I haven’t written much about the Boston Marathon lately, but don’t be fooled. It doesn’t mean it hasn’t been on my mind. In fact for the last four months it’s been at the top of my mind almost every day. Because once again I’m training to go the distance, run 26.2 miles and cross that finish line on Boylston St. Only this time it’s different. I can no longer say with certainty that I am actually going to see that blue and yellow stripe under my tired, aching, blistering feet. Way back in November of 2011 when I decided that running the marathon for Boston Children’s Hospital would be a good thing I had no doubt whatsoever that I would make it. I’m not a fast runner, but I’m solid and the distance didn’t scare me. I wasn’t out to set any records, just check off a bucket list item and help an organization dear to me.
Little did I know then that there would be so many obstacles in the way. Freakishly hot weather, acts of terrorism, those thoughts did not cross my mind as I filled out the paperwork to apply for the BCH team that first year. I thought, ok I’ll train, I’ll raise the money. I’ll do this one step at a time. And I did that. The first year my training was great- mild weather, no injuries, no illness, just steady progress toward a goal. I felt good, great, confident. Right up until about 24 hours before the race when the BAA started sending out alarming emails about the dangers of first time runners participating in the marathon. What? Not run? Impossible. I’d put in so much time. But alas, my fear won out and I didn’t even cross the start that year, let alone the finish. You can read about that here.
Ok, so there’s always NEXT YEAR right? Right. I had a number, I was in. I signed up with BCH again, because I figured I might as well raise money for a good cause if I was going to put in all the effort again. I trained. I trained through a few minor injuries and a lot of snow, but I did it. Logged all the miles I could and I was ready on April 15. I will never forget the feeling of accomplishment I had as I lined up in my corral in Hopkinton. I made it! It was really happening! Me, running the Boston Marathon. The marathon of all marathons. And to boot it was a perfect running day- crisp, sunny, beautiful. Until it wasn’t. You can read about that here.
After the marathon bombings my husband and I were shaken to the core. This wasn’t something we saw on the news or heard about second hand. We were THERE. It happened to us. It is still incredible to me that this our reality. I never in my life imagined being part of something so horrible. There are still so many emotions tied to that day- grief for the victims and their loved ones, survivor guilt, fear of a repeat act (somewhere, anywhere) and the realization that bad things can happen. Do happen. Right in front of you. We can no longer look at the world entirely through rose colored glasses. And anger. Lots of anger that two cowardly, ridiculous, evil people could wreak so much havoc on so many lives.
That’s what drives me to finish the race. I WILL finish the race this year. I will finish it because I am strong and healthy and able. I will finish it for Lingzi Lu, for Martin Richard and for Krystle Campbell. I will finish for all those whose lives were forever changed that day. I will finish because so many of them are still struggling, and will continue to struggle for a long time. I will finish because I love Boston and all that it represents to me (family, home, love, life). It might not be a pretty race for me. Training this year has been a constant test of my dedication. I’ve run through sub zero temps, a polar vortex, mountains of snow, ice, hail, driving rain, the flu, an upper respiratory virus that would not go away and a nagging, lingering ache in my foot from last years injury. But I am determined to make those last two turns- right on Hereford, left on Boylston. I could be crawling by the end. But- on April 21: I. Will. Finish. The. Race.