Friday, April 24, 2009


I finished my second Boston Marathon on Monday!
I am finally getting around to reporting the weekend because I ended up in the ER yesterday with abdominal cramping that started during the race. I am fine. Stomach is better today and think I have an official excuse as to why I wasn't able to run faster.
But let's start at the beginning.
We left for Boston on Saturday and arrived early that morning to find a totally crowded expo (where you pick up your number and are tempted with booth after booth of awesome running gear). I won't say if I purchased anything...
We pushed and shoved our way through the expo and ended up at a small cafe where we started our two day carbo loading fest. Here are some of the runners I went up with.

This is the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The whole day we had our fingers crossed that the storm coming across the country would stay away until the race finished. Lucky us, it did. Besides some lovely cold head winds, it was dry until later that night.

Here we are standing in line for the buses that would carry all runners 26.2 miles to the start. Needless to say, it is a bit daunting driving so far realizing we were going to have to run back!

Steve and Ann ran the race together. How sweet is that?!

Here Ann and I show off our new arm sleeves purchased at the Expo.

I took the duck tour of Boston! Here I am having a go at driving the boat! Due to the lack of volunteers, I took full advantage and gave it a try. Everyone survived.

Here is a picture of my boat/truck. It was great to finally get to see Boston! What a beautiful city.

Our hotel was right next to the Boston Commons/Park. I loved the weeping willows!

We found the BEST pancakes in the world at The Paramount. We loved it so much, we ate there twice! We only had to wait in line for an hour or so...worth the wait indeed.

Here is a picture of the runners exiting the bus and entering the athlete's village where we would wait in the bathroom lines before the race.

Here one of the many lines of porta-johns. Lines, lines and more lines.
Now that you have seen some pictures, let me tell you a little about my race.
I always go into a marathon with three goals.
1. My dream time (this year it was 3:27)
2. My Boston Qualifying time (3:45)
3. My "I had better get this time" (under 4 hours) or at least finish if everything is going wrong
After spending way too much time in the restroom, I knew something was a bit off in my system before even starting the race.
After finally getting in my corral, the gun went off. It took me 8 minutes to get to the starting line where my official time began. The course starts with a downhill which makes for a great view of the sea of runners making their way to the finish line.
I started out at a great pace feeling a bit sluggish though.
I anticipated seeing Sara at mile 3 and sure enough, she didn't disappoint! There she was with a huge Go Heytar sign! I got a quick hug and off I went to miserably run my final 23 miles.
At about mile 6, I knew there was no way goal number 1 would be reached. I felt horrible. My stomach began to hurt...
I kept trudging along trying to keep my pace fast as I could.
I knew I wasn't feeling up to par when I had no desire to high five the thousands of cheering fans that make the race what it is! I went ahead and positioned myself in the middle of the road and did my best to zone out while my legs went to work.
I was thrilled to run with afro-man for 18 miles who the crowd absolutely loved. I felt a bit left out with my sweaty nasty hair and not one person mentioned it...I even asked afro-man if I could borrow his mo-jo wig for a bit.
It was the guy with the Spongebob t-shirt that I ran with next. "Go Spongebob!" was cheered over and over and again until I finally lost him on the Newton Hills. Thank goodness.
Speaking of hills! Last year I didn't even remember the hills bringing me any pain or suffering. Well, this year they got a bit steeper and longer and more often. Man, they were tough.
At mile 20 my splits really started to slow. I didn't really care what my time was at the point since I was in so much pain. I had stopped three times to empty my stomach and attempt to feel better. Fast running wasn't going to happen today.
At mile 23, I saw myriads of people walking. I thought, "I want to try that." So for the first time in a race I started to walk. A volunteer on the sidelines said to me, "No way sistah, keep running." And because the pain was worse when I walked, I took his advice and began my final 3 miles in a slow jog.
Up and down and around I went for what seemed like forever the last 2 miles. People cheered for me and knew I was one of those runners really suffering and needing some sensitive cheers such as, "You can do it," Hang in there," "You're almost home."
It helped. I didn't stop. I didn't run very fast or with a smile on my face. I didn't have my signature "kick" at the end.
But I finished.
And I hit goal #2...and qualified for Boston at Boston (3:41:11).
If you want to see some pictures of me running check out this:
You will then have to enter the correct race (boston marathon 09), my last name (porter) and bib number (12577).
A huge thank you to Garth who took great care of the kids while I was out playing for 4 days! You are the best!

I can truly say that Boston is the greatest marathon and what makes it so special is qualifying for it. It was remarkable being in a city where there were so many fit people - so many people who had trained so hard just to get to this point - so many people who had a common love for running.


Tiffanie Novakovich said...

I'm sorry you didn't feel good and reach goal #1, but you still did awesome for feeling so crappy. At least you qualified and can try again next year. I think you and Matt both inherited the lovely mystery stomach pain :)

Johnsons of Haymarket said...

Sick or not, that seems really fast to me! Good for you for pushing through. I sure hope you get to feeling better soon!

Kristen said...

Way to go Heather. You are amazing to be able to do all that in pain! You're great.

just jen said...

you are amazing...

and in such great shape, too bad your stomach did not get the memo!

good job!

Kris & Amy said...

You are wonder woman!! That is awesome that you had such a good time with all of those problems...go you!

amyburb said...

Great job Heather! I still can't believe you do that. What an accomplishment--and even being sick! You're an inspiration. Not that you're going to inspire me to be a runner, by it is inspiring :)

The Rowles said...

Congrats! Your time is still very impressive. I have to take off about 35 min to qualify. So you’re too fast for me. Now I feel a little lame offering advice (I have only been to the redo once). However I have spent my time with a stomach pain or two. I was really worried about it for my marathon so I took an Imodium AD before hand and my stomach has never felt better on a long run. Never mind that I couldn't go for a week after (sorry TMI) but it was worth feeling so good during and after the race. Sorry you didn't have a good race day but your time is still good. I'll keep dreaming and maybe meet you there one year.

Trisha said...

AMAZING!!! I wouldn't be able to run that sick or not sick. I'm so proud of you.

moombamadness said...

Way to go Heather, you are an inspiration to me. I will probably call or write for advice as I take on my "big Half". Luv ya.

Shelese said...

Wow Heather! That is so awesome. You really are amazing. What an accomplishment!

Alex said...

That really stinks about your stomach, but I'm glad you reached your goals! You're awesome!

Gina said...

I'm so glad to hear about how Boston was! I can't believe you kept going feeling that crappy! You are hard core. I love it. :)

beckylib said...

Congratulations for finishing when you weren't feeling're amazing! I was thinking about you and the Andersons. I love Boston!

Davis family said...

Heytar, what a story of mind over body! You have some impressive determination!!! Sorry about the gallstones...not fun. Hope you are back to par soon. Darcie