I wrote last year a lot about my journey with the Boston marathon. Since last year at this time, I have gotten a lot more readers, so I wanted to do a new post and a little bit of explaining. I’m going to break it down into a few different posts because altogether it’s kind of long.(sorry)
Once upon a time, in a small farm town in Massachusetts, a little girl sat down to watch the Boston Marathon on TV with her mom and little sister. A tradition begin to form. By the time that same little girl was 14, she vowed to herself that she wanted to be the youngest person ever to run the Boston Marathon. (she wasn’t, just an FYI)She could feel the excitement coming out of Hopkington and wanted to be a part of that special magic. She couldn’t believe all those people were there to run a marathon!
Now, this little girl was not a runner. She was not a “natural” athlete with long lean naturally muscular legs. She was a (somewhat) lazy girl who, at best was a cheerleader(think “top” of the pyramid because she was little) for a few years, but the thought of running was really wayyyy out of her comfort zone, and never crossed her mind. If you had told her that within 5-10 years that she would be a die hard runner, she would have laughed at you.
Take #1:The marathon isn’t that long, I’ll be home for lunch.
Time moved on. When she was 18, she began to run as a way to “tone up” and get in shape. A couple miles a day turned into 3-5, and somehow, that turned into “Hey! I really think I can run THE MARATHON!”
But..she underestimated the beast that is “THE MARATHON.” Her first attempt to tame the beast was when she was 20 years old(2003). She hadn’t trained properly, nor did she really know how long the mileage would feel: it’s 26.2 miles. Twenty-six-mother-f*ing-WHY-DONT-YOU-JUST-KILL-ME-WITH-THE-POINT-TWO miles. It’s by no means “short.” she didn’t finish that year(16 miles). But she went back again two years later.
Take #2:If at first you don’t succeed…dust ya’self off and try again.
She went back again for more(2006).
She got a number from a local running club. Her BFF promised to pick her up at the finish line that year. This little runner didn’t even have her cell phone with her. If you can believe it, she left it at home. Next, she got really, really sick with (((ahem, TMI))) some explosive….situations that required the porta potty for about every mile. Halfway through, she had to start walking. Finishing felt like it may as well have been 100 miles away.
But, her BFF was there at the finish line waiting for her. By the time she actually got there (6+hours later!) she was beside herself in pain. She didn’t think she could finish, told BFF that she just wanted to go the f*** home already. BFF wouldn’t hear of it! They were only .25 from the finish line! BFF hopped the fence, took her arm, and made her finish.
I am that girl.
If my BFF hadn’t been there that day,I am 100 trillion billion% positive that I would not have had the courage to keep going. I just kept picturing her worried face, had no way to call her and tell her what was going on, and I didn’t want her to worry when I never showed up.. So I finished.
What would have become of me as a marathoner if I hadn’t finished that day? I have no idea. I don’t know that I would be where I am today. Finishing a marathon is not easy. It is hard. Sometimes, it will literally take everything you have in you until are about to break in half. Now, I know how much it takes to run the race. I know it isn’t all training: it’s mental, it’s guts, it’s the want of the glory…it’s heart. So that is why I finish,because I have the heart to do so. My first completed Boston took me over 6 hours…probably closer to 7, I don’t even know. But I had the HEART to finish it.
If I think back through my years of running, I see a lot of key elements and turning points tied to my own history with Boston. And I’m not surprised one bit because the picture from my 14 year old brain is still chrystal clear: there was a young, impressionable girl, and some marathoners. This sparked some motivation, some inspiration, and (eventually)an insane drive of wanting to be a better runner. I’m still that kid impressed by those Boston Marathoners. 14-year-old me is still there and she asks me all the time… So…are you ready to run?
Of course I tell her yes!
I will be back with part 2 tomorrow!