You know those times when you build something up in your mind as being so amazing that when it finally happens, it’s kind of underwhelming?
The Boston Marathon is totally not one of those things! 🙂
Marathon Weekend in Boston is everything I dreamed it would be and more. The energy, camaraderie, encouragement, and excitement began as soon as we got on the plane for Boston early Friday morning and continued until we got off the plane in Dallas Wednesday night.
The weekend was a roller coast of emotions. As you may recall, my “plan” for running Boston changed dramatically over the course of the training season. The original plan was always that Brad and I would run together. Then, as training progressed and the race got closer, Brad had insisted that I run my own race. He reminded me that I had worked incredibly hard to qualify; that I had been dreaming of running Boston for over a year; that I was in great shape and had a chance to set a personal record (PR) and re-qualify for Boston in Boston; that the qualifying standards continue to change, making it uncertain whether or when I will make it back to Boston; and that he was proud of all my running accomplishments. He convinced me to give it my all, and when we left Dallas, that was the new plan.
When we got to Boston and the race became a reality, though, it seemed wrong not to run together. When I went to bed the night before, I had no idea what I was going to do. Even on the bus ride out to Hopkinton, I was a complete wreck trying to decide whether to run my A game or run with Brad. Many people were shocked that I was even considering not ‘racing’ in Boston. Many people may not understand why this was such a tough decision for me. (I know this because I’ve gotten some pretty crazy looks as I’ve told this story to people over the last few days.) Let me just say this :: You only get one chance to run with your best friend during his first marathon. I remember how badly I wanted him to run my first marathon with me in Chicago 2009, but it wasn’t in the cards. He doesn’t have a real half marathon PR because when he was in his best running shape in early 2009, he waited for me in the Oklahoma City Half instead of racing ahead. All these tangible reasons and many more intangible reasons tugged at my heart-strings that morning while I tried to make a decision.
Ultimately, I chose to race. Even now, I can’t explain how or why I made this choice. I do know that, ironically, all I could think about were the reasons Brad had given me to race. I felt well-rested and strong. The weather was nearly perfect. I wanted to honor my training. And, this race was my dream. I told myself and the friend who was going to race with me, “If I’m not running with Brad, then we have to PR today. Got it?” Moments later, I was off to the starting line. I may never know whether it was the ‘right’ decision, but I’ve tried not to look back. With equal parts of my soul, I do not regret my choice and, yet, I also know that I will never miss another opportunity to run a marathon with him.
As a result, y’all are in for a real treat over the next few days. In addition to my race report (which I promise to publish by Monday!), I will be donating space for Brad to share his story. That he overcame so much adversity to make it to the starting line and finish his first marathon on this infamously brutal course is truly an inspiration.
So, please come back soon and indulge me while I try to find the words to describe this experience and share it with you chapter-by-chapter from expo to aftermath.