Boston 2023

Boston Marathon #10 - Marathon #99

This Boston Marathon was very special to me as it was my 10th consecutive. I still cry like a baby when I get the acceptance email and get the same pre-race anxiety.  I don’t think that feeling will ever go away. 

I started planning months in advance and booked the same hotel as my other friends that were running.  Boston has many shake-out runs and pop ups the days leading up to the race, so I like to get there a couple days early not to miss out on anything. 

We ended up parking in the Logan Express lot in Framingham since we were flying to London right after the race.  Parking is only $7 a day compared to the hotel parking at $70 a day.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only runner that decided to save some money as the Logan Express garage had reached capacity according to the website. We ended up leaving for Boston earlier than expected hoping to secure a spot.  Luckily, we were able to park but soon found out the Logan Express bus goes directly to the airport with no stops at Copley Place as the website noted.  We had to take the bus to the airport and take the Silver Line bus back to downtown Boston, then we had to drag the luggage for a good 10-minute walk.  We did get to meet Donna on the bus who is a BAA board member.  She was meeting Geoff Smith, winner of the Boston Marathon in 1984 and 1985. It was great to meet him and take a selfie with him!

The expo: This year’s expo was such a disappointment. There were huge lines and no other apparel vendors except Adidas. I had already purchased my jacket online so the only thing that I wanted to get was the 2023 pin and Spike the Unicorn. I waited in the line just to checkout for over an hour. There has to be a better way to accommodate 30,000 runners!

The next morning, we met our friends at The Tracksmith shakeout run. I couldn’t believe the number of people that were there. There was double the number of runners from the previous years. Newbury Street was jammed packed with runners. Looking both up and down Newbury Street were other shake-out runs at Asics and Rabbit too.

As soon as the run was over, we went to the Blessing of the Athletes at Boston’s Old South Church. I have to say this service was such an amazing experience. My friend Colleens mentioned that “It massaged the soul” was quite accurate. The singing, the bagpipes and the service made for a pre-marathon magical experience. After the service we went back out to the Fan Fest so I could get the personalized Boston patch on my jacket. I waited in line for 3 hours! We ended up being there so long that we went directly to our dinner reservations at Riccardo’s in the North end. We’ve eaten there a few times already. They have the best homemade pasta.

Race Morning:  The weather for the marathon kept changing with the chance of rain increasing as the days approached.  We were hoping for the best and brought rain gear to try to stay dry.  We took the school buses to the start and made sure that Kim sat in the front seat to provide directions if necessary like last year. We arrived at Athletes Village and headed straight to the port-o-let line that was already long.  Next, we took shelter under the large tent as the rain started to pick up.  We didn’t have much time to sit around as it was already time to head to our corrals.  The walk to the start is about ¾ of a mile.  I felt this year’s start was very unorganized and rushed.  Typically, we stand around for a bit for the announcements and then start.  This year, we got to our corral and just started running!

The race:  Every marathon is different, as you never know how you’ll run based on training, the weather, or even what you ate the night before can affect your race.  I started running hoping for the best.  As the miles progressed, I was pleased that I felt so good.  The Boston crowd support is amazing.  When I’d feel like my energy was fading the cheering gave me a boost of energy to keep going. It was great to have friends on the course to look for.  It really helps to break up the miles into sections, knowing who to look for and at which mile.  As soon as we’d see someone we’d run to the next mile marker to look for the next person.  I think it was around mile 5 when the rain went from a drizzle to an outright downpour.  It didn’t let up for miles.  I didn’t wear a hat as I decided at the last minute to ditch the hat and grab my sunglasses.  I regretted my decision.  The good news is that we asked Fernanda to bring a hat and gloves.  She was at mile 20 on the top of Heartbreak Hill.  By the time we got there I had “marathon brain” and couldn’t figure out how to put the hat on my head.  I ended up carrying them both for the rest of the race.  The rain finally let up, but the headwinds started to pick up.  My arm sleeves were already drenched, and my arms were freezing.  I also started to feel a blister on my foot.  I didn’t realize that I was sweating because of the rain.  I remember wiping my forehead and noticed it was drenched with sweat.  Around mile 22 my quads started cramping.  I wasn’t sure if it was the hills on the course or if I needed to take more salt.  The downhill hurt worse than the uphill at this point.  We finally were entering Brookline, so I knew the finish was getting close!  I saw the iconic Citgo Sign and then Boston Strong bridge. My pace had slowed a bit, but my legs were still moving. 

The finish: The last hill was approaching.  It’s a dip down under the underpass and then the climb out onto Hereford Street.  I had been dreading this section but was pleased that it wasn’t as painful as I anticipated.  Then we turned left to Boylston Street.  I was filled with emotions, and I was sort of laugh-crying.  There were 2 runners that had collapsed, and other runners were picking them up and helping them to the finish.  The crowds were screaming and clapping for the support of these runners.  As I approached the finish line my eyes filled with tears with joy.  I did it!  I just ran my 10th Boston.  Never in a million years did I ever expect to run a marathon and here I am 12 years later running my 10th

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I grabbed my heat shield and headed back to the hotel.  The wind picked up and my socked clothes created such a chill my body started to shake.  It seemed like an eternity to walk to the hotel.  After a nice hot shower, reality set in.  I was filled with gratitude.  I am so grateful for all the people through the years that helped me get to where I am today.

Kristy Kearney for getting me to start running.  Kitty for pushing me to finish my first long run at Fleet Feet back in 2012 when I wanted to quit.  Fernanda Jacobs who endlessly provided encouragement.  She would grab my shoulders and look me in the eyes and say, “you got this Jeanne”. For my close friends Angie, Diane and Reggie that put up with me during my training cycles with all my fantom pains and “stress fractures”.  For my daughter that provides endless spiritual strength when I most need it.  For my son Paul for his encouragement when he says “mom, you’re a machine”.  For my husband and best friend that believes in my ability more than I do, and of course my Fleet Feet family that continues to inspire and support me through my running journey.  We all run our race alone, but together we’re pretty freaking amazing.

Marathon #99   -  6 more days until London!