Sunday, March 23, 2014

Part of Something Big

Yesterday was supposed to be an easy "step-down" week to relax, recover and rejuvenate after last weekend's 18 miler and before next weekend's 21 miler. However, there was nothing relaxing or easy about yesterday's run.

I hit the streets with some Race for Rehab teammates for 14 miles of pure hills. We started at Newton Wellesley Hospital and ran the notorious inclines twice, once out and once back. This reminded me of something my mom used to say to me when I complained about walking to the bus stop: "I walked to school in the snow, up hill, both ways!" Well, she did grow up in Newton, so maybe she wasn't exaggerating, after all. The course was absolutely packed, probably the busiest day that I have ever seen, which made the climb a little more manageable. Along the route I bumped into easily 10 people that I knew. That got me thinking about my journey to 26.2....

I started seriously training last fall, not knowing a single thing about running. My shoes were old and too small, I owned cheap gym clothes, I didn't have a clue about nutrition and I thought stretching meant bending over to touch your toes. Not only have I increased my fitness level over the last several months, but also my knowledge of the running community...and it IS a community. As I scaled one of the first hills in Newton I heard someone yell my name. My initial reaction was 'who the heck knows me here,' but as the figure came into focus, I realized that it was a friend that I made as a result of my training. This scenario played out several more times during my run. Yesterday was the first time that I realized that I am part of something big. Bigger than transforming from a non-runner to runner (yes, I said it!) bigger than Spaulding's Race for Rehab Team, even bigger than the 118th Boston Marathon. Being a runner is like being a part of a religion, an alma mater, an exclusive club and some may even argue a cult! Runners wave to each other, whether they know each other or not; they smile, they cheer each other on, they even think of themselves as one, evidenced by John Hancock's #weruntogether hashtag. It doesn't matter that one person can run 7-minute miles and another needs 12 minutes, they are both runners.

Yesterday's run got me excited, reenergized and proud of what I am now a part of. I'm ready, or at least I think I am, for April 21st. I have one more long run left next weekend and then its time to taper and mentally prepare for 26.2. 

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