30 Apr Marathon Man
Last week, I ran my first marathon. Until last year, I never once considered running a marathon. In fact, I had never run more than a few casual 5k’s. I definitely looked at marathon runners and thought they were at least a little bit crazy.
I grew up outside of Boston, just about a mile from the marathon route, and I cheered runners on “marathon Monday” many times as child and college student. When the bombings hit the Boston Marathon last year, like everyone else, I shocked and saddened. When the manhunt shut down the city a few days later, my parents, sister, nieces and nephew were told to “shelter in place.” When the killers were caught, I knew that the 2014 Boston Marathon would send an important message. And for the first time, I thought about running a marathon.
I received a spot in the Boston Marathon by raising funds for the emergency department at Boston Medical Center. I was notified of my spot on the team in November. With just 4 1/2 months, my weekly workout routine went from 1 or 2 jogs and 2 or 3 yoga classes to 5 or more DM classes a week* including cycling, PowerSculpt, and doubles, plus running (when it wasn’t snowing or a polar vortex) and swimming.
* Thankfully, my 2 children love coming to Little Pretzels classes, so scheduling my practice was easier!
Remembrance and Inspiration
The weekend in Boston leading up to the marathon last Monday was remarkable. We recalled the horrors of last year’s marathon, honored those who lost their lives, cherished the victims who have shown great courage. At a dinner for our charity team (together, the 105 runners on the BMC team raised over $1 million dollars for a great cause! ), I met Kevin Spacey, politicians, and several of the injured from last year’s bombings, including ballroom dancing instructor Adrianne Haslet-Davis. I also had the chance over the weekend to meet marathon legends Dick and Rick Hoyt, who are a tremendous inspiration.
The race itself was incredible. The energy among the runners was fabulous. I ran alongside many who raised money for all kinds of causes and to honor the victims from the bombings. I ran alongside police, firemen, and military. We were all on the same team, soaking up the experience and trying to go 26.2 miles on our feet in one piece. The energy from the crowd was even stronger. Receiving cheers and high fives from strangers was exhilarating. Receiving them from my kids and family was extraordinary.
Crowds line 90% of the course. All ages and all types. All cheering. The last 3 miles of the race are wall-to-wall crowds several people deep. B the time the back-of-the-pack runners (me) reach them, the crowd energy is a crucial part of the runners moving forward. It is amazing to witness and experience. I must have high-fived several hundred people along the way, soaking up the cheers! Despite the aches in my legs (the downhills are brutal, but that’s another story), I had a single mindset… to keep going at the same speed until I crossed the finish line.
I reached my goal for the race — to finish and to do so without walking at all! My time (5 hours, 24 minutes) wasn’t really important to me — what was important was to be a part of a great sporting and community event and a day that Bostonians will remember for a long time. It was certainly a weekend that I will never forget.