Boston Marathon admiration

It is hard to believe that my day yesterday was so crazy that I missed the entire Boston Marathon coverage. After living in Boston for 4 years, I got addicted to the camaraderie and dedication of Bostonians for those running the marathon. In Boston they have an entire holiday (Patriots Day) where you actually get paid to take the day off and if you feel so inspired go and watch the marathon. Of course Patriot’s Day has nothing to do with the Boston Marathon, but it does have a nice way of working out for Bostonians. We did it a few times. If you get there early enough there are actually restaurants on Boylston Street (where the finish line is) and you can have food and drinks and sit on the sidewalk patio of a restaurant and watch the race in style. I can remember in the early days of Chris and my life together (maybe before we ever really knew where we would end up) we sat together, had brunch and watched the race.

Regardless of whether you are in Boston or not, or whether you watched the race or not, there is a charged excitement and energy around races like the Boston or New York Marathon. Just as there is with the Olympics or World Cup. These are races that show the triumph, drive, and legacy of professional and everyday runners that give it their all either year around as they train to medal in such races, or for those that are trying for their personal best. For me there is something gratifying about someone who works so hard to compete or even try to finish running 26.2 miles. When I saw that the man who placed first was just over 2 hours, I was reminded that he ran 26.2 miles in just over the time it took me to run 13.1 miles. He can run the same amount of miles in half the time that I can – AMAZING!

What inspires me about races like the Boston Marathon is the amount of hours of dedication it takes for these runners (elite or not) to prepare for such a race. Hours, days, weeks, months, maybe even a year back to last year’s race. It might mean giving up on drinks with friends, time with children or other family members. Possibly it means very early mornings to get in those long runs, or being outside in rain, snow, or sleet, or maybe if you live in a warmer climate dealing with extreme heats and dryness. Whatever the weather situation, the time of day, or the toll it takes on your body, training for a marathon is a dedication that not everyone can or wants to do. We are all capable of more than we do, but sometimes there are moments in life when we show that we can push ourselves beyond limits we never were thought were possible. There is also a kindness that other runners spread during a race – see this link for stories of how runners went above and beyond during or after the Boston Marathon.

Running is a sport like no other. This year’s race was cold and rainy. It shows how many people will come out and support you rain or shine while you spend from 2 (elite athletes) to 6 hours to finish running 26.2 miles. Dedication. Perseverance. Friendship. I admire everyone that ran Boston yesterday.

Boston STRONG

It is Boston Marathon day. My heart is always with the runners on Marathon day. I lived in Boston for a few years, and the company I worked for always gave us the day off. The marathon falls on Patriots Day which is a holiday in Massachusetts. So for many years I ventured out to watch runners kick butt in rain or sun on that April Monday. There is a place in my heart for runners, and for the Boston Marathon. Even from across the country, I will be watching and cheering runners on.

This year it is even more heartfelt to think of all those runners that will run in Boston. After what happened last year, this year’s marathon is that much more meaningful. In some ways I feel like there was never resolution for why those boys did what they did last year. They brought fear to so many individuals, and to such an iconic event. Yet, runners are not swayed. They come out each year regardless of the challenge. Runners are resilient. Everyone that runs today is a hero, is fearless, and stands strong that competition is alive, and that no one, yes, no one can stand in the way of the Boston Marathon.

A friend alerted me last Sunday that Shalane Flanagan (a local Portlander) was on 60 Minutes last Sunday. I quickly DVRed it, and was able to catch her interview. Shalane got fourth in last year’s Boston Marathon. This year she is going for first place. I will be cheering her on. For those of you that are runners, I saw this come up in my Facebook feed over the weekend from “Nike Running

“Run with the Nike+ Running App and tag #strongereveryrun in the notes. We’ll give $1 for every mile you run to the Challenged Athletes Foundation.”

What a cool idea. I will make sure my run today is documented in my NIke+ Running app. I will be running for those that we lost last year, and those that were injured. I will be running for those that are pushing it through the Boston Marathon this year. Join me. It is a day of redemption, it is a day of triumph, it is a day to run.

#BostonStrong

Running shoes connected by history

Running shoes have a history. They tell a story of where a runner has been. If you have not yet seen the cover of the most recent Boston Magazine, then you will not want to miss it. They acted or reacted fast after the Boston Marathon. The cover contains 120 running shoes in the shape of a heart. Each pair was worn by someone who ran the Boston Marathon. A clever and meaningful way to honor the 2013 Boston Marathon, both for the runners and those impacted by the events that transpired at the finish line.

