JULY 10, 2013

At the end of this school year my family and I went to Mexico's Riviera Maya.  It's a beautiful place, and we did not exactly have a "lay on your bum" type of beach vacation.  Many days were filled with activities.  We stayed at an all inclusive resort, Grand Coco Bay about 40 minutes from the Cancun Airport.  It was a nice resort, with even nicer staff.  We got a kick out of the cute towel animals left in our room each day:

Outside of the resort we did:

Chichen Itza, Mayan Pyramid Sightseeing:
Went swimming in Cenotes:

Visited Playa Del Carmen:

Went ziplining:

Went snorkeling:
Went Deep Sea Fishing:
WENT 4 - wheeling at Maroma Paradise:
And visited the Tulum ruins:

So as you can see our vacation was definitely jam packed with activites, but we did save a couple of days for just lounging around with the necessary pleasantries:
Overall it was a great vacation with lots to do.  Hopefully now that my hubby has been to Mexico I can convince him to go to the Copper Canyon!! We actually are already planning our next big vacation, a trip to somewhere (reasonable) that my son chooses, as a celebration of sorts when he graduates in a couple years.  Until then it will be lots of backpacking and short little weekend trips.  I'll take it all!  




So I know it's been quite a long time since running in the Grand to Grand Ultra in September - but time has been short, and I've been struggling to find the words to sum up this amazing event as well! So what's the best thing I can do? Will do a quick recap - but really summing it up with pictures I've taken off of facebook, via fellow runners and the G2G site. Pictures are worth a thousand words no?! Short and sweet summary..... If you have the means (time, money) to do this race DO IT. It's an incredible event, like no other I've experienced. I was worried about my performance a bit, since I had found out I was running it 20 days before but made my mind up to go there and enjoy the experience 100 percent! Big thanks to Ray Zahab and Impossible2Possbile for making the race happen for me. I traveled to G2G as an ambassador for them, and every minute was an amazing experience that I won't soon forget. Originally it was supposed to be team i2P but we wound up running as individuals - as the other team in the race, the Backpacker Magazine team was short one individual. (I found this out when I arrived in Utah and was somewhat relieved, as I was nervous about being the weakest link and didn't want to hold the guys (John Zahab and Brian Henderson) back!) Even though we ran the race as individuals we all ran together for the long stage - 47 miles. I caught up to them after a couple miles during that stage and that was that - we spent several hours running, walking, climbing, and (for me anyway) literally CRAWLING up sand dunes. The crawling was a tad embarrassing ;-) During this stage I thought lots of my dear friend Micah True as it was the 6 month anniversary of his passing. Before I shut off my cell, just before the race, my son had let me know that Micah's girlfriend Maria sent me some stones and a lovely memorial card. Still miss him every day and thankful for him, Maria and Guadajuko. The days came and went - I spent most of the day after the long stage walking due to pretty serious shinsplints that lasted the rest of the race, but hooked up with some really great guys for the last 5 miles - Kanab Dave and Vincent. We laughed so much and had a great time b.s.'ing that all pain seemed to disappear for those miles. I'm so lucky to have run into them! Then - the final day. Even though the miles were short, I was dreading this day. Why? The map was showing it as all uphill. I have a hill complex. (translation - I suck at them) Although a little miracle occurred for me, and it was mostly thanks to my smart ass-isms. There was to be three waves of runners going off for the last stage. Ray wanted to put me in the 2nd wave, but I told them he better put me in the 1st as I thought I would probably be walking most of it. He did, and I heard him say later that night he was waking up in the morning and would be marking the course for us runners before we start. In my typical smart ass-ism manner I laughed and said "Hey aren't you worried that I'll catch up to you?!" hahaha. Looking at me he said "You know LC the thought actually crossed my mind." Hmmmmm. It was then that my new goal was set. Catch up with Ray and the others marking the course. Didn't know if I would, but hey - it was the last day and worth a shot! We started out early and it was dark. Bonus points for no sand. I got in front and never looked back, going as fast as I possibly could. Some parts were technical, and since I was trying to haul ass I did fall a few times. Got up, brushed myself off - and kept on. After awhile I saw lights ahead of me and grinned. I think I can do it!! Is all I thought. Well, dummy me I did!I say dummy me because #1 there was no aid station yet where there should have been one and #2 I made the mistake of thinking I would just casually trot up the hill with them while they marked the rest of the course. Wrong. I caught up, they were done with there glow sticks - and Ray said let's go now we'll run up together!! WHA??!! All I could think was this is what I got for always being a smart ass! There would be no casual la dee da up the hill. I had (or I thought I had) used up everything to catch up with them, but now I had to run even faster. And on hills. And with one of the world's greatest super athletes. I got over my "oh shit" moment and dug in to what I didn't know I had. My friend pushed me up the hills at a pace I didn't know I was capable of for hills. Granted I sounded like Darth Vader doing it (while Ray didn't even seem tired!!) - but did it! In the end it made me realize I can do more than I think I can. I am stronger than I think I am. Pain - the pain in my legs was still there but somehow I pushed it aside. The mind is an incredible thing. The greatest challenge in ultras is not necessarily physical, but mental. I had heard it before, but never quite experienced it. I came out of it LOVING hills (gasp!) I may not necessarily be the best at them, but am really looking forward to the challenge of getting better on them! Ray and I crossed the finish line as the G2G crew was just setting up the finish line banner. It was nice to see everyone finish and be able to congratulate everyone. Soon we all loaded up onto the busses and made our way to Las Vegas, for an amazing dinner and night at an amazing hotel. I was lucky enough to get my own room (which was amazing!!) thanks to Ferg Hawke. See I took his place on team i2P - and shortly before I left he sent me a message stating he had paid for a private room. He offered the room to me - and even though I offered to pay him for it he refused. SUCH an awesome guy!! When I opened the door to my room I couldn't believe it, had never stayed in anything so amazing before. Shortly after arriving the festivities began. (formal...GASP!!) I felt a bit awkward in a dress, but it was better than smelling like 7 days of funk. And I was with some pretty great people. What could be better :-) G2G in pictures: None of them I took - but gives you a feel of what the race was like:


