What a difference a year makes! About this time last year I was agonizing over the decision to register early for the Chevron Houston Marathon. Even though I had completed one full marathon (26.2 miles) about 4 months earlier, I had not finished feeling strong and it took a long time to recover, so I was scared of doing it again. I was afraid of the physical pain, the recovery period, the months of training, running for hours alone on boring streets, the sheer size of this particular race, the concrete streets. But something told me to go for it, and I clicked REGISTER.
After that came the Boston Marathon and the bombing. I had watched the elites race live and it was so exciting! Then I turned off the TV or computer , I forget. Then my sister called and said excitedly, “Did you hear about the bombing at the Boston Marathon??” I was like, What? NO! I had FRIENDS there! I was freaked out. I turned the TV on and watched the coverage. Just typing this brings back the outrage I felt at that time and the sadness for the dead and injured and the runners who couldn’t finish or were scared and wandering at the finish line. I began trying to get information about my friends and thanked God that they were all okay. However one of them had been near the finish line getting her medal and she was deeply affected by the senseless act, as were many people.
As you may know if you weren’t on the moon at that time, runners were moved by the thousands to gather together to Run for Boston. In most cities and towns people ran one or many miles, bought t-shirts, raised money for those affected by the terrorist acts, and supported each other and the sport of running. Facebook groups were formed, photos posted by the thousands. During this time, I don’t remember how, I connected with a woman in town that I just barely knew. We decided to meet at a park for the Run For Boston event and do some miles together. Well, a year later and we are still running together and have become great friends. I also made another great friend through her and we call ourselves the BAMRs, Bad Ass Mother Runners. We three began running regularly together during the summer and I became a much more consistent and disciplined runner thanks to having running buddies. We encouraged each other and we all got stronger.
Eventually, one of my two friends and I decided to train for and run the Houston Marathon together. So I was thrilled that I would not be doing those long runs alone as I had feared. We got up early and ran and had long conversations about a stream of subjects. We ran hills, and we did speed work. Along the way another friend in another state decided to fly down and join us for the race. Race day came and we were both slightly injured but we finished and I felt pretty good about it. I did take a little time to recover but not like the first marathon.
Return to the present. Today I got the email stating that I could register early for the January 2015 Houston Marathon. I immediately went to the website and signed up. Then later I got a much anticipated email saying I had been selected in the Chicago Marathon lottery and could now register. I will be signing up. Tonight it occurred to me how much I’ve changed since a year ago. I’m no longer afraid. I KNOW I am a strong, determined, disciplined person. I KNOW a marathon is difficult but that I can do it. I can handle the training and I have learned a few things about it that will help me. For example, I think 3 20 mile training runs is too much. And , I will not do too much speed work during taper. I KNOW I can run with other people and not be shy. I might even join a group! I’m so thankful for the lessons of the past year and the people who had a part in them. I look forward to what this year of training and racing will teach me.
The Boston marathon is next week. The terrorists couldn’t stop it. Instead, the race will be better than ever and runners more full of love and determination. I will be with them in spirit!