and then it didn't matter

16 Apr

I’ve been a little stressed about my upcoming marathon.  I’ve put in a lot of work.  I know I will be fine–I will finish this marathon and likely finish much faster than I finished my first.  I’ve still got 6 weeks, which really means about 3 weeks of real training left.  The bulk of the training is what I’m doing now.  I can be an extreme type-A personality and following a schedule/plan makes me feel like I’m in control of things–every workout I’ve done has become critical in my mind, so when things don’t go according to plan or when twinges in my quad start to bother me, I get nervous about how things will go on race day.   I get stressed, I get upset, I get worried that things are not going to go according to plan or that I will fall apart and run a 6 hour marathon.


And then yesterday happened.  Yesterday–when over a hundred people are in the hospital and at least 3 are dead.  Hundreds more are mourning loss–loss of family, loss of friends, loss of limbs, loss of a dream, loss of innocence. 


And suddenly I am reminded that I shouldn’t take life too seriously and that this is just a race.  That HOW I finish doesn’t really matter.


Yes. I’ve put a lot of hard work and effort and countless hours into training for my marathon, just like all of the people who lined up at the start yesterday.  And those hours are what matter more than the four hours that I’ll run the race. 

 The hours of running with friends, having conversations, laughing and having a good time. 

The hours of runs with my husband, my self-proclaimed sherpa, who has been everything from my water carrier to my cheerleader (who signs me up for marathons because he knows that I would never say I’m going to do one on my own, that I need him to encourage me and yes, even force my hand by signing me up for a race so that I have no choice). 

 The hours of runs with my dog, the greatest companion I’ve ever known, the one who doesn’t care how fast or slow we go (because he will just pull me along faster), the one who will collapse on the living room floor with me post-run, utterly and contentedly exhausted. 

 The hours of runs with my younger siblings, filled with inside jokes, playful banter and reflections on our family. 

The hours of runs alone, just me and my thoughts. 

The hours spent on roads, on the Riverway trail, along the lake and ponds, on the canal, on the countless amazing trails here in Rochester and Buffalo.


I find myself getting really emotional today.  Every time I see a TV or hear the radio (I was at jury duty, so TVs to keep us “occupied” and radio in the car), it seems they’re talking about Boston.  I can’t stop listening, even though it hurts.  I don’t even know anyone who was hurt or killed, but it still hurts.  Marathoning is a journey.  I have 6 weeks left in my journey.  My heart breaks for all of those who had embarked on the same journey that I am on, only to have it end in this unthinkable tragedy.  I can’t stop thinking about it…and I don’t think I’ll ever look at a marathon in the same way. 


Before I started running 4 or so years ago, I don’t know that I would have been this emotional.  Sure I’d have been upset, as I think most people are.  But this is something so deeply personal for me, as a runner and a marathoner.   It’s hard to explain or define the relationships forged with other runners, the instant closeness I feel when someone reveals that they, too, are a runner.  When I first started running, barely making it to the end of the block, I never would’ve thought I’d be where I am today–about to run my third half marathon, second marathon, with countless friendships forged over those miles of training runs and fun runs.  Running has changed me, and I am so thankful for that.


Anyway, the point of this blog is that I’ve let myself get very wrapped up in the specifics of training and the goals I want to set and the finishing time I want to run, when the reality is that none of that matters.  In the long run, it will not matter how fast I run this race.  And yesterday reminded me of that.


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