ABQ 4 Boston 5K

On Sunday a great event was put on to benefit Boston here in Albuquerque.  I was honored to be a part of it.  My BRF Sherri, who I am running the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon with the end of May, helped to put this event on.  Here is a picture from Saturday’s registration for the 5K.  I am standing with Brian Colon, who came up with the idea for this race after what happened in Boston 2 weeks ago.

Brian ColonI have never been a part of putting on a race, so I can only imagine how much work goes into everything from marketing to finding the venue to getting signs and shirts made and much more.  I simply cannot believe that Brian and his team were able to pull this off in just 10 days.

At the beginning of the race the crowd parted ways and made a long tunnel for those of us that had run the Boston Marathon to run through to start the race off.  There were 8-10 other people there that had run the marathon.  It was nice to meet some of them and swap stories of their experiences in Boston.  Amy, who I met in Boston and spent the hours before the race with, was also there with her husband.  It was fun to see them back home in Albuquerque after meeting them in Boston.

start of 5kI ran the race with one of my friends and we had a great time together.  Here we are with our hubbies and Sherri.

abq 4 boston with friendsThere were over 700 runners and people that donated, and so far $30,000 has been raised for Boston.  We are hoping to be able to send $47,000 to Boston to represent New Mexico as the 47th state.  If you would still like to donate please go to www.abq4boston.com.  There are race shirts available for purchase too if you would like one.abq 4 boston big picA huge thank you to Brian Colon, Sherri, Jane (another friend of mine that helped out a TON to make the race happen), all the volunteers, and all the runners and people that donated and came out to support this event.  Way to go New Mexico!

Have there been any events for Boston in your community?

Have you ever helped put on a race?

Boston Strong – How to Help

Now that it’s been a week since I got home from Boston, I am settling back into the reality of life and am busy with the usual family and work obligations.  Plus, after some recovery time, I am starting my running back up to get ready for the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon the end of May.  However, the events that took place in Boston are still close in my mind and heart, so let’s talk about just a few of the many options to help the grieving families and those that suffered injuries.

one fund

First and most notably is The One Fund – Boston which has already raised over 20 million dollars.  Click here for a link if you would like to donate.

Next, this wonderful blogger, MissZippy1, posted about a fund set up to help Erika Brannock, a 29 year old preschool teacher, who was in Boston to cheer her mom on in the marathon.  Erika lost her leg and her husband and sister were also injured in the explosions.  By using a free app called RunBSX, if you run a total of 26.2 miles between now and May 17th, the RunBSX people will donate $10 to the Erika Brannock Fund.  I have already started using this app (it is similar to the Nike Running App).  It was simple to download and took me less than a minute to set it up and get running, super easy!

For anyone in Albuquerque, there is a 5K walk/run this weekend to benefit Boston’s First Responders Fund.  The goal of the ABQ 4 Boston 5K is to raise $47,000 to donate to represent the support of New Mexico, the 47th state in our nation.  I will be there with my family and friends to support this great event.

abq 4 boston

These are just a few of the ways to help that have hit home for me, but there are many other wonderful charities and events that are taking place all over the country (and the world) that you can participate in.  I even heard of a friend of my sister’s who lives in Hungary who ran a race to benefit Boston.  So, find what is meaningful to you and please pitch in and support the victims of this tragedy.

Boston Race Recap

It has taken me the past week to process what happened in Boston, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to write a post about my race because it seems so completely unimportant after everything that happened.  However, what I do know is that it was one of the most meaningful days of my life, and I will not let anyone take that from me.  So here is a recap of my Boston Marathon and what the race meant to me.

My morning started out with me saying goodbye to my sister in our hotel room (she was there to spectate and cheer me on), and heading out for the short walk to where the buses loaded.  I was fortunate to meet up with a running friend of mine from Albuquerque, Sheilah, and also Amy, from Albuquerque who has a great running blog.

Here we are ready to load the busses in our warm clothes.  Amy, Sheilah, and me

Here we are ready to load the buses in our warm clothes. Amy, Sheilah, and me

We waited for an hour to get on a bus and then the ride was another hour to take us to the starting line in Hopkinton.  It was nice to have the company during those couple of hours to pass the time and so that I didn’t get a chance to get too nervous.  We got dropped off the buses and things went smoothly from there thanks to Sheilah who has run many Bostons before.

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She guided us to a less crowded area behind the massive Athlete’s Village and we got quickly into a porta potty line, then walked to drop our gear bags and proceeded to begin the long trek toward the starting line.  It was about a mile walk to get to the corrals at the starting line.  Once the 3 of us got there we wished each other luck and parted ways to get to our different starting corrals.  It was the first time I had been by myself for the past few hours, and I let it really sink in that here I was at THE Boston Marathon.

Here is a picture from my starting corral.  I was in the last corral of the second wave, so there were probably 7,000-8,000 people in front of me waiting to start in this wave.  I couldn’t even see the starting line from my corral and did not hear the gun for the start of our wave.  I simply started walking when the masses began moving and eventually broke into a jog shortly before crossing the starting line.

