So if you have been sitting on pins and needles waiting for my half marathon recap (I’m sure you have been), here it goes….
I always thought those 13.1 and 26.2 stickers on the back of cars were cheesy..we get it, you can run far! After completing my first half marathon, I now understand why people have those. It’s not proof that you have finished, it’s the pride in knowing that you have. The Boston Run To Remember Half Marathon is one of the many races I am proud of completing, not only for crossing the finish line but for actually putting in the work to get there.
It is amazing how a race course in the middle of the city can calm and clear your mind. Each road and overpass is typically filled with bumper to bumper traffic and the hustle and bustle of city sounds but on Sunday morning, it was still. It took me a moment to realize I was running down the middle of Mass Ave, something no one could ever really do. The sounds of trains and buses were non-existent, leaving me to take notice of the pounding footsteps around me and Ali, my running partner, next to me. During our training sessions, we didn’t use music to get us through the long runs, instead, we talked to each other. This was a strategy that we stuck with during the race and it really paid off. As we got further into the course and the crowd began to loosen up, our breathing started to settle and we were able to take our minds off of the mile markers. I had never run a race without music before but this time, I felt like I was really living in the moment and the miles!
I will say as a first time half marathoner, I did see things that I did not expect to encounter even though I was warned by other experienced runners. To keep it clean here, let’s just say some of the runners stomachs and bowels were not cooperating and it was evident throughout the course. I remember looking over to Ali at one point and saying how grateful I was that we stuck to our training otherwise we could have been among those who weren’t having a great physical experience. Although this was after we shared some horrifying commentary! I was also surprised by the amount of “brave” spectators who thought it would be intelligent to make a mad dash in front of runners to get across the street. I would like to take the time to give a shout-out to the redheaded woman on the red bicycle with the bell. She cut me and the other cluster I was running with off TWICE but I guess it was OK because she rang that damn bell of hers. To this woman, YOU SUCK!
Aside from bowel movements (I wanted to keep it real), the other encounters I had on the course were uplifting. Since this race was in support of families who lost police officers in the line of duty, parts of the course were lined with officers cheering us on and thanking us for participating. Imagine that? Thanking us! I don’t think we thank them enough for all that they do but it was really motivating to know we had them behind us and supporting the runners together. It really moved me to see servicemen and women running on behalf of those who have fallen especially for Officer Sean Collier. Just being aware of the sacrifices these people make every day, was enough for me to carry through each mile. I must say the crowd signs along the route were the best I have seen in a while (Ryan Gosling’s “Hey Girl” was a winner in my book) and the cheers from spectators helped move us along.
Then there was Mile 10.
I think Mile 10 was the most mental part of the race for me. I remember thinking and possibly saying to Ali, “We have a 5K left, that’s it!” A slow 5K maybe but it was easier to put myself in that frame of mind to power through the last few miles. Mile 10 also changed the comfort we once shared during the first nine. The conversations had not only stopped between us but also with the people around us. It was time to power through and focus on the finish line without holding anything back. Finally, after clearing the last hill, Mile 13 and the finish line were in our sites. I felt like I was running in slow motion and that I would never get there but the crowds got deeper and the cheers grew louder, so I put in the last bit of gas I had left to get to the end.
We did it.
Yes, WE did it. Together. Ali and I set out three months ago with a crazy idea to run a half marathon with the goal not only to finish but to finish together. Did we care about our final time? No! We were excited to make it across and know we gave it all we had to give. It’s an amazing feeling to set a goal, complete it, and know it was you the whole time making it happen. Although a full marathon may not be in the cards for me, I think Boston’s Run to Remember will see my entry again next year with a new goal of finishing with a faster time.
Until then, I’ll continue to run for me whether that’s 2 miles or 10 (but let’s me real, most likely 5 at the most!) and remember that distance is only a number and I can conquer it if I put the work into it.