I’ve been a recreational runner for most of my adult life. I was a swimmer in college but running was easier to do consistently once I was out of school.
I was incredibly lucky to have my first marathon experience be the Boston Marathon in 2000. Most people train for years to qualify for this privilege. I was fortunate enough to work for the title sponsor, John Hancock, so I was able to get a number.
When I finally had clearance to start again it literally was as though I had never run a step. I celebrated every miniscule victory. **I could not run a single mile when December started.** Running was incredibly difficult – my heart, lungs, muscles had all become completely unacclimated to running-specific stress. I have heard about people signing up for a “Couch to 5K” training program, but since I was so focused on getting back to Boston for my dad’s sake, I effectively entered a “Couch to Marathon” training program this past winter.
I never did reach the 70 mile weeks, let alone 18 of them, this time around as in cycles past – but I did reach a respectable 60, for at least a couple of weeks. I am not in the shape I was in last year at this time but my mind is laser focused on the task at hand. I did a handful of long runs with minimal aches and pains, and I am so proud and honored to be able to line up with the best in the world in Boston.
The biggest lesson I have taken away from this experience is that running, and the running community, is always there for you. I now know I will always be able to find my way back to running, however convoluted a path I might have to follow, and I am so grateful for the earnest support and cheering of my family, friends, and fellow runners. I don’t know if I would have climbed back to this point without their constant support. As one of my fellow runners [and frequent Vermont City Marathoner] told me, “Running is a lifetime practice.. it’s all there, be patient.” And indeed he was right.