Friday, June 21, 2013

Return to Innocence

Whew- it's been a while. I may be a little rusty on how to write race updates but the next season for Ultras is right around the corner so I am flexing my finger muscles and getting back to it. Since deciding not to raceat Weymouth Woods,  I have found myself simply enjoying the act of running. The social, therapeutic and slightly ego centered aspect of it. I have found my joy again from roads to gnarly trails...I'm baaaaack! That being said I have raced since January- here's the shortened version:

I was excited to take a trip to Boston to participate in the ever-sought-after 117th running of the Boston Marathon. The experience in itself is spine tingling! My mom joined me on the trip north along with two dear friends Emily and Phyllis. The fanfare was easy to be caught up in!

Unfortunately on Saturday night I found myself feverish and unable to swallow effectively. After a terrible night of sleep I awoke with glands the size of golf balls. Trekking over to Boston General and the fantastic staff at their Sunday clinic (brilliant idea and covered by my insurance) they told me I had strep throat. The doc said "no go" when I asked about running. I literally sobbed for almost an hour, which hurt like hell in my state.  I refused not to race, I hadn't trained that hard to qualify and come all this way to sit on the side and not race. So I called my mom and she made an "in house delivery" of chicken noodle soup. I swallowed the dose of anti-biotics, painkillers and tucked myself in to sleep as much as I could saying a slew of prayers.

Monday morning we woke to say the least- giddy. I could swallow and there had been a drastic improvement on how I felt. Gear was donned and we were off to experience the bus ride out to the start. There are so many things that are part of the race that it would take me forever to recap but just know; it was magical. You want to pinch yourself and you can't help but grin.
The starting line

I had decided it would be an easy race- sit back and enjoy the scenery and have fun was the sage advice from my running partner and friend Tom. We headed towards the corrals and waited for our turn to run. Emily and I started out together but just about around mile 9 I had to drop back. I wasn't feeling too hot and slowed. All I can say is it is the most wonderful 26.2 miles anyone can ask for. Beautiful rolling course and a million fans screaming for you to do what you do best; run. From the screaming girls at Wellesley college to the kids on the side of the road handing out water, the city and every village in between supports this race like nothing I have ever seen. I could not stop smiling. I was part of something some people never get to race and I was loving all of it!

When I crested the small hill by Fenway Park- I knew I was almost home. Allowing my pace to quicken I zoomed comfortably to the last stretch of the race down Boylston. The cheers from the crowd are almost deafening. You feel like you could fly and soak every second in down that stretch.  Crossing the line drew a gasp and a few tears from my tired body. But it was when the volunteer placed that coveted medal around my neck that I was truly appreciative of what I had come to be a part of. I picked up my gear and headed back to the hotel- calling my dad along the way to tell him I finished and listed to his pride gush as his voice broke over the phone.I finished in a respectable 3:50 something time frame. Not shabby but by far not my fastest but I am happy to have ran and finished safely. 

What happened next has been on every paper, news cast and magazine around the world. I do not want to dwell on it because it is still a very raw memory for me and I want to remember the good in this race. We did not hear the explosion, but we did witness the chaos of police, national guard and military influx into Boston Common across the street from where we stayed. All I can say is we were scared, shocked but relieved to be safe. The stories that come from the survivors tell a far better account of the fear that gripped that city. A dear friend of mine and her family were injured in the bombing and the news of it shook me to the core. I am happy to report they are recovering beautifully. With that being said, the 117th running of the Boston will have a sour note to it however the good memories are still there for me.

Much love to the BAA and the city of Boston for handling the tragedy flawlessly. Unbelievable city, unbelievable strength in its'

people. Makes me smile with tears as I type this. My heart goes out to all victims of the tragedy, but we will run on #BostonStrong 

Upcoming for me will be my return to the Ultra world. The Annihilator 50k in early August will be a true test of grit for me but I have great company for that race and am excited to hit some trails. Followed up by the
WC Ultra Trail Marathon at the US National Whitewater Center. I am eager to get out there and race. LETS DO THIS!