In less than 24 hours from now (knock on wood) I'll be a finisher of the Boston Marathon- the World Series/Superbowl/ Stanley Cup of weekend warrior running.
I was an "on again/ off again" runner for most of my adult life until I started running regularly about 8 years ago. At that point I started like so many other runners do- I realized that I was at the tipping point of losing any kind of fitness that had carried through from my younger days, and I knew that once it was gone it would be really hard to get it back. I started out with a 4km loop from my house that I would do 2 or 3 times a week, and found that after a few months I was starting to get into better shape- I was losing weight, I could go a bit faster, and I felt more fit. In the fall of 2009 one of my co-workers did our local marathon, and that got me thinking that maybe I should do one. Up until that point I had never considered even entering any sort of race, let alone a marathon. And of course, once I decided to run a marathon, the Boston Marathon became a goal. It became one of the driving forces in my training- on those cold, dark winter mornings when the last thing I wanted to do was get out of my warm bed at 4:45am and run in a blizzard, the idea of getting to Boston pushed me. On those weekends when I had a million other things I could be doing other than my long run, the goal of the BQ made me prioritize my time and find a way to fit that run in.
Now that I'm on the verge of running in Boston, it seems hard to believe. Something that has been dangling in front of me, and at many times seemed unachievable, is finally about to happen. It all seems quite surreal, but I'm trying hard to soak in the experience. Being downtown for the BAA 5K yesterday, being at the Expo, driving around the city and seeing signs for it everywhere, turning on the radio and hearing the announcers talk about it- it's going to be an amazing day, and I'll be trying to soak in as much of the experience as I can.
For me, getting to run the Boston Marathon is more than just the event- it tells me that I have the guts to stick it out when I feel like giving up, to train hard when I don't feel like it, to not give up on a dream even when it seems like it will never happen. In a way I kind of feel like when I cross the finish line tomorrow afternoon, a chapter of my life will be ending. There has been so much focus on qualifying and getting to the Boston Marathon, and with that done, my goals are shifting to something else. It's been a great experience just getting to this point, and I'm really looking forward to taking it all in tomorrow.
To all the other runners who will be out there tomorrow- good luck