First I want to start by saying Thank You a big, big, THANK YOU to those of you out there that are soaking up the Boston Marathon for everything it's worth... It's adding to the valuable lesson I've been learning for the past 5 years: Respect Boston.
Growing up as a competitive runner in Boston is an exciting experience most of the time, especially when you are much younger and all your dreams are still in front of you.... but when you are a runner in your mid 20's to mid 30's who has not done Boston, its hard to not develop a dislike for it. There are a lot of non-runners that only know about this one event. I'd have a lot more money if I was paid for every time I had to put my ego (admittedly, pretty large ego) aside when a non-runner tells me about their friend who ran the Boston Marathon one time... and then asks if I have done Boston... and then upon hearing my answer gently imply that maybe I could be an amazing runner like their friend one day and finish Boston... (insert eyeroll emoji) I know it's harmless, but this is something us sub-elite, non marathon runners swallow on a daily basis. It's one of the reasons I started running marathons. I wanted to get the monkey off my back!
I have literally been in a situation where me qualifying for the NCAA NATIONAL championships (twice!) was considered nothing compared to a co-worker running the Boston Marathon as a charity runner. It was another one of those Slow Clap, Do you want a Cookie? moments where I just needed to swallow my pride and say "good job"... (It was close to a decade ago now, I handle these things a little better these days)
I was always a pretty good runner. I never had to worry about qualifying for the event that everyone wanted to qualify for. I made it to State Championships without blinking, I made it to Conference Championships without even knowing there were qualifying standards, and I always assumed I'd make it to Boston the same way. Qualifying and finishing Boston never seemed like a big deal to me.... Until now.
I joined Instagram this year, and while it's certainly got it's flaws, I've really enjoyed following people all over the country and even world and watching all of you get so excited to an event that I (and in my defense, many others around here that I know) have rolled our eyes at for years. Your excitement has renewed my respect for Boston. Running Boston wasn't something I really wanted to do deep down, like I said, it was one of those things I just felt obligated to do so that I could be recognized as a good runner for once. Two decades of really hard work, grinding through the snow, wind, heat, and rain; sleepless nights before big championships, tears of sadness, and occasionally joy after them, heartbreak that has cut deeper than any man ever has or could; I've experienced all that and so much more... but until I have a Boston Marathon finishers medal, I'm no more than a hobby jogger to the vast majority of people around here.
I wanted to do Boston for others... now, I want to do Boston for myself... for the first time ever I really feel like I want to be part of it not that I have some Bostonian Runner Obligation to do it.
My journey to Boston seemed like it would be easy. I ran my first marathon in 3:05 in fall of 2013 a solid 30 minutes below the qualifying time (I think? I don't even know the qualifying standard... I can't remember if it's 3:30 or 3:35, I never needed to think about it...Really.) I thought I'd just sign up the following September and run in April 2015. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately (?) that didn't happen. Here is my timeline for my road to Boston... It's repetitive for some of you who have followed me a while, but if you're just joining here it is:
November 2013: Ran Manchester City in 3:05
January 2014: Injured my knee
September 2014: Signed up for Boston hoping knee would be better by April
October 2014: Knee diagnosis, surgery scheduled for November
November 2014: Found out I was pregnant, surgery rescheduled
March 2015: Surgery during second trimester
April 2015: spectating the Boston Marathon that I was supposed to run
August 2015: Gave birth to first child :)
September 2015: Rehabbed Knee
November 2015: Began training for Vermont City Marathon 2016
April 2016: Spectated another Boston excited that I'd be at the next one
May 2016: Pulled my calf the week before Vermont City
May 2016: DNS Vermont City Marathon that I trained SO hard for (this is the most heartbroken I've ever, EVER, been)
June 2016: signed up for another Marathon as a last chance for Boston 2017 (Great Cranberry Island)
June 2016: DNF Great Cranberry Island, calf wasn't better.
July 2016: signed up for Hartford Marathon
September 2016: watched everyone else sign up for Boston
October 2016: Ran 3:05 again, and qualified for 2018 Boston Marathon
November 2016: Expecting second child (this was planned, family is important, too! I'm giving myself as much time as possible to get back in shape for Boston 2018)
April 2017: Spectating another Boston.
I still have a long journey left... and hopefully it goes according to plan this time, but no guarantee! I need to give birth again, recover from that, train again, avoid any serious injuries (probably the most difficult for me), and I'm completely banking on the fact that I will be able to handle training with a toddler, a newborn, and a traveling husband while maintaining a full-time job...
It should be interesting...
Anyway, to wrap this up I want to finish where I began, with a Thank you. THANK YOU for reminding me that the Boston Marathon is a big deal! And over time, it's actually become a longer commitment than getting to Nationals was (seriously, it's taken me 5 years to get to Boston, it only took me 3 to get to Nationals...) Thank you for showing me all your hard work... whether it was to raise money as a charity runner, or to work hard to get that qualifier, you've earned your spot on the starting line. To those of you who just missed qualifying, qualified but didn't make the cut off, or got injured... I see all your hard work, too... I feel your heart ache with both disappointment and excitement this weekend (just like mine does) and I hope to see you in 2018. My Journey to Boston has been longer than I ever anticipated it could be. I'm excited to have had these years to reflect and really build on the anticipation of crossing that line myself. If it went accordingly, it would just be another race, but it didn't.
There will be pain
There will be tears
There will be joy
This isn't just another race. This is BOSTON... and running it is one of the greatest honors in this sport... It has just taken me 5 years to see it that way.
Welcome to my blog! I've been blogging for a long time on various platforms. My intention has never been to reach the masses, but rather to give myself a chance to reflect and journal. I feel it at least challenges me to be somewhat coherent, however you can expect ramblings and grammatical incorrectness here!
I've recently been diagnosed with CECS and fPAES and had it treated with BOTOX of all things... So I suspect to see more and more people looking for answers with that in the future and hope to continue blogging so there will be easy to access follow-ups as that was helpful for me.
NOTE: Apologies that some of the pictures incorrectly load sometimes. I try to keep up with the glitches, but can't always! Hope it doesn't impact the blog experience for all the PAES visitors.