Heading to Boston
I’m running the Boston Marathon Monday.
I am filled with a lot of feelings — nervousness, a bit of anxiety, but mostly, I am excited. I haven’t been this excited about running in a while.
After being completely burned out in the fall, I had to take a step back. The funny thing is, I wasn’t burned out from running. I had no desire to take a break from running. I was burned out from all the pressure I had placed on myself to go faster, to go harder, to go further.
I had to mentally take a step back and think about why I run, and what has kept me running consistently for the past seven years. The answer is not PRs, though those are nice. The answer is not winning an age group award, though those are nice too. The answer is not race t-shirts, because I have boxes of those I refuse to part with, so I definitely do not need any more.
I run because I genuinely love running. I thought back to the summer of 2010 when I ran a whole mile down Front Street and was so excited that I called my mom to tell her. I thought of all the amazing friendships I’ve made through running and all of the incredible memories I have made.
So, for the past five months, I’ve just run. I don’t worry about my pace; the Garmin is long gone again. I run because I need it. I am up before the sun most days, and while getting out of a cozy bed isn’t always easy, I know by those first few steps that it is worth it.
I’ve done the training to run a marathon, but for the first time ever, I have taken all the pressure off of myself. I am so excited to go to Boston and run the Boston Marathon. I am so humbled to be tracing the footsteps of so many talented athletes. I am so excited to not stare at my watch the entire time, calculating splits.
This is my third Boston. I was really sick for my first Boston, and last year, I was in excellent shape and was seeking revenge and I ran a great race for me. This year, I am in shape to run a marathon, but I know I am not in great shape. I had to get back to a good place mentally with running without putting so much pressure on myself.
Over the course of my training cycle, I ran a few races, and I didn’t run particularly great times in any of them. In the past, this would have ruined the day, at least, and I’d probably spend a week stewing about how ‘slow’ I was. However, now I pout for 15 minutes and get over it.
“It wasn’t my day.”
At a recent race, I was standing near the results to see what my official finishing time was. A guy near me was pretty upset and started talking to me. Last year, he had run this same race significantly faster and had finished much higher. He just kept saying he couldn’t believe this had happened, how could he be so out of shape?
And I looked at him, shrugged and I said, “It’s just running. It’s OK.”
I just said it without thinking, and I realized how far I have come mentally with the sport in the past few months.
It’s just running. We — or at least I hope most of us — run because we love it. And while setting PRs and winning shiny medals is super, it’s not the be all, end all.
I run because I love it. And sometimes, I am fast, and sometimes, I am pretty slow, but it doesn’t matter.
There won’t be a fairytale ending Monday, as my left leg is currently being held together with Kinesio tape. But it’s just running. And I am so pumped to go just run the Boston Marathon again.