40 years ago, I was born in Woburn, Massachusetts. I spent the first 11 years of my life living in Billerica, Mass. While most of my “growing up” years were in New Jersey, the Commonwealth is my original “home.”
My first hockey game I attended was at Boston Garden. The first baseball game my dad ever took me to was at Fenway Park (Paahk, if speaking with a New England accent). I survived the Blizzard of ’78 there. (We didn’t have school for a week and my brother, sister and I dug snow tunnels all through our front yard! It was awesome). When I was young, my parents drove me all around the area to play hockey in some of the COLDEST hockey rinks you have ever been in. I can still remember crying (I was about 6 or 7 years old) and the feeling of my tingling, frozen toes as my dad rubbed my feet to warm them up after early-morning practices… the things parents do for their kids.
While in college in Vermont, I spent several fun-filled weekends in Beantown. It’s one of the world’s best cities, in my opinion. You can just feel the history of the place when you walk around. Now that I live in Atlanta (a relatively young city compared with Boston), I realize just how great some of our country’s older cities are.
Forty years later, I am on a plane returning “home” to run in the 116th Boston Marathon. Yes, the ONE HUNDRED and 16TH. That’s crazy. As I said, there’s plenty of history here.
For a few reasons, this race is going to be a little different than the other marathons I have run in.
1. To start with, I will be running in the world’s oldest/greatest marathon. Hard to top that. Duh.
2. I’m not 100% (not that anybody ever is). I’ve been battling a calf injury for a while. It’s getting better, but I still don’t trust it. The injury has dramatically impacted my training (or lack thereof.) This one is going to be a serious fight to the finish line on Boylston Street. (The 87F forecast certainly won’t help either.)
3. Most importantly, I will be running in honor of my mom, who passed away earlier this year. Yes, I know I can run for her everyday and anywhere I want to, but being in Massachusetts brings back so many childhood memories. It’s hard for me not to get caught up in the emotional aspect of it all. As I type this while sitting on a plane, memories fill my head. Most are great memories, but the one that just hit me really sucks. I was on a plane trying to get up to see her when I got word that she had passed. I still kick myself to this day that I didn’t find a way to see her more in the end. A life lesson learned too late.
Truth be told, I shouldn’t be running this race. I’m hurt. I might hurt myself more by doing it. Sometimes people do things against the advice of others. This is one of those times. Sorry coach, this is just something that I have to do.
My nagging calf injury has forced me to reevaluate my race goal. About a month ago, I had dreams of going sub-3:10. Needless to say, that’s not going to happen.
My new “coach-approved” goal is to have fun and enjoy the accomplishment and soak it all in! No whining. To make it even more fun, I will be running with my friend Jill from Atlanta. Sshhhh, she’s injured, too. It will will be a mad hobble, dash to the finish! To make it even better, my dad and some other friends and family members will be out on the course and at the finish line.
Never in a million years while I was growing up in the New England area did I imagine that I would return “home” to run in the Boston Marathon. Not only is it the greatest marathon in the world, it remains one of the most iconic athletic events on the planet. How cool is THAT?
Let’s do this thing.