JUNE 15, 2012

Some time ago my friend Agnes Jung whom I met through the non-profit Impossible2Possible mentioned her plans on running her first marathon, the Ottawa Marathon! Excited for her I looked at my schedule, and saw it just happened to fall on Memorial Weekend! Added bonus! I started thinking well maybe the kiddo and I could make it down to cheer her on. (Hubby worked that weekend. Boooo) Well we worked it out and made our way down, we HAD to! This gal pal of mine came down to Beast of Burden 100 - winter to cheer me on in the snow and wind, the VERY LEAST I could do for her was to go someplace that was all warm and sunshiney and cheer her on lol :)

One of my most favorite things in the world is watching someone tackle a new distance, cross the finish line for the first time - doing something they never thought they could do. Agnes was all smiles! I loved it! We ran with her for a tiny bit towards the end, and my son seranded her with his new Eukele (did I spell that right? Don't even know....).

We cheered on tons of other runners as well, er um...all the runners and while I was being lazy by not running my arms and hands did kinda hurt at the end from all the clapping (sissy).

Congrats to Agnes on an extraordinary finish and for letting us tag along!! Both my son and I had a great time hanging out with her and her amazing son Robert!

Way to go Agnes!!!

In between visiting and the marathon my son and I visited the Gatineau Trails (I seriously had to get out of the city, heard about these trails and so it was, we headed out for some hiking)


Happy as he looks here, I really thought he would pass out at times on the trail.

Despite my son's death stare every time we saw a new hill it was great getting out of the city. Ottawa is amazing, fun, and cute but I just wanted to be in the woods :)




Which would you choose?

