On Sunday, it will be two weeks since I last ran. That’s right, I haven’t run a step since crossing that finish line…
The magic of what happened isn’t lost on me… but sometimes in the quiet, daily grind of the days that followed, I wondered if it really did happen.
There were plenty of reminders, of course. Emails and posts on social media from the marathon, getting connected to Otto the Pacer via Facebook and Instagram, wearing the jacket (and it’s a mighty sweet quarter-zip), touching my medal where it hangs with the many others in the hallway, re-reading a congratulatory note from a friend who made it a point to stop by that same Sunday evening- and who’s not even a runner!- reading all the comments on my race report bloop- oh, and receiving this from Loopster Dean (n2runningbad) in the mail!
But now I’m experiencing a trio of factors that is leaving me in a little bit of limbo. I’m not running, the post-marathon jolt of a-little-lost-a-little-blue settled in, and my husband left the country for 8 days a week after Wineglass. The latter was with a mission trip team organized by our church, to help with construction at a church and school in Tobago. And it was also the reason for me not running this entire 2nd week, post-marathon. Having requested early days this week in my work schedule, I arrive home a little before the kiddos are off school. The evenings are long and do not include running.
(I miss him a lot. He comes back Sunday evening, in 2 days. We have not been apart for this long in our nearly-12 years together. Did I mention that I MISS HIM?)
Even though I made it a priority to see Wineglass for the triumph it was- a benchmark and goal accomplished that no one can take from me- those 112 seconds are starting to look like an agonizing near-miss that is going to put the pressure on me, once again, to go for it. Because yes, I got the goal: the fact that I ran faster than my qualifying time, the fact that I am a QUALIFER. But I’m just qualified to register, I’m not qualified to run Boston. And no matter how you slice it, it probably won’t be enough.
Add to that the small, cutting irony that 4 years ago when I started chasing this goal, it would have been enough. Had I run 112 seconds below my qualifying time THEN, or even the following year, I’d have gotten in.
But I know I am not alone in this and so I am not going to dwell on it. Like, 5,000 rejected runners Not Alone. This is not some special piece of bad luck gifted to me by the running gods, it’s just reality and the facts and I make my peace with that.
At the same time, in the middle of post-marathon-blues and the silent knowledge that after all that suffering for it my best still won’t quiiiiiiiite be enough… something of a burden is lifted off me. A weight. A mental block. A wall conquered that I previously wondered if I’d ever be able to scale. Sometimes it seemed breaking through to an actual qualifying time was something I wanted so much that it was paralyzing me. To have it happen unexpectedly, almost, at a race where I was ill-prepared for it right after it completely blew up in my face at Erie where it was supposed to happen perfectly… it seemed meant to be more for the gift it would be to my identity as a runner and my desire for this goal than it was meant to get me to Boston. I mean, look at the way that thing played out, those 3 hours and 38 minutes… the anxious, fearful start, the confident first half, the late break and thinking all is lost, and then battling back in the final 2 miles. Mirroring in a sort of time-lapse the tumultuous years of running that propelled me to this moment.
Because of this specific race and the way it went down, I “go (more) confidently in the direction of my dreams”, as Thoreau says.
And the direction of my dreams is a qualifying spring marathon.