Monday, April 27, 2009

Boston Marathon Highlights

There is no doubt that I'll have stories about this race to last a lifetime. Experiencing one of the most prestigious foot races in history is something I hope for every runner out there, whether as a qualified runner or a charity runner. The entire weekend and race is pure magic. There is no true way to share some of those moments, but here are some highlights of the weekend in Boston:

Total $ Raised for the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) by Team LIVESTRONG: On our way to $150,000 (and still raising!) To read the LAF blog post on the Boston Marathon, click here. I am incredibly grateful to all of you who donated to my fundraising campaign in support of LAF and in honor/memory of those you love that are cancer warriors. THANK YOU.
Best Running Charity Teammates: To all of Team LIVESTRONG, you amaze me with your commitment to fighting cancer and kicking it to the curb! Your enthusiasm on the course, smiles and camaraderie will be remembered. Special thanks to John Z. for letting me rope you into this adventure with me, a continuation of our adventures as delegates at the LIVESTRONG Summit 2008. Many thanks to Colleen W. and Sarah A. at the LAF for coordinating this effort!

Best Running Travel Buddies:
Colin: My "Boston Buddy" or "bb", a fellow cancer survivor who celebrated his Sweet 16th re-birthday from cancer the day before the marathon!!
Pattie: Convinced me that I should run the Boston Marathon, even though at the point we were talking I was still undergoing cancer treatments
Happy: Showed true spirit as he ran after breaking his arm 2 weeks before the race, but completed every step of the 26.2 miles for charity
Coach Bill: Helped me through cancer treatments and an ankle injury to get me back into running shape for this race -- one tall order!!!
Best Traveling Cheerleaders: Angie & Cindy: Without you as our roadies and cheerleaders, we might have "lost it"...seriously. Angie, Cindy, Juliette & Rick: Thanks for flying in and being a bright moment for all the runners passing by your cheer station!

Memorable Pre-Race Events: By far, this was the best race Expo I have ever attended. Following the Expo, Team LIVESTRONG went to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox game! It was a great time to meet fellow teammates and relax before our race the next day. "Take me out to the ball game...."

Biggest inspiration: Having an interview with Serge, the runner who ran 25,000 miles around the world to help children, in the upcoming reality film, "Beyond the Epic Run." Check out their blog post and great footage from the Boston Marathon, which mentions "Cures Rock!" by clicking here. His belief that nothing is impossible matches well with my belief that everything is 100% possible. I thought about the following things he said to me during the interview many times during the race for inspiration:

* "Nothing is impossible as long as you are willing to pay the price for your dream."
* "My motivation was to be free, to be unique, to do something nobody else did, to help some children, the motivation just to live a fantastic, exciting, strange life." - Serge

Funniest person seen on the course: Well, let's say 2 people. Near the end of my race, I found myself running the last half of the race with two men running in shoes and speedos who were cheering on their (highly embarrassed) teammate. I slowed down my pace just so my finish photo wouldn't have them in it (but in the online proofs, you'll see 'em).

Break-down moment: I surprised myself by keeping a calm and happy spirit during the race. I did not break down, but truly lived in every single moment on that course. However, I do admit to shedding joyous, happy tears as I warmed up in a hot shower after the race. In that moment, I understood that every step of that race had put my cancer experience behind me and had instead replaced it with an incredible warrior spirit. CURES ROCK!

Moments that Stunned Me:
* Every time a runner would run by me, slap my back and cheer that I was cancer-free (I had a survivor sign on my back). Every time a runner cursed me (jokingly) because I was passing them on a hill, and they saw the note on my back.
* Hearing the "wall of sound" about a half mile away from Wellesley College. The cheers and crowds were AMAZING! (No, I did not kiss a girl.)

My Favorite Race Workers - Military:
I tried to say, "thank you for your service" to every military individual I saw working the race course as I ran. The highlight is when they responded by smiling and then yelling me up Heartbreak Hill, in complete boot-camp yellin' style. There's nothing like a handful of military police yelling at you to "suck it up" that'll get you up that final Newton hill. Thank you for your support and service. Click here for the Boston Globe Photo of the Military Police on Heartbreak Hill.

Moment that Meant the World to Me: Seeing my twin sister running down Heartbreak Hill to cheer me on -- and she ran me all the way back up! At the top, Mile 21.5 (Boston College), I saw my dear friends who flew in for the race, Juliette & Rick (hanging from a tree!), cheering along with the LIVESTRONG crowd. Colleen from LAF ran with me a little farther. It was the final push of energy I needed to get through Mile 26.2, and it really made my heart smile. Thanks everyone!
Happiest Moment of the Race: Turning a hard left at the end of the race, and seeing the Boston Marathon Finish Line. It was the most amazing finishing chute I've ever seen! The lights, flags, crowds and moment of hearing your name read out as you near the finish line are priceless. It's amazing how even with all the people, I could still hear my sister yelling for me, and it was an amazing sight to see her, Rick and Juliette waiting for me right at the finish line (with warm and toasty clothes to stop my shivering...brrr...cold wind).

Surprise after the race: I was stopped 2 steps over the finish line by a Boston Globe reporter and asked about my LIVESTRONG story. It was a beautiful reminder that I had run that race in memory of or in honor of other cancer warriors, and that one day we WILL find a cure for cancer. The next day, I was shocked to see my finish photo in the Boston Globe sports coverage of the marathon! To view it online, click here.

There were so many moments that are captured in my heart from this experience. I have to be honest that the most amazing thing to me is the generosity of the donors who supported my training, race and fundraising on Team LIVESTRONG to benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation!! Thank you. Your spirit and enthusiasm in fighting cancer will make a difference as we fight for a cure and better therapies for cancer patients.
Note: Double-click pics for a zoom view.
Pic #1: "No Stopping Monday" Signs on the roads. Great reminder at Mile 22.
Pic #2: Julie & John Z. - Fellow LIVESTRONG Summit 2008 Delegates and Team LIVESTRONG Runners
Pic #3: Team LIVESTRONG at Fenway Park cheering on the Red Sox (hey, no way I'm admitting to being a Padres fan while in Boston!)
Pic #4: Serge & Julie at Boston Marathon Expo, after interview on running for a Cause for my Cures Rock! blog & campaign
Pic #5: Yup, in 30 degree weather, he was in a speedo, and we were the same pace.
Pic #6: Back of our LIVESTRONG race shirts (Rick C. & Julie). Combined, survived cancer 5x, 4 marathons completed, 4 mountains climbed, and 2 rich lives lived.
Pic #7: All smiles nearing the 21.5 mile marker at Boston College after Angie ran me up Heartbreak Hill to the yells of the military crew. Thanks, all!


  1. Memories to last several lifetimes! You are such an inspiration to me! If every single person put as much energy as you into living life to its fullest and to help others, this would be a great world indeed.

  2. Great report Julie. Well done! What memories you will have. Seize the day! Art


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