My son and I stayed in Ottawa until Monday. Monday morning we woke up and headed to Ray Zahab and his wife Kathy's house. (Super close to those Gatineau trails I learned!!) Finally I got to meet the awesome guy who has been helping me for so long!! It was great spending time and chatting with them - they are truly amazing people! So incredibly busy and they just do so much for so many people. (Example....Ray was in Vancouver until Sunday morning, came home - and headed out to Mexico after we left Monday. MORE than extraordinarily busy!!) And as if they don't do enough for me I left rockin a pretty sweet pair of custom Oakley's :) All I ever had before these sunglasses were the cheapo glasses that you get from WalMart, Target, or yes....I'll go ahead and say it, the GAS STATION. What an incredible difference! (duh) Now I actually find that I lock my p.o.s. Nissan just because my shades are sometimes in there. *love* Thanks Kathy and thanks Ray for a great time! (and my kick ass shades. wooooo)


SUNDAY JULY 10, 2011
NIAGARA FALLS QUICK TRIP The kiddo's in Myrtle Beach, my husband's running his first 100 miler on our anniversary - so what to do? We decided at the last minute to go to Niagara Falls. Just a short trip, we left Monday and came back on Tuesday-but we got our fill of fun! We checked out the falls of course, did the Maid of the Mist, Journey Behind the Falls, and all the typical touristy stuff. After all the waterfall related activites we checked out Clifton Hill.

Clifton Hill is a busy area of town, complete with wax museums, haunted houses, Ripley's Believe or Not, Guiness Book of World Records, and many restraunts and shops. We'll definitely be coming back with my son as he would love all of the above. We had some fun hanging out, acting like kids ourselves:

The incredible shrinking man:

Over the Falls!!

What surprised me the most about Niagara Falls? The Buddhist Temple we stumbled upon. Of COURSE I had to check it out! I walked in and felt like I could spend forever there. It was amazing. The monks were friendly, everything was so peaceful. It was the Ten Thousand Buddhas Sarira Stupa on River Road. The construction of the facility began in 1995 and it opened in 2001. It was built to commemorate the numerous Buddhas in the past, present, and future. A beautiful place, one worth going to, and a place I'll definitely be visiting again.

Overall the trip was great and we were surprised at how close Niagara Falls was. We'll be going there many more times, it's really no problem making just a day trip out of it if you leave early enough. I just can't wait to take the kiddo! Perhaps a running tour of the city next time?


"While they are at war we came together at the bottom of a deep canyon in the middle of no-where; no-where but beauty, to create Peace and Run Free! What more is there?" - Caballo Blanco

Where do I begin? It's virtually impossible to list all my fantastic experiences down in the Canyons, but I'll try my best. The Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon and the days leading up to it were some of the most amazing days of my life. It is everything I thought it would be, and more. The people I met were all so amazing, and I'm missing them so much right now!

We flew out of Cleveland early Saturday morning February 28th. Crystal and I stayed in El Paso for one night before our adventure really began. I placed my last phone calls to my husband, son, and to my coach Ray Z - who made sure his last words to me were: "Remember this is just a training run!" No problemo, as I was really looking forward to seeing all I could see, and just experience as much as I possibly could. Sunday morning we woke up and met some other runners. We would be spending 2 days in a van with our new friends.

Doug "Diego" Rhodes owner of Paraiso del Oso Lodge drove us the whole way acting as tour guide, translator, and most importantly - friend!

Dougs place:

Day one in the van took us through Juarez, which we soon found out the media has overblown the situation down there quite a bit. We exchanged money at a changing house down there and stopped at the local Costco and went about our merry way. We made a few stops for food, one to visit a church, and stopped for visa business.

Night was spent in Cuatemoc, at a pretty cute little hotel - and for $40 a night, which came down to $20 each for Crystal and I. You really couldn't beat it! In the morning we headed out for our last day in the van until after the race. Everyone got to know each other in these two days and I really think I made the right decision taking the van down. Just the simple fact that we got to know some really great people made it all worth it. I'll never forget any of them! (I also won't forget Ted and Leah's dark chocolate covered Acai berries, Bookis' fresh pineapple, or Ravi's dark chocolate covered espresso beans!)Finally we arrived at our destination, Paraiso lodge, and met some other runners that had come down for the race. We had welcoming margaritas and great food.

