Ginkgo here for her first #tbt edition! The Boston Marathon 2008…my second marathon and, by far, most memorable one. I was completely clueless as to all the hype, emotion and excitement I was about to experience, as was my partner-in-crime, Nina. Nina and I were college roomies at Ohio Wesleyan University, where we ran cross-country as #1 and #2. She was the natural runner type who could blow everyone out of the water and consistently be our #1 in spite of her complete non-chalance and modesty. After graduating, we decided we wanted to give the whole marathon thing a go and did our 20-miler trainers together. I qualified for Boston by running the Cleveland Rite Aid and she qualified by running the Columbus Nationwide.
We were 23 and, to be honest, took it for granted that we both happened to qualify for the same Boston, our families all made the trip with us (and paid for things like our hotel and dinner and those coveted (Freaking Expensive) BAA jackets, and we were able to run alongside some of the nation’s best.
We arrived on the Saturday before the race and moseyed down to the Expo, soaking in all the scenes of Boston and realizing our hotel was at the furthest point from the start line at Hopkinton. We sure were novices and had no idea that we’d need to take the ‘L’ or the ‘T’ or whatever you called it to the shuttle buses in the morning, or that this was the only guaranteed way to the Athlete’s Village and it would be a 3 hour process. Our lack of city experience and lack of a care in the world combined for quite a lethal combination in the whole experience. We were those girls who oftentimes got lost on warm up runs before track meets; one time we almost missed the start of the 1500 meters because of this innate ditziness we both embodied!
Nina’s dad was able to snag our families tickets to the Red Sox game on Saturday night. Fenway was bursting with character and we had a great time. Not to make a seemingly fun-loving post hampered with depression, but I do have to bring up the fact that I was deeply struggling with my eating disorder at this time. I was not properly fueling my body for the marathon, and I remember eating a handful of stadium peanuts for dinner that night. Looking back at my behaviors and what my body went through makes me cringe, but it also reminds me of how far I have come!
Sunday was spent exploring the streets of Boston with our families. We probably shouldn’t have been on our feet so much, but we didn’t care. We had so much to SEE!
We headed back to the hotel after stopping at a CVS to buy some cheap sweatshirts to wear in the morning, in case it was chilly. Veteran runners taught us this trick; we could throw off the sweatshirts a few miles in and they would be donated back to charity.
We made it to Athlete’s Village (surprise!) and walked/jogged to our corrals. We started side-by-side and ran most of the miles together. Two points distinctly remain in my memory from that race. First, around mile 5 two girls ran past us. The one held the other’s hand and guided her through the chaos of those crowded early miles. When I realized the guided runner was blind I was immediately humbled. Second, the all-female students that lined Wellesley College around mile 11 were incredibly energizing. The guys running the race were LOVING it and went zooming by us. Haha! They stole kisses from the girls and some even drank beers that were held out as if they were water.
Finishing the Boston with my family waiting at the finish line, arms wide opened, was enough to bring me back to that line for the next two consecutive years.
I always said I was done with the marathon distance after the Towpath in 2010, but I sometimes wonder if I’ll do Boston just one more time, in honor of all that has happened on those streets since I last ran them. To honor those who lost their lives, their limbs, their dignity. I feel determined to get there just once more, living out my once-naïve and carefree self and stomping out the tragedy for 26.2. Of course, I’d have to convince Nina, too!
Have you run the Boston Marathon? What was your experience like?