Monday, April 20, 2015

Boston Marathon Monday 2015


My love for the Boston marathon started as a little kid watching it on TV every year I had the Monday holiday (Patriots Day is a holiday in New England... which is really all about the marathon.)  As I grew older and became a runner myself, it because even more iconic and memorable to me.  It is a race that I now cannot wait to someday conquer myself and that gives me chills to think about.

Last year I went to Boston and cheered during the race, my first time supporting marathoners as a marathon finisher myself!  It was an amazing day, seeing the city bounce back the year after the bombings.  I love being in Boston for the race and seeing all the runners out there last year, the year after such a scary tragedy that shook the city, New Englanders and the running community to the core. I seriously get goosebumps when I think about when I will run it.

I live streamed the race while at work, signed up to get text message alerts for Hilary Dionne, a runner that was a year above me in high school and part of my extended group of friends.  She is an "amateur elite" athlete, who runs for Boston Athletic Association and clocks crazy fast times, yet is not a professional athlete.  She works a full time job and trains on the side (unlike others in the elite field, in which running and training is all that they do!)  I also tracked a friend from college and blog reader who was running her first marathon for a charity.  I'd been cheering her along throughout all of her training and was SO excited and proud for her to do her first race.

It was so exciting to watch along, never in my life would I have thought it was that exciting to watch people run, but it was.  It was great competition and there were some really exciting moments.  The most exciting moment of the whole race however came when Hilary Dionne, my high school classmate, crossed the finish line.  Now, I had been tracking how many times I would start to choke up and cry throughout the race, and I think I was up to 4 or so but when I watched this happen, it was all over.

So, the TV wasn't actually watching Hilary finish, but was showing Meb's finish, who was the winner last year in incredible fashion by being the first American to win Boston in many years (and the year after such a tragedy.)  He is a beloved elite runner and a huge patriot after winning for Americans last year.  The cameras were following him as he ran down Boylston to the finish and you could see that there was a runner up ahead of him during one of the camera shots of him from behind.  As he got closer to the finish, you see that he comes up next to a woman's elite runner and he sort of surprises her running to her from behind right before the finish, grabbed her hand, and they crossed the finish together.  You can see the surprise and happiness on the female runners face and what makes this amazing display of teamwork, community, camaraderie, and class even more amazing is that it was the girl I went to high school with who was Meb's finish line buddy!

He is such an iconic runner, and this is such an iconic race, so to witness this moment happen for someone I know, was so incredibly cool.  I paused the live recording and watched it again, filming the finish on my phone and posting to Facebook.  I posted with the caption "Did anyone else catch this?" and the answer to that was pretty clear shortly after when the internet started to explode with articles, stories, pictures, etc. of marathon elite Meb Keflezighi surprising Hilary Dionne at the finish.  She's been interviewed and featured a number of places and her Twitter account started to explode with retweets and favorites of her post that it wasn't her best time, but her most memorable finish.

Man, have I become a marathon sap, but I love this stuff.  I love seeing the reaction and seeing these things go "viral."  Hilary has gained a ton of Twitter followers today and her name is popping up now all over the internet.  Such a cool story and a deserving person to be a part of such praise.

I think these "amateur elites" are a really interesting population of runners.  Or even the "middle of the pack" athletes for any distance race.  Hilary (and many other runners at her level) must have to train hard and it must take a lot of discipline to stick to schedules and put in the work to be able to run a 2:42 marathon and run with the elite runners.  YET, she is (likely) never going to win the race.  She didn't run in the front pack of women who had the cameras trailing them and commentators giving attention to throughout the whole race.  She isn't written up about in magazines or celebrated as one of the professional runners.  She (and many other runners) are right behind the podium again and again.  It's not really in their sights.  But they are still way above average.  It's got to be a challenging place to be mentally.  To be back of the pack of the best.  You are a crazy rockstar compared to the amateur runners like myself.  But you're not really even a contender to the professional elite athletes who train full time.

I feel like I am not really expressing myself well right now and it's getting late so I need to get to bed, but I am so happy that Hilary is getting attention and recognition out of the finish with Meb.  She deserves it and it makes me happy to have one of these "amatur elites" making some noise.  They are an interesting category of runners and worthy of praise and recognition for being such high caliber athletes, but probably don't always get it.

Oh and before I go to bed, also a shoutout to Jillian G. who ran NEGATIVE SPLITS in her first marathon, finishing around 4:24.   Negative splits!  Who does that?  AMAZING, AMAZING accomplishment that I am so proud and excited for her for.  She posted to Facebook that it was her best day of her life, and all I can say is I know that feeling.

So proud of all the runners today and all the amazing stories of endurance and triumph and overcoming obstacles with the 2015 Boston Marathon, and all marathons.

I'm a sap and it's time for me to go to bed but I will be dreaming of someday running my own Boston and I already have butterflies for it!  HAPPY MARATHON MONDAY AND CONGRATS TO ALL RUNNERS!!!!!!!!


  1. NOWI get your comment from facebook!!!!!!

    Also, I think you articulated your thoughts pretty well here. I follow Hungry Runner Girl, and I thought her time was crazy fast- but her time was still way over 3 hours. You just sort of put it into perspective for me what exactly that class of athlete is. It's really interesting. I hadn't thought about it before. Those people do get sponorships and stuff though. I follow so many of them on Instagram and their blogs (Sweatonceaday is another one- she's a long distance runner here in Eugene with me, and she runs for Oiselle?)I think Janae was sponsored by Stonyfield for Boston. They don't win, but there is stuff out there for him, and lots of blog success for sure!

    I registered for my first Half, I don't know if you saw (I did tag you on IG, I legitimately thought you might be interested). It's sponsored by the guy who writes The Oatmeal and it's called I'm running the Half in Sacramento in November andI'd more than welcome you for a destination run!I've been trying to recruit people to come visit! The race will also be in Seattle and New Jersey (Seattle just sold out for Saturday). The race consists of guys in giant marshmallow suits chasing you telling you to quit and take a nap (this is why I'm into this), and couches are strategically placed along the course route for quitters. Aid stations are stocked with Nutella, birthday cake shooters, cupcakes and "magic purple drink." The Oatmeal guy is running the marathon at every event and doing a book signing too. Think about it! I thought it would be a perfect race for a binger eater/quitter like me. LOL

    1. I'm so proud!! You will ROCK that half!! I consider anyone who is faster than me to be crazy fast, so I am always impressed by runners! Maybe I am underestimating what the amateur elite runners get, but I do think they are incredibly impressive.

      I can't wait to hear all about the Beat the Blerch race!!!!!