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Posts Tagged ‘BOston 2013’

My training plan for June’s 100-miler called for a 24 mile run yesterday.  As a result of the week’s events here in Boston, my training had been a mess, so I was determined to get my long run in.  Jess was kind enough to take the kids out for the day and leave me to my running.

My goal was to run slowly, somewhere in the 10:00 per mile range, to begin the physical, and more importantly psychological adjustment to running at a slower pace than I am used to.  It’s been a tough week here in Boston.  Last Monday’s bombings went right to my heart.  That, followed by the shootout late Thursday night where one brave officer was killed, the lock down of the Metro-West area on Friday and the eventual capture of Suspect #2 Friday night, has made the week a bit of a roller coaster to be sure.  Although I was able to keep #AutismStreaks going, my mileage was minimal.

When my feet finally  hit the pavement yesterday, I knew almost immediately my plans for the run were changing.  Earlier in the day the London Marathon was run, thankfully without incident.  For whatever reason, maybe it was that the Boston Marathon was still fresh in my memory, I just knew that I too would have to run a marathon – and so I did.  I worked my way to the Boston Marathon course and was pleased to find other runners who had the same idea.  Throughout my 22 miles on the course, I chatted with several runners, all of whom, out of some mystical drive had decided that on this day running 26.2 miles was important.  Some may have been running to show support, others may have been running to show defiance.

Me?  I was running for the spectators, the organizers, the security, the runners. I was running for the heroes, for the doctors, the police officers, the citizens who ran toward danger instead of away from it.

I was running for running.

There was something in the air, because every runner I passed made eye contact and nodded – an acknowledgment of unity, of brother and sisterhood.

At about 18 miles into my run, I passed a car at a stop light.  The windows were closed, but I could see the driver’s Boston 2013 jacket.  I shouted something, and pointed at him and continued on.  Moments later when he passed me, he rolled down his window, beeped and gave me a raised fist of defiance.  I did the same and then wept over the next half mile.

***

What was I looking for out there yesterday?
What did I find?

Early in my run I passed a Church that was just letting out of service.  I have not had a relationship with the Guy Upstairs in quite a while, and although I am currently a non-believer, I think I understand why people have religion.  The parishioners were smiling, speaking happily with each other.  Whatever their pastor had spoken about had obviously done some good.  As I watched them smile and chat, I realized that I too, in my own way, was attending church.  I found myself smiling, despite the fact, or maybe because of the fact, that I was pushing my body.

There is a certain peace one finds on the pavement (or trail as the case may be).  Whether running with friends or running alone, the very act of running, to me, is an act of affirmation; affirmation that I am alive, that I can achieve, that I can overcome.  It doesn’t always make me feel 100% good about whatever predicament I may find myself in, but I don’t think any religion or philosophy can do that.

What did I find out there yesterday?

I found a certain amount of peace.

I found the desire to just be.

302008_10151464857079915_1831274443_n

After 26.2 miles – 3:50:56

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dodo1

As I was watching the non-stop Boston Marathon bombing coverage on Monday night, someone came on the television talking about the different phases of how people would process the events of the day. First there was confusion, then there would be fear which would finally be followed by anger.

***

Yesterday I wrote about my confusion as to why one would attack long distance runners and an event like the Boston Marathon. Runners are a quirky, friendly lot; I just didn’t get it.  Speaking with a fellow Bostonian later in the morning, I compared runners to the now extinct dodo bird and the manatee.

Dodo bird? you may ask? The slow moving manatee?

We, runners, are a relatively easy going group that fears almost nothing. We’ve got our issues to be sure.  Who puts themselves through 26.2 miles of hell?  And of course, we can be pretty obsessive too.  Try talking to a marathoner for 15 minutes and I guarantee at some point they will mention running or training numbers or both.  We’ve pushed ourselves to the point of collapse over and over again.  One of our favorite posters is this:

Hell and back - 26.2 Miles

Hell and back – 26.2 Miles

…and then a lot of us go back and do it again and again and again.

So we really aren’t scared of a whole lot.

