When I ran the Boston Marathon in 2011, I didn’t think I was good enough to be there. I didn’t qualify for my bib—I got it through the magazine I was writing for at the time, and I felt like a hack when I toed the start line. I wasn’t fast enough. I didn’t train hard enough.
I had a terrible run. The first half downhill ripped up my quads, and then I ran out of steam on the Newton hills, Heartbreak indeed. I finished in 4:23:44, and figured I deserved the slow time and the sore muscles because I didn’t belong there—that was my punishment for pretending that I did.
The pain I felt during those 26.2 miles in 2011 was nothing compared to the shock and sadness that coursed through me yesterday.
I wasn’t there, and yet I was. I’d been following the race all morning—sending positive vibes, cheering on friends from my kitchen table 3, 133 miles away.
I wasn’t open enough to realize it at the time, but Boston did belong to me, and it still belongs to me now. As runners, Boston belongs to all of us.
A course that’s just as hard for the pros as it is for the plodders, Boston is the marathon of marathons. We yearn for it, we’re in awe of it, we push ourselves for the opportunity to tackle it one day, and we’re proud of our friends for achieving the honor of entry.
No matter what brought us to the start line, no matter what happened at the finish, Boston is ours and it always will be.
My gluteus medius injury is almost healed and I should be out there in Central Park getting my road legs back. But I’ve been avoiding it. Not because it’s cold, or because I’m scared it will hurt, but because I’m afraid I’ll cry. I’m not running because I know when I head to Central Park for a run, it will be my last.
Michael K. Farrell and I decided it’s time for a life shake up, so we’re moving across the country to San Jose, CA. It’s exciting! I’ll have a new city to explore and there will be new roads (and trails!) for my sneakers to fall in love with. I’m eager for the adventure, but moving is bittersweet.
I’ve spent more than a decade here in the Big Apple. This is where I became a “real” runner. I completed my first half marathon here with my visually-impaired buddy Jim. Guiding him around Central Park, through the streets of Times Square, and down the West Side Highway in the New York City Half Marathon gave my running meaning, and a sense of purpose. (The New York chapter of Achilles International has been my family ever since.)
I did my first 26.2 here, too. There’s nothing like running through Brooklyn, Queens, up the streets of 1st Avenue to the Bronx, and then back into Manhattan to Central Park—it’s magical.
Yes, I’ll come back to visit—and I might even do a familiar 6-miler, but it won’t be the same. The city will feel different, foreign, and I will suddenly be one of those wide-eyed tourists that all New Yorkers love to hate. It makes me a little sad. But with sadness, there always comes a glimmer of hope.
Farewell, New York. I’m off to make a brand new start of it somewhere else.