Marathon reflections, one week later

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I am still riding the high from my Boston Marathon race one week ago today. When I started the training, I said that this would be my last marathon. But now I want to do more, and I will be going back to Boston some day.

I enjoyed this race more than any other marathon I have done. In past marathons, I always had a firm time goal and set out to pace at that goal from the beginning. In all of them I slowed down significantly and missed my goal. That made the last hour of the race very difficult and painful, and it took me a long time to recover emotionally. I had trained hard for most of them, and had what I thought were reasonable goals based on that training and previous half-marathon times. But I always came up short. For Boston, my goals were admittedly much more conservative; however, I felt so much better physically, mentally, and emotionally throughout this race. Most of that was feeling happy and positive, despite my pace. Even when I did slow down at the end, I felt mentally strong.

For many those earlier marathons, my goal was to run a qualifying time for Boston. The closest I came was when I ran 4:06 and the posted qualifying time for my age-group was 4:00. Since then the times required have gotten faster and I have gotten slower. I have always thought that if I could not qualify I would eventually earn my entry by raising money for a charity. Some people think that Boston should only be open to qualifiers. Being from the Boston area, I know how important the charity program is in giving back to the community. And now that I have participated in that program, I have an even greater appreciation for the efforts by the 3000+ people that participate as fundraisers. Each year, charity entries get more and more competitive, and there is no guarantee that one can get one simply by applying. I feel privileged to have run the marathon this way, and it is something I want to do again.

My physical recovery has been amazing, but I am not rushing getting back to running. I have done a lot of walking and might be ready to do some easy running later this week. I have some half-marathons planned for August and later in the fall, and may even think about another marathon for November. I will continue this blog; the Boston Marathon has my heart, and in some ways I will always be “Running to Boston.”

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