It makes me think about the history and journey of my running shoes. The many, many pairs I have worn through that are still in my closet. I have had a hard time parting with them. The worn soles of the miles I have put on them. Whether I was running and reading on the treadmill, or passing the time outside there was a story that followed each of my runs. It might have been the book I was reading while on the treadmill, the novel that kept me going, or the new knowledge or insights I learned from a business book while on my daily run. It might have been the houses I passed in my neighborhood and the music that kept me energized. Whether inside or outside, each pair of running shoes helped me process my day, my work issues, my family life, whatever dilemma was thick in thought was sure to have been mulled over in my current pair of running shoes.

What were each of those runners thinking about while running the Boston Marathon? Was it their first marathon, or one of many? Did they struggle to finish that day, or on their way to breaking a personal record? How many miles were already racked up on that pair worn during the Boston Marathon?

That cover photo brings together many lives and untold stories of how each runner got to the Boston Marathon. You will want to read the article (shared above) from John Wolfson, the Editor-in-Chief of Boston Magazine and how they were able to quickly change their cover issue, as well as interview each of the runners that have shoes on the cover, who tell their stories of their race. Copies will be on newsstands on Tuesday, and other stories not included in the print edition will be online. I would like to get a copy.

Sadness, shock, and absolute love for Beantown

Flabbergasted. Shocked. Saddened. I lived in Boston for a few years. I worked just 2 blocks away from the Boston Marathon Finish Line. I watched the race numerous times very close to the Finish Line.

I know there is a lot of media surrounding the events, and that some individuals might say that at the moment only 3 people have died, but one is an eight year old child. Maybe this specific incident affects me because Boston is in my heart, and what is strange is that there was a shooting in a local mall a few months ago, that was in my backyard, and yet this Boston bombing is tougher for me to digest.

Iconic. That is why I am impacted. The Boston Marathon has been around since 1897. Wikipedia stated: “The event attracts 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England’s most widely viewed sporting event.” It is an event that happens each year on Patriot’s Day. For those of you that are not from Boston and do not know about Patriot’s Day, it is holiday that commemorates the first battles of the Revolutionary War. Most of the state shuts down. When I lived in Boston, it was a welcome holiday in the middle of spring, but also it was great because we had an excuse to be out of work and watch the Boston Marathon right in our back yard.

Why does this bombing bother me so much? Fear. These types of events that leave people more fearful is just what the individual(s) want us to feel. I am saddened that the next time a runner prepares for a race they will think: is it safe? I am saddened that next year’s Boston Marathon will be different. I am not sure how they would ever be able to secure the area to make it safe for future races (too many entry points along the Marathon course). Will that mean less will attend? Less will run?

Lastly be sure to read this Washington Post article titled: “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon” by Ezra Klein who starts the article with how his wife has been training for a marathon. He starts out and says:

“There’s no reason for her to do it. There’s no competition or payoff or award. It’s just a quiet, solitary triumph over the idea that she couldn’t do it, and it all happens before I even wake up.

He ends his article with this:

“This won’t be the last time we gather at the finish line to marvel how much more we can take than anyone ever thought possible.”

After running my first half marathon on Sunday, I do know that at the heart of this runners will come together. Regardless of the way the media sensationalizes what happens, Americans will stand strong and our hearts go out to each and everyone impacted yesterday.

#lovemyBeantown

 

40 Years of Title IX

1972. It should be called the year of the woman. The first woman to run the Boston Marathon, Ms. magazine launches, and legislation passed for Title IX. Tomorrow, June 23rd, marks the day, 40 years ago when a law was passed that created equal access to sports for girls.

I was not always active in sports growing up. I ran cross country in middle school, and played softball in high school. I was also a cheerleader in high school, but I was never a hard core athlete. I do more now then I ever did as a kid. However, without Title IX, I might not have even had those opportunities.

middle school cross country meet

Think of all the badass women athletes that would not be where they are today if Title IX had not been passed as legislation? Famous athletes, your best friend, or your next door neighbor. Check out this montage of photos being collected, honoring 40 years since Title IX. It is called: The Power of IX – a photo project, and it is quite inspiring!

Thank you, 1972, for being the year that pushed the envelope for women’s rights.

Happy Friday!