I've somehow managed to become a "DFMC Pacesetter" for the second year in a row, and am only about $1400 short of reaching my fundraising goal (thank you thank you thank you!). I've miraculously reached a state of being tendonitis-free in my knee, despite the steadily-increasing mileage (kinesio tape is magic), and have felt strong in most of my long weekend runs. Most importantly, I think I'm ready to run the Boston Marathon again.
This last statement speaks primarily to a sort of psychological and emotional conditioning during of my past several months. Back in February, I attended a special DFMC meeting at which a guy by the name of Patrick Downes talked to us. He and his fiancé Jessica each lost a leg in last year's bombing. After hearing his story, I asked him a question:
What are you doing to mentally prepare yourself to enjoy April 21st, a day that will no doubt be laced with memories and feelings related to the life-changing awfulness you experienced last year?
Patrick answered my question by talking about the outpouring of love and support from people all over the world he and his wife have experienced over the past year and how the Boston Marathon bombings have amazingly brought people together in a way that is truly remarkable and will be celebrated during this year's race.
I think this was a good answer to my question, but it has only resonated with me in the past few weeks, as the weather has started getting nicer and excitement has started to build around me here in Boston. I think I needed to answer that question for myself in the context of my own personal experience-- and have made a point to reflect on the moments I've had over the past year that would not have been the same without last year's tragedy:
- A few weeks after last year's race, I spent 24 hours in a van with a group of complete strangers during the Massachusetts Reach-The-Beach relay race, and discovered some fantastic new friends.
- I joined Achieve Fitness in Somerville and met some more friends, including the owners, Jason and Lauren, who offered to host a "DFMC MetCon" charity workout for me last month. Thanks to a great turnout of my friends at Achieve, who invited some of their own friends, I raised another $850+ toward my goal.
- I got to show my Grandpa Bob, who passed away last month at a ripe old age of 96, a photo album my mom put together of last year's race weekend. He was so, so proud of me.
- In November I ran the New York City Marathon with my friend Susanna, beating my Boston time by 9 minutes. Some of our friends made the trip down to cheer us on, and after the race I received so many incredibly supportive emails and Facebook messages from other friends of mine who were tracking me during the race.
- In the past six months, I've competed in two foot races with my five year-old nephew, Jackson. I won the first race, but he smoked me the second time.
- A few weeks ago, I spent a morning masquerading as a Nike model, attending a photo shoot with some other "real" Boston runners for their newly-renovated Newbury Street store that's set to open next week. I also got invited to the Red Sox game this past weekend with the Nike Run Club, made some more new friends, and got my picture taken with the World Series trophy.
I am so incredibly grateful for all of these experiences and all of these friends. Through running and fitness, I've found a community of extraordinary people who mostly just want to have fun together but find as much value in challenging themselves as they do in supporting one another. I could not be so mentally and physically prepared for this race without these experiences and others like them. And through them, I've experienced an outpouring of love and support for myself.
I wanted the focus of this year's race to be on its spectacle, not its tragedy, but I've come to realize that this is all just part of the story of the Boston Marathon. Last year was a terrible year in it's history, but I think we will all share a particular appreciation of human resiliency and community as a result of it.
I'm ready for closure, and so excited to run my heart out for my city.
I'm humbled to be a part of it.
My bib # is 26313, and you can learn how to track my progress during the race here. There's also plenty of time to help me hit my goal for DFMC...