The 2018 Boston Marathon although just a few weeks ago seems like a distant memory. The sounds and sensations are fading from my mind as my muscles adjust to the dreaded ‘DOMS’- delayed onset muscle soreness. Inflammation still cursing through my body in response to running a cold and water logged marathon. This year’s event featured what many consider extreme weather conditions.
The beloved route from Hopkinton to Boston traverses several New England towns and these people know how to throw a party. Supporting and cheering runners along the historic route, regardless of the weather on Patriots Day.
The third Monday in April is known as Marathon Monday as if you need an explanation for the calamity that takes over the entire city of Boston.
This was an important milestone for me as it signalled running this hallowed race over an sixteen-year period. The event like no other race on the planet welcomes elite runners and all those who worked diligently to qualify to run. The Boston Athletic Association recognizes the importance of each of the towns which frame the route and offers limited spots to local citizens. The quaint, vibrant communities of Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton and Brookline are where races are won and lost including the venerable Heartbreak Hill.
The Boston Marathon is as much about running downhill as uphill. Bake your quads running down during the first several miles and you’ll pay dearly on the hills in Newton.
For runners Boston is our Olympics. Each year runners around the globe set out to qualify at another marathon in order to punch their ticket to running nirvana.
On Monday April 16 as brooding clouds hovered over Boston and strong headwinds pelted rain all around us we persevered. Even as giant puddles forced runners to zig zag all along the route we endured because weather was not going to spoil our hopes and dreams on this 26.2 stretch of pavement. Our feet stung with freshly opened blisters and thoughts of hypothermia hung at the margins of our thoughts. We were here not to start but to finish our own epic personal journey. Many of us myself included recognized early on that this Marathon Monday was much more about surviving the elements as monitoring splits. This was truly a race based on perceived effort. Several times that day I’d nod to a fellow runner because they too dug in and chose to finish this dam thing. The old adage it all comes down to the day is true and if you are a runner you’ve had your share of unplanned race day experiences.
Running is our jam. It gets us up at 5 am to meet for group runs. We understand the slow, painful march after a hard-fought race. We know the hurt and acknowledge another for the effort. Running raises money for good causes. Running-found me at 39 and I’ve considered myself a long-distance runner ever since. Running can also be a healing act.
This year marked the 5th Anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings in which many were injured and lives were lost. ‘Boston Strong’ was evident everywhere and has now evolved to ‘Together Forward’. The people who lost their lives that day in April 2013 will never be forgotten. When I crossed the famous Boston Marathon finish line on Marathon Monday I thought about my family who supported my efforts and I also understood that this finish line is now truly sacred ground.
Some days all we can do is put one foot in front of the other and carry on.