What the hell is Ditch the Tiara?

Redefining the word beautiful...one dirty, sweaty, bruised up mile at a time, with a few downward dogs along the way...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Big 5-0 ~ A turning point in my life ~ April 18th 2011.

If you would have told me on March 29th, 1998 that in 13 years, my marathon career would be turning 50 in Boston, I would have laughed at you. I mean, full-on-deep-in-the-soul-no-self-esteem-belly laugh. I mean, come on. I ran my first marathon in L.A. on a whim, with only 13 weeks of training and no race experience at all. I finished in a very respectable 4:27, but still. I had no idea what was going to unfold in the years following that 267 minutes… I had no clue what endless possibilities would come my way. If it weren’t for the marathon, I never would have met my husband. If it weren’t for the marathon, I would have not traveled outside of my bubble in Illinois. If it weren’t for the marathon, I never would have met my SBF, BFF and the other amazing women in my life. If it weren’t for the marathon, I can’t think of anything else that I could do that would make my parents and family so proud. If it weren’t for the marathon, I wouldn’t be running in the cutest and pinkest Skirts. If it weren’t for the marathon, I never would have met the woman that would validate my foolish dream of doing an Ironman. If it weren’t for the marathon, I never would have actually completed an Ironman, let alone 4. If it weren’t for the marathon, my self-esteem never would have blossomed.

Actually, without the marathon, “I” never would have blossomed.

To so many these days, the marathon is a fad, a craze if you will, that people are participating in because it’s “cool” or the “in” thing to do. Running 26.2 miles. I have been doing it longer than its rising popularity. I will continue to do so long after the newness and excitement wears off, and people move on to the next popular fitness challenge. So, for me to finish my 50th marathon in the most prestigious, coveted and sought-after venue in the world was beyond priceless. Words fail me quite honestly, but I will do my best to recap this significant moment in my life.

We flew into Newport, RI two days before the race to reconnect with our wonderful friends, BJ and Jess. We haven’t seen them since they moved away last fall, and it was so nice to be away from the hoopla and pretentiousness that was penetrating Boston. We laughed. We ate. We drank. We relaxed. This was the best pre-race ritual, ever. Sunday afternoon, we took off to Boston to get our packets and get settled in to a hotel that was a mere 15 minutes from the race start. I slept in and was leisurely preparing for the day ahead of me.

BJ and I took the old fashioned school bus to the start line. It was relaxed and fun. I wasn’t nervous at all, considering this was THE BOSTON MARATHON. I had barely qualified for the cut-off for the 2nd wave (10:20am) and we began shuffling into our corrals shortly after the start of the race. I met some really nice people as we shivered and chatted with excitement. It was a cool but sunny 40 degrees. There was a nice tailwind too that would carry us on our way, from Hopkinton to Boston.
The race itself was exactly as I remembered it in 2007. Alive. Pulsating. Loud. Invigorating. However, my expectations were much higher of my performance and I really pushed myself early on. The highlight was of course, mile 13…the vibrant cheering girls of Wellesley. Their screams of support was what I needed to get me through the second half of the race. I tried to soak everything in but was in some real pain by mile 20. I was hanging on. I wanted to PR this course. Bad. Even if it was only by 1 second.

As I saw the Citgo sign off in the distance, I knew the pain and suffering was almost over. My left foot was numb and my body ached. I wanted to leave everything out there. And I did. As I rounded the corner and made my way down Boylston Street, the reality of what I was about to accomplish hit me like a tsunami ocean wave and the floodgates opened. I was breathless.  I was shaking.  and I was crying. As I am now, recounting this moment. I just ran the Boston Marathon. For the 2nd time. Only the ‘best of the best’ runners get to participate. And I was one of them. Me. I just ran my 50th marathon. Yes, that’s 5-0. FIFTY! Even fewer runners can achieve such a goal. And I PR’d this course by 79 seconds. I PR’d my Boston time. Seriously? Not many can say such a thing.

Final time 3:49:03, average pace 8:45

So when someone asks me what it felt like to turn *50*, with a grin and a misty eye, I can say, “it was 3 hours, 49 minutes and 3 seconds of pure amazing.”


I'M Tri-ing said...

I got a little choked up reading this post. I read it a couple times with the hope I can capture a sliver of that energy for my next marathon. It's really cool that you got to run Boston for your 50th marathon. Good luck with the next 50!

RunnerChick said...

You are pure amazing! Love your honesty and feeling. No one captures the moment quite like you do! Love it all and love you girl!

Yoga Teacher Training said...

Inspiring. It must have been an awesome feeling to run this marathon. What an accomplishment. thank you for sharing this story.