“I was definitely starting to associate running with sad things. I just stopped.”

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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.Image

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.

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1:59:40

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here it is… my first steps to record my journey to the finish of the 2014 boston marathon. i have quite a few “runner” friends, or friends in general, who have documented all of their 26.2 stories through a blog. looking back on this past year, i should have totally done that. luckily (kind of) I have been given the opportunity to run again.

it is very clear how many things i am not looking forward to this training season. cold & early mornings, snow storms, half marathons on the dreadmill, saturday nights on the couch, calorie counting, unavoidable injury & physical therapy, that gross sticky stuff the kinesio tape leaves on my knee, the hundreds i will obviously spend on new sneakers & at lululemon, my inability to wear high heels for 4 months… the list goes on. so i think it seems appropriate to make my first post a celebration.

10 weeks of training towards a specific running goal – complete the rock & roll providence half marathon in under 2 hours. my little half marathon history:

newport half marathon, RI 2011: 2:06 (still my favorite course) 

applefest half marathon, NH 2012: 2:12 (this half was an up-hill beast – beautiful day but the course was tough)

rock & roll providence, RI 2013: 1:59:40. 

i am lucky enough to have the best running buddy. she hands me our training plan 10 weeks before raceday and maps out our long runs every single week leading up to the starting gun. (AND she is always game for pancakes & mimosas after a nice saturday morning 10 miler.) i go into every race with a time goal… run my 5k in under 26 minutes (never happens), run my 10k under an hour (almost never happens), run boston in 4:30 (definitely did not happen). to dedicate 10 weeks to tempo runs, track workours, & mile repeats was complete unfamiliar territory – but we struggled through every week, together. and last sunday morning, we did it together.

i will forever remember that moment of crossing the finish line. almost 4 years of road races, and the first time i have achieved a goal that i set for myself. i can only hope that i will be able to look back on this memory after some awful saturday morning run in february, and remember that feeling i had. completely content & happy in the moment. nothing could have changed how proud i was of both of us.

despite all the struggle i will eventually face this winter, i feel blessed to have the opportunity to run this race again. an emotional and exciting journey that will lead me to wherever i was meant to go. 5,700 strong – 16 weeks of training, just remember to trust the process