Athletes village was crowded with runners anxiously waiting to be called to the start. I followed some on-line advise: arrived, made my way to the food and water tent, grabbed a bagel and Gatorade and then stood in the bathroom line...ate while waiting...grabbed a banana and a smoothie Powerbar and a water and got back in line...ate while waiting...got back in line while sipping water...got done...they called my wave to start toward the corral. By the time I got my bag on the bus to be shipped to the finish...I still had to walk nearly 3/4 of a mile to my corral.(Wave 3; corral 1) I ended up running to get there on time. They called a 3 minute warning to the start and I was still way back by corral #9. When I entered my corral I had just enough time to take off my Huarches, throw them into my belt and go....WOW!
I never pictured what it would be like to start with that many people. I was surrounded at all times buy 100's of runners and even more spectators.
I don't use an i-pod when I run. I haven't since I started running barefoot. I like to hear the sounds my feet are making...when they start slapping the ground I know I'm tired and I need to focus on my form. This marathon was very loud. There was only one small quarter mile section that seemed to be "quiet"! I wished I had earplugs for most of the marathon. Glad I didn't at the end though. The cheering crowd it what helped me get to the finish line.
What I remember: (or remember thinking)
relax, focus, good form, relax, breathe, focus, good form...I have to pee, breathe, wow look at that shirt, nice, form , relax, I have to pee....( I stopped at porta potty about mile 5ish to pee AGAIN) sorry I drank so much before the start but I was really worried about dehydration. There are points in the marathon when things my family had said to me would enter my mind, like my husband saying before he left me standing in line at the buses, "you're going to be fine, have fun!" I wanted to keep it fun. I wanted to remember smiling. I wanted to finish and know I had finished my first Boston Marathon with my head held high.
I remember worrying about the water stops and wondering how to avoid the sticky mess that was waiting for me...I remember being excited when I heard the crowd cheering for me. When runners went by me or came up behind me and said stuff like." wow your barefoot, great job!" I would say something like, ' you're doing a great job too.." they usually would reply,"but I'm wearing shoes", and I would say, "yes but we all had to work hard to get here, I'm proud of you too." and they would usually just smile.
Heartbreak Hill? I'll say it again..what hill? Training on hills in coastal Maine certainly prepared me for that. I passed lots of runners on that hill. I wondered why they were walking? It wasn't that bad. I also felt bad for those runners and a number of times I tried to encourage them to not give up...we were almost at the top...they were doing great...I wonder if they heard me?
I was elated to finally see my family holding big signs and yelling my name, somewhere around the 24 mile mark, just before a water stop. I stopped long enough to give some quick hugs. and off I went with even more enthusiasm. I remember turning the corner and seeing the finish line. My legs were tired, my feet were tired and I had tears in my eyes. I finished the Boston Marathon! Barefoot! When I was younger all I wanted to do was come to the big city and run! I finally had made it. It was worth the wait. I had a fabulous run, a wonderful weekend with family and the best recovery after a marathon. My quads were tight for a couple of days but I had no calf pain or tiredness and my feet are just fine. No bruises, blisters or hot spots. Just took a couple of days to get the black tar stain off.
Here are some interviews related to my Boston Marathon experience:
Theresa Withee, possibly first woman to run Boston barefoot - An interview | Barefoot Runners Societwww.barefootrunners.org
I think I need some more time to think about things....I'll post more as I remember it...but for now: Enjoy!