BOSTON (CBS) — With less than two weeks to go before the 119th Boston Marathon, the anticipation is building.

And for someone running Boston for the first time, the countdown leads to a lot of mixed emotions.

“It varies between extremely nervous one second and extremely excited the other,” explained Amy Hastings, who will be running her first Boston Marathon on April 20. “It swings back and forth a few times each day.”

Hastings, part of John Hancock’s Elite Team this year, had planned to run her first Boston Marathon last year, but knew during her training that she wasn’t ready.

Amy Hastings finishes fourth during the U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials on January 14, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Amy Hastings finishes fourth during the U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials on January 14, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Originally from Kansas, Hastings now lives in Providence which allows her to make the quick trip up north to train on the course. Like everyone else, the weather has impacted her preparations for this year’s race, but she doesn’t seem to mind as much as others.

“Honestly, I love the cold,” she said. “If it’s cold on race day, I’ll be happy.”

Hastings, who was teammates of Desiree Linden at Arizona State University, says she has had some of her best runs in the past few weeks, and her strategy for April 20 is set.

“You can break it up into three segments,” she said. “Before Newton, Newton Hills, and those last four miles going into Boston — that is where the biggest moves can be made.”

Her plan may be cut and dry, but the history and romance of this race isn’t lost on this runner.

“There have been so many incredible athletes that have come here in the past. Knowing that you’re part of this incredible, historic event, that is really special. You’re running up the hills with ghosts of the past. It makes it way cool.”

Hastings has watched this race from the sidelines, and she knows the crowds are as much a part of Boston as the runners.

“The fact that it’s on Patriot’s Day, it’s more of a celebration than a spectating event. It’s more than a sports event,” she said. “Everyone has worked had to get here, and everyone who has the day off from school and off from work knows that. So they go out and that’s what you do that day — you celebrate the marathon. That’s what makes it so special.”

WEB EXTRA: Hastings On The Boston Course 

So what will it take for her to celebrate this marathon?

“I want to be able to say that was my best marathon so far,” said Hastings, who finished second (2:27:03) in the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon. “Depending on the day, it was doesn’t necessarily mean a P.R. [personal record] or my highest finish yet. I’ll know if it’s my best one.

WEB EXTRA: Amy’s Goals For Boston 

“I’ll have crossed the finish line and have run my toughest race, my smartest race. Hopefully it means a high finish, but that is not necessarily the case. I just want, right now, it’s a step for me in the right direction. Now in future marathons, I’ll have higher goals.”

Stay tuned for more coverage of the 119th Boston Marathon on CBSBoston.com and WBZ-TV — the exclusive local broadcast home of the Boston Marathon!

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