Race Recap: The Boston Marathon!

April 17, 2018

Assistant Race Director Linda Maxwell shares her experience running a very chilly, wet and windy 2018 Boston Marathon. Congratulations, Linda!

Sunday, April 15 – The Planning

Pre-race is always fun for a planner like me; figuring out what to eat and drink, what to wear and when to sleep is all part of the equation. A questionable weather forecast adds to the “fun” of this planning.  And to make this particular Boston Marathon even MORE fun, I am doing this with three great and dear friends.

Flash back to one year ago when three friends convinced me to train in order to qualify for this year’s Boston Marathon. The promise was that once we all qualified, we would use Boston as a celebration: celebrating being women over (or almost) 50, women who are strong and fit, women who find joy in each other’s triumphs and sorrow in each other’s tribulations. So throughout this winter and spring, when training didn’t go exactly as planned and injuries surfaced, we all assured each other that it didn’t matter – we were just going to be there together and experience all that is “Boston.”

Back to 15 hours before the start of Boston Marathon 2018. We are hearing from our families that our city has been pummeled by the worst snow storm since the 1800s, and are actually all a little sorry to not be snuggled up on our couches with our families and dogs — especially because all we are hearing about is that we can expect cold, rain and strong winds in our face for 26.2 miles.

My mantra for this race: it’s all part of the adventure. Looking forward to getting back to this tomorrow afternoon to share my exhilaration at having overcome all the adversity alongside women who inspire me, make me laugh and build me up. TTYL.

Post-Race – The Reflections

The weather turned out as forecast: constant and sometimes torrential rain, a headwind the entire time and cold. What in my mind would be an adventure turned into pure survival. From the time we got off the bus until I got into a hot shower, I was soaking wet. We wore our “throwaway” clothes until mile 3, the rain poncho wasn’t thrown until 25.5 miles and there was never a time when the road wasn’t like a flowing river. The experience wasn’t what I pictured: there were no selfies with funny signs or at famous race landmarks, no conversations to pass the time or high fiving spectators. 

But do I regret running in the 2018 Boston Marathon? Absolutely not! I couldn’t help thinking that the event mirrors life. There are times when it is a total struggle, and you can choose how you are going to deal with it. Throughout the day, I had to find different ways to get to the next mile marker. Already at mile 3, I started running in honor of different people in my life who have faced struggles or inspire me. Some are too personal to share, but they included my sister, who is my best friend, confidant and example on living life to the fullest; my mom, who is struggling with the challenges of aging; my longtime running friends who support me day in and day out, and my children, to whom I want to be a good example — and whose love I could feel all day.

As the race went on, I couldn’t muster the strength to try to be grateful for all these people. It was then that I started to believe that what the spectators were saying was true: I am strong, I do “got this,” I am awesome, I am worthy of their pride. Again, it was like those times in life where you just have to get through that day, not worrying about what was coming next — and accept and cherish the support others want to give.

So when my dear friend Sarah and I approached mile 24 and we both touched the bracelet I wore in honor of Deb Ernst, the inspiration for our Bellin Women’s Mentivator program, it provided that last bit of motivation we needed to struggle through those final miles. And running down Boylston with the mob of spectators cheering was truly a celebration of what was most appropriately deemed a “suffer-fest” — while crossing that finish line with tears in our eyes and pride in our hearts made it all worthwhile.

Was Boston 2018 anything like I imagined? Nope! Is my life exactly like I pictured it would be? Nope! But I am grateful for every day, every experience — good or bad, and thankful for all who are in it with me.

Sarah, Diane and Julie — it will be a day we will never forget!

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Comments

  • Love everything about this post, Linda! You ladies ROCKED the entire weekend. My family and I love you all as if you are our own family. Sarah has brought some very special people into our lives and we are all forever grateful for getting to be a part of your memories. It should go without saying but you, Diane, Julie (and of course Sarah) have a forever home here in Boston. Our homes are always open for your return and we can’t wait to see you again. You are all incredible women and have become an official part of the Stumpf/Farley/Leahy/McNiff family. wink

    Looking forward to the Bellin Women’s Half this fall!

    Safe travels home. You’ve earned the right to hire someone to do all the shoveling ahead of you back home while you sit inside with a hot beverage and comfy clothes. Congrats on a great race! We did it!!!

    xoxo
    MKL

    Meagan Leahy    April 18, 2018 at 11:22 am

  • This is an awesome, inspiring story, Linda.  Thanks for sharing.  Congrats on finishing Boston!!!

    Charlie Brawner    April 26, 2018 at 10:41 am

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