It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Spoiler alert: I am not going to win the Boston Marathon.
Shocker, I know. Sorry for this disappointing news.
Through out this whole experience I’ve always believed that I can run 26.2 miles and I have convinced myself that my body can handle it no problem. My three goals for running this marathon are:
- Raise $9,000 for Brigham Women’s Hospital Gillian Reny Foundation for Trauma Innovation
- Train injury free
- Complete the marathon in under 4 hours
We are just a few days away (!!!!) from the marathon and here’s where I stand on these goals:
- I’m almost done fundraising!! I have one more event left and then I should be in the clear. Yes!!
- My training was the opposite of being injury free. I’ll elaborate in a minute.
- This is still to be determined, we’ll find out on Monday, April 17th :)
Two years ago I decided to run my first half marathon. It was the BAA half, the same organization that hosts the Boston Marathon. I had zero expectations for that race. I just wanted to run, have fun and complete what seems like an impossibly long distance to me. And I did just that! I seriously had a blast. I know it might sound weird, but I was smiling the whole race and felt like I could have kept running. It was a perfect sunny day and everyone was cheerful, energetic and supportive. That is when I fell in love with the running community. I’d never encountered a sport like this before; every single runner I’ve met is more than willing to chat about running, answer questions, give you a pep talk, sympathize with your hurdles and just overall encourage you to keep going.
Last year I ran the same half marathon again. This time was a little different. The weather was cold and rainy, I had trained through a few minor injuries and just didn’t feel on my game, ya know? But the biggest differences between my first half and my second was that I now had expectations: I wanted to beat my time from last year. This made me stressed out the entire race because I was so determined to run faster. About halfway through the race I tried to convince myself that it was okay if I did not get a better time. I told myself to just run and enjoy the race, as much as one can enjoy a cold and soaking wet run. I did end up beating my time by seconds, and I’m happy I PRed, although it was at the expense of having fun and feeling good while running. The first year I easily could have ran another 3 miles, but this second time I was absolutely exhausted. I immediately felt sore and wanted to go home to nap. Needless to say, I learned a little bit more about what my body is capable of doing vs. what it feels comfortable doing.
So here I am, a few days away from running my first full marathon. I always like a good challenge and running a full, especially in my city, seemed like the perfect next step. I remember watching the marathoners run last year and desperately wanting to be a part of this prestigious race, crossing that historical finish line on Boylston Street. This was my year to finally do it. It was perfect timing and I felt ready for it. I applied for a team, was accepted and began preparing to make that 26.2 journey. As I said earlier, one of my goals was to run injury free. Shortly into training my right knee starting bothering me. I felt it after my first long run. It kept getting worse. The pain traveled up the side of my leg and into my right hip. There were days when I had trouble even lifting my leg! My coach told me it was an IT band injury and I needed to stop running so I could focus on healing. This was so frustrating, but I didn’t have any other option. After a couple weeks the pain went away and I was back at it with my runs. I felt amazing and was so thrilled to be training again. But then my knee started acting up again. It became so excruciating on my runs that I had to stop. Since that day, in mid-March, I have not run at all. Instead I’ve been cross training, swimming, stretching, working on breathing exercises and doing whatever else I can to take care of my body. My longest run was 14 miles. At this point, my marathon will come down to my mental strength.
I cannot begin to describe to you how it felt to watch everyone carry on with their training and not be able to partake. I missed runs with my charity team, didn’t get to experience the 21-mile training run on the course, didn’t really get to train in the infamous Boston winter (which maybe was a good thing). I felt disappointed that my body wasn't able to train like I wanted it to. But clearly it was sending me a message to slow down and I had to listen. I am grateful for my body and all it has done for me, so the best thing I can do is send it all my love. This past month of “training” had been about me giving my body what it was asking for, so that I may ask it to run 26.2 on Monday.
The past few weeks for me have been about positivity. Telling myself I can do this. Believing that I will run 26.2 miles without pain. Knowing to my very core that I will cross that finish line.
I still have an expectation for what I would like my time to be for this marathon. But I learned that while expectations can be good and push us to become stronger, they do not define us. So no matter what happens, no matter what my time is, no matter how my body reacts in this race—I’m proud to be part of the 2017 Boston Marathon.