Marathon weekend is upon us.
The weekend I have been focused on for not just the past 368 days, but for the 365 before that too.
The weekend that we, the runners of not only last years Boston Marathon; but any marathon, 5K, treadmill workout or afternoon stroll, will reclaim our day.
Of course this Marathon Monday will be different, there’s nothing we can do to change that. It will be different in great ways, like the expected 1 million spectators, the extra 9,000 runners and the excitement about reclaiming what the Boston Marathon should be about. It will be different in scarier, more precautionary and slightly paranoid ways, with everyone looking a little closer at those around them with the worst case scenario playing in their minds.
My dream is that there would be absolutely nothing different about this Monday. That it will be a Boston like the 116 before last year. That the people who lived along the course would come out and cheer, along with family members of those running. That news outlets from other parts of the country would cover the story from the angle of “So Boston got yet another Monday off of work for a holiday they made up to have an excuse to go day drinking in the spring!” and it would be a quick blurb in the 6:00pm newscast.
Obviously, this dream isn’t going to come true.
So where do we go from here? We move forward. We put one foot in front of the other and we make every attempt to suck every last moment of joy that we can out of the next 72 hours. It’s going to be a unique weekend, and we owe it to ourselves and those who have put up with us for the never ending training cycles to enjoy this gift we’ve been given.
Tomorrow morning I’ll head to the expo (one of my favorite places) and pick up my bib, spend too much money on fun running things that aren’t going to make me any faster, prettier or more comfortable at mile 24 despite what the sales people tell me.
I’m hoping to get a chance to meet so many of the wonderful people I’ve gotten to know through the 5700 Strong group, which has offered so much support for everyone dealing with the roller coaster of emotions after last year and coming back for 2014. There is a special seminar for us at noon on Saturday, so if you’re going to be there let me know!
After the expo, I’m going to have lunch with my wonderful friend Ali, where I will complete one goal I’ve had for the past two Boston Marathon weekends. I will drink a 26.2 brew (or 3). I’ve done more planning to drink this beer than planning for logistics on race day. Priorities.
After lunch I’ll walk around the city and take in all the excitement and remember that there are THOUSANDS of runners who so desperately wanted a spot in the 2014 field and were denied. Runners who are faster than me. Runners who have run Boston more times than me. Runners who would not have minded training in a Polar Vortex as much as I did. Seriously, that sucked. A lot.
As for the normal race weekend concerns of “What will I wear?/eat?/add to my playlist/be too concerned about?”, I’ve been surprisingly unconcerned. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m tired, I’ll sleep. I’m going very Forest Gump-y in my approach this year.
I can’t promise that I’m not going to cry this weekend, or that there won’t be moments during the race where I wonder why I put myself through this again. What I can promise is that come Hell, high water, blisters, hunger pains or leg cramps on Heartbreak Hill, I will finish and earn my medal the right way this year.
See you in Hopkinton…