3/16- MANY WEEKS Until Boston.
Well, a sure lot has changed in a week. Last Monday as I typed up my weekly recap, I remembered feeling concerned with a cancellation, but still confident that there would be enough time for the virus to be contained and for the race to still happen. I also was not super informed or in the know about what really was happening and the seriousness of it all. Obviously, I was wrong and the marathon has been rescheduled to September 14th.
And I have some feelings about it.
I want to start with the fact that I 100% agree and understand the postponement. I also understand that with everything going on in the world right now, the fact that the marathon I personally have been training for and dreaming about for the last year, is actually quite insignificant. Trust me, I get that there are much greater concerns and there are many people that are dealing with more significant loss and more difficult situations. Yet, my heart still feels disappointment. And I think that is okay for me to admit. It seems pretty small, but I can still be disappointed.
I keep the same Google document for all of my “Marathon Monday” posts. Even though it has been a few days to process the fact that Boston will not happen in 5 weeks, as I scrolled down my document, I did become emotional. Seeing all the numbers, the podcasts, the protein bars, and the people that played a role in the last several weeks of training, got me. I am human and quite honestly as I scrolled through I was brought back to all the miles, the sacrifice, the extra help from family and friends caring for Hudson to make this dream happen. Being brought back to this place with the knowledge that things are not going to play out the way I envisioned does make me a bit sad and makes me question well, what was even the point?
After some reflection, I can tell you this, there actually was a whole lot of purpose.
The Dream to Run the Boston Marathon
First, I want to backtrack a bit. It was actually almost exactly a year ago that the idea of running the Boston Marathon became a dream. As I have written about in the past, it was not until about a year ago that I fell back in love with the sport of running. I write all about it in this post where I recapped my first real race postpartum. I titled it “Running to Remember” because the race really was an act of remembering why I loved running in the first place.
That first race back, coupled with the buzz around the marathon, made me certain that I wanted to run the Boston Marathon. The only problem was that I needed a qualifying time before September 15th. By the time I decided this was my goal, a lot of the fast spring marathons were already happening. This is when the plan to run the San Francisco Marathon was born. Again, you can read all about what that race meant to me here. In my love for creating alliterative titles, that one was called “More than a Marathon.” It really was more than a marathon. In this marathon, I got the outcome I wanted: a BQ, however, it was the process of training and having a reason to get out the door that really brought transformation.
After qualifying and a few months of getting out of a good running rhythmn, January began the process again and I had my eyes set on a clear goal of running a sub 2:50. Even though at first, I was not feeling as excited to begin marathon training again, by February I was all in and was beginning to feel more fit and excited about the ambitious goal I had set for Boston. This training cycle I definitely struggled with energy, but as a whole I am really proud of the solid work I put in. In last week’s training, I had some of my most effortless runs and a really strong track workout.
Process Over Performance
I want to take a second to talk about that track workout. I did this workout on Wednesday. Going into the workout, things were not looking good. It was looking like the race would most likely get cancelled or postponed, but there was no official word, so we still went to the track in the evening. And I am really glad we still did.
The track is one of the most painful and beautiful things to me. Every time I do a track workout it makes my whole body hurt, but it also sharpens my brain in such a way that I often am struck with really insightful realizations in the midst of pain. I know, weird, but stay with me. This workout was no different. It hit me around the 7th interval. At this point, I was fully feeling the pain and still had 4 more 1,000’s to go. Part of me was wondering what is even the point. No coach, no team, probably no race. But the bigger part of me, refused to quit. It no longer mattered. This was about something bigger.
This whole past year of training has been about something bigger. I was determined to finish all ten of those 1,000’s. I was determined not because I had a coach pressuring me to do so or because I had a bunch of teammates that were doing it. No, I was determined to do it because I could and because I have learned that it is not always about the applause we receive or the medal we get swung over our neck, it is about the process. It is about doing hard things. It is about pushing yourself and seeing how good you can get.
Don’t get me wrong, the cheers, the finishing line, the official time, those are really nice elements to work towards, but I am convinced it is actually the process towards them that are even more important.
Boston 2020 likely won’t happen for me. As I always write about, I love to run, but it is not everything for me. Training for a marathon is a big commitment and it takes a lot of squeezing in and sacrifice. It is absolutely worth it, but I don’t think I have the mental capacity to start that cycle over again so soon. I am most certain that one day I will run it, I guess 2020 is just not my year to do it.
That is a lot of words, to ultimately say this: I am sad I won’t get to run Boston this spring, but I am ultimately really thankful for this process. Through the process, I fell back in love with running, and if I am honest, I fell back in love with myself. I know, I know. So cliche. But it is true. Life post-baby was SO HARD on my spirit. Early motherhood shook me to the core, and running came in at just the right time and helped me feel more normal again. It took my hand and gently became a dear friend again.
It put no pressure on me, it was fine with stopping, it was fine with days off, but it slowly began to reveal the pieces of myself I thought were gone were in fact still there. It showed me that I can still be competitive and serious and focused and fast, but I can do it in a way that works with my life. With that said, how can I be too sad? Boston 2020 gave me exactly what I needed, hopefully future Boston, will give me the time and the celebration. I can wait for it.
So, do I just stop training? NO. I am in really good shape right now, and I am still curious to see what kind of time I can run for a half-marathon. On April 18th, I am going to run a virtual half-marathon race. Lance is going to pace me and my goal is to run 78 minutes. More updates on this as it gets closer! Who knows if I will be able to run that pace solo outside of the race environment, but I am going to try!
To end, here are 3 major takeaways this unexpected marathon training ending has given me.
- God’s plan for my life is always better.
- God is working even in the hard times.
- There is much more to life than the marathon.
Okay, glad I got all that out there. That is all. Now, let’s run a fast half-marathon…alone!