, and not an injury issue. And I'm so glad to hear that you were able to take in and appreciate the amazing atmosphere. This was my 11th time running Boston, and it was by far the most special. There was just an extra energy in the air somehow! How has your recovery from the race been?

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    1. 11 times! How lucky. I like to believe this was the most special year, even though I have nothing to compare it to.

      Recovery has been good. Definitely back to normal, but normal for me means my left leg is always a little....off. Green light from my physical therapist to get an MRI, so now I have to go through the process with my provider of getting an appointment, a referral, etc.

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    2. PS how about your recovery? Congrats again!!

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    3. I hope the MRI goes well, and gives you some answers. So frustrating!

      My recovery went really well. I took it easy for a week or two, and then raced a 10 miler yesterday. Managed to pull off a PR. The only thing I can attribute this to is some lingering pregnancy hormones or something. Whatever it is, I'll take it!

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  11. Wow, what a crazy rollercoaster! Congrats on finishing after those horrible sounding calf spasms -- which I'm sure would've meant a DNF for 95% of the people out there. I hope you're still wearing that wreath, even to work. (Though I'm not sure it woud've cleared TSA security?) Good luck getting to the bottom of this calf issue!

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    1. My wreath got smushed in luggage but I wear it everywhere, with my medal and finisher's jacket and space jacket, obvi

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  12. Still much faster and more of a badass than many many people! I'm sorry it was a less than epic race for you, but hey, there's always next time right? ;)

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  13. I'm sorry shit hit the fan (or the ground?) during the race and I'm glad to hear you're going to get a MRI. I hope that has some answers for you!

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    1. My doctor still thinks the MRI should just be on my hip-to-knee area. I'm going to bring him screen shots of your blog and say "CHECK MY BACK TOO PLZ".

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  14. You know, I teared up a bit reading this especially the bit where you started running again at the end. There's glory in that, in the getting up and continuing to fight and to finish the race. You should be really proud of it even though your finish wasn't what you planned or dreamed or expected. Strikes me that that's the very spirit of Boston Strong.

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    1. Thank you! There's no room for Boston Weak, or Boston Quit At Mile 25.

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  15. This was a great read! Sorry to hear about the calf-issues. That's so frustrating, and I hope it gets resolved eventually.

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  16. Guuuuuurl, I hear ya on 1-4 in your list. And 6. And 7.

    I got my period at mile 14. WTF? After that, much like your race, my race turned into a giant nightmare. I had cramps too. Like you. Sort of. ;-) My goal for the last mile was to not shit all over myself and in front of thousands of people. Goal reached but just barely!

    You are a badass though with a 3:23 on a bad day. Amazing!

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    1. Rough, man. I think I'd rather deal with the calf cramp.

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  17. Congrats on pulling through and finishing. I had many of the same thoughts/experiences at the Raleigh Rock n Roll marathon on April 13. It was HOT. And HILLY. And so many people were walking... it was kind of a surreal experience. I also gave a pep talk to body parts at about mile 20... glad I'm not the only one who does that.

    You should be so proud of what you accomplished - a 3:23 is NOTHING to sneeze at for sure! I can't even come close on my best days.

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    1. Thank you Kathryn. Back at you since you had a similar race experience. I vividly remember, since there was nowhere to stop and stretch without having 20 spectators right next to me, giving the pep talk in part for the sake of the spectators so they would know I wasn't a wimp. "Cummon leg. Come on!"

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  18. Points 2, 3, 7 and 8 all apply to every race I've run (bar one) in the past three years. I genuinely empathise and sympathise so much with your injury struggles, and reading this (excellent) recap I became just as frustrated for you as I am for myself...because I am rather self-pitying, and it takes a lot for me to feel as though anyone else is being subjected to intense personal injustice when it comes to running! You have so much more talent than I do though, and your injury is not in any way your fault, where as I know in my heart I overtrain and have severe skeletal issues that mean I'm not set up to run at all. Still, I thought I had a diagnosis for my injury (I have exactly the same symptoms as you, only my injury has deteriorated to the point where I initially suffered a similar proportional loss of speed, but now I can barely run 4 8:30/min miles without having to stop and stretch because my leg is buckling under me. So many things just don't add up and I'm going to have to take out a loan because I can't afford an MRI...it's scary the things I have to do just to run, which is basically the only reason I have to live.

    Anyway, I'm sorry for that selfish diatribe. I was trying to say that good God, I understand. And I think you have so much strength to have picked yourself up and kept going. I wouldn't be surprised if your leg just 'went' under you and caused you to fall, because it's happened to me twice recently. I'm really pleased that at least your leg held up enough for you to finish, and I really do hope that an MRI gives you some answers...you more than anyone deserve them.

    xxx

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    1. Despite your injury struggles, your past races that I have seen were very strong.

      Running is definitely one of the things that I love doing most in this short life, and biking/swimming/elliptical will never properly take its place. YOLO. We gotsta run. Let's heal!

