It Was All Worth It
My running journey started in 2008, when I went on a run around a small lake on the University of Notre Dame campus. There is a mile long path that takes you around the lake. After finishing my first mile, I wondered, what make people run. It was hard and I was tired. But something clicked. Running has become my outlet. Time for myself. Time to distress. Time to be in control.
You get out what you put it.
You are in charge.
In 2010 I ran my first full marathon. I was told that my goal should be under 5 hours. I finished in 5:15. After finishing I declared: “Never again”. I was done. Just a thought of running again would make me physically sick for the next 6 months, but as many of us runners, I was hooked, I just did not know it yet.
I decided to run another full marathon and finish what I started, finish under 5 hours. I did not have an ideal training for my 2nd full marathon. I skipped a few runs here and there, was not as strict in my training. I already did that once, I thought, how hard can it be, I knew I could finish. And I did finish, in 5:18. This one was even harder than my first full marathon.
Next year I followed my plan to a T. I applied everything our amazing pacer Caroline from @napervillerunningco taught us. I was a good student. I leaned, practice, corrected and practiced again. As a result I ran my 3rd full marathon in 4:19. It was that year a friend mentioned Boston marathon. “Oh no, it is only for fast runners” - was my answer. But I checked, just in case...hmmm…..3:40 was my qualifying time..maybe?
I made a decision to take 2 years to qualify for Boston marathon. At first, go under 4 hours and then 3:40. I had a great training season. I was ready to race and get that under 4 hour time. A foot stress fracture at mile 6 during my 4th marathon forced me to stop. I walked for 4 miles to where my family was waiting. I was crying. I could not hold my tears. I did not feel any pain; all I felt was disappointment and shame. I let people down. 4 months in a boot, slowly started running again and re-building my base.
In 2014 I had a perfect training season which resulted in 3:32,PR and BQ during my 5th marathon. I was registered for my plan B marathon which was a month later. I had nothing to lose. I just went out with no pressure of qualifying. I finished my 6th marathon in 3:27, another PR and BQ by 13 minutes!
Finally this year, 2016, I was training to run my first Boston Marathon. Training was going amazing. A freak accident during an easy run left me with a knee injury. 5 weeks from the race. A big ? mark. “Can I run Boston now?” One week before Boston, my coach asked if I would consider walking Boston. I said, yes, I would and I decided to go to Boston and walk the marathon. I had to finish in 6 hours.
A night before marathon, I decided that I would try a walk/run method. I ended up running all the way and finished in 4:09! Last 2 miles I could barely breathe. Tears were flowing down my face. A volunteer approached me when I finished with concern on her face. She would not leave my side. She kept asking if I was hurting. I replied "No". I told her that I was overwhelmed with emotions, I was happy.
And I kept asking her when I would get my medal. I was searching for volunteers giving out medals. And then I got my medal.
It was all worth it.
Even my first marathon finish was not as emotional. Finishing my first Boston gave me a feel of a huge accomplishment. It was a special moment! Very special!