"39 days until Christmas," "Cook at 375 degrees for 40 minutes," "282 friends on Facebook," "15 burpees, 100 jump ropes x2," "2 roles of toilet paper left," "26.2 miles," and "bib number 2473." I'm not a mathematician, nor do I want to be, but I do know this: In anything we do, in everyplace we go, in most anything we see, we are brought in by numbers. Numbers. Numbers. Numbers. Well, the results are in and this -according to my scale- 104lb, 4'11", 50-year old girl has some numbers too.
I knew what it was going to take to qualify for Boston. I knew the hard work that I needed to put out. I had my marathon training schedule mapped in an organized mess. Each day in a color-coded list. Days and weeks of continued training. I wore my Garmin like a Cartier running fashionista! The 3 frames of pace, time, and miles zinged and zipped with every step I planted and pounded. That qualifying time, 4 hours 5 minutes and 59 seconds, was branded in my daily brain routine. It was my constant mantra. I slept it. Ate it. Drank it. Ran it. Hours. Minutes. Seconds. I couldn't escape it. There was no where I could go. No where I wanted to go. I faced it head on with fierce intensity and complete love.
Finally, the day before my marathon. My bags are packed. The car is loaded. Stopped off at church and our priest gave my shoes a beautiful blessing. No need of a shower. The ponchy Father Clarence doused me with a gallon of Holy Water. But in this case, much more is better than less. I wiped my face, thanked him, and headed off. One hour of travel time and..I am...here. I'm here. Beautiful Logan, Utah. Apparently I had invited some little guests: nerves. They weren't supposed to arrive until race day. They came early and without notice. How rude. I'll ignore them until tomorrow. I have other things on my mind. The evening settles in quickly. I ate my scrumptious carb fuel of choice; one big baked potato. I set the clock to "early dawn." Four frickn' A.M. My outfit is laid out. A running skirt, adorable yellow top, my favorite hat, and, of course, my Newtons. Nerves are knocking at the door. I"M IGNORING YOU!! GO AWAY! I look out my hotel window and there, gleaming in the sunset, was the most spectacular rainbow. A calmness sets in. It's calling my name and I say "thank you." I lay down, close my eyes and begin to envision my race. I repeat to myself: "I've trained, I'm rested and am ready to do my best! "I've trained, I'm rested and am ready to do my best! Without warning, sleep enters the room.
RACE DAY! Like a beautiful symphony, trombones included, the day begins with my usual race-day dance. Dressed, oatmeal, bagel, and banana, I'm on the bus headed up the dark canyon with a smile on my face. We arrive. Ah CRAP!! The honey-bucket line looks like Woodstock! There is no way I'm going to catch a break before the gun goes off. While making conversation with the ladies in line, I tell them of my goal. One lady shares with me her excitement and her Boston glory day. She kindly reaches in her bag, pulls out some tissue and points to the mountain behind us. I knew exactly what she meant. Okay, think quickly. Show your Lady Di modesty or Boston. I dash off to the mountain thanking God of the complete darkness and that there is no full moon...except for mine. I mean, I have work to do. Back at the start I find my place, my pacers, and the group of 4-hour runners. We get acquainted knowing full well I most likely will never see them again. It begins to rain. No. Pour. The gun goes off. I tell myself not to go out too fast. I tell myself I should really listen to myself. I go out too fast. My heart is beating my favorite song. It's cold. I don't feel it. My adrenaline kindly keeps me warm. I finally settle into my running rhythm staying focused with every step. Everything is going along quickly. Mile one, two, three, four, five, six... I try to break from concentration to take a quick glimpse of the canyon. It is so breathtaking... Thirteen, fourteen...coming out of the canyon and the crowds are starting to appear. Focus...I don't see them...focus...I don't hear them.. focus.. Fourteen to eighteen is my longest stretch. Several more thunder showers including hail are still taunting me. I am slowing down just a bit and the pacers have passed me. But I can still see them. My mind starts to darken my dream. SHUT UP! I slightly give in, "Okay, just beat your last marathon time" At that moment, the lead pacer says to me, "..you still got this. We are ahead of schedule." A new sensation comes over me. Like the Grinch who finally found his heart. It grew and grew and grew. I stood taller. I WANT THIS!!
