On Monday, April 21st, around 1 p.m. EST, I got a text that made my eyes well up with tears but my heart swell with excitement and pride – my husband was FINALLY a Boston Marathon finisher! My eyes initially filled with tears because I somehow completely missed him running by me, even though I had been standing there for hours in the BEST viewing spot at the 25.5 mile mark, but that couple seconds (literally) of disappointment was gone in a flash as I immediately grabbed my box of cupcakes (more on that later!) and booked it to our meeting spot.
Running the Boston Marathon has been a dream goal of Jamie’s for the entire 6.5 years that I’ve known him. A little background info: In order to run Boston, a runner must either complete a qualifying marathon under a tough qualifying time or be selected to run as part of a fundraising charity team (also very tough to be selected for!). Jamie qualified to run Boston several years ago with his finishing time at his second go at the Marine Corps Marathon (I think… he’s done a few marathons), but he knew he would be deployed when Boston came around in 2011. We he got back from deployment #1, he trained extremely hard and qualified again at the Savannah Rock ‘n Roll race in November 2012 only to immediately find out that sign ups for Boston 2013 were already closed (it didn’t matter anyway because little did we know that he’d be deployed in April 2013 anyway!). Since his 2012 qualifying time was good for 18 months, he knew he still had a chance to run in 2014. When sign ups came around last fall, he waited by his computer in Afghanistan for the very moment he could sign up to run. Though he signed up in time, he still had to wait to make sure he got in. A few days later, he got an email welcoming him to the 2014 race. AWESOME.
Being the ridiculous planner that I tend to be, I immediately booked our (cheap) flights out of Nashville and thankfully bought trip insurance just in case he got injured during training. In December (three months later), we found out that Jamie had no choice but to start his MI Captains Career Course at the end of March, and missing a day of the course is hard to do and usually frowned upon. Jamie assumed that running Boston was out the window since the race takes place on a Monday, so he pretty much stopped his training. After some encouragement from a couple people, he decided to email one of the course leaders and ask for permission to miss a day of class. The worst he can say is no, right? His leader had absolutely no issue with Jamie missing a day and was actually very excited for him. YES! He went back to training and I went back to planning out the travel logistics. Thank goodness for trip insurance that covered our Nashville cancellations (we now needed to fly out of Tucson).
We originally planned on bringing Hadley and making it a four-night trip. Jamie’s parents also planned on meeting us there, but once we started hearing about how tight security was going to be, we were hesitant to bring Hadley. We also were going to have to make this a QUICK trip in order for Jamie to only miss one day of class, and traveling with a baby is not exactly a walk in the park. We changed gears and instead invited Jamie’s parents and grandmother to Arizona to keep Hadley while we made the quick back and forth trip to Boston. They jumped at the opportunity to get her all to themselves (what grandparents wouldn’t?), so everything really fell into place.
I teared up all night Friday as I thought about leaving Hadley for the weekend (she is pretty cool – not a fan of being without her!), but thankfully she was sleeping when we left (3:30 a.m. Saturday morning), so the goodbye was easy. We landed in Boston late afternoon and immediately grabbed our rental car and drove to the city to meet up with our friends Jessica and Nick Bamberg and Jessica’s family.
Jessica is one of my best friends from Fort Campbell, and her family lives about 45 minutes north of Boston in Derry, NH. Her parents have both run marathons, and her mom was actually only a mile from the finish at last year’s race when the bombs went off. At the time of the 2013 race, Jessica was training for her first half marathon, but after completing that half in May she quickly realized that she wanted to be a part of the 2014 race and make Boston her first marathon. Watching her train was INCREDIBLE because she stuck to her training plan to a tee; she even did some of her long runs (13 and 16 miles I think) ON. THE. TREADMILL. due to bad weather. NO THANKS! Her hard work and dedication obviously paid off because she was MORE than prepared to run the race of her life despite the warmer than anticipated temps. Congrats, Jess!
Jessica and her mom fundraised for and ran with the JDRF team (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), and they included Jamie and me in their big Saturday night pre-race dinner in the city. It was fabulous to see her and Nick and her family, and Jamie and me were so humbled by their generosity to include Jamie in all of the “perks” of running with the team.
On Sunday… wait for it… I SLEPT IN! As in 11 hours of STRAIGHT uninterrupted sleep! Hallelujah! It was fabulous. After we got up and got ready, but headed down to the expo, scooped up Jamie’s official race swag, enjoyed lunch on Boylston St., and then headed up to Jessica’s parent’s house for a big pasta dinner. We got back to our hotel by 7 that night, but Jamie was so filled with excitement that he could NOT go to sleep! He just fidgeted for a couple hours until I finally told him that he was stressing me out and needed to try to sleep; he’d be leaving for the race in less than seven hours! How mom-like of me. 😉
Jamie left at 4:30 a.m. on Monday, but lucky me got to snooze until 8:30 a.m.!
Watching the race itself was a really cool experience. The energy was crazy contagious! We got to see the wheelchair racers (very inspiring), national guard runners (can you imagine running 26.2 miles in those boots?!), and all the elite men and women runners. The crowd went absolutely WILD when the leading male ran by because he was an American and had a solid lead on the guy behind him. An American hadn’t won Boston in 30+ years, so his victory was a big deal!
Since Jamie had to go to class bright and early Tuesday morning, we booked it straight to the airport after the race. I was kind of concerned about how he was going to shower after the race, but he grabbed a pack of good-smelling baby wipes and cleaned up really well (such a dude – love him). How he was able to sit comfortably for six hours on a plane is beyond me! He was such a trooper. He also knew that an animal-style In-n-Out 4×4 burger was waiting for him in Tucson when we got back. 😉
When we got home to Sierra Vista at 11:30 p.m. Pacific time, you better believe I smiled and said hello to my in-laws but hauled it upstairs to get to my baby! Oh I missed holding and kissing her so much, but Jamie and I agreed that we will absolutely make a weekend get-a-way for just the two of us a top priority every year. Every though I felt like I was missing a limb all weekend by not pushing a stroller, holding a carseat, etc., it was so wonderful to just go with the flow and relax with my husband. Prioritizing each other and our marriage is something we recognize is really important for not only us, but for our kid(s) as well. We are grateful to have parents who we know will always jump at the chance to babysit and let us make a getaway possible.
As for my own running, subtract 20 miles from a marathon distance and that’s what kind of race I’ll be running this weekend! Going to just try and do my best. 🙂 It’s been 11 months since I’ve done any kind of road race, so I’m keeping my expectations for myself pretty low. 🙂
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 5 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo