My initial reaction to “Would anyone be interested in Boston’s Run to Remember?” was exactly like yours, expressionless. The consideration surfaced after talking to my roommate. Everything in my life seemed so uncontrollable these days, I figured this was something that’s success solely depended on me and I needed that. Within a couple weeks I was signed up for my first half marathon telling myself to “just run the whole thing.”
My mom trained and finished a half marathon a year earlier, so my first instinct was to connect with her on a training schedule. Minutes later I had a hand written 2 month training program tacked on my bulletin board. The farthest I had ever run was 6 miles, but I think I made that up when telling people what I signed myself up for. Freak them and myself out less. 13.1 miles was never on my bucket list. Not one bone in this frail body wanted this, but I decided against checking the “cancel at a fee” box. Three, four, five miles rolled out my bowed legs like dough at a bakery. Six and I was walking around the gym like a rat. Like look at my beat red face and ask me how many miles I ran. Seven and I marched into my house high-fiving the roommates. Sammy leaped into the air and dabbed me his tail. Eight never happened. My roommate mapped out nine throughout our hometown. I shrieked. Driving that in my car was exhausting. On a cool Sunday afternoon I took it on with ease. As long as my pace stayed steady, my mind stayed fixated on a pop-culture themed TED talk and the temperature wasn’t a degree over 65, I was golden! The following week I went for 10. Killed twelve a week before the big day. With six days left to worry, I pondered over the realization that I absolutely should have trained more but it was too much of a misery. My love for freeing the mind via running was squashed. My once free mind would now dwell on my feet hitting the pavement and how many more steps until I was home, because what if something were to happen to me out here? I have no communication because I was mugged in NYC and left with a cracked first generation iPod touch. Those fear-provoked thoughts led me to my 5S. Needed it.
On Marathon-Eve I was Southie bound with Italian food on the mind. Carboload! Right? Typical me, instead, ordered pan-seared scallops surrounding a pile of whipped jalapeno potatoes covered in creamed corn, fried green beans and bacon crumbles. Let’s talk about sex baby. After dinner I made my way back to my friend’s apartment to watch “Her.” Need I say anything? Have you seen it? What the fuck? We hit the hay at 11 with our alarms set for 6am. I didn’t get a wink before 3am. Called my boyfriend at 2:30 with forced tears hoping it’d suppress some anxiety. He told me to breath and think about happy stuff. Thanks Dal. I fell asleep within 30 minutes, but you know that moment you’re finally getting to sleep and your mind and eyes just wanna look at the clock because they’re assholes? In those moments, I’d force a pile of golden retriever puppies into my consciousness. Worked every time. By 6:30 I was dressed, hydrated and stretched. We took a $5 cab to the start line.
12,000 runners began their own personal journey crossing that line. I told my friend to go ahead of me when she wanted, I was basically power walking. Seeing my parents a quarter mile from the start was all the motivation I needed. Tuned into my audiobook, I was enjoying the scenery. Running the streets of historic Boston is quite the treat. Then I saw the two-mile mark at TWENTY SEVEN MINUTES. My head spun around three times making sure I wasn’t the last person running. What in God’s name? Am I walking? Are my legs moving right now or is this an illusion? Am I dehydrated? Why am I running next to this woman with grey hair? Needless to say, I picked up the pace. I was downing Gatorade, water and Goo as if I was a paid spokes-model. My pace appeared to have doubled and I was heavily breathing, ducking and dodging. My audiobook transitioned into heavy hitting beats and the eleven mile marker had me at a sprint. No joke I felt alive! Telling myself to do this more often. High-fiving police officers like I was about to win the race. Smiling ear to ear like I’m going to finish this! It’s done! 100 yards out from the finish line I saw my parents again with Fancy by I-G-G-Y rupturing my ear drums. High-fived my parents and boom, I was going to throw up. The emotional rush of seeing the finish line combined with Goo, water and Gatorade was a sure fire cause for projectile vomit. 10 feet from the finish line I was doomed. Directly after the finish line I unleashed the fury. My phone began to ring and it was my boyfriend who first congratulated me, then asked about my puke. Thanks Dal. Got my medal! Finished the race! Patted my own back for a job well done.