Reflections on Running the Boston Marathon

Posted:Wednesday, May 16, 2018

By Desiree Bourgois van Oosting, LMT, CMT

Grateful is the best way to describe how I feel about the opportunity to be a part of Team MTF.  What an honor to share this experience with three strong and accomplished women in our field of Massage Therapy.  We truly worked as a team to accomplish our goal of fundraising and each of us finished one of the toughest Boston Marathons to date!

I remember feeling happy after applying for the Boston Marathon bib from the Massage Therapy Foundation, but also very scared thinking about how on earth I was going to raise $10,000.00. When I received the call that I was a recipient of a Massage Therapy Foundation bib, I had tears of joy!

In the first week of training, my mentor who inspired me to run made a donation of $500.00. Then my uncles, sister and friends donated.   I had overwhelming feelings of happiness that they believed in me and were willing to help me out!  I made a video on Instagram thanking them and I had to retake the video several times, because I had tears of gratitude for each of these individuals who believed in me.  Their donations made for a fabulous start and a boost of confidence.  I was feeling more confident about the fundraising, and was able to relax into the training.

Training was mixed with treadmill days, indoor track and outside as much as possible.  I remember thinking on my long runs of 12 miles or more, when the wind would be in my face, ”it won’t blow like this in Boston, the weather is going to be nicer,” or “the wind will be at our backs I’m sure!”   My last track work out was a windy day with snow spitting.  Then too I was thinking, “it’s going to be nicer in Boston.”    Little did I know that the weather was preparing me for one of the toughest Boston Marathons in history!   I guess you really do have to have FAITH in your training.

When we arrived in Boston and I made it to the Seaport World Trade Center for Packet Pick Up, I could feel the fun energy of this historic event.  Meeting the team for the first time in person was pure happiness!  We already had a bond through phone conference calls and social media chats, but meeting Shadonne, Theresa, Marla, Mary White and Lindsay was heartwarming!  Soul sisters!  Little would we know what a historic Boston Marathon we would triumph through the following day!

The morning of the race I dressed in layers for the 100 % chance of rain and wind.  As I was leaving the hotel to go to the buses, I saw a man with a shower cap over his hat, and I couldn’t believe what a marvelous idea that was.  I quick made a trip back to my room to get my shower cap.  Amazingly, that cap was a life saver!  My head was warm and dry, other than sweat, through the rain and cold. I grabbed some extras for the bus for anyone else who would want them.

The race started out cold and muddy in the tents at Hopkinton.  I took off my extra throw-away clothes and tossed them in the garbage right before the start line.  They were heavy and wet and I was glad to peel that first layer off.   I was so thrilled to finally be on the route of the Boston Marathon that I wasn’t even thinking about the cold.  The race felt amazing through about mile 14.  I stopped to put my electrolyte powder in a cup of water, and lost my glove in a water puddle.

I started to feel the quads about mile 17.  I told myself the pain is temporary, just power through.  At the crest of heartbreak hill I took a walk break to chug some HOT SHOT.  It’s a drink that has cayenne pepper in it and helps to prevent cramps.  They say to never try something new on race day, but I thought, this might help me warm up! It did! When I was running downhill around mile 21, the sky opened and dumped heavy rain.  The coolest thing happened at that moment; the Boston Crowd roared, like the downpour was a touchdown at a football game! The heavier the rain, the louder they cheered!  The crowd was amazing in Boston.  I was just running through and they were out standing in that weather. When I took the famous right on Hereford and left on Boylston, as cold and numb as I was, I felt a permanent grin arriving!  I made it!  I did it and I am going to be warm soon!  What a journey!

I am grateful to the Massage Therapy Foundation for this opportunity.  It means the world to me.  I am also ever so grateful for Lynn Beiswanger who gave me the gift of running 10 years ago, for it has lead me in so many positive directions.  I am grateful for each and every one of the people that supported Team MTF along the way! It was an honor to help support the Massage Therapy Foundation and help others receive the healing gift of massage through community service grants, research and education. Gratitude!