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After we started running I was able to quickly settle into my pace even with being surrounded by so many runners.  I enjoyed every second of the screaming crowds cheering us on our way.  I had such a huge smile on my face that my cheeks hurt.  While the first few miles were downhill, I had read enough about the course to know I needed to hold myself back, which I was doing (or at least I thought I was).  I was running near what I thought my marathon pace would be for the day because I was feeling strong and was consciously pulling myself back because I knew what was to come with the hills later in the race.

My first inkling that something was not going to go great for my race was at mile 5 when I looked at my heart rate and it was sky high.  I don’t usually run to my heart rate, but I often track it after my training runs and know about where I should be for different levels of effort.  I knew this heart rate was too high to sustain for the remaining 21 miles, but I was puzzled because I felt so good, my breathing was really easy, I was not sucking wind like this high heart rate would normally mean for me, so I thought maybe it was a blip with my heart rate monitor.  I decided to continue running based on effort, still holding myself back from going faster, even though I felt like I could.  I just tried to focus on each mile that I was in.  The miles ticked by quicker than any other race I have run.  Before I knew it, 10 miles were done.  The crowds were so supportive and loud cheering us on.  My sister was at the half way point and I saw her, but unfortunately with the mass of runners going by, she never saw me, despite being only 10 feet from her and screaming her name multiple times.  I was definitely bummed and thought about turning around to run back to her for a hug, but at this point my pace was on track for another Boston qualifying time and I thought I’d better keep running.

I began to feel the effects of my high heart rate around mile 16 when we started climbing hills.  I was able to stick with the first 3 hills and hold a decent pace getting up and over them, but by the time the 4th started (Heartbreak Hill), I began to feel light headed and a little dizzy and knew I couldn’t continue on at this pace.  So, I did what I didn’t want to do and walked for a bit starting a little after mile 20.  I even stopped to use the porta potty, which I have never ever done during a race!  Note to spectators: if a runner comes off the race course to use a porta potty please let them go in front of you rather than making them wait in line.

After my 60 second bathroom stop that took 6 minutes with waiting in line, I started on my way again, walking and slowly jogging, working on bringing my heart rate down.  I started feeling better and at that point, realizing my BQ time was out of reach, I decided to just soak in every last moment of the race.  And I’m happy to say that I did just that.  I prayed for friends and family and asked for God’s help in carrying me through the rest of the race.  I smiled the entire last 6 miles while run/walking, soaking in the crowd, the cheers, the kids giving me orange slices.  The spectators made me feel like a rock star.

The last mile finally came and I took the infamous right turn onto Hereford Street, then the left onto Boylston Street and relished those last few hundred yards of the race.  It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  I finished in 4:04:17 and proceeded to enjoy my time in the finisher’s chute.  I asked a volunteer to take a picture of me and then took a bunch of pictures during my slow stroll through getting water, getting a Mylar blanket, and eventually to receiving my medal.

Just after crossing the finish line.

Just after crossing the finish line.

I wanted to hang out in the finisher’s chute all day, it was such a thrilling feeling of elation and accomplishment after I have dreamed of this race and worked so hard to get here.  However, my sister was waiting to meet up with me and I was excited to reunite with her.  I texted my finishing picture to a bunch of friends and continued through the chute to pick up my gear bag and called my husband to hear his voice.  While I was on the phone with him I heard and felt the first explosion.  Everyone turned around and saw the smoke and we were all confused.  Then the second explosion went off.  My husband told me to get out of there as quickly as I could.  I was nearing the gear bag buses and the volunteer saw my bib number and reached my bag out to me and I continued to head for the exit at the end of the finisher’s chute.  I was able to call my sister to find out where she was and fortunately, she was headed in the same direction I was.  Amongst hundreds of runners and spectators near the end of the chute, God miraculously brought us immediately together, we hugged and proceeded to walk the short distance to our hotel room.

boston-strong-run

I will forever remember April 15, 2013 for both the joy and the sorrow.

“…these three remain; faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:13

 

 

Leaving Boston

As I am writing this, it is Wednesday night and I am stuck in the Boston airport trying to get home to Albuquerque.  My flight has been delayed for hours waiting for weather to clear in Chicago where we are flying through.  What a trip this has been.

I am still processing all that has happened the past few days and I am not sure what and when to write about it.  I have not thought too much about my race yet, other than it was one of the best experiences of my life and I was completely overwhelmed with the awesomeness of finally getting to be a part of the greatest marathon in the world.  Going from one of the highest of highs to the lowest of lows on Monday has been emotional.
toward finish line
For now I will sum it up with this:
“…hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Romans 12:9
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.” Psalm 56: 3-4
keep on running

Boston Update

Thank you, for everyone who has called, texted, and reached out to me on Twitter and FB. I am safely in my hotel room. I crossed the finish line 5 minutes before the explosions, and was in the finish shoot when it happened, felt the explosions and saw the smoke. I was able to quickly find my sister who was cheering me on and we made it back to our hotel safely.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected.