Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mayhem on Marathon Monday

The events at the 117th Boston Marathon will never be forgotten. It didn’t just affect the running community – it affected the world.  A marathon doesn’t only test the spirit of the runner, it tests the spirit and tenacity of their loved ones enduring the months of training to qualify for the Marathon and then training to stay pace and/or set a PR. Marathon Monday was supposed to celebrate all the months of training and support. What happened instead was of unspeakable horror.

Marathon Monday is on Patriot’s Day, which commemorates the battle of Lexington and Concord, (the start of the Revolutionary War). The area around the finish became a war zone and two bombs were detonated shortly before 3PM (EST) and 4 hours after the starting gun went off for the 2013 Boston Marathon. Cheering spectators gathered to cheer on runners.  Many spectators don’t even know a participant – they are there to support. Reports of the number of victims vary, but agree that the numbers are 150+ victims and 3 deaths.

The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) made headlines in the running world last year when they told runners due to extreme heat on Marathon Monday, runners would be able to take a bye and they would be able to run in 2013.  In 2011, the BAA tightened qualifying times and also struck out the 59 second grace period. On Monday evening, rather than celebrating the achievements of the runners, the BAA had to release this statement on their website, “Today is a sad day for the City of Boston, for the running community, and for all those who were here to enjoy the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. What was intended to be a day of joy and celebration quickly became a day in which running a marathon was of little importance.”

And as I cheered on friends from 3,000 while tracking them on my cell, a friend called to tell me about the blast. We had several friends running, and we knew one of our dear girlfriends was projecting to finish around 4 hours. Our hearts were in our throats. We knew she would be close to the finish & we knew her husband would be waiting for.  We quickly scrambled to find information. All of their friends were panicked, and with cell phone service around Boston suspended, we relied on social media. And while we prayed fervently for their safety and the safety of others, reports of critical injuries and death swept across the news outlets.  Soon, we had news: Hubby and runner wife had been reunited. They were at the ER— Hubby was in the blast. He has a shrapnel wound and received several stitches. I could not imagine the extreme panic running towards danger and then not knowing where your loved one is. I know the two of the will continue their endurance running. Other running friends have said they will not let this change their love of the sport. Still others I’ve spoken with want to take up racing to prove that this act of terror will not get the American people down and that something as pure as the marathon will endure.  The Boston Marathon is still on my life’s to do list and while it can’t be my first marathon back from surgery- the need to run from Hopkinton to Copley Square in Boston has been reignited. I stand with other runners and the world to pray for peace and pray for the families of the victims. Many are not as lucky as my friend with the shrapnel wound.

Monday, April 1, 2013

LA Marathon 2013

The Marathon-

It’s 26.2 miles of unknown. No matter how many marathons you’ve done, there is no way of knowing what will happen during your race miles. A pebble inside your shoe at mile 5 or another runner cuts you off, tripping you… and then, there’s the WALL. It’s out there looming for most runners. People run the marathon for all kinds of reasons— for charity, because it has been burning in their soul, to beat their last race time.  I want to do another race, and just need to set aside the time to train, but I feel like my brain surgery and recovery took up so much time, now that I’m not putting all my energy into healing, I’m doing all those other things I couldn’t do while healing.

I still enjoy those long runs, even if I’m not logging 20 miles on Saturday. The long runs vary and for the most part have been done with my running buddy.  For all the years I’ve known him he has vehemently opposed the test of 26.2 miles.  Yet, on March 17, I found myself cheering him on for his first marathon.
A friend at work strong armed him into signing up and since we’ve logged so many miles together had so much smack talk and has been like a brother, I decided to organize a relay team to pass him of like a baton between the miles. I knew ego would forbid him from dropping out, but a relay team that essentially has him on a leash would be an even bigger barrier and keep him company through the solitude of the miles and help push him through the wall when his body gets cold and achy.

We started the relay around mile 9 and it continued until our last relay team sent him through the shoots and to his finish. It’s too soon to goad him into another race, and it’s too soon for me to contemplate a race, but the race is out there on the horizon… My next race just might be side by side with a friend rather than in the solitude.