On Monday, I proved to myself that not only was “Boston Strong” but that “I was strong.” In the middle of freezing rain, super windy conditions, and low temperatures (mid 30s), I ran and completed my first Boston Marathon. It was not at all pretty, fun, or wonderful. It was actually quite the opposite; horrible, gruesome, difficult, and treacherous. Boston is considered the most prestigious of all world marathons with everyone having to time qualify to run, and I was super excited to attempt the master of all races. Due to the weather conditions, I knew that it was going to be difficult to run my hardest. So instead of racing, I focused on perseverance and completion.
And that is what I did. I put my head down, put one foot in front of the other, and did the race. It was by far the most difficult physical and mental battle I have ever completed. It was cold, freezing, lonely, isolating, terrible. But I didn’t want to give up — I couldn’t give up — not because I needed to prove anything to anyone, but I needed to show myself that *I* was strong. That even without the crowd support (very few supporters were out compared to normal) or a running partner / friend, that I could do it. Just me, myself and I. Even when I felt cold / weak / sad / lonely, I was working through it and putting one foot in front of the other.
But MAN, was it hard. I didn’t have a watch, was sopping wet from the beginning of the race, freezing and shaking the entire time, no music, no knowledge of my time or pace. I wore a poncho at the start because I needed to trap air in because I couldn’t stop shaking. And as it turns out, I wore the poncho the entire race. YEP, a trailing plastic cape that was basically a parachute holding air in making me slower. But to me, it kept me warm, so I couldn’t get rid of it. The rain was pounding THE ENTIRE race. I ran through puddle after puddle. Both feet were sloshing from mile 0 until the end. I had gloves on (with heating packets — thank god), but they were so cold that I had trouble getting my fuel (GU) out of my waist belt and in to my mouth. Basically, imagine the worst case possible to run a marathon, and that is what it was. HORRIFIC.
And yet, I finished. And I couldn’t be more proud of myself. Not a humble brag or trying to show off, but I proved to myself that against all odds, alone, cold, and miserable — that I had the heart, the grit, and the energy to make it to the end. The end was not fun because I collapsed and couldn’t stop shivering and sobbing. I was so upset and sad at how cold I was and couldn’t talk. I kept on asking volunteers where the family meet up area was, but no one could understand me because my teeth were chattering, I was sobbing and my words weren’t coming out correctly.
I completed the marathon in a 3:35. Not my fastest time, but I am super proud of it. It felt like I was running but not moving. And although my parents keep telling me to retire from marathon running (this was my 10th marathon in 5 years), I love the challenge of it. It pushes me, makes me work hard, dig deep, and forces me to give it all that I can. So, I am not retiring — signed up already for Chicago 2018, NYC 2018, and will sign up for Boston 2019 as soon as it opens (qualified). Thank you for all your support, and letting me share my craziness.
…..and now time to rest before the training begins again!