Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Road To Hopkinton- Race Day- Day 4

Race morning was quiet. I spoke few words that morning. Mostly because I spent most of the morning alone, or among strangers.
Once I was dressed and loaded, Kenton and I dropped Judah off in my parent's hotel room. I hugged my mom and fist bumped my sleeping Dad and headed for the streets with Kenton.
My stomach was in knots the whole ride to Boston Common. I said few phrases to Kenton, one of them coming after a deep swallow.
"I have a feeling I'm going to get my ass handed to me on a plate today."
We laughed, but I meant it. I was nervous and scared.

Upon reaching the common, I stalled as long as I could before getting on the school bus. I had to tell Kenton goodbye. I didn't know when I'd see him again.
I walked through the gated area and found a bus that was still loading.
I walked on and found 1/2 of an empty seat. I squeezed in and made a light hearted comment to the man sitting next to me. "I guess we're all going to make quick friends today."
He didn't speak much English. My joke didn't translate. That was the last we talked the entire ride to Hopkinton. He yakked (in German perhaps?) to his friends in front of us the whole long, long ride.

The sun came up as we rode. I texted and tweeted from my phone along the way. The lady behind me commented that the ride alone seemed long, and lamented my same fears about having to run that distance back. I turned to her and let her know she was in good company.
We were nearly there when the highway sign read "Cape Code 69 Miles." DANG! We were far from the city. My seat mate pointed that sign out to his friends, too. In a thick accent he piped up "CAYYPE CAWD."
Before I knew it, I was leaving the warmth of the bus. We exited at Hopkinton High School and walked into the athlete's village. It was a beautiful but cold morning. All sun and very little wind.
The music was pumping, and the people were filing in. I was one of the first to arrive so the lines were short. I took advantage of one of the empty porta potties. I had 490 to choose from and I knew there were still plenty more buses coming full of runners.
I walked into the tent and decided I needed to set up in the sun, it was really chilly to be in the shade.
I grabbed just a little of the water and Gatorade and set up camp in the damp field. Not thinking ahead I had nothing to sit on. I grabbed an empty box, broke it down and set up camp. I laid on a box for over an hour trying to stay warm. I sent messages back and forth with Kenton, my Dad, and several friends. It was a great way to pass the time. At one point I sat up and realized the field was packed. While I was trying to relax, hundreds more people had piled in.

I got up to get some feeling back in my toes and attempt to wait in a now very long porta potty line.
I had about an hour and a half until my start, so I figured I had just enough time.
I did my business and then slowly started taking my layers off. I waited until I actually got to the baggage bus before I completely took all my warm-ups off. I left the village and watched all sorts of runners in their routines. Plenty of people were using the "illegal" facilities around trees. It was kind of awkward seeing people in all states of dress around me. I found my numbered bus, took off my last layer of warmth and handed my bag in through the window.
I kept one long sleeve tee on. I planned on ditching it and never seeing it again. I began to walk down the barricaded streets. I didn't really know where I was going, I just followed the herd. The crowd got thicker and the noise got louder the closer I got to the start. If it weren't for signs placed very high above the street, it would have just looked like a mob of people.
Kids were already outside their houses, cheering with their really really thick Boston accents.
I found my corral. By this point I was just squeezing through people. I weaseled my way into the back of the 8,000's. It was hard to tell the difference between the crowd, and the corrals. There was a singer singing and then a flyover. It all happened so fast. I was wedged so tight, that I think I pulled off my long sleeve shirt before the gun went off. There were shirts and gloves and bottles and all sorts of runner debris flying to the sides.
I took one last picture with my phone, loaded it to Twitter and Facebook. The man behind me commented on my "very up to date blogging" and I assured him that was my last update for a bit.

The Trip to Hopkinton from Kenton & Lacy Hansen on Vimeo.

*The sights and sounds of my Road To Hopkinton*

The gun went off and I stood still. Over 8,000 people were in front of me and about 6,000 were behind me. Eventually we started moving, then jogging, and then running. I crossed a bright blue starting line and ran under several moving cameras. I heard roars of cheering. This was just the beginning of my very very long road to Boston.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

B.A.A. 5K and Marathon Eve- DAY 3

It was another early morning as I rose to prepare for the 5K with my Dad. I always run 3 miles the day before a marathon. So I decided to run these 3 miles with a bib number on. My Dad decided to cruise through the race with me. We came together to embrace this experience, so it was really touching when he told me he wasn't going to race, he was going to run with me. Still being newbies in town we didn't know the best way to get to the start. So we decided to just run there. We headed down to Boylston and found it to be much different with the traffic closed off. We walked up to the Finish Line and kinda approached it with awe. A stranger offered to take our picture. The 5K would finish at the same finish line. I was kind of worried that I'd be let down on Monday if I already crossed it once on Sunday. But a nice leisurely 3 mile run verses the "show" were not to be compared.
We lined up in a massive herd of people. It was cool but dry, until the announcer started talking. It began to rain as we waited. While we were still a ways off, we could hear perfectly the names that were being introduced. On a platform far off, real running heroes were present. Some were preparing to run with us. Among the runners were my two favorites. Bill Rodgers
In so many ways, those two have played such a huge role in my running. If it weren't for them, I doubt I would have been in Boston that day.