      I hope you are able to find a financial aid application for a loan for your MRI. There must be a solution for you.

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  19. As the 2nd cheerleader I am so damn proud and amazed at your strength and resolve. You did an amazing time, and most would have quit. Be joyous knowing if you hadn't had that injury you most certainly would have broken 3:00!!!!! I do hope that MRI gives you concrete answers, but all too often cramps are a mystery of the body usually occurring at the most inconvenient time.....Love you to pieces and Boston 2015?????

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  20. Ok, this won't sound stalkerish or anything...I was at the start, standing right next to you and another lady blogger just as you were meeting. My bib was 7846. I did not see you finish, but that was very dramatic. It was a day that as runners we won't probably see again. Even the runners were nice to each other. You will have more PR races in your future. You finished on a great day under very tough circumstances. That takes cajones for sure. Congrats, and even though I only overheard you two, I was the fat old guy in the 2014 orange Boston singlet, I feel like I was part of history. Who the heck was captain America and why did the crowd keep calling his name? I think it was the speedo guy, but not sure.

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    1. No way! This is awesome. I had tunnel vision so I don't remember you, and you probably only felt fat and old because we were in Wave 1 of the Boston Marathon with all the young fast sprightly folk. Wish we had the chance to talk. How did you Do!?!?

      I kept hearing "go Canada!" And then as I slowed down I think Canada left me and I started hearing something even more special. Iceland or something. Or maybe I was delirious and just dreaming of ice.

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  21. What an amazing post!!! You had me enthralled the whole time reading. I am so sorry that happened. How scary and upsetting that must have been... But you are so strong for finishing! You continue to awe and amaze me.

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  22. I enjoyed reading every sentence of this recap. Boston is so unpredictable, but you showed some major grit pulling your sh*t together and getting across that finish. Not many runners could do that! I myself didn't have the best day (the heat/sun was killing me) either and wanted to just throw in the towel..but felt the same way that you did.. i didn't come all this way not to finish! Hope the MRI gives you some answers!

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    1. Thank you for saying I showed grit. I've always wanted grit!

      I want to hear more about your race. Congrats! Do you have a blog/twitter/etc?

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  23. Yaaaaa!!!! Thank you for (finally) posting this!!!! What, do you have like a life and a job and stuff, making me wait over a week??? ;)

    When I read your opener, my heart sank for you - to run boston the year after the attacks and not finish. Especially you, such a strong racer!

    Good for you for finishing. You got to experience something not many others do. Bravo, I'm sure there will be more in your future... After your MRI.

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    1. Thanks for being patient and for the kind words! It's probably a good thing I was too busy to get to posting anything right away, because immediately after the marathon I was feeling a lot of sadness and shame, but then occasionally giddiness--very bipolar. It would have been a strange post.

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  24. That is a wild race report - congrats on doing and making it through Boston! That race sounds amazing. For your calf, that sounds like a strain to me - I've had a strained calf before, and the symptoms sound almost the same. I would hold off on that MRI, and just wait maybe 2-3 weeks to see if it improves after doing minimal activity. Like you say, I bet being dehydrated simply resulted in your calf seizing up. I try to take an endurolyte tablet every 4 miles or so during longer races, maybe give that a shot next big race?

    http://www.hammernutrition.com/products/endurolytes.elt.html

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    1. My calf was fine within 2-3 days after :) The MRI will be for my back/hip/leg to hopefully see the origin of why pretty much everything on that leg works poorly.

      Good tip on endurolyte -- someone else recommended them before the race and I'll definitely try them this summer!

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    2. Ah, okay - I guess I've read about your leg-lock issue for so long I figured that it was something that you just had to live with. All I can think of based on following your blog for so long is that it might related to sciata nerve or maybe glute strength and over-compensating with your hamstring? But a PT likely has a better diagnosis than me lol.

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  25. I was tracking you and got scared at the end. I am so glad you were able to finish and sustained no lasting medical issues. Keep me posted on the MRI thing please! Loved reading about your experience :)

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  26. Yowza. What a way to have a first Boston experience. It sounds awful and terrible and amazing and wonderful all at the same time. (I think the combination of trying to train through a winterocalypse and running a high-energy marathon in sudden springtime heat took out a lot of people.) Now go get that MRI. Keep us posted.

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  27. Oh my goodness, you said - the amount of people I saw walking at the end! It completely messed with my head! And, at the point I was at, these were all people that were likely trained to run well under 2:45. It was quite a day! Glad you made it across that finish line and I hope the MRI gives you some good answers.

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    1. I am so surprised to hear that people running under a 6:30 pace were walking too. It's crazy! The hills weren't even THAT BAD really, but something about the day was making people drop

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    2. I agree, the hills were not that bad. I think people were feeling them more because of the weather and then the ensuing downhills (which did me in more than the up!). I've never done Boston before but with 9,000 more runners and likely a relatively larger amount of spectators, I can imagine it was a different race than in the past. I don't know how people finished in that hot year. Yes, the walking people I saw at the end were slightly alarming because they were likely trained to run under 2:45. Lots of walking/stretching happening on the hills and a few guys I knew shooting for 2:43 that were quite a bit off, even into the 2:50's. Such is the marathon! And we go back for more:) I really hope you are recovering well!

