'Marathon Monday' Boston Marathon 17th April 2017
By Rachael Honeywood - Rejoover, Mother and fundraiser for "Running for Premature Babies".
"I had a bad nights sleep, I blamed the fancy Italian I ate the night before but more likely the pre-race nerves. As the race didn't start until late morning, my wave was off at 10.50am, I ate a porridge breakie said good bye to Tom and headed down to Boston common at 8am to catch an American school bus which drove us out 42km west to the athletics village and start.
I sat next to a girl who was running for a charity and with both of us having verbal diarrhea the 50 min bus ride whizzed by. We eventually drove until Hopkinton where the nerves kicked in.
Leaving the bus and walking into the athletics village was weird with lots of people lying down inside a huge white tent trying to keep out if the sun, waiting for their wave to be called and no one was chatting. I sat down inside, did some stretching and tried to stay calm.
A 20min wait for the loo, chatting to Americans in the queue about race tips and tactics to bear in mind when running the hills. Finally my wave was called and I made my way to the start line, 1/2km down the road.
The organisation was amazing. I was in corral one of the third wave which was great as it meant I was about 10 people from the front.
The 10 mins it took for the gun to go took ages... I made small talk to a couple of people around me including a woman who last year won the 65 age group! Then finally the gun was off.
I followed the advice I was given by plenty of past runners to take the downhill easy and got comfortably into my pace by 2km. I hoped to sit on 4.45-50 for the race and the first 10km was easy to do so. There were a few other women around me who were also running about the same pace which was good to see, as the Boston Marathon doesn't have pacers so it was down to my watch for how I was going.
The crowds were out from the start handing out cups of water, icy poles and oranges. I spent the first few Kms giving high fives to the kids on the route and thinking about my two who were in LA with my parents. However I knew I couldn't sustain that for 42kms so soon took to a thumbs up or wave.
My 5 and 10km times were good and I was happy with my average pace.
The first time I really started to feel the heat was around the 10km marker at Farmington however the crowds there were amazing and having my name on my shirt made such a difference as people were calling it out. I took a few bottles of water being handed out by the public and began to cool myself down pouring the water straight down my back and front. This made a world of difference!
I decided that I would take on water at each mile as the sun was directly above and no shade could be found. A girl beside me made comment on the heat and how she had planned on doing a 3.20 but 3.25 was more likely so I knew it was tough going for many. However the tailwind at times was strong enough to feel and when the gust got behind me it was very refreshing.
I made it to 1/2 and was feeling good. I had gone through in 1.41 and my average pace was what I hoped. I knew the hills were in the second part of the race but as I'd bagged some time I felt a PB was still possible.
Just after 1/2 point the Wellesley college girls were out screaming and my god they made plenty of noise holding signs asking for kisses!
The heat was starting to take effect on many runners and by 25km I was starting to pass people on the course from the wave ahead. I was thankful for my summer training and felt good.
The Newton hill was the start of the hills. My pace dropped but I knew it was ok and would only last for 5 Kms of hills so wasn't too worried. Once again the crowds were what lifted me the number of people out on the streets was incredible and the emotions running through me were at times hard to contain.
'It's the journey which gets you to the destination' was a quote I heard on the tv the day before. Between 25-35kms I thought of my long runs with the panther pack- JMac pushing me on my last one, Pagey and our chat running down to the opera house and how my excitement about the race was certainly being matched today. DMac for running a whole 32kms with me when he'd only planned to do 20. Hayley who regularly joined me for the 2nd part of those long hot training runs even on a Friday am before school drop off as I was away for the weekend. AB for starting my motivation after my few months off. Maya and Matt who I was always chasing - I'm sure I've missed people but seriously it was these long runs which were more enjoyable than they should with running friends which helped as the going got tough!
Heartbreak hill is nothing like the city to surf but I was so pleased I had done that run as apart of my training.. it was more like the footie stadium hill which we tend to do weekly so I was comfortable. Plus I was passing more and more people who were walking due to the heat.
By now at every water station I grabbed multiple cups - two to throw over me and one to drink, a tip Greta had stressed to me during my summer training. My water bottle was just for when I needed a drink for taking on gu. As I honestly couldn't get enough water into me!
I had one ear phone in as needed my music to keep me focused and not overwhelmed with emotion and the next 5km were a blur! It was downhill and heading towards the city. I know people continued to yell out my name which made such a difference and as I began passing more and more people I was feeling strong. At this point I thought of Rach Birds and chasing after her on our tempo runs- thanks Rach you really helped me to regain some of my pace.
As I hit the 40km mark my final burst of adrenaline kicked in. We had been to the red socks game the day before and as I passed over the small bridge beside the stadium I was lifted once again by huge numbers out on the course. I waved as many as I could and as a result my name was yelled out more and more!
I knew Tom was waiting at the 41.5km point just before I turned down Boylston street and when I spotted him in the crowd it was such a great sight, he has certainly supported me through his journey and I'm so glad he was there cheering me on.
Then it was head down for the final 800m. The crowd as you turn down Boylston went from 3 to 5 deep and my god I did feel like a super star. The roar was deafening and I tried to savour the moment as I made my way down the road soaking up the atmosphere as well as trying to get under 3.25. which I could see on the big clock.
Crossing the finishing line I literally couldn't breathe... the emotion and sense of accomplishment was so overwhelming. With the aid of a lady in red I managed to compose myself and make my way to collect my medal. Having the person place it around my neck was everything and tears started to stream down my face. I'd done it!
The buzz after the race was everywhere. People congratulated me as I passed them on the street, fellow runners smiled and congratulated each other. There were many who ran the race who did not reach the goals they had planned mainly due to the weather however my 3.24.40- a 5 min pb meant I wore my medal to dinner with huge pride. My race had gone to plan and I not only got a PB but also managed to soak up as much of the atmosphere along the course which those memories will stay with me for a very long time!
Even writing this now as I fly back to LA I'm filled with emotion.
Thanks so much Greta for being such a super coach- I followed the program pretty much to the tee but your weekly emails and messages of encouragement made it easier to do and having the Rejoov family meant the summer training was almost bearable.
The buzz I have is amazing and I honestly don't know if I can run a marathon again at home... another major has to be on the cards!"