We took off and had a great run through the city. Together my Dad and I got to see Boston Common, The State House, and Cheers! We both stuck out like true Kansans as we, once again, could not hold back our amazement at all we were seeing. My Dad was so giddy he was hoopin' and hollerin' along the way. We ran causally. That's hard for me to do with a bib number on. But I knew I had to just chill out, because Monday was coming quick.
We were also honored to be following the foot steps of the 5K winner, Josh Cox. He's the American 50K record holder. He's Olympian Ryan Hall's training partner. And as I type, he is on his way to South Africa to compete in the 56mile Comrades Ultra Marathon. I have been so impressed with the noble work he's doing with his running. I learned all about how he's working to get 1,500 needy children sponsored through World Vision's team. Again, What an honor to run with him!

Our official time was 23:45. Nothing to write home about. Just a nice pre-marathon "shake out" run. Oh, THROUGH THE FREAKIN' STREETS of BOSTON!
We were herded so quickly through the chute. Then quickly turned into a tent. It was all so fast and organized. We were given medals, handed a bag and corralled through a line and allowed to grab one of each awesome item on the tables. Finagle A Bagel, juice, fruit leather, water, chips, and so much more. Before we knew it we were on the other side walking back to our family. Even as we walked back, the finishers were still coming in by the hundreds. There were over 4,000 runners that morning.After we found the family, I mentioned that I'd like to "run" back in to the expo "rel quick", since we were right there, and see if they had anymore of the kid's shirts. HA! Since I quickly learned that some expo items are "expo only" items, I re-thought my purchase plan. Essentially, I said, "Kenton, give me the credit card, and don't ask me about the total."
Well, hooray! They managed to find more kids shirts overnight! So as I grabbed one of those, I also, grabbed a hoodie, another tee shirt for me, a stocking cap, and a button. I managed to walk away and had to overt my eyes.
As Kenton, Judah, and I managed to walk out with my "minimal" second day damage, my Mom called. Her and my Dad were still hoarding the goods. I mentioned a shirt that I liked, but said I couldn't go back in or Kenton would kill me. They told me to come in and find them. Long story short. I left with another pullover and t-shirt.
New Balance may have had the best shirts. So great in fact, that I am so mad I didn't grab a slightly too big one, just because it's better than nothing. I fell in love with the green one so hard, that I actually bought the last one off the sale rep's back.

My Mom and Dad's money went to good use. I wear this shirt all the time! (Thanks guys, Like I always said, 'I know I'm spoiled, I'm just not a brat.')

So, still wearing my race clothes, bib, and medal, I toted a much heavier bag back to the hotel! All bad choices are excused by the simple phrase, "But! It's Boston!"
We headed back to the hotel and I had to snap this picture. The optical shop, just like everywhere else in town, would be closed the next day. Panic/excitement was starting to set in. "It's happening!!"
We have rules in our family about eating on vacation. 1. You can't eat anywhere you could at home. 2. You can't go to a place more than once. We broke those rules. On Sunday afternoon we discovered a chain restaurant called BoLoco. This joint rivals, if not beats, our beloved Chipotle. While it was a new and first time visit on Sunday, we did go back two more times during our trip.
We also broke rule number one on Sunday night. But I think we're going to make an addendum to that rule. "You can go to a known restaurant when one or more members is running 26.2 miles in the morning and needs to feed their gut food it has already been acquainted with."
I had made "safe" reservations at P.F. Chang's two weeks prior. If I'm not cooking at home, I can safely eat at Pei Wei or P.F. Chang's. My pre-race meal is chicken and broccoli over brown rice.
We rode the T to Prudential Tower and enjoyed a nice meal. Judah got his very first Roy Rogers and was quite pleased. I was just trying to chill and breath deep.
Mom and Dad celebrated with none other than Sam Adams, what else would you drink in Boston?
As everything takes longer than expected, we got back as soon as possible and I laid out everything. I even had a checklist. It was rather extensive. I crossed everything off, right down to "schedule wake-up call" and "set both alarms."
I'm pretty sure I went to bed, it didn't feel like long before those alarms and phones were ringing.

Boston Day 2

It's ridiculous how long it's taken me to post this stuff. I guess I've been in denial that it's over. It's a long come down, coming down from a dream come true.

I woke Saturday April 17, early enough. We were all so tired from traveling. I texted my Dad and asked if he wanted to go for a jog with me. He was ready and waiting within a few minutes.
We set out on the cold and wet morning. We tried to recall where our shuttle had taken us the night before. But it all looked so different in the daylight.
With intentions of finding the expo, we ran in that general direction.
I pulled out my phone and used GPS. A few short turns and we were there.

