Not really sure what to say. I guess I will just document this day if that is ok with you. After a fitful night of sleep, I got up at 5:30am. I choked down my snickers marathon bar...so sickeningly sweet and rich. I hate them, but I seem to race well on them. Todd watched puzzled at at my facial expressions and why I would eating something I so obviously detested. I choked all but the last bite down...I just couldn't eat one more bite. Blughhhhh, as I quiver just thinking about it. Then on to my love...my COFEEE!! Now that I savored. Threw my sweatshirt on over my tank and sweatpants.....sweatpants....uh...no sweatpants. I debated putting on jeans, but thought..Ah I won't need em. The runners village is at the high school gym, I'll be able to be inside, nice and warm. Left for the subway station to take me to the bus loading zone. My loading time was 6:30am...the race start for me was 10:20....that's a long time as I soon found out. Buses took us 26.2 miles to Hopkinton. Got off the bus and quickly realized the runner's village was completely outside. I got cold and chilled very quickly. As I hunted down some coffee and a bagel I noticed many with foil wraps and foil blankets. I thought maybe the race was giving them out. I asked one wrapped up in a foil sleeping bag where he got his. He said, Wal-Mart. Oh. He immediately pulled a spare out of his bag and gave it to me. He saved me from 2 hours of walking around in shorts in sub 40 temps. I was more than a little grateful. I found a spot in the sun and snuggled up to my coffee and bagel. Thousands of runners and hundreds of porta-potties. We were all laid out like beach bums on the grass, chatting, laughing, enjoying eachother's company. I laid down and stared at the blue sky and scant white fluffy wisps of clouds... Itwas a beautiful day. It was going to be a perfect day for racing. Temps for run were to be 55 degrees F and seemingly almost no wind. These are the conditions Boston course records are made at. At around 9:15 I decided to go run around and warm up. I ran down to the start line and back. I shucked my sweatshirt and more reluctantly my foil sleeping bag and headed to the start. Wave 2, corral 8 was my spot. 10:15 I turn my garmin on to training mode....searching for satellite signal....searching...searching.....This is the moment I panicked. I was quite calm and feeling good until this very moment. With no satellite signal I would be running blind. My whole race plan was to watch my heart rate and pace, especially those early miles so I would not go out too fast....or too slow. Well, I managed to really piss my watch off after pressing many buttons many many many many times and it just completely locked up. !@#$! This is where I had to chuckle. I knew coach Eric would get a real kick outta this dilemma...I would have to run by feel, trust my instinct and really just feel it out. @#$!. Dammit, here we go! Well there was not such thing as pacing those first 3 miles. We were packed like sardines. I reminded myself to be patient and not zig zag around and dart. A few times I couldn't resist. I finally forced myself to the right side of the road and stayed there to keep from doing that. I stayed to the right the whole race realizing also that the trees were shading this side of the road.A mental image came to me at this point. I remembered training with Eric and another runner at Leadville. I was running in the sun, enjoying it, not thinking anything of it...My coach yelling behind me and waving. He was far enough back I couldn't understand at first what he was trying to say. I finally figured it out. I was running in direct sun when I could've been taking advantage of the intermittent shade of the trees. A very important thing to notice at 10,000 feet when you will be spending 12 hours running in direct sunlight. I was glad I remembered this lession. I still burned. i had applied sunscreen...to my face only, and I knew I had alrady been laying out in the sun for two hours. Enough about trees and sunscreen. There was no gap in people lined up offering encouragement, oranges, gummie worms, high fives. Took some deep breaths and soaked it up. Perfect. After about 3-4 miles I decided to shut my watch completel;y down and restart it. Badda-bing! Satellite found! No more flying blind. I was pleased to see my pace running around 7:29 min mi. then 7:20, then 7:18. I watched my heart rate...A little higher than in training, but feeling really good and figured since I was out of danger of going too fast at this point. Feeling good, I continued this effort level. Miles 8-10 were very similar pacing. I was glad I was feeling so good at this pace and started thinking 3:29 was more than probable and 3:19 might just be a possiblitiy. Still pacing around 7:30 for the next few miles. Around mile 14 we came into Wellesly...the girls college. Hundreds of screeming girls offering kisses...and other favors...to the men. Where the hell was the boy's college???!!! You couldn't help but run faster...if not only to get away from the high pitched screams! Miles 14-16 were a little tougher, my pace slowed to 7:30-7:45. And then came the hills. Starting at about mile 16 and ending with Hearbreak Hill at mile 19. My pace went from 7:45-8:05 up the hills. The encouraging crowds were awesome! My fueling and hydration plan were solid and working well. I gulped water at every aid station