The Boston Marathon...

Marathon weekend! A long one…
Skip down to race day if you’d like!

Left for CT to Bill’s parents Friday night. My parents were to caravan up with us but were running late. We arrived at 9pm. They got lost and arrived in CT at midnight. I stayed up to wait for them, and regretted it the whole next day!

Saturday 11am – leave for Boston. The weather was amazing – 70 and gorgeous out!! First stop = Expo! The expo was crazy. It was just me, Bill and Nick. I was carrying Nick around in the baby bjorn and was sweating immediately. All I wanted was my bib# and the official jacket. We waited in a crazy line for all of the adidas gear,

got my bib/bag and headed out. I felt very excited, but also overwhelmed with all of the
@ the expo

people at the expo. I planned to go back on Sunday with my mom and sister. We checked into the hotel, I fed Nick, and I spent the next several hours trying to nap. I was so tired that I felt like I was completely hungover. I couldn’t nap. My sister flew in but was very delayed and arrived after 8pm. We went to get dinner, where I had some gnocchi, spinach salad and lots of bread. Nick slept through dinner, we went back to the hotel, Nick got a bath, and we went to bed! Nick slept till 3 or 4 am, ate and went back to bed. I knew it was key to get a good night of sleep this night and I felt like I did.

Sunday: We got up around 8 with Nick and went to breakfast. I had toast with peanut butter and lots of rosemary bread back in the hotel room. I went for a 20 minute ‘loosen up my legs’ run and it was gorgeous out! Low 50s and a little bit of wind. It was great running weather. We headed up to the expo. The streets in Boston were packed full of people. It was neat to see all of the marathon jackets - blue and bright highlighter yellow - on people walking around and you could pick out the runners from their bright yellow adidas bags. It started to get more windy out and a bit more chilly, but the sun stayed out and rain kept away.

My dad and Bill walked Nick in the Bob (which was very easy to get around in) while me, my mom, and sister walked through the expo. There was a good amount of free stuff – Luna Bars, Lara Bars, Clif Bars, pens, trial size food to eat. I may have missed a lot because I started to feel claustrophobic and was tired! I got a pair of recovery socks and ate a bunch of clif bar samples and was good to go. We hung out in the food court of the prudential center until the pasta party for Dana Farber. I ended up feeding Nick in a bathroom stall. Yikes. Still have yet to feed him “in public.” I did see a woman with a wrap over her walking around in the Prudential center shoppes while feeding her baby. Very interesting – and challenging! Maybe I’ll be able to do that some day.

I went to check in to Dana Farber and get all of my things for Monday and the race. They handed out ponchos, a wrist band for pre-race on Monday, cookies, and cheering materials for family. We walked into the dinner to a serious band rocking it out. It sounded like a rock concert and was sooo loud. The place was packed and I was holding Nick’s ears and considering turning around and walking out. I was nervous my kid was going to go deaf after this experience. Luckily the band finished up quickly and the program began. It was very moving. It was sad. There were tons of small children who they honored and also a slideshow of pictures of those who were remembered. I was losing it trying to hold back the tears upon seeing these small children, even babies, who had died of cancer. It was awful. But, it also gave a lot of meaning to why I was running and made me think about why I was really there – not just for me. They had tons of pasta, bread, fruit. After the party, we went back to the hotel and hung out before going to dinner – more pasta and tons of bread. Bring it on. I went to bed around 11 after laying out all of my things for the morning and feeding Nick. It became windy and cold by nightfall!
Marathon DAY!!! Nick was up at 3:30 to eat, and unfortunately I put him on his back to change his diaper and he threw up most of what he ate all over my side of the bed – yes at 3:30am. He spent the next hour awake and fussing and ended up being still hungry since he spit up everything. 4:30 am – feed him again. He is still awake. He lied on Bill’s chest for a bit, and I move him and put him on his back in our bed (he was in a crib). He’s still moving around but finally goes to sleep. I’m clock watching at this point. I wasn’t nervous and had excitement going on, but really wanted to sleep. I didn’t sleep much from then on.

lines for the buses

I got up around 6:20 and got all of my things together and got ready! I was getting pumped. I ate ½ a balance bar as I got dressed and drank water as I got ready. The last thing that I did was pump, around 10 of 7. Out the door- it was GORGEOUS OUT! Perfect running weather! Partly cloudy, high 40s. Headed to the buses in the Boston Commons – the line was really long and I left the hotel around 7:15 for a 5 minute walk. We had to board the buses by 7:30.

