Friday, April 24, 2015

Perfect. Part 3: Return of the Jedi (Or, Beyond the finish line)

 If you if missed Part 1 (leading up to the race) or Part 2 (race day through the finish line), and you want the full experience, click these links.

The main thing you need to know about life after we crossed the finish line is that the weather became a factor. Despite the cold rain and wind through the course, it was mostly a nuisance but never a real problem. One detail I left out of Part 2 was that I lost one of my gloves during the port-o-potty stop – my full proof plan of stuffing them in my bra was not-so-full proof after all, I guess. After that I had to keep switching the remaining glove back and forth between hands, which was kind of a pain but not overwhelmingly so. Mostly it was just my hands that felt it during the run, and never too badly.

So. Cold. We took a quick selfie, got our medals, got a couple of pics with the official photographer and a random photographer asked to take a pic of my bib number because he had taken a picture of the sign I was wearing on my back and wanted to be able to identify me later. (This comes into play later…) then shuffled to the table where the Merciful, Amazing, Generous, Lifesaving Volunteers were literally dressing people in the ‘space blankets’. This was fantastic but it was also just not enough for me.

Meanwhile I had called Scott to check in and received a call from a teacher at my school. I could not hear what she was saying but I assumed it was not “Hey, we can’t get the printer to work!” (I was right. They were calling to say they saw my finish and give me a big cheer. Yay!) . I was incapable of dialing or maneuvering  my phone in anyway at that point.  Lauren used the phone to call Mike, who you may recall was near the finish line and we eventually shuffled our way to where he and their 11-year-old twins were waiting. Sometime in between all of that, my phone went dead.

Again. Cold. Both Lauren and I were shivering and a little brain dead by the time we found Mike. One volunteer looked at me skeptically and asked “Do you need help?” I guess I looked like a felt. I knew that I was not in a great shape, but I knew that help was nearby, so I said “no thanks”. Mike and the kids, now located, shuffled us inside a very crowded Dunkin Donuts. Now, I don’t hate Dunkin Donuts. But I do think most of their food is not very good for us and I try to avoid going there if I have other options. In this case, however, Dunkin Donuts was Shangri-La. Heaven on Earth. It saved me from the med tent and possibly hours of getting cleared for exit.

Another detail I left out of yesterday’s post was that somewhere between the hotel lobby and the car we took to Athletes’ Village, my ‘emergency’ $20 bill got lost. The Cadys saved my bacon (ironic for a vegetarian, eh?) by buying me a hot chocolate/coffee at Shangri-La. I mean Dunkies.  They also all decided that I was in worse shape than Lauren and so I would get the down jacket that Mike had carried around for Lauren all day. Bacon Double Saved! We spent a good 20 or so minutes in there (I threw away the nasty single glove/snot wiper I was still carrying) and then decided it was time to walk to the T.

The Green Line, which was closest to us, promised to be complete chaos so despite the longer walk, we chose to head to the Red Line. It was not exactly a pleasant stroll but it was really good for our bodies to walk for a while and I was definitely no longer in danger.  I did, however , really really have to (you’ll never guess…) PEE. So, we headed into a Peet’s Coffee shop on Newbury Street. I had no compunction about  heading in, going, and heading out without being a paying customer. (Rules of etiquette  fly out the window when you are have just run really, really far). Mike, however, is a better human than I am so he bought a drink for himself and Ali so we were legit costumers. Thrice, bacon salvaged!

Finally, we made it to the Red line and took the train out to the Cady’s car and they drove me to the hotel where my family was waiting for me. I said good bye to the Cadys (have I mentioned how grateful I am to them?) and headed to Mom and Dad’s room. They were staying over another  night so I got the chance to take a Top 10 shower of my life. Post-marathon showers are up there with post childbirth showers, in case you are looking for where they are on the scale of amazing-ness. (Only a mild amount of chafing, so it was all pleasure and no pain, thank goodness!) 

(In another "d'oh!" moment, when I was getting undressed for the shower, the glove that I 'lost' during my port-o-potty stop fell to the ground. Who knew it could get lost in my very-modestly-sized bra?!?!)

It was about 6PM when we were ready to go. The boys and Scott had eaten a very late lunch so we got in the car and just headed toward home. The ride seemed long but it wasn’t. We were home around 8PM, got the kids in bed, unpacked ‘enough’ and finally, around 9PM. I sat down with a plate of nachos. And then I had another plate of nachos. And if I weren’t so darn tired, I would have had a THIRD plate. So YUMMY!

During all of this eating and unpacking, I was, naturally checking social media to let people know how things went and accept generous mountains of good wishes and support. Then, unexpectedly, I saw a FB post from Kevin Sperling, a runner friend who now lives in Oregon, letting me know that I “made Runner’s World”. WHAT? Turns out that photographer who took the pic of my back at the finish line was actually from Reuters. The picture went through the wire services and, apparently, Runners World dug it. The sign said, “Stick with me. I’m gonna finish the top 30!! (Thousand….)” A few folks chatted with me on the course about it and I was happy it lifted some spirits. But I was flabbergasted the Runners World had it on their site. I went to bed feeling pretty awesome.

The next morning I woke up to see a Facebook post from my friend, Josh Spaulding (local sports reporter and theater pal) that said I had made the front page of the Manchester Union Leader.


Later I found that the picture was the second in a series of 85 on’s photo gallery of the race. Adam Kaufman, a sports writer for (and many other media outlets) also mentioned me in his commentary of the race.  "(Thank you ) You, with the paper on your back reading, “Stick w/ME. I’m gonna finish in the top 30!!! (Thousand…)


It was great to transition back into real life while still having trickles of this ‘celebrity’ hitting me. It may not be obvious from my posts but I am not exactly afraid of attention from strangers.

So, here’s The Big Lesson I learned from this race, the lesson that can be applied to most of life, is thus:

“If you can’t be first, try to be funny.”


  1. What a great read! Congratulations Phoebe on your well deserved fame. May you never lose the sense of pride and accomplishment that you spent years building for, and a very long day earning.

    1. Amazing write Phoebe! I am in aw of you- I remember reading your first posts about running- and somehow knew some day you'd be writing about your experience in the Boston Marathon. I am so thankful you write about something I will never be able to obtain- I thank you so much for including us in your exciting journey- I look forward to the next and the next and the next. You are amazing my friend!

  2. That was YOUR shirt!?! Loved it! Love your journey. Thank you!