and sucked down a gel every 45 minutes without fail. My belly tolerated this really well. It was getting harder to pick the pace back up after slowing/stutter stopping at the aid tables. An object in motion tends to stay in motion..right? And an object that has been running for 15 miles that stops has an incredibly hard time starting again. It took me about 2 miles to recover from the hills, my pace dropped to 8:10-8:15 the next 2 miles. I picked back up at mile 21-22 very briefly back down to 7:43. Mile 22-26.2 it took every ounce of me to hold on and finish. People were starting to walk and that was reaaaaalllly making me want to walk. It was tough. My legs were hurting, my feet were hurting, my knees were hurting. My pace dropped again to 8:00-8:15. This pissed me off. These miles seemed to take forever. Then I hit the last mile. There were lieterally thousands of people shouting and yelling and screeming encouraging us to hang in there and run hard. I did. I picked back up and ran hard..although...ahem... my pace only improved a hare I was giving it every ounce I had. I had no idea what my actual time was because of my watch malfunction but the clock showed 3:27. I was disappointed..I just knew I was closer to 3:20. I later found out my actual time..3:23. I was pretty tickled with this. 14 minutes of my qualifying time 1 year ago. I stopped and walked to the aid tables past the finish. My legs started screeming with pain and cramping up. I immediately grabbed and sucked down an electrolye recovery drink.It did not provide the miraculous recovery advertised on TV. I passed up the foil warming sheets they handed out (bad choice) anticipating getting my warm clothes from my gear bag a couple of blocks down. My gimpy walk took me longer to get there than I anticipated. I showed my bib number and they searched....and searched...and searched....no gear bag. Crap. On to find Todd. The family waiting area was another 3 blocks away. It took me forever to get to him and by then I was shaking almost uncontrollably. If anyone EVER tells you running a marathon is nothing compared to running a hundred miler, they may have run a hundred miles, but they have never REALLY RUN a marathon! I have done both, and I hurt every bit as bad those last few miles of the marathon that I did the last few miles running 100 miles across the Rocky Mountains. We made a bee line for the subway. I stopped short when I saw Cheesecake Factory. We went inside and sat down and everything changed. A loud, authoritative voice came over the speaker system, "There is criminal activity outside of the resteraunt, we are asking that you stay inside until further notice". We were sitting across from the bar and the TVs. Within minutes, images of explosions at the finish line were coming in. My heart sank. We sat dumbfounded. The authoritative voice repeated his statement several times. Ambulances, police cars, bomb squads raced outside. Just after the race, runners were smiling, congratulating eachother. As we passed eachother in the resteraunt we nodded sadly at eachother, feeling almost ashamed for finishing. Thousands of runners diverted from the finish, not knowing what was going on. I'm sure they got cold in their shorts and tanks. And their families, how would they connect? The ones injured and killed and their families and those who had to witness the tragedy and the blood and loss of limbs and life. We were warm and comfy and so many were'nt. After about 2-3 hours we determined it was probably best we try to make our way back to the hotel. We were about 4 miles away, the subway had shut down, no cabs, and if we waited much longer we would be walking in the dark. The scene inside the resteraunt was calm and warm. Outside was very different. Ambulances, marked and unmarked police cars and bomb trucks still racing by. People anxiously talking, trying to figure out how they were going to get home, their cars in the parking garages were sealed off. No access. No public transportation, at least not near by. We walked south of the finish line. The walk was good for my sore legs and sad soul. I broke down and cried..hard. We counted no less than 60 ambulances lined up as we walked...waiting...waiting for?? The streets that would have been packed with celebration were barren. Police cars, ambulances, a few unmarked official vehicles. At one crosswalk, a completely decked out police officer with helmit and assault rifle coaxing us across the street as he searches...for?? We got about a mile from the hotel and stopped to check our map. We kept getting off track. The streets in boston don't run north-south or east-west. They run northish-westish with a little to the southish. A gentlemen coming out of a building asked if he could help locate our hotel. He then offered us a ride. We gratefully accepted. And so here I am. I thought Boston would be a once-and-done, bucket list kinda race. I didn't realize it until i started this blog, I've only run 2 marathons..my first and qualifying marathon was the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon 1 year ago this coming weekend, this is the marathon that commemorates and honors the survivors and loved ones of those lost to the bombing so many years ago. I will be back in Boston next year. We will celebrate and it will be a good day. And Boston will be stronger, more tenacious, and more beautful than ever.