I “officially” start my eighteen week training schedule today. And with this mark I am “officially” feeling the big weight of the project, the multi-layered, star-spangled cross I have set before me. Makes me want to barf. I made another copy of the training schedule that I used when I ran Chicago, redid the dates and wrote BOSTON MARATHON 2014 on top, and hung it on the refrigerator. I keep looking at it and worrying.
How in the hell am I ever going to do this again? I look at those long runs and think, yuck. I don’t want to!! But at the same time, I really do!! I am just anxious that my fifty year old body with its 30% curved scoliosis spine is going to cave, that my u-joints are going to rust and fall off.
After my first marathon, Detroit in October 2011 I said, “I will never, ever do this again.” Then after Chicago in October 2012 I said, “I will never, and I mean never, do this again.” But there was this one tiny problem. I ran a 3:58:04, and because I turned fifty the following spring, it qualified me for Boston. THE Boston Marathon. And I thought, oh, that’s nice. Good achievement. Real proud of myself. Pat. Pat. Pat. All done.
Then we went to our neighborhood Christmas party in 2012 and shared that happy accomplishment with my neighbor Kirk Steen, who is much more of a runner than I. And it just so happened that he also qualified for Boston that year. I said I didn’t think I would try and get in, and he said I had to. There was really no choice in matter. He had been trying to qualify for a long time and you simply could not let this once in a lifetime opportunity go.
Well, after that little pep talk the screwed up marbles in my head started clunking around in there and I thought, “You know, he might be right.”
And so on the allotted day I was to sign up in September of 2013 I pulled my car off the highway (I was in the Battle Creek area for work) at 9:45 in the morning and went into a McDonald’s with my laptop so that exactly at 10:00, the official time and day I could register, I would. I sat alone in that booth, held my breath, got a little flushed from the excitement, and I hit that submit button.