The day after our arrival was a great day. A group of us set out on a hike to the top of the bear:

After the hike many of us visited a local boarding school. We brought bubbles and balls for the kids, and had an absolute blast playing with them all! While most of us couldn't speak their language a smile can speak volumes!

After the school visit we walked around the tiny town for a bit, and found a volleyball net. We pulled out a soccer ball and started a makeshift volleyball game. It didn't take long for some kids to came over, and we invited anyone who came over. Again, it was absolutely incredible and so much fun! I have to say again, while in terms of spoken language we were not communicating, but were communicating through laughter and smiles. Absolutely amazing!

All runners woke up early to hike as a group down 18 miles down to Urique. We would call Urique home until our departure.

The scenery was beautiful, the temps were warm, and I while I was missing my men I was definitely not missing Ohio's weather!

This was also where reality set in a bit for me. After my 100 miler I didn't rest much. Things hurt, but I was trying to convince myself that I was good. I had tried to pick up the speed before I left for Mexico, but every time I did my knee would ache, my right hamstring would have incredible pain...but I tried to ignore it. After the hike the day before and hiking to Urique my body was even more tired than before, and in more pain. But, I didn't let it get to me , just kept on remembering what Ray had said "just a training run", and kept telling myself why I was really here - to experience the culture of The Tarahumara (Raramuri) people, the uniqueness of the land (coming from Ohio - ya know?), and the beauty of 200 + people coming together as one (Kuria - ba, we are one).

Finally we arrived in Urique at our new home, Keith's place - Entres Amigos. Entres is a hostel, hotel, and camping facility on the edge of town. It ran about $40 a night and is a beautiful place. Keith is one of the friendliest guys you will ever meet.

There was a huge garden at Entres that was available to all people staying there. It was nice to just walk up, pick what you wanted for dinner and there you have it! I did have to make the "must eat" stop: Grandma's Tita's in town:

Tita's served as the meeting place for runners before hikes as well as an informational meetings having to do with the race or hikes. I also made a torta stop, but other than that my food was eaten at Keith's place. Friends Jess and Suman made some awesome dinners that we shared.

There were some optional hikes on the race course that we did before the race. More beautiful scenery, and all worries about my directionally challenged self completely dissapated. There's really only one way you can go. I can't even screw that one up!

Some Mexican nationals and local runners from Urique came with us for one of the hikes - including one who was 14 years old. Taylor is on the right:

We hung out together for most of the hike, and he seemed like a great kid. We raced down the hills, just having a ton of fun. I destroyed my knees even further doing so, but wouldn't change a thing. We did try to communicate a bit as I do know a few words in Spanish, and he knew a few words in English. The discussions actually weren't half bad!

Friday in Urique called for one last hike, which Crystal and I chose not to do. I thought long and hard about this one, but ultimately I was toast. I do regret the decision now, however. (Maybe next time!)

Saturday was a day of rest for all runners. Today was our day for huraches. Americano Ray Molina brought a load of tires down for the Tarahumara to make huraches out of.

We helped make our huraches alongside the Tarahumara, which was an incredible experience.

This Raramuri man helped me make mine, and he was the nicest person!

Later on in the evening the pre race ceremonies were held.

The little town of Urique went all out for us runners. The night before the race there was a big pre race ceremony right in the center of town. It was incredible being there, it felt like a sort of miniature Olympic games pre race ceremony. All groups there had poster boards with their country's name written on it. There were all kinds of performances. We got our race shirts during the festivites as well. The shirts were white with the race logo on it, as well as our own personal race number. After hanging around and watching the performers for a bit, we went back home to Keith's place to get some sleep. Race day was coming fast!!!


Finally it was here! There were many hugs this morning, and I made a point to try and wish as many Tarahumara women good luck as I could. (My good luck was telling them hello, in their language - and shaking hands Raramuri style).