There were lots of people coming and going from the expo, but we weren't planning on going in just yet. It was all so surreal. "The Expo" was taking place. "The Jackets" were being sold. Plenty of veteran Boston runners were swarming the area. You knew them by their jackets. Lots of past years were being represented. I was nervous as heck, but starting to get excited.
We ran back with our mouths wide open the whole time. Everything is so beautiful in Boston. We'd stop and say, "look at that" or "oh, wow, what's that sculpture say?" We were even stopped for directions. "Is Fenway down this way?" Not realizing that it was just around the bend, we showed our mid-west ignorance and said, "I dunno." (Basically... we were so self conscience about sounding like hayseeds)
We showered and went as a complete family on our first of many T rides.
We got off at Copley. (Pronounced COP-Lee, not 'cope-lee' as we quickly discovered) As we climbed out of the subway, we walked right into the finish line. THE FINISH LINE. It was raining and it was crowded. I wasn't expecting to be surprised by such a sight. I walked in a line following my family, but I was crying. Ugly face crying. "I'm here, I'm really here."
My 'team mates" had to stop for a pretzel. We knew we'd love this city!
First stop once inside, was the 5K bib pick up. My Dad and I decided to run this for fun weeks prior. The 5K pick-up was off separate from the rest of the expo, it was still quiet in this area. Little did we know we were about to enter a jungle.
I walked into a huge door way with my pick-up card and ID. The man at the "wave 1, 'H' line" paid me a nice complement. "Wow, you're up here? You must be pretty fast then." I was quiet pleased to show off my 3:19 BQ for him. He handed me my packet and wished me luck. I was holding back tears as I turned for the next room. When I looked back, my Dad was standing there with a camera. This was more intense than graduations. We were all a little emotional.
I walked on and got my shirt and my check bag. I felt like I was officially "in" now. I could proudly walk the expo with my bright yellow bag strung across my back and let it be known, I came to run the Boston Marathon.
The next room was "The Expo"
The only thing I had to get was a celebration jacket. I thought I could wait on everything else. My savvy running buddy back in Wichita always sends the link to the clearance Boston merchandise out every May. So, I knew I didn't have to pay for everything that day. But I had to get a jacket. They were out of smalls and I had to try on a medium. Kenton snapped a camera phone pic so I could see if it fit. I quickly took it off. It's so not cool to wear the jacket if you haven't run. I did not want to be spotted out as a newbie, so I resisted the urge to snuggle up in my coveted new wooby.
We walked the expo and saw some of the awesome stuff. But man, it was crowded. The only other item I was after was a "future qualifier" shirt for Judah. They were out of his size. I was told maybe I could check the website, but I wasn't given a lot of promise. So, I began to re-think my plan to wait until items went on clearance. It was so stinkin' crowded, we all had to get out though.
We ended up walking back because we were still a little ignorant on where all the T stations and stops were. (Soon, Kenton owned that sucker, but the first few days, not so much)
That's okay. We ended up seeing so many awesome things along the way. The fire station, Engine Company 33/ Ladder Company 15, has been opened and operating since 1888. It's right at the corner of Hereford and Boylston, the final turn in the Boston Marathon.
We also walked right past The Museum of Fine Arts. Judah took the opportunity to "interact" with the art.

We were picked up that night by our brother in law and driven from Boston to Belmont. Kenton's step sister and her husband live just outside Cambridge. We got to visit our niece and they treated us to a great B.A.A. 5K pre-race meal of chicken and brown rice.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Oz to Boston Day 1

Before our trip to Boston, I, the daughter and granddaughter of life long aircraft workers and granddaughter of a pilot, had never flown in a commercial aircraft. Oh, and my city, Wichita, is known as the 'Aircraft Capital of the World." Seriously.Neither had Judah, but he's 6.
We all did just fine. And by all I mean all 5 of us. I'm lucky enough to have had my mom and dad join me in this dream come true.
Wichita to Atlanta. Left cloudy cool 60 degree weather. Met sunny 75-80 degree weather.
Rushed to the other end of the world's largest airport.
Judah adjusted quite nicely to the quick trip from Atlanta to Boston. Where we got off and it was dark, rainy, and about 40 degrees!

But, they were expecting me.

We had a great shuttle driver who informed us that the Sox game was rained out and traffic would be heavier because of the game getting out early. In my mind, "awesome! We're really here!"
As we waited for Quan's Chinese delivery to bring us food at about 1 in the morning. Kenton passed on a hearty Carlile (my maiden name) tradition. "The first thing you must do in a hotel room is....' JUMP ON THE BEDS!!!'"
By 2AM we were fed and very very tired.
By daybreak....the real journey began.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Let Me Catch My Breath

114th Boston Marathon

It's been long enough, but I still haven't sat down long enough to take this all in.
Give me one more day...or two