Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Boston - the prequel

 Ok....ok.....I KNOW I haven't said a peep about Boston and it's been almost 2 weeks since I finished that race.  And really it's good to write out my thoughts anyway.  If anything for personal reflection & processing I want to get this down and out there for the (Carmen) history books.

Despite my best intentions and planning I did not get a post written about me even doing the race.  A lot of times I have things planned out in my head.  Thinking and planning are two of the things I do a lot of when I workout and run so much.  Then reality hits and I either completely forget or other priorities take over and it just doesn't get done.  So this morning I was thinking about how I could break this down into a prequel, the main title & then a postquel (an actual word....I looked it up!!)

So let´s rewind.

Last fall I had the idea to run the Quad City Marathon so I could attempt to qualify for Boston.  While my running was so so I felt confident that I could get this done.  Especially since being a bit older my qualifying time had been bumped up to 3:50.  Long story short (cause I'm not going to go back and write a whole post about it) I accomplished my goal.  My running was still pretty sketchy and being hit and miss with a lot of struggles and a lot of lows.   One thing about me though is that hard things tend to push me even harder and I just don't like to give up without a fight.

My running took another big blow when I sprained my ankle really bad in a trail race in November.  Despite that I still registered for Boston knowing I had months to recover and waited to see if I was going to make the cut off.  In a good twist everyone that registered made it into Boston and I was ready to keep recovering and attack this marathon training cycle at the beginning of the year.  

I completed one week of training at the end of January/beginning of February, even had my first long run done and then I was in a bad car accident.  I completely totaled my car when going about 60 mph my car spun out of control, went off the road and flipped on its side.  I managed to physically walk away from the incident with very minor injuries.  However the emotional & psychological trauma, along with some other events in my life had me absolutely spinning out of control.  Suddenly I could barely function (but of course I did on many basic levels) and every run became so incredibly hard.  When I did manage to get myself out the door for a run every step became a fight to keep going.  Never before have I ever struggled through so many runs.......and I have done A LOT of running in my years and have been through A LOT of really hard times in life.  This took the cake and then the weather this past year was just one big fat cherry on the top.  Despite all this I kept going.  My training cycle was not really going like I wanted, but I made the best of what I could.

Due to my work schedule it worked out that I had the entire week off before Boston and I really wanted to make a vacation out of that time with my 2 youngest kids & my exchange student that I still have living at home.  When you work in education you often have limited times during the school year to actually take a big vacation and this seemed to line up perfectly with going to Boston.  My kiddos have never been to the upper East coast and I wanted to make this all happen.  In true mom fashion I was thinking about their opportunities & experiences along with mine too.  I was more than willing to sacrifice my perfect ideal vacation that could completely revolve around me and include them in it and make it more about us.  Life IS short.  Your time with your kids IS short.  TAKE THE VACATION NOW!!

10 days before the Boston marathon I set out on vacation.  My training was all done (even if it was crappy and hard) and I wanted to enjoy every moment leading up to the big day.  We drove to Philadelphia, then New York City and then lastly Boston.  We packed a lot of sightseeing and traveling into those days.  Most days we were exhausted, yet our hearts were full from all the time together and memories we were creating.  While in New York I started to get sick.  Not like contagious sick, but my seasonal allergies flared up really bad.  Massive head and sinus pressure, runny nose, sneezing, congestion.  I made sure to still enjoy the vacation and smiled for all the pictures, but honestly I was miserable.  I started a regime of Day/Nightquil, claritin, zyrtec, etc.  You name it, I was probably on it, just so I could get some relief.  Our last night in NYC I slept sitting up just so I could breath & get some relief from the pressure.  It was no fun and the symptoms carried over to my first few days in Boston.  After several days of serious medication I finally began to get a little bit of relief.

During all of this I still made time for some runs to keep me loose and ready for Boston.  It's one of the reasons I embrace my whole SHE RUNS EVERYWHERE mentality.  I take advantage of my love of travel to really get out there and run everywhere.  In Philadelphia I had and I mean HAD to run down toward the art museum to recreate the infamous Rocky scene and see the Rocky statue.  Turns out a lot of people do this, it's totally a thing and as cliche as it was I had fun going on that run.

Rocky statue off to the side of the museum steps.  Someone told me a few years ago that he thought I was like a female Rocky because he´d always see me out running in the early morning hours.

In NYC I had a run where I left my hotel and ran through Times Square, then the Broadway district then toward the Hudson River where I was able to see the USS Intrepid before circling back to the hotel.  I had previously spent a weekend in NYC with my daughter just the month before and that time I ran the other way toward the East River and was able to see many sights on that run as well.

My time in Boston was much different than 7 years ago when I was out there for my first Boston marathon.  Instead of staying in Boston we were at a hotel about 15 miles outside the city.  Even though my allergies were still kicking my butt, I still went out for a run and was rewarded when I found an amazing view of Boston even though it was from far away.  Maybe it's a downfall, but I'm so guilty of taking in the view when I run.  I don't hesitate to stop, smell the roses so to speak and just enjoy the experience instead of making it all about the run.  Not every run is this way, I have plenty when I push forward and grind to get the work done.  When it does happen though I feel like I'm always winning.  The peace, the moments, the complete happiness that fills my soul is always worth the experience.

You have to zoom in a little, but in the distance you see the skyline of Boston.  Pictures rarely ever do the view justice.  It´s always better in person.  So if you can just stop and enjoy the moment! 

Finally, I was at a point where there was nothing else I could do.  Boston was here and I was ready to go! 

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