The race consisted of three loops. Loop 1 was 18 miles, Loop 2 was 22 miles, and Loop 3was 10 miles. I have never seen hills this big, this rocky ever in my life. It was hot out, the temps got to 99 degrees farenheit - but that really didn't bother me. What killed me were the hills. There were a few people (the ones who've done races such as Leadville) who thought the course wasn't all that hilly. But let me tell ya - coming from flatland Ohio the hills seemed monstrous to me. Laurel Highlands in P.A.? Doesn't even compare. Those have been the biggest "hills" I've seen so far. WOW.

Loop #1
While in a bit of pain already the first 9 miles went pretty well for me. Then the first climb began. It was rough, but not as bad as I thought it would be at that point. This is where the 2nd place female, Japanese runner Hiroko Suzuki really took off. We left the bridge aid station together and I watched her go up the hill like a rocket. Incredible!

Loop #2
This is what this loop felt like. The uphill seemed to last forever. On the first loop I was pretty far ahead of Caballo. Then in my slow climb up the hills on this loop I heard someone call his name. I stopped right there in my tracks and thought "No way in hell. NO WAY!" I didn't see anyone coming, so I thought I was hearing things, and kept on. But sure enough, there he comes smiling and bouncing up the hills with Patrick McGee close behind him. All I could think at that point was WTF!! Caballo just smiled as he ran past and shouted "I never said this would be easy!" I was overwhelmed then, thinking about how much I must've slowed down. For the first time ever in a race I started thinking long and hard about quitting. I thought I didn't belong out there, on these hills - what was I thinking?! So many people were there, with tons more experience on hills, an- d I thought I didn't deserve to be there. After awhile I ran into another Americano and we chatted for a while - and that helped a little bit. We both got to the aid station and I threw myself into a chair and did not want to get back up. We both sat there, exhausted, in disbelief. I spent the longest time at this aid station. It was the longest time spent at an aidstation out of all my races. I kept on wondering if I should throw in the towel. But, pride got to me and I got back up. I've said so many times that the only way I'd leave a race course if I got taken off by life flight. I saw Ravi coming into the aid station just then, and yelled "What the hell is this shit!!" And then kept on going. Hills. They are called hills. I saw a mule on the way back and it turned it's butt towards me. I stopped on the trail so it wouldn't kick me, but secretly I was really wishing the thing would take me out so I could have an excuse to stop! lol! It did not, of course - so I had to keep goin'!

My speciality USED to be downhills. Before the race I thought, ok. - so there are uphills, but what goes up must come down, and down fast. ERROR. My legs were so fried that I could barely run the downhills anymore. NOT RUN THE DOWNHILLS?! I definitely couldn't go down them pain free - walking or running. At some point going downhill on the second loop I saw runner friend Jess sitting under a tree. I stopped, sat down as well and we didn't say too much. Just sat there with bewildered looks on our faces, just thinking OHMYGOD. After a couple minutes I got up again and just kept moving. Then hello Death March. And hello mile 40.

I got to the Plaza restraunt, mile 40. Nick and Jamil Coury were there (already finished!!!) And helped me with my stuff, water, fuel, etc. and I was so glad for their help. I headed out for my last 10 miles - the longest 10 miles of my life. I passed over the bridge, and whaddya know! Mr Patrick McGee was coming up from the river after taking a dip in it to cool off. From this point forward we stuck together, and I was so grateful. It seemed to take forever to get to the turnaround point. However when we did, my mood was elevated a bit. Only 5 more miles to go! YES!!!! We continued our death march and kept waiting to see the bridge. And waiting. And waiting. FINALLY we saw it. VICTORY!! Almost. Patrick and I gave each other high fives and were all smiles. Then our next goal: Get to Keith's place. UGH it seemed so far away! (It didn't seem that far away at the beginning of the race!) But finally we made it. And that meant we were almost to town, almost to the finish. We decided to run when the dirt road ended. We picked it up a bit and ran all the way to the finish line, the townspeople cheering us on. The hardest race of my life had just ended, and I was fifth woman, but overall pretty low on the totem pole. What a great feeling it was to be finished though! We stayed in town to celebrate for awhile, my friend Crystal came in at third woman overall so we got to see her get presented with her awards, and also give it away - as is customary for this race. Headed back to Keith's place, we sat around and chatted for awhile then attempted to crash. As after every race, I cannot sleep at night. It seemed everyone was the same way as all night long I heard movement, people waking up, going into the kitchen, using the bathroom, etc. I just laid there - smiling, and sometimes let out a laugh. Runners ;-)

