We train with a goal. We train with a vision. We train to prepare our minds and muscles for the the grueling physical demands that lie ahead; however, life’s harsh reality is that we cannot thoroughly prepare ourselves for each and every obstacle in our path. All we can do is forge ahead with grit, courage, and determination.
To preface, this was my third appearance at the Boston Marathon . . . and my first appearance in TEN YEARS! Two babies and a few injuries later, I was excited for my return.
The bulk of an athlete’s race day experience is shaped during training - WEEKS before the event. I felt confident in my training program and approached race day feeling strong and ready, despite a lingering foot injury that flared up around mile 16. In addition to the physical training, I also fueled properly and consistently slept the recommended eight hours.
Race morning began with a 6 AM alarm. I jumped out of bed, performed my pre-race routine, and caught the athlete bus to Hopkinton Athletes’ Village. I arrived with just enough time to wait in line for the port-o-john, walk to the start, make a second stop at the port-o-john (just to be safe!) and stretch.
As I stretched, I could tell that my energy levels felt lower than usual; however, I pushed the mental obstacles aside and prepared myself to compete. The sky was clear, the sun was shining, and I was ready to run.
The start gun signaled my wave’s mass exodus from the corral at 10:55 AM. I started strong, holding a brisk pace for the first several miles; however, the temperature began to climb as I approached mile 8. I developed a certain uneasiness in my stomach, but I pressed onward spending the next two miles trying to diagnose this odd sensation.
I discovered my answer at mile 10. My stomach turned upside down and I began vomiting uncontrollably, which unfortunately did not cease until mile 22. At that point, I felt as if I had nothing left but promised myself that I would finish - whatever it took.
I spent the final 4.2 miles soul searching. I dug DEEP for the strength to finish, and I remain forever grateful for the encouraging words of spectators and athletes around me that day. 4 hours and 24 minutes later, I crossed the finish line.
Boston 2019 was not a PR. In fact, it was my my second slowed marathon EVER. That said, I learned invaluable lessons both for myself and for my clients:
-- You can’t control every circumstance but you CAN control how you prepare and react
-- Physical strength will get you to the start line. Mental strength will get you to the finish line.
-- Challenge yourself. You'll never know what you’re capable of until you prove it to yourself.