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  28. What a great story! Thanks so much for sharing

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  29. That's so scary about your calf. :/ I'm glad you were eventually able to get up and finish though. I hope you figure out what it is and get it fixed up! This is my first time reading your blog so I'm going to have to go back and see what this "bad leg" thing is all about. Is it a leg where you keep having issues in different areas, or is that referring to a calf that tends to cause problems?

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    1. It is the former! It started as a "tug" in my buttcrease area; that faded away and became a locking/stiffening sensation down my entire leg that only really happens during races or speed work. Even my foot goes stiff. When my foot goes stiff is when my calf starts to feel tangly and on the verge of cramping. Does that help? Because I'm terrible at explaining it which is part of why my poor doctors haven't diagnosed me yet.

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  30. Oh sh*t! I have nothing unique to add, but you are one hell of a story teller. Also, I'm sure it was agonizing to lie there on the ground (a) in pain and (b) watching the minutes tick by, but like everyone else said, it's incredible that you managed to finish the race! I really hope you get the calf issue sorted out soon. Sorry it was a disappointing race for you, but so happy you were able to finish!

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  31. I'm so sorry you had such a difficult race experience!! Based on my blog reviews of Boston this year, you certainly weren't alone. I think they heat did in a lot of people. Get that MRI, girl and get this figured out! (((hugs0)) Hope you are running strong soon!

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  32. Wow. What a race recap. I honestly can't imagine continuing the race after all that, but you did and that is, to me, insanely courageous. Picking yourself up and moving to that finish is an accomplishment all on it's own. Congrats on finishing. I'm sorry it didn't go as well as you'd have hoped, but you've got one hell of a Boston Marathon story nonetheless. I hope the calf (and leg!) is healing up so you can get back to the road.

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    1. Having a good story is definitely worth something :)

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  33. You are a goddman rockstar, and this was a great read. I'm so glad you finished the race (and still more than 11 minutes over your BQ time!), and I'm so glad the crowd roared for you when you were able to stand up. THAT is the support runners deserve, regardless of whether a couple idiots terrorized the race last year. Now, hurry up and fix that leg so you can get an even lower bib number next year. :-)

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    1. Love this comment so much, thank you Layla

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  34. I know the outcome wasn't anything even remotely close to what you wanted time-wise, but I am so glad you were able to finish. To come all that way and not cross the line ... I can't even imagine. I hope the MRI results will get you the answers you need and will allow you to fix this issue once and for all.

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  35. Hi Caitlin,
    Have you tried drinking pickle juice for preventing cramps? Works like a charm! Check out this link:
    http://kamisemick.blogspot.com/2010/09/pickle-juice-study-with-sample-size-of.html
    Hope it helps!
    Susan

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  36. Wow. I'm really at a loss for words... I hate that your last 10k was so challenging. Not sure how I would have dealt with a calf spasm like that. Years, get an MRI. Get some rest. And then get back out there! Maybe try some shorter distances to give your body a break from the full? But I'm so glad you got to experience Boston. I still need some "Boston closure" if that makes any sense. I guess it will have to wait until I can do it again. My friend was there this year and said it just got so hit with the later starting times.

    As always- very entertaining recap. Love all your new Boston goodies and glad you were able to finish. That was the big question last year on the plane ride home. No one cared about times- just whether you were able to finish or not.

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    1. Yes not years. (Autocorrect....)

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    2. Hot not hit. I really need to proof before I hit send on this thing!

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  37. My knee blew out at mile 4. I had to start walking at mile 10. I was in so much pain for the majority of the race. I ran a 4 hour marathon (is this a joke? this cannot be real) I feel humiliated that I showed up at Boston and ran a 4:0x. (I haven't even looked, I can't). That being said, everything you wrote totally resonates with me. Glad I'm not the only one to feel so amazing and so miserable all at once. It makes me feel a lot better to know there's a few of us in the WTF boat from Monday. And I guess at the end of the day, this year wasn't about spectacular performances, things being easy, or things going as planned. They were about persevering throughout pain, adversity, and doing whatever it took to finish. Because this year, just putting one foot in front of another, and not giving up, was just what we had to do. Hope to see you in the Athlete's Village again, with fully functioning legs for the both of us!

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    1. I'm so sorry....that is so so far to have to deal with that kind of pain. I also had trouble hearing or looking at my time. I saw it in the Boston newspaper and couldn't stop thinking about how confused I would be if I magically could have seen those results a day, week, month before the marathon. It's stunning to do so much worse than you have trained for. I had not yet experienced that. I hope you are recovering well! Cheers to conflicted feelings and memories about this race!

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  38. I hope you have the calf and leg lock issues cleared up because I want to see you at Boston next year and the year after and after.
    *hugz*

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