Boston 2016 was my sixth running of this race which celebrated its 120th anniversary this year. As a runner, there is nothing that compares to the electricity in Boston race week. From the moment you arrive at the airport until you cross that beautiful finish line, the energy is so powerful. I have run other majors and this one is unparalleled.
I have a list of superstitions and one of them is you can’t wear the coveted race jacket until you cross that finish line. I buy the jacket months in advance and wait for that moment. Putting it on post race is such a joy. The entire town marathon night is full of jackets and everyone smiling and celebrating. No one cares what your time was. We all covered the same distance and we all share the victory.
This year was a big unknown to me. I had an accident with a dog and my training basically halted in January. I went into a bit of a depression to be honest. The week before some dear MRC girls ran 10 miles with me. I couldn’t stop smiling. 10 miles!! Pain free!! Ok, Boston finish line, there is a chance. I found out three of my old MN teammates would be together one corral back from mine so I now had a race day plan. I would go back and run with them for the first 5K and that would be the best 3.1 miles as I missed them all so much. So there I am with them on a beautiful sunny day wearing my beloved Team Hoyt jersey which I fundraised for and was so proud to wear with my three MN friends. A watch? Nope, I left that at home—on purpose. A few minutes before the gun goes off, I see Jessica Northup from MRC! We hug and she is so excited and happy. Off we go.
I am smiling and catching up with friends and before I know it the 5K mat is there. Wow! Sweet! OK I will go to mile 5 with them I tell myself. I made it to mile 8 before I had to say goodbye and start working in walking. I knew I needed to do this early and often if I was going to make it to the finish line. Just when I say goodbye to my MN friends, I look ahead and see Lea Anne from MRC! I sprint up to hug her and it made my day. I wish her luck and start walking. I walk as long as my body says to and then run when it says to. I high five kids, talk to survivors of cancer, congratulate moms running for two, touch all the ‘touch here for power signs’, and eat freezee pops given out by fans. I had the time of my life. I smiled the entire way.
There are only two turns in Boston. You go 25.something miles then it is a right on Hereford Street and a left on Boylston Street. Once you make that last turn onto Boylston, you can see that grandstand finish line and it is a straight shot. This is where I cry for the zillionth time in the race. Happy, happy tears to see that finish line. Fans are a few deep the entire course and the entire way they scream for you. Ryan is always on the corner of Hereford but as I was coming up to it this year, I saw a huge city truck blocking it. Security was tighter than ever and no fans were allowed on that corner. I thought I wouldn’t get to see him. Yet as I make the turn, on the inside of Hereford fans are 10 deep and I hear ‘Sadie!’ Now all day I had been smiling and thanking fans for screaming ‘Team Hoyt!’ but this time it was my name. There he was. It was my Ryan! I told him after, I have that moment captured in my mind and I wish someone had captured it on file. Guess what? They did! The pic below is exactly that moment and I am turning back to wave to him. What a gift to have that.
Being a Team Hoyt member, we all get to share our stories and why we chose to run on the team the Saturday before the race. This year, I shared not my story, but the story of Ellie and Dan. I asked my team to please carry them both up Heartbreak Hill which is the hardest part on the course. They did. 40 strong prayed for remission and a cure. That was the thing I am most thankful for.
After the race was over, four MRC ladies met me in the hotel lobby for a picture of us in our jackets (Jill, Lea Anne, Jessica, and Susan). That is all I wanted. That moment knowing we all made it to the finish line (as did all the other MRC runners who couldn’t make the picture). It didn’t matter the times or order, we all made it! Many of us were battling injuries or running to honor someone or fundraise for a cause. I had to know we did it. I love this picture. These ladies are amazing and have gotten me thru so much. Training miles are free therapy I am telling you. Thank you ladies! Thank you also to MRC for all the posts and love you sent to us on race day. It was so wonderful reading them post race. I felt so very loved.
I am forever grateful for the injury because without it, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the journey and what a beautiful one it was. Some races are against the clock, others are not.
Boston, see you next year!