We Run As One
by Katie Mace, Fleet Feet Sports Madison
There are many things that fill my mind while I am out running. It was no different while running the 2014 Boston Marathon. However, my thoughts were much different than any other run. I had run Boston before in 2003. That was a husband and three kids ago. That was also long before the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon. How could two people be so cruel? How could they choose to create so much hate and hurt? It left me angry, sad, yet hopeful that goodness would win out in the end. That is why I registered for this year's race. Runners are strong. Boston is stronger!
This year I waited in Athlete's Village with friends not knowing what was ahead of me. All I knew was that I had 26.2 miles to get there. My adrenaline was pumping, but as I looked around me I couldn't help but smile. I was doing this. The world was watching from TVs, computers, phones, and I was here living it. Soon it was time to start heading to the corrals. People were actually cheering us on as we walked to the start. This was my reminder of what this race meant to these people. It was so much more than "just a marathon." So, yes, I did take a sip of beer from that guy partying outside his house, because I was going to enjoy this race along with these incredible spectators!
The moment had arrived, no more waiting, no more nerves, time to run this race! I had already shed all my "warm" clothes and was bracing for my first run in MONTHS in shorts and a tank top. I joked after the race about my sunburn, saying that I escaped Wisconsin for a tropical vacation in Boston. I knew that the weather was going to be a factor, but I was ready to run. My training went well, so I was pumped and ready to go for it. I started strong and felt great. I was hitting all my splits and enjoying every step. The fans, the volunteers, and other runners were making the miles tick away quickly. Until I had to stop for a bathroom break at mile 15. I lost my stride and then was faced with the hills. They beat me up quite a bit. I knew then that this was not my day. I wondered how in the world I was going to get through the last long 10 plus miles. At this point I looked around and soaked in the crowd. It was their day. I tried my best to keep my smile, read every sign, and give every kid a high five. I walked more than any other race and hurt more than I could've anticipated. But I knew the crowd would help me finish this run. I had no idea what my time was and when I turned the corner onto Boylston I didn't really care. Emotion took over. The only clock I could see was from wave one (I was in wave 2). The clock read 4:09, the same time that was captured in so many photos as the time of the bombing last year. At that point I didn't even look at the clock for wave two, it didn't matter. I was finishing proud. I knew I did not hit my goal time, but my heart was happy. My emotions were beyond words.
As time passes, I am left to reflect on the race. I wanted to blame so much- the heat, training in an awful winter, nursing a 6 month old baby, going out too hard, blah, blah, blah! But now I shake away the negativity and know it was more than a number posted in the results. The memories In my heart will forever make me a stronger runner and person. I found what I was looking for when I registered for this race; goodness prevailed. Runners are strong. Boston is stronger.
A special thank you to my amazing husband who supports my crazy running addiction. He stayed home with our three beautiful children, so I could have this incredible experience. And a big congrats and thanks to those that I traveled with to Boston. It made the trip so much more to be with friends. We will forever share the bond of this race.