Third Time’s The Charm

Today is the first day of my 2014 Boston Marathon Training schedule. And I woke up to this.

Festive- yes. Convenient? No.

Festive- yes. Convenient? No.

Ever since I got the news back in May that I’d be returning to the start line of Boston to finish what I started back in 2011, I’ve had mixed feelings. While I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to finish the Boston Marathon there is part of my mind that keeps going back to the “What if…” scenarios. No, I’m not worried about another terrorist attack on the marathon. My concerns are more personal, more targeted.

If you’re fairly new to the blog, I’ll give you some background. In 2011 I was accepted to run the Boston Marathon for Children’s Hospital Boston. I was beyond thrilled and followed the training plan down to the mile all season long. Every Saturday morning was dedicated to long runs, I didn’t go out socially if it would impact my running in any way and I was determined to cross the finish line in sub-4 hours. Everything was going perfectly according to plan until the team 21-miler four weeks before the marathon. My IT band in my right leg seized up so badly I didn’t make it past the 5 mile mark and I was sidelined for the rest of the training schedule. I went to yoga almost daily, got a cortisone shot and was still mentally prepared to run the full 26.2.

That was the plan, until the forecast came out. 88 degrees on race day for an asthmatic is already a worst-case-scenario; but for one who hasn’t trained properly for the past month, it’s a death sentence. Within 5 minutes of the announcement of the deferral option from the BAA my phone was ringing off the hook. My coach, saying it was the smart option for me. My doctors office gleefully explaining that I no longer “had to put myself through it” this year. And finally Jim, trying to calmly explain that this really was the best option and no one could fault me for doing what was in the best interest of my health.

So deferment it was. I was sad. I was angry. I was ready for 2013 training.

Unfortunately by the time 2013 training rolled around, I was not mentally prepared for it. We were in the midst of buying our first home (via shortsale- a process I do not recommend for anyone), I changed jobs and went back to bartending (which ate up most of my weekend time) and “training” consisted of fitting in the occasional 5-miler whenever I could get to it. It wasn’t ideal, but I still felt ready for April 15 when it rolled around.

We know what happened that day. I’m not getting into it again. The end result is that today, I’m staring down another Boston Marathon training season.

My body is healthy, my mind is burnt out from school but looking forward to working marathon training into my fitness regimen again. My worry has nothing to do with my ability to train properly or balance my running with my life. It’s the unexpected that I’m worried about. The thing that might stop me from crossing that finish line yet again that I couldn’t possibly imagine in this moment.

The what-if’s.

I know all of us who were there on April 15 are dealing with these emotions in different ways. Most of us are grateful to return, some of us are nervous. Others feel it’s their rightful place and some are just going back because they think it’s what they’re “supposed to do” to help themselves fully heal. No matter what we say, I think few if any of us have any idea how we’ll feel in Hopkinton that morning.

I’m looking forward to sharing this training season with you more than any other. At times I’m sure I’ll be exhausted and wonder why I chose to put myself through this again. At times I’ll be elated on a runner high and remind myself I never want to NOT be doing this, and at times I’ll forget to blog at all because I’ll have fallen asleep at 2pm after an 18-miler morning. Mentally, I want to take each run as it comes and deal with the emotions of it all on April 21, 2014.

At the finish line.


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