Boston….Strong!

Jen at the start in Hopkinton

Jen at the start in Hopkinton

We revive our race reporting with Jen Petkovsek’s trip to Beantown for the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Pushing herself through some demons (not to mention a tough course), Jen puts a positive spin on a very emotional day:

Wow. What an honor to be qualified to run the Boston Marathon this year. It was an amazing experience. The expo was enormous…so much so we went on Saturday and Sunday! Of course Sunday (with the race being next day Monday) I was sure to set a time limit to not be on my feet too much. So many cute t-shirts and running accessories! That’s my kind of shopping. Had a great Italian Easter dinner with my mom and boyfriend and SSSMST teammate Mark who made the trek to Boston to support me in this endeavor. Monday was an early morning even though my wave would not go off till 10:25am. Left our apartment we rented in Cambridge at 6:20am and walked to the T station about 10 min away which Mark so kindly accompanied me and wished me well as he sent me off on the train. On the train ride talked to another gal who was from Denver and worked for Clif bar-cool! Only about a 25min ride down to Boston Common where I easily dropped off a gear bag with a change of clothes for after (which I wouldn’t even end up using anyhow since it got so warm) and got in line for one of the many yellow school buses. Quiet ride-about an hour-to Hopkinton. Everywhere us runners were being told to show our bib-to get on the bus, to enter Athletes Village so security was tight. I hit the POP and then found a spot on the grass to hang out for about an hour before hitting the POP again and just made it to take off my sweats which were donated and start heading to the start! I had on make-shift arm warmers out of long socks which I quickly realized I would not want at all, and shortly after got rid of my gloves-even before making it to my corral. It was going to be warm. The start was somewhat anti-climactic as I was in corral 9 of wave 2. They had sent the wave off but many of us were walking uphill to the actual start line-someone shouted that we were the smartest wave so far! The first couple mile were awesome. I loved TJ’s at mile 2 which is a biker bar that I had read about and they were all out. So many people! However I knew early on it was going to be a tough day as I just did not feel very fresh and it was warm. I heard at the wave 3 start it was 65 degrees. Considering the winter we had where I think my warmest long runs were 30-32 degrees this was warm! The course is all open too and the sun was shining bright. This made for a beautiful day but warm one for a marathon. I kept telling myself to take it easy and hold back which I think I did. So many runners were cruising past me! I had no time goal for this race although hoped to be under 4 hours which I thought was easily doable….little did I know what was in store! I had decided to take my phone with me and snapped a shot of the Hoyts during the race. That was pretty amazing to see. So amazing stories in this race. By about mile 15 I just wanted to see Mark and my mom. However I knew this probably wouldn’t happen with the course being point-to-point which made it difficult to navigate. Miles 16-21 were where the work was really going to begin and I was starting to feel tired already. I plugged on and kept running even up the hills of Newton. I tried channeling my inner Ironman of just keep moving forward-little steps up the hills. I told myself I’d keep running till I saw my fans-mom and Mark, but going up Heartbreak I walked. Finally just after the top I saw my mom. She had a SSSMST shirt on and big fluorescent green sign. I jogged over/walked and gave her a hug telling her I didn’t feel good then pressed on. Not long after I saw Mark who was so excited to see me. I was glad to see him but couldn’t show my happiness. I started crying cause I felt so bad and he gave me a big hug-squeezing a bit too much to which I told him to not squeeze so hard or I was going to throw up. He asked if I was going to make it and I said yes. Again I turned and hobbled on. Not long after though my stomach really turned and I kept dry-heaving until several different times I did vomit. I felt so bad for the spectators as they were lined all along the whole course and had to witness this. I’d vomit some, feel a little better and try to jog but felt so weak that I sadly had to walk most of the last 5 miles. The crowd was so amazing I’d try to run but knew if I kept really pushing I might not make it to the finish which was the main goal. People were awesome cheering, hi-fiving, and encouraging all the runners “you are almost there.” Seeing 5k to go one would think I normally can do this in my sleep but once my stomach went and feeling so bad I was not sure I’d make it. Finally 1000k to go…I was able to “run” the last about half mile, turn onto Boylston, and finish. Whew, made it and got that medal, and can wear the things bought at the expo! Haha! After getting your medal, there was water and then the warmth wraps I’ll call it that took the place of the typical thin silver mylar type things that you get and it was really nice although frankly not really needed with the sun and warm temps! I tried to continue walking but just wanted to sit/lay down. I saw a curb and made my way over but a medical person there asked me what was up and I told her I was weak, nauseous, and wanted to sit. She got a wheelchair and recommended I go to the med tent. I really didn’t want to do that as I just wanted to see Mark and my mom but also knew I didn’t think I could continue walking all the way. So off to the med tent it was. Everyone was very nice but it was pretty crazy in there! One of the nurses said it was the worst he’s seen in years. They checked me in, had me lay down and hang out for a bit. I was given gatorade and chips which at first were a no-go but after a while I could get some in and felt better. No IV for me this time! I got checked out, left the med tent to be greeted by Mark and my mom. We made our way along back to Boston Commons to get my gear bag and head back on the train to Cambridge. So many people said congrats and thanks for running. That was so nice to hear. I was upset at first with my worst marathon time ever (even slower than my Ironman marathon!) but realized I was still a Boston Marathon finisher which not many can say and many wish they could experience. I’m grateful for that and grateful for the support I received during all of this. I have realized that sure it’s awesome to have a good time and reach a goal but it’s more about the experience and people are what make that experience. I’m blessed to have wonderful people in my life. Here’s to Boston 2014!

Jen & Muprh - post race in Cambridge

Jen & Murph – post race in Cambridge

Awesome race Jen!!

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