getting on the buses

There was an amazing line through the entire park and then someone who came out and said to head to the west part of the park where there was no line. A bunch of us started walking up west and it seemed like we were cutting off everyone else but it was true- the line was negligible on that side of the park. We hopped into small bus lines and caravans of buses were coming by, picking people up, and leaving, repeat. We left the Commons around 7:50. My bus wasn’t full and I ended up sitting by myself – which was kind of a bummer. I would have rather sat with someone and chatted! I talked to 2 guys next to me from California and somewhere else for a few minutes then just tried to look around and shut my eyes for a little bit. I ate some peanut butter and bread that I had packed around 8:30 but realized I should have brought more than the one slice I usually eat pre-race with the late start. I am not good at planning for these late starts! We arrived in Hopkinton around an hour later and sat in a bus line for a bit. We got off the buses around 9am.

lots of port-a-potties

I headed to the athletes village and took a few pictures before headed to Dana Farber’s area, a church about ½ mile away. When I got there, I got in line for the bathroom right away. I headed in to a stall and pumped for around 15 minutes. I felt like a jerk taking up the bathroom for that long but had to do what I had to do! I was sweating severely! By the time I got out of there, the baggage bus had left, so I spent the next 15 minutes locating someone to help me to send my pump to the finish. By the time I was done with that, it was time to walk to the start and lineup in the corrals. The bad thing was that my feet were already hurting – just from walking. I was a bit nervous about this!

the start - first mile

When I first saw the town, it reminded me of the Steamtown Marathon – small town, tons of people.

beginning maybe miles 1-2

The marathon volunteers were tough about letting people into the corrals. By the time I got into the corral, we basically started walking to the start. There was no down time this morning! I would suggest getting to the buses early to have more time at the start – for me, it was good. I like just getting in there and starting – no time to think about it! Plus I waited as long as possible so that I could pump as late as possible. But it would have been nice maybe to take it all in and spend some time in Athlete’s Village. I had hoped to meet Karla, who ran the Boston Marathon 10 weeks postpartum several years ago and was running it again this year. (She ended up PR’ing with a 3:33!) We found each other through Lisa’s blog.

We started walking towards the start, and they announced that the beginning of our wave had begun! As we moved up Rocky was playing. There were TONS of people. It was so exciting. I started smiling and didn’t stop for the majority of the 26.2 miles! I took pictures for the first several miles then got tired of holding my camera and cell phone. Miles 1-6 were up and down – lots of hills. I think I started feeling the wind around mile 5. Headwind in our face! There were lots of people out and cheering like crazy . It made for such a great atmosphere. My first few splits were 9-9:30. I reminded myself it now takes me about 3 miles to warm up, but after 3, I still wasn’t feeling warmed up. With the wind, and my sluggishness, I felt like I was running in place. Through the towns, streets packed with people, it was really exciting. Once I made it to mile 10, I started to feel like I was warmed up. But - shortly after I felt like I was running in place again! My feet hurt, and knee had started to be bothersome around mile 6. I was back and forth on which shoes to wear, and picked the wrong ones! Mile 12, as we started to approach Wellesley – this was neat. Lots of college students out, many drinking and offering beer, and overly excited , due to the beer consumption, to get high fives. Wellesley looked really pretty and was filled with lots of girls holding up free kisses signs of all kinds. I watched an older fellow walk up to a girl and get a kiss. Probably made his day! The fans there were awesome and really carried you through. It was really loud.

walking through some water

From around 13.1 on, I felt like it was more exciting than the first ½ marathon. My half was 2:02 and I knew I wasn’t going to be keeping that pace but I was pretty happy with the time. I loved all the fans and excitement on the course. The fans really made the course. Mile 17 I got to see Bill, Nick, my dad and mother in law, I was thrilled to see them! They stationed themselves at the PowerBar Gel station – at the double latte flavor. They were easy to spot since I knew exactly where they were – thanks to cell phones! I dropped off my jacket and gloves to Bill and gave him and Nick a kiss. I kept on trucking and was feeling good, and happy. Around mile 18, heading up a hill, a man with an Irish accent turned to me and jokingly said, “is this heartbreak hill?” I laughed at him and told him sorry! In the back of my head, the whole time I had this time goal of around 4 hours. I realized that wasn't happening early on, and hoped I could get less than 4:14 which would have been a PR. This all went to a new goal of reaching the finish with a happy state of mind by mile 20 and I stopped looking at my watch or caring about the time whatsoever. Here at mile 20, I realized my last GU had fallen off of my fuel belt, and this was not good, because I felt like I needed it. I hadn’t taken a PowerBar Gel because my stomach doesn’t tolerate them as well, and didn’t need it at the time. I started feeling really hungry and I was taking oranges from anyone who was giving them out!

