Monday, April 7, 2014

21 Miles and Counting

I can't believe that I have neglected to post about my latest training developments, but I have been a little busy lately. I left my position as Individual Giving Officer at Spaulding on March 27th and three days later jumped on a plane for some R&R before starting my new job as the Boston Heart Walk Director for the American Heart Association (today was my first day!) So, I apologize for being delinquent. A lot has happened since my last the fact that I ran 21 miles! Actually, according to Suzanne's running app, 21.6 miles, so lets start there:

On March 29th I woke up like any normal, or what is becoming a normal, Saturday morning. I ate my breakfast, rolled, stretched and drove to Spaulding to meet up with my fellow teammates. When I arrived at the hospital I was in awe of the crowd gathered in neon Race for Rehab singlets. The energy was contagious. The nerves that I had been feeling about 21 miles instantly turned into motivation. All of these people were in the exact same boat as me. After a few group photos, we boarded the Yankee Line busses and began our trip to Natick to commence our longest long run.

As I started the run with my now normal running crew, I felt excited, yet anxious about the miles ahead. The nerves must have gotten the best of me, because one half mile into the run, my foot caught a piece of metal in the road and I tripped and fell. I hit my knee on the pavement, ripped my pants open and instantly started bleeding. I couldn't believe it, 1/2 mile in and my run was ruined...or was it? The old me would have stopped, stayed on the ground, cried and walked back to where the busses had just dropped us off. However, I did the complete opposite: I got up, dusted my hands and knees off and kept going!

The course was packed with charity runners. To be honest, I've seen 5K races with less participants. We even had spectators! I'm not going to lie, the 21 miler was the hardest training run I have had yet and that includes the ones over ice and snow. Not only was the distance a bear, but my knee killed the entire time after the fall. There was one particular time that stood out to me where I thought I was going to have to give up and quit. However, as if she was placed in the most apropos location, the younger sister of Martin Richard, the little boy killed in last year's marathon bombing, came into focus holding out water for the runners. I grabbed a cup from her, said thank you and kept pushing. I had to. I couldn't give up. Martin will never have the chance to run the Boston Marathon and if his sister ever chooses to, her uphill climb to 26.2 would be far greater than mine with one prosthetic leg.

I watched as the miles ticked away and I got closer and closer to Spaulding in Charlestown, the Race for Rehab finish line. For me, miles 13-17 were the hardest, but I was able to reenergize at 17 and the miles to 21 weren't as bad as I thought they would be. I could taste the finish. I started counting city blocks, blocks that I now know all too well. As I approached the final 25 yards I thanked God for keeping me on my feet (most of the way!) giving me the physical and mental strength to push and for being blessed with two working legs. I admit it, I got a bit teary-eyed when I completed the run. All of the months leading up to that day had culminated to this one final Saturday and I had crushed it, fall included!

Since that run, I'm finding myself a bit bored. The mid-week runs are much shorter, even last weekend's run was a "short" 12 miles. Marathoners call this "tapering." I am anxiously awaiting April 21st and am excited for the crowds, the cheers, the little kids handing out water and most of all, to run for those who can't.

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