It’s one of my least favorite things to do. I’m a very go-go-go person. I get out of bed at 7am on Saturdays, I rarely get to sleep before 11:30 and if I’m left at home with no game plan that usually means I’ll go on a OCD cleaning spree of my room, car and closet space. So when I filled out my applications to run the Boston Marathon through their charity program 2 weeks ago I knew the waiting would be the worst part.
Now, before you harp in on me- yes- I’m running for charity because I did not qualify for the Boston Marathon. Believe it or not, not every avid runner can clock a sub-3:45 marathon. I tried. I trained. I ran Chicago 2010 in 86 degree heat. No BQ for me. But why should that stop me?
I have lived south of Boston my entire life. I remember the Boston Marathon being a huge deal when I was younger for two reasons.
1. It was always the Monday of April Vacation. What is April Vacation you may ask? I recently found out that this doesn’t happen everywhere in the country, but in Massachusetts public schools get two one-week vacations after Christmas break. The first is in February, and the second in April. As an adult, you also get this glorious Monday in April off should you work within the city of Boston. This my friends is Patriot’s Day. A holiday only celebrated in Massachusetts. Does anyone call it Patriots Day? No. It is Marathon Monday. Get it right. We take that Monday to celebrate the insanity and dedication of those willing to run 26.2 miles through the hills of the west-of-Boston suburbs all the way into the city.
2. It was the one day a year my mother would actually keep an eye on a sporting event and comment on it. Now, my mother has never been a runner. She’s never been an athlete. She was a cheerleader before cheerleading became a sport. So when I say she watched a sporting event, you need to realize what an event this was. But she would not watch it with the same awe and inspiration that the other parents would. She would watch it the way some people watch “When Animals Attack!“. “Why would anyone put themselves through that. I just don’t get it. Look at them, they don’t even look like they’re enjoying themselves…” Every year it was the same shock and horror out of mom. Those people who ran Boston had to have been doing it for some reason other than to horrify my mother. And I realized the only way I was going to find out why was to do it myself. Around the age of 13 I forgot about this ambition. Then at 24 it caught back up with me.
So after months of training and hard work I went to Chicago to see what the marathon was all about. Why Chicago when I live 20 minutes from the most legendary marathon course in the world? Chicago is flat. Boston is not. I’m not a huge fan of hills. Especially the idea of 26.2 miles of them when I had never run any road race before. Ever. Start big- with a marathon. Start small- no hills. It seemed like a fair compromise to me.
Now, I realized that getting a BQ on your first marathon is nearly- if not completely- impossible. I’m not Kara Gaucher. A sub 3-hour debut just wasn’t in the cards for me. A sub-4 hour seemed just as unlikely. And right I was. I went to Chicago. I finished. And in the end, that was all I needed to understand why all those people ran Boston.
With my love of the marathon affirmed, I knew I wanted to run Boston. However, I also knew that a BQ was in my distant future. I’m impatient. I want to run Boston while I’m young, injury free and able to appreciate the after-party. So now I wait. Please pick me Boston, please? If for no other reason than it would be nice to have mom see me on TV and explain to the newest generation that “marathoner’s are crazy, and your aunt is one of them.“