The day following the race all those who were going in Diego's van (and those who were leaving on the bus out) met up at Grandma Tita's. I was anxious as I had come into contact quite a few times with a young female Raramuri runner and wanted to give her my winnings. I didn't know her name, just her face. During the race we crossed paths often, smiling - and she even spoke a few words to me in English. Her smile is what I remember most though. I had thought about her all night, wishing I knew her name so I could tell Caballo who to give my corn to. As luck had it - just before we left there she was, walking down the street. Limping, I am assuming she somehow got hurt in the race. I ran over and stopped her, then grabbed Caballo - who gave her the corn voucher. It was the perfect ending to a perfect experience. I couldn't have asked for anything more, and was so excited I found her! Then, off we went - us in our merry van. We wound up taking some Tarahumara runners with us, so they didn't have to make as big of a hike home as they would have. Nacho was one of them:

Jim, myself, Nacho and his Tarahumara friend all sat in the back seat. They enjoyed my gum, but not the music on my mp3 player! Nacho just listened for a bit and shook his head. I don't recall what music I had on the player, but I just laughed. He really enjoyed checking out the pictures I took of our time down in in the Canyons. We said our goodbyes and dropped them off in Creel.

After two days driving to El Paso in the Doug mobile, another overnight stay in El Paso, and another day of flying we were back home in beautiful Cleveland:

Oh well. At least my men are here!!!

One of the biggest things I got from this experience was during the race, even though we did not speak the same language - we understood each other. We would smile and understand each other. We would roll our eyes, and understand each other. We would look at each other blankly, exhausted - and understand each other. We were all so emotionally connected. We rejoiced together, felt pain together, pushed on together. This I will take with me forever.

Happy Running Friends!


Thursday April 22, 2010

Where do I even begin? The Boston Marathon was amazing! BOSTON was amazing! Overall this was an incredible experience.

Day 1: Saturday

3 a.m. - woke up to get ready to leave mom and dad's to head out to the Pittsburgh Airport. As I have never flown on a commercial airliner (lol, only jumped out of Cessna's) I was so excited to get on the plane, let alone a plane to Boston!

12:30 p.m. - We arrived in Boston, so excited! Called the hotel for a pick up, and they were there so fast. We stayed at the Logan Airport Comfort Inn. We had a few issues with the hotel, but the people who worked there were as nice as can be. Ate lunch, unpacked, and headed out to find our way on the T. I was nervous about getting lost, as we have never even rode Cleveland's public transportation system.

3:30 p.m. - EXPO! Craziness. Complete insanity. There were so many people there that you could barely look at anything. And the Adidas shop - WHOA! NO WAY could you move. I grabbed a coat that I thought maaybe I could fit into (um, I didn't)- Couldn't even try it on it was that packed. We grabbed my bag that had my racing bib in it as well as other goodies and tried forever to find the exit (and as the security gaurd so kindly pointed out, it was in the direction of the big EXIT signs). We all got a good laugh at that one. SHEESH.

5:00 p.m. - We used the rest of the night to explore the city, jumping on the T and getting on and off at various points. It was helpful to do just to get used to riding the T. I needed to get used to it, as I thought at one point the thing was stopping, let go - and NOOOO. I fell into one woman's lap, and - well let's just say she wasn't too pleased. Husband sure got a kick out of it though, and stood there laughing at me. #&^@! T stops took us to Quincy Market, Boston Common, and China Town. China Town was our favorite, and we decided to go back the next day for lunch.