Our first thought when approached by a stranger is do they run.  Just like the dodo bird or the manatee, the marathoner has no known natural enemies – man, woman, tall, short, skinny, not so skinny, white, black, yellow, brown, red, blue, purple, religious, non-religious, right or left, gay or straight, wealthy or poor, disabled or not, blond, brunette, ginger…we. don’t. care.  We’re just happy if you want to join our band of runners.  We welcome everyone.

***

But I have now gone through the confusion stage, flown past the fear stage and have landed square in the middle of the anger stage.

I am now pissed off.

This dodo is MAD!!!

I saw this on my friend Laura’s open letter to runners, non-runners and even the asshat (my name for the bomber).

...yeah...wicked smaht asshat!

…yeah…wicked smaht asshat!

I thought, yeah!  We will get you MotherF***er!

During my run last night I could feel my anger bubbling over as I flew through a short 3-miler.  Before getting home I knew what picture I was going to post for my daily Instagram #AutismStreaks entry.  It was going to be my middle finger on my chest; a message to the asshat.  A “take that Motherf***er!”  

I was so friggin’ mad.

But then I took a breath.  I was still mad.  I was still angry. I still AM mad.  I still AM angry.  But I wasn’t going to let this guy win.  So I post this instead:

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#AutismStreaks Day 106 – a message to the asshat: we will persevere – it is who we are, it is what we do! 3.0 miles, 20:33, 6:51 pace.

Yes.  Perseverance is what we marathoners do.  We are patient.  We are focused.  We are relentless.  We are calculating.  We are like water in that we just. keep. coming.

It is who we are.

It is what we do.

 

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Last night I hopped in my car and drove so that I could take my daily #AutismStreaks run over to a specific part of the Boston Marathon course.  I ran up to it, refusing to run on it because that hallowed ground belongs to the runners today.  Instead I ran up to the twenty mile marker and took a moment to breath in what I envisioned would be happening today.   Mile 20 is right at the base of Heartbreak Hill, a place where many runners “lose it”.  I laid my hands on the ground, just hoping to absorb some of the energy and buzz that is the Boston Marathon.

Instead, I felt some of my energy flowing into the hill.  You know, energy is the wrong word.  It was more like my will flowing through my hands.  I could feel myself willing runners uphill during what will arguably be the hardest part of their day.

leaving some will power for both friends and strangers at the base of Heartbreak Hill...go get it my friends!

leaving some will power for both friends and strangers at the base of Heartbreak Hill…go get it my friends!

Whether you are a Boston first-timer, an experienced veteran of the Hopkinton to Boylston footrace or something in between, you are in for a treat today.  The forecast calls for 49° weather at the start and 49° weather at the finish.  I leave you with what I posted right before I ran Boston 2011, incidentally my last Boston to this point:

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs,
but he keeps on forgettin what he wrote down,
the whole crowd goes so loud

He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
He’s choking how, everybody’s joking now
The clock’s run out, time’s up over, bl-OW!
Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked
He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that
Easy, no
He won’t have it , he knows his whole back’s to these ropes
It don’t matter, he’s dope
He knows that, but he’s broke
He’s so stagnant that he knows
When he goes back to his mobile home, that’s when it’s
Back to the lab again yo
This whole rhapsody
He better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo!

-Eminem (Lose Yourself)

***   ***   ***

You never know when your next shot will be your last.

Get it!

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In three short days you will be toeing the line in Hopkinton for the Granddaddy of All Marathons.  On 26.2 miles of hallowed ground, you will follow the path taken by some of the all-time great marathoners.  I will not be with you on course on Monday.  Instead I will be cheering you all on from my couch; and I mean ALL – from the sub-3:00 marathoner to the shuffler coming in D.F.L.  The twenty some odd thousand of you who WILL cross the finish line on Boylston will be part of an exclusive annual group that so many yearn to join.

This year I will be one of those people looking from the outside in, but my heart and my soles will be with you every step of the way.

May your feet move swiftly, your breath be steady, your will like iron and your heart be strong as you fly to the finish…

...oh! and DO remember to look up at the camera when you cross the finish line!  (my first Boston - 2010, 3:32, a 22 minute PR)

…oh! and DO remember to look up at the camera when you cross the finish line! (my first Boston – 2010, 3:32, a 22 minute PR)

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