The 120th Boston Marathon
by Jessica Northup


JessicaThis was my second time running Boston, the first was in 2011. Before I get to the race day recap I wanted to share the other reason this year meant so much to me. In late December my friends daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor and it is cancer. The tumor was removed and they were sent to Boston for Savannah to receive proton radiation therapy. While in Boston they were able to stay for free in apartment provided by the non profit organization, Home Away Boston. While I was looking up some information on HAB I saw they had a marathon team this year, they had four charity runners running in the Boston Marathon this year. Out of my comfort zone I decided to join their team and help them raise money in honor of my friends. I am so so glad I made that decision. While in Boston I had the opportunity to go visit Home Away Boston and meet one of the families currently staying there as well as the other team members. I am so thankful for the peace of mind and comfort they provide these families at a very difficult and emotional time in their lives. I ran Boston in honor of Savannah Faith and Home Away Boston. “We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,” Colossians 1:11
Jessica and Lea AnneMarathon Monday. Our bus to Hopkington left at 8:30 so I got up at 5:30 when Jill got up
(she and Amber were on an earlier bus) and just chilled in bed for a little bit. I drank coffee and ate a little breakfast. And I was so tired! I got dressed and met up with the girls in the lobby. On the bus Lea Anne kept saying, “wait we’re still driving. we are still driving. we have to run the whole way back” haha. We had throw away clothes on but we did NOT need them AT ALL.

Standing in the corral I was already warm and so thirsty and we hadn’t started running yet!! My plan even before we knew about the weather that day was to take the first 5 miles easy. When we realized how warm and sunny it was going to be I decided to take it even easier. Michelle caught up to me right before mile 3 so we ran together until 7. I got water at every station, two cups, one for drinking and one for dumping on me. I loved crossing over the check points, knowing at that moment my family and friends knew where I was and were thinking about me. My feet were killing me, it felt like I had sandpaper in my shoes. But over all I felt really good.
Jessica2The Wellesly girls school is famous for giving out kisses to men running the race (yuck). And they cheer SO loudly! You can hear their ROAR before you ever see them. They make signs for runners and people at home can submit requests. Last time I didn’t see the sign my mom had made until I was watching my video when I got home. This year I saw my sign! It made me so happy! (this was a picture they posted of the sign before).  I yelled, “there’s my sign!!!!”

I didn’t realize how warm the sun was until we would run past a quick spot in the shade.  I felt pretty good except for getting light headed around mile 18.  That’s when my calves started to cramp too. I was afraid if I slowed down too much I would stop…and I was afraid if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to get my legs moving again. My quads were toast. I made it to almost all the way through heartbreak when I felt I really needed salt right THEN, like NOW, so I slowed down to get my salt pills out and get some water from a little boy to take them. Then I kept going. I really wanted to get through the hills for Home Away. I passed several of the paraplegic runners up the hills, I just kept telling myself you have to go, you are so fortunate to have legs. Go. Then finally heartbreak hill was over. It was harder than I remember. All the hills were. I wanted to make up some time as I was running down the hill, but then PULL, my IT band started. A bummer, but so so glad it wasn’t sooner!  The last 4 miles I would run run run, my knee would give out, I would walk for a minute and then could run again. Michelle caught up to me at mile 23 she was feeling better and asked if I wanted to run it in together. I would have loved to, but I didn’t want to hold her back so I told her I couldn’t and to just go. I was so happy to see her and she looked great. Finally I was getting closer. CITGO sign was in sight. Yay! I just JessicaBoylstonwanted to run the rest of the way without stopping. Then Hereford. It hit me here. I turned right onto Hereford and the emotion hit. All of it. Everyone I was thinking about.
Then the left turn on to Boylston. Oh man. I was so excited. I couldn’t believe I was back!! I never really thought I would get to run that stretch again. It is the best feeling to run toward that finish line. It is so loud and the crowd just carries you to the finish. I ran right down the middle until I had to move over for my corral. I was so happy and proud. I put my hands in the air and crossed the finish line with a smile on my face. I was truly so happy at that moment!  I felt great when I finished. The best I have ever felt after a marathon.

Jessica_FinishI truly enjoyed today. Normally the mile markers are my least favorite thing, but today I loved them all for some reason. Probably because it meant more water!!! They had water at every mile, so it was more like, get to the water and then .9 down the road is more water. I know I did everything I could do today, there is not one thing on the course I could have changed or done differently. I ran smart and felt good, I can’t control the weather or my IT band thing. I’m sure if I had some other issues or my IT band had started up sooner, I
would be more disappointed, but it didn’t. I’m not going to play the what if game for today. All I know is I’m proud of my effort and attitude TODAY.

Our hotel was just a few blocks from the finish. Jill was in the wave before me so she was already back in the room showered and relaxing. I called Derek when I got back to tell him about the day. I thought my right toes felt “full” and when I took my sock off I had the biggest blood blister on my pinkie toe (I’ll spare you the picture), it never hurt though. Feet love marathons!  We got cleaned up and met everyone in the lobby. Then we went to Sadie’s hotel to see her and then made our way to dinner to meet Michelle. Then on to Mike’s Pastry for cannolis. It was another great day in Boston!  Do I want to run Boston again? Absolutely!!!!!! But maybe in five years! 🙂

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