Exactly a year ago today I ran my first marathon.
It was cold and windy and rainy. The course ran next to the ocean, adding salt water to the rain water that had soaked me to the core before I had even run a mile.
I was terrified. I had only been running for a year, and had my sights set on running Boston.
I had been on the finish line when the bombs went off in Boston, and told myself I would run the race because it was the only thing I could think to do that would somehow make any sense of the chaos I felt.
So this was my test run. I picked a hilly marathon and told myself if I could run it in less than 6 hours, then somehow, some way, I could run Boston.
It was an out and back course, which meant at the half-marathon mark, I had to run past the finish line to keep going and loop back out. I was cold and in pain, completely undertrained and not fully prepared, but I told myself I would keep going.
“Relentless forward motion” I repeated in my head over and over.
From mile 15 on, I told myself I could do anything for just one more mile.
All that mattered was that I could finish in less than 6. I didn’t care what it took. I had to prove to myself that I was stronger than all of the horrible things I had seen, and that if I set my mind to something, I could do it. Whatever it was.
Exactly one year ago today I finished that race. You could wring out every article of clothing when I was done. I could barely peel my clothes off afterward they were so plastered to my body by salt and rain water.
But I did it. I finished. 5:50.
After that, I began training for my first Boston as a charity runner. I finished in 5:38.
Even though my first marathon and my first Boston were on different days, they are linked together forever to me.
Now, in just one short year, so much has changed.
I’m stronger in some ways, and weaker in others.
And I’m prepping to run my second Boston as a charity runner.
And my goal this year is to shave as much time off of that 5:38 as I possibly can.
I want a BQ in my lifetime. I don’t care how long it takes.
Just like finishing that first marathon in less than 6; Relentless forward motion.
Once I figured out during that first marathon that the thing about pain is that it demands to be felt, and that once I admitted I felt it and moved on, I could keep running forever.
Bring on Boston.
Last year was about survival, this year is about living.