Friday, October 2, 2015

When you're up, you're up. And when you're down, you're down.

It has been a week of ups and downs.

The Up
On Sunday, I took home my first ever first place finish in a race. I was the first woman and third overall finisher in the Unionville Vineyards 8K. It was a very small trail race, which most certainly worked to my advantage. But a win is still a win. The day was extra special because my dad and sister ran the 5K race. It was so much fun to run with my family right outside my hometown. I'll post a full race recap later this weekend.

The Down
On Monday, I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle to work. It felt oddly like I was watching life through a GoPro in slow motion as I somersaulted over the hood of the car and landed, stunned, on my back next to my bike in the street. My helmet took a good whack on the asphalt, so I took my first ever ambulance ride. Fortunately, I was given the all clear and discharged with instructions to take it easy and pop some ibuprofen after CT scans of my head and neck came back normal. I walked away feeling stiff and a little foggy, but relatively unharmed. I am so glad this is what my helmet looks like, and not what my skull looks like.

Kids, wear your damn helmets.

Another reason to love living in Cambridge: The paramedics brought my bike in the ambulance with me and then carried it into my hospital room. The front wheel was bent considerably, so I had to carry it over my shoulder from the hospital to the bike shop, where it immediately got repaired. Broadway Bicycle School is the best. I got a new wheel, new seat, brake adjustment, and a new helmet. The steel frame of my bike held up fantastically, despite putting a sizable dent in the front bumper of the car that hit me. Good as new.

The Pits
On Wednesday, the Boston Athletic Association announced the cutoff times for the 2016 Boston Marathon. You may recall that I ran my first ever marathon in May of this year and met the qualifying standard for women in my age group, which is 3 hours, 35 minutes. Meeting this standard made me eligible to apply for entry into the marathon, but it did not guarantee my place. I knew, based on last year's cutoff being 1 minute, 2 seconds below the standard, that things could go either way. So I waited, anxiously.

This is the email I received from the Boston Athletic Association.

I have re-read this email one thousand times. Each time it feels like the cruelest joke. I missed qualifying for the 2016 Boston Marathon by ONE SECOND. 

Rules are rules, and the line had to be drawn somewhere. It just happens to have been drawn right in front of my toes. That one second has already been haunting me. I've replayed all possible scenarios over in my head.

What if I didn't walk through that water station? 
What if I hadn't stopped to stretch my calf? 
What if I didn't wave at Steph? 
What if I didn't check my watch that one time? 
What if I hadn't put my arms out as I crossed the finish line?


But dwelling on something I cannot change will do me no favors. After hearing my news, my ever-supportive friend Becca took me out on a cathartic, rainy run Wednesday afternoon. I left my phone at home and my watch wasn't working. At first we chatted, but then we picked up the pace and were breathing too heavily to speak. It was gray, and it was cool, and all the other runners must have been scared away by the rain, because it was peaceful. We ran silently, in rhythm. I let my legs take charge and remembered that the thing I love most about running is the feeling of total freedom it gives me. It is escape. There is a reason why I am grinning ear to ear in pretty much every race photo taken of me. The timing of my accident seems fortuitous, and serves as a reminder to never take life for granted. I am so grateful that I can choose to move my body and run every day.

When I signed up for the Vermont City Marathon last Spring, I told everyone, "This is a one time thing." Then it became, "This is a one time thing, unless I qualify for Boston." Well. It's funny. Running gets under your skin. The truth of the matter is, I loved the whole experience.

So, because I cannot exist without goals, I am currently looking for a good Spring marathon. Preferably in the Northeast. Definitely a Boston Qualifier.

And, at the suggestion of the wise sage, Steph, I've decided it's time to set a goal that's a little less selfish. I'm looking into Girls On The Run, helping out with a Couch to 5K program, and/or volunteering at some races. Know of something local that could use my help?

Make every second count.


  1. Hi - I felt the need to write you after reading this. I also ran VCM back in May and qualified for Boston. I had a terrible run that day, got sick during the race but still managed to BQ. I was aiming for around 3:35 but ended up with 3:42.41 - still enough to BQ for my 40-44 age group by 2:19. I was crushed on Wednesday when I found out I missed Boston by 9 seconds. I cannot imagine how 1 second feels - 9 seconds was bad enough! After I got over my sadness/sulking period, I went on to the BAA website and looked at their charity program. I saw one of the official charities was near to my heart and submitted an application. I received an immediate response and was accepted onto a team on Friday. It was meant to be. Sometimes we need to be reminded that there are bigger things in life. I am very glad you are okay and wish you all the best in your future running goals! - Sue P., Hebron, CT

  2. Thanks for your comment, Sue. I feel for you in being SO CLOSE to the cutoff, but it's also comforting to realize I certainly was not alone in my disappointment. Congrats on getting in with a charity and best of luck with Boston training!


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