There were very few, and I mean less than a handful, reasons why I would ever run a marathon. Running for Boston Children's Hospital just happened to be one of them. In the fall of 2014 I decided to apply to run the 2015 Boston Marathon for Boston Children's in memory of my father and aunt who had been patients at the hospital their entire lives. I thought that if I ran for a good cause then it wouldn't hurt as much, right? Wrong. Training through the worst winter in Boston was not the best time to tackle a four-month training program, racking up 30+ miles every week. The treadmill became a formidable enemy as I tried to avoid icy roads and terrible conditions, only to feel like a hamster attempting to power a light bulb.
Race day came bringing rain and temperatures in the high 30's, leaving the runners and especially the spectators with character-building conditions. With the help of multiple pairs of running shoes, hours of stretching and nursing sore muscles, and the support of family and friends, my first marathon was a success. I raised almost $7,000 for a cause I care deeply about and earned myself a qualifying bib for the 2016 Boston Marathon with a time of 3:29, roughly six minutes ahead of the cutoff.
I remember someone telling me before I ran Boston for the first time that marathons are like Pringles…once you pop, you can't stop. Naturally, I laughed in that person's face and walked away confidently saying I would only run one.
I'm currently three weeks away from running my second Boston Marathon and thinking, "Damn, that person was right." The training isn't always easy, with unexplainably slow days followed by light and quick long runs and sacrificing half of your Saturday to run 20 miles to only then cancel plans because you realize you can't move your legs. But it's something I've become proud to say I'm training for. In a city with so much pride in its athletic endeavors, the Boston Marathon is among the proudest. If you ever have a chance to head out to the carriage road in Newton during marathon training, it's a sight to see. Hundreds, if not thousands, of runners, training at all levels and for all different reasons are out on the course preparing for those 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston.
With the longest long run of 22 miles behind me and a goal to just go faster than last year I can safely say I'm ready to hit the course on April 18. So if you're in the area and want to catch a glimpse of everyone from elites to qualifiers or charity runners, stop by the course and see what four months and hundreds of miles of training can produce. You won't regret it.
By: Erin Roche