As we ALL know, I am qualified and registered for but will not be running the Boston Marathon this coming Monday. With the race so close, I thought now would be an appropriate time to reflect on my feelings about not running this race that I had been so excited about.
About 6 months ago, I wrote a post on the importance (or lack thereof) of running a Boston Marathon Qualifying Time (or BQ). My thoughts from that post stand, and in many ways, they also apply to my current situation. And I encourage you all to read this post!
But this is a slightly different situation: in this situation, I got in, I sent my money, I fought hard to get to the point that I might be able to run, and ultimately, I have had to watch each week as my friends as well as strangers prepare for the race that I have had on my schedule since I qualified well under BQ time on February 28, 2015. (That isn’t a brag, it just means that I knew that I was in, even if there ended up being a lower cut off than the BQ time for my age group).
Dealing with Not Running the Boston Marathon
I know many who have trained for Boston, trained for many a marathon, and gotten hurt during training, resulting in them not being able to run. I am in a very different situation: I knew for certain at the end of January that I would not be running the Boston Marathon. I made that decision for my own sanity and health. My back was much more broken than we ever knew. Indeed, I went 5 months between running: October 28-March 28. I know what happened, why my body broke, and I know what I learned from a year of epic highs and absolute lows.
This spring, I focused on my recovery, dealt with other health concerns, wrestled with unemployment and the uncertainty that goes along with that, and then found my new job, one that I love. (But yes, I still second guess myself all the time!). I have fought, hand, tooth, nail, pepperspray, flying monkeys to get back to running. And finally, at the end of March, I was able to give myself the best birthday gift of all: I was able to run again.
This journey has been draining, educational, painful, and finally, euphoric. And that isn’t even taking the Boston Marathon into account.
I’m going to get selfish for a moment, and I want you all to know that I understand I am being selfish, but I also know that you will understand.
It is hard watching others train for the Boston Marathon. It is hard to see all of the posts about unicorns, Boston Strong socks, race jackets (I LOVE MY LITTLE PONY SO YOU KNOW I LOVE THE JACKET LEAVE IT BE), race weather, tempos, hill workouts, and that last long run before the final taper. I wish I could say that I am strong, that I got over it and myself. But the truth is very simple: it sucks.
What sucks more: a) missing out on running the race with my friends and b) having not so happy thoughts about other people because they are able to run the race. Those we are running do not deserve my thoughts to be anything other than positive. Qualifier or charity runner, they are earning their place at that starting line.
But I also earned mine. And I broke myself while earning it a second time. A second time which I likely won’t be able to take advantage of because by then I will be trying to get pregnant, or (hopefully) will be pregnant or have given birth, or what have you. The best case scenario for my life means that I won’t run the Boston Marathon next year, either.
So, I’ve really shot myself in the foot, haven’t I?
I know that I could always just try to qualify again, but now I wonder if it is even worth it for me to do so: I don’t want to break again, and I am even a bit scared that it will happen. I also don’t want to run a marathon simply for the sake of BQ’ing. That is so NOT why I run marathons. I run for the love. For the training. For the people.
If that is the case, why am I cut up about not running the Boston Marathon? If I don’t run for the glory, why do I even care?
Because I qualified. I earned the right, the privilege. Because this was my chance, and I don’t know if I will get another chance. Because this was supposed to be my victory lap. My retirement party of sorts. My closure. Not that I was aiming to give up marathons after this, but I have another focus moving forward. And now my focus has been blurred.
This isn’t FOMO. This is FBIAMO: Fear Because I Am Missing Out. And FBIMMOINF: Fear Because I Might Miss Out In the Future.
Selfish, infantile, and silly, I know. But it is how I feel. But as I have also discussed in the past: I know that Boston is #lifemoment but having a family is a #lifegoal. I have to accept the situation for what it is, move forward, and cheer genuinely and wholeheartedly for each participant that gets their medal. I made a choice last October, and choices have consequences.
At the end of the day, I am honored and privileged to have even had the opportunity to register for the race. At the end of the day, I am honored and privileged to be back to running, something I love so much. Movement is a gift.
For those of you running the Boston Marathon on Monday, I ask the following of you: be so freaking grateful for that moment. Run a few steps for all of us who, for whatever reason, were supposed to be there. And then run the rest of the race for yourself. That is your moment. Love it, savor it.
Talk to me: tell me a time when you experience similar feelings. Did you feel guilty for feeling such emotions?
Are you running the Boston Marathon? If you are GOOD LUCK!