Today, I will not be writing about public relations or marketing or campaigns or brands. Today, I am writing about running and me.
Like most distance runners, I spent my morning listening to the live broadcast of the Boston Marathon and tracking my friends as they tackled the 26.2 mile journey from Hopkinton to Boylston St. in 80-degree weather. With my love of all-things Boston and running, I’ve always appreciated Marathon Monday. In the past, I’ve passively acknowledged who won the race and smiled at runners sporting offical B.A.A. race gear.
Now that I’ve gone from casual runner to half marathoner, I finally experienced that emotional tug of the Boston Marathon. It’s no longer just another marathon. It has shifted to being the quintessential marathon – the one many runners spend tireless hours training for the competitive qualifying times, let alone the race itself.
For me, Marathon Monday capped off a pretty exciting weekend. To celebrate my birthday, I traveled to New York City with a good girlfriend. On Saturday, we woke up at 6 a.m. (yes, on vacation) for a 16-mile long run. We made our way around all of Central Park, dominated (term used loosely?) Harlem Hill, and worked our way back downtown to Battery Park via the Hudson River Greenway. When I finished the run, my third 16-miler this spring, I was tired but I also felt strong and confident.
Sunday morning, as we strolled through Central Park, we stumbled upon the More/Fitness Women’s Half Marathon and decided to cheer on the runners. As cheesy and embarrassing as this is to admit, I got a little choked up watching these women cross the finish line. I understood their pain, their joy, their accomplishment.
That’s why I love the sport of distance running. There is no such thing as a comfort zone, yet there is nothing quite like the happiness felt after finishing a long race – happiness that you’ve set a new PR or that you ran more than most people will drive that day,or that you had the strength to finish when you didn’t think you would.
Which is why I decided today to give myself a belated 26th birthday gift:
On February 17, 2013, I will be attempting my first marathon in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida – 26.2 with Donna: The Race to Finish Breast Cancer. I’m nervous and scared, but I know that I’m ready for this next challenge and I’m looking forward to the training process.
Happy Marathon Monday indeed.