Ten years ago when I decided to get serious about running...it was inconceivable that I would complete nine marathons...and a fairytale to think that two of them would be attempts at the Boston Marathon. I can't recall what my expectations were or where I wanted this journey to take me. Those memories have become blurred by everything that has happened since.
It's good to return and to run without the pressure of performing well in "the race"...and to reflect. I actually started laughing during Saturday's 15-miler as I made my way back into the city from Newton. About two miles shy of where the Boston Marathon finish line is on Boylston Street, an enormous "Citgo" sign towers over runners to the left and Fenway Park sits to the right. I recalled the number of running pals I've told, "Hey, once you hit the Citgo sign...you've got it in the bag!"
It was good to be back in Boston now as I prepare for my tenth marathon. I have friends who have run many, many more...and some of them have run much faster than I'll ever dream of running! I have mad respect for each of them, but I don't think I'd trade places with any of them. In my experiences...the person crossing the finish line...is always different from the person who left the start line. It's always been...and continues to be...about much more than just the run.
Someone asked me over the weekend, "if you can't improve on your time from your last race...then what's the point?" The point...is likely different for each runner. The clock is only a measure of how you performed that day, but there's now a modest body of work here that I find myself increasingly pleased with. Equally important...are the places running has taken me...the people I've met...and the extent to which all of this has impacted my life.