April 20, 2009. Every thing I had done since last October revolved around what would happen on this day. And I mean everything.
But before I could even get to those 26.2 miles, I would have to first train hundreds of miles on rock hard asphalt, drink gallons of Gatorade and eat hundreds of jelly beans. I would have to teach my head and my heart to tough it out while trying to ease my body into the pain it would feel.
After Wellesley, the course got more difficult. The famous rolling hills of Newton began to take their toll on my quads which were very fatigued from the fast downhill miles at the beginning of the course. To be honest, the famed Heartbreak Hill at mile 20 was the easiest of the hills. I wasn’t even sure I was on it because it seemed so small. Although it didn’t seem very big, it still hurt.
They never saw me either because the guy in the tutu distracted them.
The fatigue and pain in my legs was getting worse. My form was deteriorating rapidly to a pathetic shuffle.
The thought of anymore Gatorade was nauseating. The familiar buildings of downtown did not seem to be getting any closer. I began to get passed by more runners than I was passing, including an older man decked out in a pink tutu and leotard. I stopped looking at my watch and focused just on getting through it. But soon enough, I was on the streets of downtown surrounded by the tall building and even bigger and louder crowds. The finish line was getting closer and after a couple of turns was in sight.
The last two-tenths of the last mile were glorious but excruciatingly painful. I willed my legs to move a little faster. I willed my arms to pump a little harder. I willed back the tears of exhaustion and joy. I even willed out a smile and victory thumbs-up as I crossed the finish line in 3:48:35. I don’t know what place I came in. I don’t know who beat me. I don’t know who I beat. Because the Boston Marathon for me, was not a race against the other 26,000 runners. It wasn’t even a race against the clock. It is a very personal race against the pain and fatigue, a personal race of hard work and diligent training, a personal race made better by the encouragement of friends and family, a personal race to overcome and conquer one of the world’s greatest marathons.Official finish time: 3:48:35.