Got another email from the Boston Athletic Association, because after all, I am in the “in group”. (Doesn’t matter that I have to run like crazy and I still can’t keep up with them.) It was all kinds of info on race day stuff, and because it is the run after the horrible bombings of last year, they are being ultra-careful on the rules: no backpacks (duh), race number must be visible on the front of your clothing at all times, no fanny packs bigger than 5”x15”x5”.
I won’t really have any problems with any of this stuff as I carry nothing with me really except this time my tiny front pack that will have some Gu and my cell phone. I might actually try and carry my glasses too come to think of it as it might be nice to see afterwards. I wear old sweats that I just take off at the start and discard with the others. The organizers gather all those and give them to local charities. Because this race is different from any I have run- it is a straight shot from the town to the west, Hopkinton, 26.2 miles into Boston, I will not see my husband until I am all done. So I will want to call him to meet up after. I don’t really like that. For all my big races we have a game plan him and I about where he will strategically station himself at various places along the course so I can see him. He is my absolute life line. He is my rock.
It makes me think of when I was in labor. Twenty-four hours of heavy contractions with the first, and twenty with the second, and my James was the only one I wanted with me, (well maybe the doctor to make the spectacular catch) the only one I could look to for safety when they said they were going to do the episiotomy. He got right in my face, I locked onto only him with my eyes, and we held both hands together as he gave me all the strength and encouragement I needed.
And when I am in what feels like hell, running with hardly the smallest of comforts to be had mentally or physically, I think, “I will see him at eleven, I will see him at eleven.” Then, sure enough, he is there as I scan the crowds ahead. He claps for me, and talks just those few words as I pass by him that rub off and stick.
One of the best memories I have from Chicago was toward the very end, the twenty-six done and only the point two left. I could not see the finish line quite yet (which really, really, really helps when you do) as it was around the corner and there was a slight uphill in the course that was beyond agony on every part of me. These were the biggest crowds I ever saw cheering at a race, at least six or seven deep, the band playing, noise from everywhere but suddenly I heard him. “Teresa.”
I wasn’t expecting him to be there. It wasn’t in our game plan, but he called my name and immediately I snapped my head around and found him instantly, he had pushed through the tight crowds to look for me. I didn’t think it could be possible, as the effort to move the corners of my mouth upward was almost the straw to break this camel’s back, but I smiled at him.
It was all that I could muster. He was all that I needed.