How I got bit by the Boston bug

  • I’ve decided to publish my old columns to this blog, so that if a reader wishes to, they can see my “backstory.” I’ve come a long way!
  • This was printed in May of 2013 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the first installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

 

I can’t remember what I was doing on the day of the 2013 Boston Marathon. It was a Monday, so I probably hung out with my kids and worked a few hours from home. All I remember is getting a text from my husband, saying, “did you hear someone bombed the Boston Marathon?”

Tears immediately caught in my throat. I didn’t respond to the text, but frantically checked Facebook for any signs that my coach and his brother-in-law — also a runner in our group — were OK.

On Coach Brad’s page I found a post from his nephew saying that he had talked to Tio Brad on the phone and both he and Tio Phil were fine. I exhaled, not realizing I had been holding my breath while scouring Brad’s page.

Then I started crying — first with relief that the people I cared about were uninjured, and then with grief. A terrorist had targeted runners. I was a runner, so I felt like I had also been targeted, though I was 3,000 miles away from the race and not a marathoner.

I turned on the TV and watched the news coverage for about an hour, crying intermittently, until my 3-year-old daughter told me to turn it off. “Why you watch that if it makes you cry, Mommy?”

I can’t say that’s when the Boston bug bit me… I didn’t immediately declare, “That’s it! I’m running a marathon and qualifying for Boston!”

In fact, I still haven’t proclaimed any such thing.

The Sunday after the Boston Marathon, I ran the 2.62-mile Love to Boston run held at Woodward Park in Fresno. My husband and I ran it together, pushing our daughter and 7-month-old son in a borrowed double jogging stroller.

I stopped, along with Brad and the rest of our running group, to take photos at the end of Brad’s Boston Marathon. (He had been stopped at 25.7 miles when the bombs when off, and stopped his GPS/watch that he had been using to time his race. He restarted the watch at the start of the Love to Boston run in Fresno and finished the last half mile of his marathon alongside his friends.)

It was inspiring and moving, seeing all of those runners and walkers of every fitness level get out there and support those who had run Boston. More than $10,000 was raised at the event.

Still, I had no desire to run a marathon anytime soon, much less try to qualify for Boston.

There was talk amongst the runners in our group that we should all try to qualify this year so we could join Brad when he returned in 2014. Some took it more seriously than others. I certainly dismissed the idea, thinking there was no way I could get ready for a marathon — they had chosen the Santa Rosa Marathon scheduled in August — before I had even raced a half marathon.

But as the group members kept talking about it and posting on Facebook about it, and as Brad emailed them their marathon training schedules and I didn’t get one, I started to feel left out.

If everyone else in the group believed they could finish a marathon, why didn’t I?

So, after a few non-committal Facebook posts, and feedback and encouragement from social media friends, I decided to make like Nike and ‘Just Do It.’ I registered for the Santa Rosa Marathon — one of the top Boston qualifiers because it’s fast and flat.

Brad emailed me my training schedule. To qualify for Boston I’ll have to run each mile at an 8:10 pace, with a finishing time under 3 hours and 35 minutes. He included a goal pace for our Wednesday tempo runs.

“If you can do that and do all your long runs, I can pretty much assure you’ll qualify for Boston,” he wrote.

Well, at least one of us thinks so.

I knew I eventually wanted to complete an illustrious 26.2… with the Boston bug going around, now is as good a time as any.

 

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