As many of you know, this year’s Boston Marathon was quite epic due to the weather conditions. UESCA running and triathlon coach, Jeremy Woodward ran all 26.2 miles of it and gives us an account of his day. For Jeremy, his race result is not just secondary to the reason he ran it but not really important at all. Read on to find out why we’re so inspired and proud of Jeremy!
THE REASON I RUN BOSTON
The weather outside was frightful but my spirit was so delightful because I was about to have a lot of fun, let’s go run, let’s go run, let’s go run.
I woke up at 3am, and reflected for a moment on what the day was about to bring. I’ve survived heart failure and open heart surgery – twice. I am lucky to be alive. And I am deeply grateful for the journey that has lead me to be able to run in the Boston Marathon for the fourth year with Tedy’s Team, raising nearly $50,000 for the American Stroke Association and American Heart Association. I don’t run the marathon for the time, I do it for the inspiration – the inspiration I have the ability to share, and the inspiration I receive along the way.
Leaving NH early that morning, the roads were a snowy, slushy mess. We are arrived in Hopkinton, MA at about 6:30am to a downpour with high winds. Our wave wasn’t until 11:15am, so we walked to our meeting spot – about a half mile away, we were drenched. We left the house at 10:45am and arrived at the start line at 11:05am, cold and soaked to the bone.
The first mile was congested, and full of puddles. As we ran, the wind blew against our faces at a steady 25-30 mph. It was cold (38 degrees) and wet (torrential rain) the whole time. I passed a runner at mile 2 who had not dressed appropriately and was being treated for hypothermia.
When I reached the 10k marker, I thought to myself, “Oh my god, this is so different!” The first year that I ran, it rained, but nothing like this! Thankfully, being from New England, I knew how to be prepared, but this weather was a shock to runners from other climates. I met another runner who has run the Boston Marathon 44 times and claimed that this was the “craziest weather” he had ever experienced.
Despite the cold and rain, it’s still important to maintain proper hydration because you still sweat, so I was sure to dress appropriately and stay on top of my hydration and nutrition. I had sips of Gatorade (endurance formula) at every stop and a 3-4 ounce cup of water. Every 5 miles, I took in 150 calories to maintain my energy – Clif Bars, Stinger Goos and Jelly Beans.
I hit a wall around mile 16. However, as I approached mile 17, leading up to Heartbreak Hill, I saw my wife and 3 girls cheering me on – amazing! My wonderful wife, Brook, and 3 daughters ages 9, 6 and 1, withstood the weather to cheer me on. That was all I needed to keep going for the remaining 10 miles!
The crowds on Heartbreak Hill were incredible – out in full force, despite the conditions. Once I turned onto Hereford Street, I had to jump over piles of clothes that runners had stripped off to proudly display their singlets as they crossed the finish line. There was a hand cyclist struggling up the hill of Hereford Street to Boylston. The crowds were so loud, cheering him on. Their cheers gave him the momentum he needed to reach Boylston, and then the finish line!
Crossing the finish line was surreal, but a moment in time that I will never forget. My friend and race announcer from New Hampshire, Andy Sachat, called my name and said a few words about me as I approached the finish line, and as I crossed, I looked up and saw Tedy Bruschi waving at me, cheering for me, from his hotel window.
MORE THAN A RACE
We all do this for different reasons and each one of us have our own story. My motivation for doing this stems from those thoughts I have at 3 in the morning where I reflect on my journey to get to this point. It was serendipitous that I saw my family on Heartbreak Hill as I was crashing. My heart was literally broken twice, and my wife and girls, who are my whole world, were there right when I needed them. I run this marathon because I have been blessed with new beginnings and second chances at life and I refuse to take that for granted. Instead, I choose to embrace it and live my life to the fullest every day, using my great fortune as a way to give back, make a difference, and inspire others to do the same.
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