What Not Running the Boston Marathon Taught Me

It’s been a really rough few days. I pictured Marathon Monday going a lot of ways, but not starting was never a consideration. Then again, open deferment had never been a consideration for the BAA either. I guess it’s been a weekend of circumstance for everyone.

Not running on Monday was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. For 5 months, my life was training for Boston. Everything I did was planned around training runs. I barely went out, I spent an abnormal amount of time with my foam roller, and when people asked what my weekend plans were the response was always how long my long run was that week. Giving up the culmination of all of that hard work crushed me. I cried. A lot. I was angry. Really angry. Dad took me out to lunch, tried to reaffirm that it was going to be OK with sesame chicken and egg rolls, and my fortune even tried tobrighten my day.

Nothing worked. So I did what any girl in my situation would do- I asked my boyfriend to sit on the couch with me while I got drunk and cried. And he did. A couple times. And for that, I love him. High-five love. He also took me to Saquish Monday night so I could be as far away from the city as possible.

That view in April doesn’t stink.

Perfect morning view. Well, as perfect as it was going to feel.

But when I woke up Tuesday morning, my raging hangover reminded me of a thing or two…

The people in my life who matter love me not because I run marathons, most of the time, in spite of the fact that I run marathons. Dealing with a marathon runner is not an easy feat. They talk a lot about themselves, their training and their splits. Things that, unless you are a runner, you don’t care about. But my amazing friends and family have listened for the past 5 months, and I know how lucky I am to have those people.

I love training, and I love running. I also love being alive. When the BAA emails you “Speed Can Kill” and reminds you this is not a race, but an experience, you start to realize the danger of what you’re getting into. I can’t run another race if I drop dead of a heat stroke or asthma attack during this one. Let’s try to mitigate the possibility of that.

The people who judge my decision to defer are going to judge and there is nothing I can do to stop them. I read a lot of angry comment that said “Anyone who defers doesn’t deserve a Boston bib!” and things of similar tones. I deferred. I am proud that I listened to the warnings of my coaches and doctor and didn’t end up in the ER. Am I still terribly disappointed that my 5 months of training ended without a race? Absolutely. But I made the decision that was best for my health, and I’m okay with that.

The sheer animosity towards charity runners is sad. Not everyone can claim a Boston Qualifier. Yes, some people use the charity program as a way to buy their way into Boston. However, there are exponentially more people who could care less about running Boston, but are genuinely out there to support a cause they are incredibly passionate about. There was a woman on my team who reminded me of this every week. With two children under 6 at home, she still made time to make it to training runs every Saturday. She was admittedly looking at a 6-hour finish at Boston, but she didn’t care. She was there to honor who son, who was born at 1lb and spent months fighting for his life in the Children’s Hospital NICU. If he could get through that, she could get through a marathon. There was not a day that went by at practice that I viewed this woman as anything less than an inspiration for all of us who were running.

I thought of her even more when I started reading the comments about how it was so unfair that charity runners were being allowed to defer to next year and were taking spots away from “real runners”. This woman is more passionate and embodies the spirit of a “real runner” more than anyone I’ve ever met. So for anyone who says that charity runners should be kicked out of Boston, I ask you to take a look at the stories of many people running for charity and then see if you’re still so cold hearted about it.

Listening to your body is the most important thing you can do. My body has been freaking out of my for the past 4 weeks. My IT band that had not bothered me all season seized up and threw a wrench in my training. I started being clumsy and walking into things, and most notably down a flight of stairs. Accidents happen, but it was becoming a little too often to overlook. I was exhausted all the time. I tried to power through workouts despite all of these feelings.  After my cortisone shot, I was told to not work out for 3 days. Then Saturday happened and I found out I would not be running Boston. Today marks 8 days since my last workout. While part of me is dying to get out the door, most of me has felt more refreshed and clear headed in the past 3 days than I have in a while. My body and mind needed a break, and Saturday forced me to take one.

For those of you who are curious, I still went to spectate. For all the support the team has provided to me during the past 5 months, I wanted to make sure I made it to Wellesley to show my support for them. I even wore my planned marathon outfit. And yes, I cried a little when I got dressed that morning.

I was so excited to see this I teared up.

Going to Wellesley to see the families come out to cheer was the best thing I could have done with my day. It reminded me why I wanted to run this marathon to begin with, and how happy my 5 months of effort made so many families.

I loved my outfit. Green compression socks are awesome. Kayla is great too.

What happened happened. I can’t change it. I can’t go back and decide it’s a good idea to run. But I can look forward to Boston 2013 and know that 18 months of training for one race is going to make it an even more fulfilling experience. So for now, I’ll look forward to the Providence half on May 6 and getting back to a training schedule.

To everyone who had kind things to say over the past few days, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And for those of you who had not so nice things to say, sorry you feel that way.

See you in 2013 Boston! Did you run Monday? Was it everything you dreamed it would be? Did you defer? Let’s hear your Boston stories!

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One thought on “What Not Running the Boston Marathon Taught Me

  1. Pingback: I Think I’ll Go Run Boston | Happy. Healthy. Sweaty.

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