heartbreak - didn't even know it

I thought heartbreak hill was around mile 21.5, but after I made it up, I realized that it was over! It was good that I didn’t look at the map! It seemed like a long steady hill to me. It wasn’t terrible – the overall hilly course was what broke my heart! My sister and mom were waiting for me at mile 21. My mom had made shirts and signs for all of my family to wear to cheer me on. I was able to spot the signs that my mom made for me, and my sister hopped in to run with me for the rest of the race. I told her I needed food immediately! She was my eyes as she scanned the crowds for any food! I managed to get more oranges and an ice pop but food was on my mind.

sucking down an ice pop

And the finish line. And my little Nick! I projected my thoughts to think about the children with cancer from the pasta party and really didn’t have any complaints. It gave me a mission. I couldn’t wait to finish! We saw my sister’s friend Mary somewhere between 22-24 miles – it was exciting to see someone I knew with all of the craziness! I felt like it was so much fun!

mile 22 and smiling

25 mile marker and fans!

Those last 4.2 miles were pretty tough but the race was full of crowds. I really kept trying to be in the moment and enjoy the whole scene as much as I could. Take it all in! That was a great thing that my sister said. “Take it all in!” The streets were lined with people, bars were full of people. Drinks were flowing freely! Fans were thrilled to get a high five or thumbs up. Throughout the race I hit tons of hands of little kids and took oranges from their hands. They were so cute!
I remember running Disney with my sister and cheering her on and trying to motivate her and her telling me to shut up – totally understood that yesterday. You hear “Almost there!” and nice things like “You’re doing great!” but you don’t want to hear anything. We ran a bit in silence which is kind of what I needed. I think I told her she could stop talking when there was about ½ mile to go. You just don’t want to hear anything, you just want to cross that line! There was a one mile to go sign which was awesome, and you could SEE the finish. Victory was only a mile away – and in view! This was when I started to get delirious and excited. I tried to go as fast as I could but I’m pretty sure that last mile was in the 11s. I totally slowed down the last 10k. I couldn’t keep up the pace and my feet, knee and legs just HURT!

1 mile to go!

I can see the finish!!

It was AWESOME crossing that finish line. This was the coolest marathon fanwise that I’ve ran. It was close to New York, but better. Soon after we crossed, we saw my sister’s college roommate, Susan, and I felt like I was drunk! She took our picture, I got some food, a warm wrap, and finally my medal.

I am delirious! With my runner buddy sister

still delirious!

Such a great moment! I felt like it was a bit uneventful than other marathons because they make you walk all through everything else and hand in your chip, and then the last thing you get is your medal. The coveted medal. I kept walking and Bill, Nick, my dad, my mother in law, and Bill’s friend Matt were waiting for us.

my family!

It was exciting. My mom was still traveling back to the finish and met us back at the hotel. We took lots of pictures, I wimped out of an ice bath (2 minutes in a non full tub), I fed Nick (with a side of lactic acid which he didn’t seem to mind), and we had to pack up and check out! Although by the time that I fed Nick it was 7 hours later, my boobs held up and were not uncomfortable (a big fear!) On the way out of Boston – I was so sad to leave - we stopped at a restaurant near the airport before dropping off my sister there. I inhaled about half of a cheese and mushroom pizza. Not the suggested thing to eat after a marathon, but lots of protein! The “after the marathon” was disappointing to me. You definitely have to stay over Monday night and take your time and revel in the accomplishment. All in all, a great day, I couldn’t stop smiling, and I can’t wait to do it again. I wouldn’t say it was a great run for me, I definitely had some issues with my feet and knee so didn’t feel stellar out there, but I enjoyed every moment of it! Thank you for all of your encouragement and support! And thank you for your well wishes for the weather. It worked! The weather was perfect running weather except for the headwind.

