It’s over! Yay!
I meant to write a post about my expectations for the race, but since I ran out of time, let me start there.
I didn’t have high expectations, that’s for CERTAIN!
Reason #1: I had to wake up at 5:45 in order to make it to Fenway in time. I am not a morning person, I am the antithesis of a morning person, in fact. I wouldn’t mind if I never saw a sunrise for the rest of my life. Sunsets are fine by me! My wonderful boyfriend and I may have gotten into a little quarrel on Sunday morning for no reason other than I’m a total grouch in the morning (and he is not – he was checking his e-mail on his phone when my alarm went off). Luckily for my relationship, both he and I are really great at admitting when we are wrong/cranky/being annoying – we both quickly apologized and all was well again.
Reason #2: I was working a charity event the night before and knew I wouldn’t be home until about midnight. (I don’t pay attention to dates well)
Reason #3: I didn’t eat dinner because I was focused on the event mentioned above.
Reason #4: My training was extremely weak to say the least. I’m pretty sure I’ve only run about 4 times so far this May (not counting Sunday), and I don’t even remember running in April (then again, I don’t remember much about April thanks to finishing my Master’s thesis…)
Based on that, I wasn’t really expecting to have a great run. I was semi-planning to run 2 miles, walk a mile, run 1.5 miles, walk .5 mile, run the rest (almost a mile). I was also expecting to cry the entire time! “Why?” you ask. Because I was told that lots of our active duty soldiers at the race run in their full uniforms (complete with boots and packs). I know this sounds nutty, but active duty soldiers make me sad. I couldn’t quite explain it to T before the race, but after the race, I think I can try. I’ll explain at the bottom, I promise.
So, low expectations for the race. How did it actually go?
Better than expected. Although, as expected, I didn’t get home until midnight and didn’t fall asleep until after 2 am. Oh, and I completely skipped dinner. I had a yogurt at midnight, does that count?
However, I only walked about 1/2 mile! Not too bad! (all things considered…) I ran the slowest I’ve ever run during a race and my right foot cramped for about the first 3 miles, but at least I ran most of it!
- The second song on my race playlist is “Shipping Up To Boston” by the Dropkick Murphies. It came on just as I rounded a corner to a beautiful view of the Prudential Center (which is quite a Boston landmark) – it seemed so fitting!
- Another song that seemed appropriate came on just as I started to cross a bridge to run back across the Charles River and into Boston. In front of me was this gorgeous view of this city I love, and on comes This is Our House by Bon Jovi – perfection!
- I thought there would be more of a breeze as we were going to be running up the Charles River, across the river, up the river, down the river, back up, back over, back down. Unfortunately, the breeze didn’t kick in until mile 4, it was so appreciated though!
- I got to high 5 a man running in a kilt (um… awesome!) Now T wants to get a sport kilt so he can run in one too (especially interesting because T had back surgery four years ago and isn’t supposed to run on pavement…)
I didn’t cry while running!
Very few people ran in full uniform because it was already 80 degrees when we started. But I totally cried during the opening ceremonies. First, the speeches from the vets who use the Home Base services were really touching. Secondly, I was sitting behind a girl wearing a shirt that said “I’m running to home base [Marine Corps logo] He’s deploying to Afghanistan.” A few rows in front of her were was a girl wearing a shirt that said “I run because he serves.” I couldn’t look at either without tearing up.
Lessons learned from this race:
- Sunblock needs to be part of my running gear. Just because I run at twilight under a canopy of trees, doesn’t mean I race there.
- Cross training is important! I never cross train… but my arms and shoulders still hurt where as my legs didn’t hurt at all.
Oh, and we raised a total of 7 million dollars for the Home Base Program!! AWESOME!
After the finish line and on the way to home plate, the Home Base Program had a bunch of signs with horrific facts that I think help explain why thoughts of the military make me cry. Here are some of the ones I can remember:
- Unlike in wars of the past, Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers fight all day, every day: 24/7.
- Unlike in wars of the part, there are no clear front lines and agreed upon battle times. Our soldiers cannot retreat to a safe place for rest and respite.
- More veterans have taken their own lives than soldiers have been killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
- A veteran attempts suicide every 80 minutes. An active duty soldier attempts suicide every 36 hours
That’s what makes me so upset when I think of soldiers and veterans. They cannot unsee so many horrific things. Of course, I’m grateful to them for what they do and what they are willing to risk, but I feel overwhelmed when I think of those risks. It’s so easy to feel sorry for those who die in combat, but what about those who survive? They have endured trauma that so many of us can’t even fathom and yet they go so unsupported by this country that they love. We expect them to eternally be strong heroes, but sometimes I think of the internal damage they must have and it makes me want to cry and I wish I could help them. Plus, what about their families? Besides being left behind to worry about the soldiers’ safety, the loved ones also have to assimilate the changes in their loved ones personality and demeanor. They deal with the horrific traumas without even fully knowing what they are.
It’s terrible and my heart genuinely goes out to them. I’m really glad I could be a part of this. Plus, T wants to be a part of it next year, which is pretty awesome!
Final race stats:
Place 1300 (out of 1485 finishers – 87.5% – this seems really low considering I was number 1544 and somewhere in the middle of the numbers… there were 3 start waves (and a walking wave), I wonder if this was only against my wave)
Age/gender group: 204 (out of 250)
Net time: 1:07:21
Pace: 12:03 (slowest I’ve ever run in a race!)