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The 2004 Boston Marathon & Steve Lauria

Alma R. Ramos

April 24, 2004 - I endured the most HORRIBLE race of my life!! I was hoping for 3:30 at the best, 3:40 minimum & 3:50 at the worst. Got NONE of the above!

It was miserably hot out there. The temperature went to 90 degrees & my legs cramped up at mile 22. I had felt wonderful & was running so well until then, w/ my goal times completely in sight. Now, I couldn't run anymore and walking was pure torture. I cried & cried from the pain, trying to push my legs to a teensy pace forward. I was literally pushing them with my hands to make them move forward!

Every muscle & joint was screaming in agony as I plodded through 2 more miles of walking & sheer torture. All my knee, hip & back injuries returned in full blown 100% pain to add to the cramped up quads. I hoped that walking would relieve some of the pain & allow me to run again. Beside that, I really couldn't run even if I tried!

A medic walked alongside me trying to get me to stop but I kept telling her no & to go away & leave me alone. I thanked her for her concern but told her I had to finish, I had to. I had dedicated this race to Steve, & when people read my singlet & kept crying out "Alma, don't give up. Do it for Steve!" they made me cry even more, as I plodded onward.

I felt dry heaves & was very nervous as that's a sign of heat exhaustion. I'd been drinking water at every stop, running thru the sprinklers, drinking gatoraide, etc. but this was my first run in the heat since last summer. I actually contemplated stopping, but hoped things would improve if I could just keep moving. I couldn't move my legs w/out my hands until mile 25, when I began a slow limping jog to the 26.2 mile finish.

I limped all the way home & was so disappointed with that horrible time. It's the worst of my career. Collapsed into a wheelchair at the finish & they wanted to give me IV at the medical tent but I just wanted to turn in my chip, get my medal & meet my team at our buses. I cried & cried again trying to walk the next 6 long blocks from the finish to my bus. It was so endless & I just wanted to rest. Luckily, two of my Boston teammates were at the exit, looking for people from the team that they could help, & with each one supporting me on either side, we made it to the bus. They were practically carrying me the whole way.

However, as thousands dropped out, I was fortunate to have finished. No one was used to that heat, as we'd all trained in the coldest winter on the east coast!!

My legs are incredibly sore & have been since Monday. Right now, I feel like I don't ever want to run another marathon in my life!! My time of 4:35 (chip time) was also 1 hr. slower than I'd hoped to run, but I am thankful that I finished. Steve, this one was for you.