I am still fundraising to try to reach my goal of $5000 and every dollar you donate does go towards cancer research. After seeing the small children with cancer, it really motivated me to reach or exceed my fundraising goal. Click the Dana Farber link on the sidebar to donate – any donation big or small is helpful!

Last – it was disappointing to see the elite women finish. Poor Kara! I have to go check out the interviews. All of the signs in Boston said “Kara – bring Boston home.” Lots of pressure and it looked like she lost it in the last ½ mile. Still love you Kara!!


my fam - brother rich is missing

whew -- that was tiring!


  1. Wonderful race recap and again, a great big congrats to you!!!! Amazing!

  2. Congrats!! You did awesome. I can't believe you did that 2 months after having a baby. You're an inspiration!!

    And I cracked up when I read you fed Nick w/ a side of lactic acid. Nice!!

  3. Great job!! :) Loved reading the report and I still can't believe you did that so soon after having Nick! :) He was your favorite fan and he's so cute in his run mommy outfit!

  4. Way to go! Total badass!!!

  5. I've been waiting for this race report all day!!

    Great write-up, and AWESOME race. Congratulations!!! The pressure is off - now you can relax :)

    Maybe a recovery run next week?

  6. Great job on running such a great race! Your race report was very exciting! Almost like I was there running it but with less pain on my side!!

  7. Congratulations on running a marathon so close to post partum! You are an inspiration! Well done!

  8. I'm SO proud of you Natalie! You did awesome throughout this whole training process. You never gave up and trucked through those long pregnancy runs just to support Dana Farber and run Boston. I admire your strength especially in times when you wanted to give up.

    Great job hun!!!

    P.S. I figured out that i cant comment on blogs that have the comments like your "Its a boy" and "Next stop... Boston" blog. I have no idea why, but thats why I cant haha!

  9. I had so much fun reading your report. Glad you enjoyed the whole experience and glad the boobs didn't hurt! You did an amazing job running especially having just given birth 2 months ago!

  10. Great recap of the weekend! You rocked!

  11. Great report and good running! Take this week to savor your accomplishment. Nice pictures of little Nick - maybe you two will run a marathon together someday.

  12. so inspiring! totally makes me want to up my mileage to get in GOOD half this fall!

  13. ahhh CONGRATS!!!!! You did it - you ran boston!!!! you are amazing girl, 10 weeks after having a baby :)

  14. What an amazing experience!! Can't even imagine how it must have felt. You are awesome! What you did was amazing! Great race report. I am so glad the weather kept up it's end of the bargain (apart from the headwind). You should be so proud! I watched the women's and Kara ran such a good race. Thanks for the pics.

    Where to next? :o)

  15. Awesome report!

    First of all, how do you look so pretty after running a marathon!?!? You seriously look GREAT!

    It must be the ear-to-ear smiles! You look so happy in every picture.

    Congratulations! You DID it! What an amazing experience that must have been.

  16. You did it! Congrats! What a great race report. Remember every bit of it. :o)

  17. Congratulations! Amazing report. I'm so happy for you.

    Your description made me very teary. I've run it twice and it is exactly how you described. The crowds, the atmosphere, the fellow runners, it's unparallelled. It's a rich experience and I'm so glad you got to have it. It's your year. Congratulations on everything.

  18. Funny, earlier today I was feeling good that 4+ months postpartum I "already" found my daily cleaning & laundry groove, and then I realize some people are running Boston ;)

    It sounds like the running part was easier than working out the feeding pumping logistics -- that alone is so impressive to me. Way to integrate mommyhood with your personal goals so successfully!

  19. AWESOME!!

    And for what it's worth, I think pizza is EXCELLENT post-race food! Carbs and protein!

  20. Awesome report, and again Congratulations! This really does sound like an amazing experience all around. Not sure if I will ever get to experience it, but one never knows...

    One question: how can Boston be "close to New York, but better"?

  21. You are amazing! Ain't no way I could have run a marathon 2 months post partum! Great time! And, your handling of the pumping logistics is amazing!!

  22. Great job on the race! I'm quite impressed.

    I had to LOL at all pumping/nursing stuff. If I'd run a marathon at 2-3 months post partum, I would have finished the race with melons on my chest and most likely been leaking. Glad it all worked out for you!

  23. Congratulations Natalie! I was tracking you Monday. I'm very happy for you.

  24. Congratulations! I've enjoyed reading your most recent few posts about Boston and recovery. The pics are great. I love that you dominated heartbreak hill and didn't even realize it, way to go!