7:00 p.m. - LEGAL SEA FOOD. The wait was long, and I'm not even sure if it was worth it. We waited 1 1/2 hours to eat there, since we heard it was the best. Don't get me wrong, the food did taste good, but it's nothing I will remember. We did try some oysters for the first time, and they were pretty amazing, but as far as dinner was concerned I could take it or leave it. Definitely not worth a 1 1/2 hr wait.

11:00 p.m. - We were finally back in our hotel and exhausted. My feet hurt SO bad! I was so glad I put all our things away before we left the hotel room earlier in the day.

Day 2:

4:30 a.m. - Wake up call! I was glad for some extra sleeping time! (Yes, to me 5 1/2 hrs. is "sleeping in"!)

6:30 a.m. - Continental Breakfast. My son assumed this to mean he could have anything he wanted. He came over with a plate full of muffins, donuts, and waffles. Blech

7:30 a.m. - Out to explore Boston again! We went by the bay, and walked around a bit. The weather was gloomy but that was NOT about to stop us.

9:00 a.m. - Back to the expo to exchange the too tight jacket I thought I could squeeze into. They didn't have any more in my size, so I wound up getting the Marathon Celebration jacket instead. LOL, Me and about 15,000 other people that were in the city for the weekend.

10:00 a.m. - New England Aquarium. The aquarium was pretty nice, had a lot of different things, and one crazy sea lion that was joking around a bit.

12:00 a.m. - Lunch in China Town - Quick Pic BBQ. We had duck, rice, and veggies. Duck is one of my favorite things. To my husband and son it was an adventure they'd just assume forget. At least my son liked the soup!

1:00 p.m. - Beantown Trolley Tour - Ok so, it sounds cheesy, but it really was interesting. They literally took us everywhere except Harvard. Fenway, Cambridge, China Town, Boston Common, MIT, the numerous historical sites - you name it. I was bummed that I couldn't get pics though, the windows were covered with a plastic sheet that would not have made for good shots. My son was impressed with MIT's "Dr Suess" building. I think it looked more like something out of the "Nightmare Before Christmas."

3:30 p.m. - Tomb 5WITS - This was an interactive type of a play, I really don't know how to explain it. You were part of the "show". You had to solve puzzles, riddles, mysteries to uncover the Tomb and be released. We were with a small group of people, one of which was another mom running Boston. This was by far my son's favorite activity in Boston.

5:30 p.m. - A little more exploring and then we headed back to the hotel. This was the plan all along, but we would've gone back earlier if the hotel pool would've been open. It was scheduled to open the day before we arrived in Boston, but it was not. Kind of killed my husband and son's plans for the night before the marathon: Let mom sleep, and go swimming. I was bummed for them, and a bit ticked at the hotel for this. They were so tired anyway though, that we ate, watched a little bit of t.v. and headed to bed. My feet were throbbing, once again. We wound up going to bed around 7:30. We are SUCH party animals.

Day 3:

3:30 a.m. - Alarm went off, I woke up and got ready. My son wanted to eat breakfast with me before the race, so I woke him up and we went to the dining area. I had my oatmeal & fruit, coffee - everything I normally have before a big run. This was unfortunately the only time I did anything right as far as food was concerned during this whole trip. I was pretty much out of my element as far as typical pre race behaviour was concerned. That made me pretty nervous. Other runners were up and performing their own pre race food rituals, and we all just sat around staring at the news, talking about the weather and what we were all going to wear.

5:30 a.m. - The hotel shuttled a group of us runners to the T, and we were off to find the area where we would catch the busses to Hopkinton! I sat and talked with a couple of runners who were like me, running Boston for the first time. We were all nervous we would miss the busses or not be able to find them. When we changed stops at Government Center, me and one of the runners got separated from the other one who was with us. Me and the remaining runner stuck together the rest of the time. The instructions I had told us we should get off at the Boylston stop. However - at the Park T Stop some very experienced looking runners got off. My new runner friend and I (I'll call him Okie) looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and followed them out. I'm so glad we did. The lines for the busses were not long where we got off at. However, once I boarded the bus (I waited until my assigned time, 6:45) I was shocked. The busses pulled out and where we would've wound up was just packed with people. I could not even see the ends of the lines, there were that many people! The lines just seemed to continue forever. All that you could hear all throughout my bus was "Oh my god". After that shock wore off, we all started chatting. Suprisingly we had about an hour long bus ride. I sat with a girl from PA who had run Boston before, and sat close to a lady all the way from Australia - who on a whim decided to check and see if she had qualified for Boston one day, and she had! Both were awesome ladies who I won't soon forget.

