I never felt this way. Even after what happened. I did hate the idea of the marathon for quite some time, but I could never have “enough” of running.
The crazy thing is that so many probably have. It only dawned on me this week after receiving this in an email from a friend I had trained and ran the marathon with. Those who didn’t have their finisher’s moment were likely not qualifiers. Those of us who didn’t cross were the charity runners, the “bucket list” runners, the 4:30+ marathon runners. Many were running in honor of a family member or friend who was sick or who had passed away. The majority of those who did not finish, had together, raised THOUSANDS of dollars in order to be part of the Boston Marathon community on April 15th.
Hours and miles of training with my friends – needless to say we had a lot of time to talk (about everything). We would gossip a little, give our general updates, talk about what we were going to eat when we were finished and so on. But, the one thing that really got us through, (when it was snowing, or 19 degrees, or our knees were giving out)… was imagining that finisher’s moment. We would imagine that it would all be worth it when we crossed the finish line. I think at one point I may have even practiced the face I was going to make for the guy snapping my photo from up above. How vain…
I cannot even begin to explain how I felt being stripped of that moment. It took 18 long weeks to prepare for this one day that I would remember as the worst day of my life. The 5 months of preparation left me with nothing to show for it. I had a Boston Marathon Jacket and medal that I did not feel I deserved to wear. And to make matters worse, fans and families were left missing, injured, and killed. I had no right to feel like I was “robbed” when everyone I knew had made it out okay. So to top it all off… guilt.
Only recently have I started to realize that I went about this all wrong. My focus was too much on the finish line. Did I even enjoy the journey when my only thought was of the destination? I need to start to practice what I preach. Next time will be different.
This week I received a nice little package from the B.A.A. I knew exactly what to expect before I even opened it. My “projected” finisher time & the 117th record book. This is really cool.
I stared at that paper for awhile, just smiling. Each moment moving forward will make this journey different from the last. This year, when I’m running with my friends & there’s snot dripping down their faces, I WILL laugh at them. I will be sure to remember that moment. I may even take a picture and post it on this blog… because that is what will keep me going. Of course, the finish line will be sweet, but it is not why I continue to run.
Running provides moments of simplicity, peace, & reflection in my busy world. It nourishes both my brain & my body. It is my meditation, my religion, & my therapist. Running keeps me going.