Mile 20 at 3 hours...oh YES! Just six little miles to go. I've got to do this!! I push forward ignoring the commonality of the marathon pain. ...twenty-one...oh...I see four of the cutest boys waving and yelling at me. I suddenly realize it's my dear friend, Christy and her boys. I try hard to smile, but my concentration was holding me back to have any type of tea party now. But her being there gave me such strength. Perfect timing because I needed it. ...twenty-two, ...twenty-three..another great friend. Betsy. She jumped out so I could see her. Oh wow, cute jacket, Betsy. Oh focus. Concentrate! ...the end of twenty-four.. a hill. Struggling. It's not a steep hill, but enough of a climb to say, "#$!!%!." The great thing about a hill, at the end of it, you either run flat, or you go down. Oh glory, it's down. Down to twenty-five. I yell at myself, "run faster!" TWENTY-SIX...around the corner I see FINISH and my new competitor, the clock. My heart is racing, my legs throbbing, my face is wincing, the clock ticking. Point two tenths of a mile is an eternity. I'm riding my stallion and it is galloping madly toward the finish line. Tick, tick, tick...I"m going to win! I cross over...I DID IT! I QUALIFIED! I DID IT! The leader board official time...4 hours, 3 minutes, and 56 seconds. Two minutes and 3 seconds to spare. More numbers. I head over to where my fan club is and hug them all. I hug Christy tightly. Crying. She knew how badly I wanted this. She cried right with me. I'm tearing as I write this. Betsy is madly clicking the camera and texting Karen of my new finish! She hands me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I ended the day with a huge hamburger, fries, a big glass of wine, topped off with chocolate, lots of sleep, and a smile. It was an incredible day.
Monday has arrived and I register for The Boston Marathon 2012. Submission number: 2016915. There are no guarantees, but I am hopeful. Seven days until I know. I wait. Slowly, the following Monday arrived and I have caught a long-waited cold. Equipped with a cough and a fever. The results are in. The e-mail is starring at me in bold letters. I have no courage to click on it. I read some posts on the Boston FB page. "Looks like the cut-off time is 1:13." Still hopeful with 2 minutes and 3 seconds to spare. "hmm, could it be..?" The Boston Marathon has some new rules. "The new qualifying times and registration procedures come in response to the 2011 Boston Marathon selling out in a record 8 hours and 3 minutes in October. With the race filling so quickly, thousands of qualifiers were unable to register."--Boston Marathon Blog No longer "a first come first get in" process. Another FB status.."you can check on BAA site for your qualifying entry times." I go to the site. I click on the link. Lotto numbers here we come. My eyes scroll down to my age..50...4 hours...Okay got that...3 minutes..Okay got that...46 seconds. Wait. What? Did I read that correctly? 46 seconds? 10 seconds?!! TEN SECONDS?!! I didn't get in because of ten seconds. UUHG! The fever has now taken over. Tears have joined the party. I am crushed. Devastated. I scream into my pillow, "If they wanted me to qualify in 4hrs 3 minutes and FORTY-SIX seconds, I would have. Why didn't they just tell me!!" My pillow is now stained of yesterday's mascara and DayQuil. Tammy Faye is starring right back at me. I scream at her. "I worked so hard. Sooo hard!" I feel like a deflated tire. I qualified, yet still not good enough. Is this what they were saying to me? "The BAA believes its new formula is the fairest option that best serves the running community and stays true to the marathon’s history as a race for qualifiers." -Boston Marathon Blog. Well, I'm sure that is true, and I respect their rules, however, heartbreaking none-the-less. Dear Boston, I'm little. I really don't take up that much space. Can you just squeeze me in? No one would ever notice.
That Monday was quite a few weeks ago and it has taken me some time to overcome the fact that I will not be attending the Boston Marathon in 2012. I had a conversation with myself and we both agree..get back up. The best thing to do is to start again. Come up with some new numbers. I am reminded of a quote, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."-Winston Churchill Two. Two is my new number. I have concluded that if I can qualify for Boston once, why not twice!! As I ran my 7-miler this morning the roads remind me of who I am. I am a runner. The roads are always there. Everyday. There is no way I can give up. It's not in me. It's not who I am. I will continue. November 1st, I sign up for my next marathon.
|It feels good to be back to my silly self!|
Boston Wikipedia quotes, "For many marathoners to qualify for Boston (to "BQ") is a goal and achievement in itself." I am starting to believe that! No matter when I make Boston, I am & will forever be a BQ girl. I can now say I am proud of that. Qualifying for Boston was by far one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. I set my goal and completed my goal. No one can ever take that away. It has taken me a while to realize my achievement, but I am now ready to embrace it and work harder for my 2013 goal.