Sunday, May 6, 2012

Boston Marathon 2012

Post by Anna Boom

On my plane trip to Boston, I put this on my list of things to do: write a follow up about the marathon on what the course and people were like, what was fun to do there beforehand, a good place to recover after the race.

On my plane trip from Boston, I did nothing but alternate between sleep and feeling sorry for myself. Yes, I DNF'd at Boston, THE Boston Marathon and it hurt my pride to tell all my family, friends, all of you at WOOT and WOOP.

So a few weeks of mental and physical recovery and I am finally writing about it.

First, the feeling around Boston during race week and weekend is exhilarating. Everywhere you go, the marathon buzz is around you. The locals are all kind (I hear this changes the day after the race) and encouraging. Runners are all around you also donning their spanking new BAA running jackets.

And there you are, part of the cool kids who qualified to run this thing. Pretty cool, indeed.

Second, weather plays an important factor in your race day performance. I did not stop to think that temperatures in the mid to high 80s would affect me. After all, we live here on Okinawa, a sub tropical island. Then I was reminded at mile 12, as I started feeling what 89 degrees feels like, that I had been training in 50-60 degree weather throughout our Okinawan fall and winter season for the past 5 months (thank you for reminding me, too, Cassie!).

As I looked around me, there at mile 12, I noticed we were all walking. It looked like mile 25, not 12. I had never seen anything like that before. Everyone was suffering, everyone had given up their goal pace or finish time and the race was not half way done, yet.

Too late in the game, I tried to change tactics to hit smaller goals. The finish line was too big and too far of an obstacle.  Number one was find my dad, somewhere out there cheering for me. Number two was the next water station. Luckily for all of us running, locals along the course offered hoses, sprinklers, ice, wet paper towels to help us contend with the heat. Even with all the water that was available I was parched and my lips had become very chapped. I was sipping at every chance but it was not enough.

Then I ran up to Wellesley College. Seeing all those girls out there cheering happily with their signs:

Kiss me, I'm a nerd. Kiss me, I'm a freshman. Kiss me, I'm the only guy out here, and my favorite: Wellesley loves Okinawa Runners!

Awesome and thanks, Bert!!

Third, in the end, it is just a race. Pavement, heat, thirst, bloated tummy, more miles and me all in a battle for who will win today. April 16 2012, it was not me. I saw a patch of shade under a shrub at mile 17 that I could not pass by. So I went and laid down. I had stopped sweating, was eternally thirsty but couldn't drink anymore and could not imagine running one more mile. Medical found me there soon after. Cue the vomiting, shakes and the dramatic attempt to keep going. Failing that attempt, I got a free ride to the medical tent.

One of  the many memories I have and cherish is laying horizontal and watching all the runners keep moving in what seemed slow motion to the finish. They were all amazing, dripping in sweat, in soggy clothes, socks and shoes, slogging it forward. Makes me smile thinking of our human capability. Okay, not mine at that moment, but all of yours.

Thank you for all the kind wishes and follow up support. I am humbled by you all!

2013 Boston trip? Anyone?


  1. Wow Anna, this does not sound like fun... and yes - perspective is to crucial - it was and is j.u.s.t a race! Granted - people do have to qualify for this race but people also have to qualify for lots of other races too... races that you have competed in yourself, I am sure. There is always revenge on the course next year! WAHOO! keep that in mind and drive for it!

    1. Thank you, Sarah!! You too--WOOP!