Following the horrific events at the Boston Marathon, I wanted to dedicate my long run this weekend to the runners, spectators, and citizens of Boston who were affected by this senseless tragedy. I had 20 miles planned and was more determined than ever.
When I woke up on Saturday I noticed the weather wasn’t all that great (i.e. cold and windy), so I planned to make this an indoor run. I realized my gym was closed for the weekend for remodeling, so there went that idea. It would have to be outside. I got myself bundled up and put on my Sparkly Soul gold headband in honor of Boston. I was ready to run!
I started off, and despite being chilly, felt awesome! The miles were clipping by, and I was making great time (great time for me on a long run is in the high 9s). I made my way down a large hill and into the Metro Park by my house, which was a new route for me. Running in the park was great! There were tons of runners, walkers, and bikers, and the added bonus was the trees blocked the wind. Before I knew it, I was close to 7 miles. Then I remembered that I would have to make my way up that hill to get back on the main roads. I guess I did have a little motivation for the climb. Construction workers who were fixing the bridge above the hill thought it would be cute to yell out to me when I was running. I didn’t really like being stared and yelled at, so I tried to get up the hill as quickly as possible. I will admit that their cheers when I reached the top were kinda awesome because that hill was a bitch.
I made a quick bathroom stop at my house at mile 8.5, refilled my water bottles, and set back out for the last 11.5 miles. I was still feeling great! Since I was all about trying out new running areas, I made my way into the community college. This was a great place to add some miles, and there was virtually no traffic on Saturday. Note to self: run this route again. I got back onto the main road and looked at my watch. I was already at 13 miles!
Unfortunately, I began to fall apart shortly after that. Even though I had been drinking water and taking gels, my calf muscles began to cramp. I haven’t had this happen since the Cleveland Marathon last year, and it was incredibly painful. I had to keep stopping to rub them out and take a little walk break. I was upset with my body because I desperately wanted to run the entire 20 miles without stopping. Each time I had to stop to fix my calf issue or walk, I made sure I stopped my watch. I wanted my 20 miles for Boston to be legitimate running miles; no walking allowed.
I struggled my way through the remainder of my run, tears streaming down my face at some points. My body wanted to give up, but I kept pushing. I just had to finish. At mile 17.5 I thought I was going to have to flag someone down to drive me home. I finished crossing a street, and as soon as I stepped back onto the sidewalk, my left calf and foot cramped at the same time. The pain was so bad that it brought me to the ground. I tried to rub the cramp out and stretch, and eventually it stopped hurting. I have to admit that as I was on the ground at the intersection, I was a little surprised that no one pulled over to the side of the road to see if I was okay or even yelled from their car window. I guess this is reflective of the type of society we live in.
Once I was up and ready to run again, I just kept telling myself that I only had 2.5 more miles to go. I kept thinking of all of the people hurt and killed and the fact that some of them would never be able to do what I was doing at that exact moment – running. This thought kept me going, and I was even able to pick up the pace a little. I got to mile 19 and was overjoyed to only have one mile left. I passed by a lady walking her dog, and she said to me, “Perfect day for a run.” She was exactly right.
I made my way onto my street and was about 50 feet from my house when my watch beeped as it reached 20 miles. I stopped my watch, slowed to a walk, and that’s when I started sobbing. The crying continued as I struggled to walk up the two steps from my garage into my kitchen and as I took off my shoes. I was crying because my legs were in so much pain. I was crying because, despite being hurt, I continued running until I met my goal. And, ultimately, I was crying for Boston. I was so proud that I was capable of running those long and difficult miles in honor of those who can no longer do so.