Wow! Has it really been 8 months since we last blogged? Life sure has been busy for us. Jimmy and I just returned from watching two of our running mates Ann & Missy along with several other friends run the Boston Marathon. Then a couple nights ago we gathered with some of our running mates to watch the documentary movie “Boston”. So I thought it would be a perfect time to catch you up with a quick review of the last 8 months.
My last article back in August was written one week before my attempt to qualify for the 2017 Boston Marathon. That race didn’t go nearly as planned. I waited too long to take in fuel which led to stomach issues around the half mark. I fell off pace quickly and by mile 20 there was no recovering. My first DNF. I was devastated and heart-broken!!! After so many months of training for that one day my BQ dream was destroyed just like that. Thank God for my amazing running family who came to the rescue and brought my spirits up quickly.
I also came out of that race with a nagging butt injury. Weakness in my left hams and quads were supposedly making my butt do all the work. I had to withdraw from running the Chicago Marathon too. After a couple of months of PT I was able to resume normal workouts and by November I ran a half marathon pain free and at an easy pace. I was ready to train for a spring full marathon. Jimmy and I targeted Ann Arbor at the end of March.
I went in to Ann Arbor with a different mentality. The BQ attempt taught me some lessons. I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to qualify, perhaps more than I could handle. Instead of having fun during my training I was overcome with anxiety. I knew my mindset had to change. It was time to start having fun again…so I did! I had a couple setbacks with the butt injury but when March came around I was ready to run and determined to finish this marathon.
A crew of ten made the weekend trip to Ann Arbor. Jimmy and I were running the full while our Running Mates Emily and Traci would run the half and the rest there to party and cheer us on. We started at the Big House (University of Michigan Football Stadium) and took off onto what would be the hilliest, most difficult course I had ever run. It’s a course that played with my mind mentally. Thankfully, our cheering section made it to many spots on the course to keep me going and often laughing.
I knew going into the race there were two loops and many hills. However I had no idea about the massive never-ending, steep incline at mile 11 which would need to be repeated at mile 24. It was a winding dirt path at the Nichols Arboretum. After surviving the first round I spent a half marathon freaking out about having to do that damn hill again. Mother Nature added salt to the wound by delivering some rain by mile 15 and when it was time to enter the Arboretum a second time She decided she would challenge me with a torrential downpour.
What Mother Nature couldn’t control was my attitude and determination at that point. My quads were burning from all the hills but overall I felt pretty good and knew I would finish the race. I took on that hill at mile 24 which was then an uphill track of puddled mud… and I won. The rain wasn’t phasing me one bit after that point. I was smiling and having fun which is the way it should be. All my running mates and my coach Eric were there to cheer me on down the stretch. I finished with a 5 minute PR and my first Sub 4 on the hardest course I’ve ever run. I crossed the finish line and screamed Fu@# Yeah!!!!
After shedding a few tears and hugging the crew it was time to cheer on Jimmy. He was battling a leg injury for the last six weeks of training and wasn’t sure he would run the whole race. When I saw him heading for the turn at mile 26 with a huge smile on his face I shed another tear. Then we celebrated with our beautiful friends.
Fast forward to Boston to cheer on our running mates Ann & Missy. Missy battled a butt injury for the last several weeks of her training. She did everything in her power to get as ready as possible for her dream race. Her goals were to finish, no matter how painful or how long it took and have fun! Ann, being the selfless, loving, and caring friend that she is was determined no matter what, to cross the finish line with Missy.
We were able to see them three times out on the course with their beautiful glowing smiles whenever they passed. They were truly living out their dream of running the Boston Marathon together. They lost each other for a short period but managed to find one another and vowed to not separate the rest of the way. After some walking and a couple of medical tent trips to treat Missy they smiled their way to Boylston Street and ran together to the finish line. Post-race smiles and tears of joy were flowing when we all reunited. It was simply magical to watch it all unfold.
The Boston experience from a spectator standpoint was greater than I ever imagined. To see runners from all over the world come together for the world series of marathons in such a beautiful city was one of the most moving experiences in my life.
The Documentary Boston was quite an educational experience. It taught us the exciting history of this great legendary Marathon and what it means to runners and the City of Boston. To look behind the scenes at how those putting the event together, the runners, and the City stood right back up after the 2013 bombings to make the event more special than ever brought me to tears.
I’m motivated now more than ever to keep me dream to BQ alive. As my friend Moira reminded me this weekend…”not if, but when”.