Here is the update letter on the Boston Marathon that I sent to my donors this morning I survived! Congrats to all my fellow Boston Marathon runners!!
Good Morning Family and Friends,
I successfully completed the 116th Boston Marathon!!!!!! Thank you for your patience in my update for how the race went. As you can imagine it was a long day starting at 4AM!
It was definitely a challenging experience, but it was also life changing. Thank you for all sharing this experience with me from start to finish. I had fun sharing my stories with you and updating you with the fundraising and training. I also enjoyed hearing your stories about how cancer has touched your lives because it gave me the motivation I needed these past 6 months.
To date, you helped me raise $8,360 for cancer research. THANK YOU for you generosity…in the beginning I had some serious doubts on if I could raise this kind of money, but everyone has been so supportive. I was recognized at the Dana-Farber pasta dinner for meeting the 8k pacesetter goal and got to wear a special badge on my marathon jersey! See pictures attached of the back of my marathon jersey and the names I ran for. I have until September to complete my fundraising, in which Dana-Farber had set the high goal of $8,700 for each runner. I am confident I will be able to meet this goal by Fall. Thank you again for all your help!
As for the Boston Marathon, the temperatures were brutal, reaching almost 90 degrees. I was sweating as I was standing at the start line. Boston Marathoners train during the winter season and are not acclimated to running in these conditions. To give you some perspective: this was the hottest Boston Marathon in 13 years – typically the Boston Marathon is around 50 degrees. With numerous warnings from the Boston Athletic Association and the weather reports, I knew this was about surviving and finishing rather than trying to accomplish my time goal I originally had in mind. The Boston Athletic Association even had signs up a long the course warning runners to slow their paces down. Experts advised us to add at least a half hour – 45 minutes onto our originally anticipated times in this weather condition. According to the news there were 22,500 participants that braved the hot weather, 4,300 participants who registered opted out to run, nearly 2,000 participants received medical attention, and another 120 were taken to hospitals by ambulances. I wanted to be the one who braved the hot weather and finish without medical help! I ended up finishing with a time of 4:26:43.
||Tomc, Jamie V.
At times along the course, I questioned about finishing. People were walking and passing out besides me starting at mile 7. I couldn’t have been better prepared in terms of training for the marathon. I completed races this season that included a half marathon, 16 miler, and 20 miler race. I had training runs that included a number of 18 milers and a 22 miler. I was finishing these runs in 7:45-8:45 minute pace and I felt good. My racing strategy completely changed with these weather conditions. This race was more about mind over matter. Each time I questioned my abilities, I kept thinking about the names on the back of my jersey. Each step in front of the other was for each of your loved ones who’ve battled cancer. I wanted to do finish this race on behalf of those that couldn’t complete the marathon. I wanted to finish the Boston Marathon finish line because I wanted those names to cross with me. I wanted us to be winners in this together.
I had amazing support along the course. A number of my friends were spread out to cheer me on with beautifully made “Go Jamie” signs (although I missed a few along the way…sorry!). Seeing familiar faces at different points on the course really helped push me through. Hearing my name and seeing a smile helped me keep going when times got tough. Thank you to my friends and family for taking the time out of your busy schedules to come and cheer me on. It meant a lot to me. For those who couldn’t make it out, thank you for “virtually” cheering me on through the text message alerts and online. Each time I passed certain mile pointers, I knew you would get the alerts. This also helped me keep going because I knew if I slowed down or stopped you’d all worry about whether I finished so it helped me chug along.
It was also motivating to hear the number of supporters (who were complete strangers) that cheered for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. At each mile of the course I heard numerous comments such as “Thank you for running for Dana-Farber” “I am a cancer survivor, thank you for support” “I was treated at Dana-Farber, thank you” “Go Dana-Farber, you’re making a difference” “My child is getting treated at Dana-Farber” “We love Dana-Farber” “You are making a difference running” ”Keep going Dana-Farber, you’re running for a great cause” “I am living proof that Dana-Farber makes a difference” Each time I wanted to slow way down, these people kept me going. I am so glad I chose to run for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I felt like it was a real testament to how many people are touched by cancer and by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. You all really helped make a difference in peoples’ lives by supporting this cause. Thank you.
The Boston Marathon course in itself was an amazing experience. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon on behalf of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge Team. As a runner, it was a dream of mine to complete Boston, but having the cause that was beyond myself was what really motivated me to go for it. There were people cheering from Hopkinton all the way to the Prudential Center. The entire 26.2 mile route was lined with people cheering, yelling my name (because it was written on the front of my jersey). I felt like a celebrity for a day! I enjoyed seeing the key landmarks along the course including the Fire Stations, Wellesley College, Boston College, Boston University, Newton Fire station, Heartbreak Hill (OK, maybe I didn’t enjoy seeing it while I was running up it), the Citgo sign, etc.
Starting at mile 10 I felt the effects of the heat and had to walk during certain points to cool off and get re-fueld. I would pour entire cups of water on my head and on my body and stick ice cubes between my hat and head to keep me from getting over-heated. People had their hoses out and cooled down the runners. I was drenching in water pretty much the entire way, but it helped me manage the heat. This race really gives you a sense of community and compassion. So many people along the course were sharing orange slices, their own water and Gatorade, ice cubes, water clothes, tissues, etc. Talk about feeling loved. Towards heartbreak hill I started to really slow down my running, but I saw a fellow Dana-Farber runner I had run with during speed workouts and long runs – he encouraged me to keep with it and get up the hill. We had run heartbreak hill during our 22 mile practice run and he knew I could do it. From mile 17 to 26.2 we pushed each other through the end. At mile 25 I got my second wind – we saw the kids from the Jimmy Fund with their families. Seeing these kids who are batting cancer was reason in itself to finish the race strong. People were quite excited to see two Dana-Farber runners run side by side to the end.
I had the most amazing experience running Boston yesterday. Even though the conditions were not ideal, it wasn’t about running the best marathon time. For me, it was about running for the experience and knowing the people I was running for and the impact it would make in peoples’ lives. Thank you for supporting Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the cancer cause, and me. It means the world to me and to others impacted by cancer. Thank you for sharing this experience with me. I can’t thank you enough.