We arrived in Hopkinton around 8:30/9:00. I jumped off and headed straight for the port a potty line, unsure what to expect. The first line moved fairly fast. As soon as I walked into Athlete's Village I walked around, and didn't see much of anything that was interesting. Just a bunch of nervous athletes, and one D.J. I found port a potty line #2, and it was LONG. I figured well, better stand in this line, too - as I have learned from mistakes made in races past. During this particularly long wait I had the pleasure of chatting with a man from Vancouver. We each talked about our respective countries, holidays, and running. As soon as we were done there, they called for the runners in wave 2 to take all their belongings to the bus. As I was taking off all my warm weather gear, 2 F-15's flew past to mark the start of the race! AWESOME! It definitely pumped everyone up. I dumped my stuff off at the bus, and yep. You guessed it. Port a potty line #3. LOL! This line was short. As soon as I opened the door to the port a potty I backed up and out. WHOA!!! It was so full, it was to the top. Completely gross. This is 23,000 people I suppose. It was then time to head out to the starting line and into my assigned corral. All I could think was that I had never seen so many people in one spot. We excitedly shuffled to the start.


Thousand of Garmin's beeped. The race had started! It was slow going at first, impossible to pass anyone - but I spent this time taking everything in. Little by little, room opened up. I imagine people dropped back a little when they realized excitement had taken them faster than they wanted to go. I was hoping that wasn't the case with me. I was feeling good though, so didn't think that this was the case. 5, 6, 7 miles flew by. People all along the course were offering their assistance - lots of people passing out oranges and giving high fives. I absolutely did the high five thing for the ENTIRE race. Gave high fives to every kid I saw with their hand held out. Water bottle in one hand, high fives with the other! It was so much fun! I do have to say I could barely raise my hand up come mile 24! Spectators also ran their own water stops. I took water from one little girl who ran away screaming "SOMEONE TOOK THE WATER!!! SOMEONE TOOK THE WATER!!" It was the cutest thing I've seen! Onward...towards Wellsley. WOW. WELLSLEY. Those college girls were INSANE! I spent the whole time running by and laughing! Those signs! Kiss me I'm Polish, Kiss me I'm Irish, Kiss me, Kiss me, Kiss me! Nothing but girls going crazy. That just had to pump up so many guys. We ran buy businesses, bars, houses with college kids drinking beer, standing on their roof screaming. I ran up Heartbreak Hill and didn't even realize it until the top, where someone had a sign out that had Heartbreak Hill mentioned on it. Really?! I thought, that was it? That pumped me up even more, because I new I didn't have much longer to go. And then there was Boston College. More craziness. The college guys were passing out beads, and I only had strength to grab one as I ran by. From that point forward, the crowd called me either "Red" for my red shirt and red beads, or simply "Beads". GO RED! ALMOST THERE BEADS! and so much more. The crowd completely carried me through to the end.

The people of Boston are amazing. Not just the race crowd, but the numerous number of people who, without being asked, would come up to us as we were trying to make our way around the city - asking us if we needed help. Boston is the elderly lady who didn't speak English, but motioned to my son to sit next to her on the T. We looked at each other, nodded and smiled. There wasn't a need for words. Boston is the hundreds of locals who put up with thousands of runners invading their city. Boston is incredible. One thing's for sure - I'll be going back. It may not be next year, or the year after even, but I will be back. The race was amazing, but the people were even more so. An incredible event, in a city filled with incredible people. What could be better than that?

Finish Pace
Official Time
6553 out of 23126
1102 out of 9772
854 out of 5111

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