Transitioning from Boston

Pre-Boston, my plan for post-Boston had been to take 10 days mostly off of running to recover, and put together a killer training program that would span from the 11th day after Boston and carry me through my last planned event for 2013: The Catalina Eco Marathon on November 9th (FYI, that’s the day after my birthday, feel free to send gifts). I have only completed a few uncomfortable runs, and have barely thought about what my training for the next 6 months is going to look like. One run worth noting, however, was the back half of a friend’s marathon, the week after Boston.

brc sistahs

My motivation to run, even a little, took a sharp nose-dive two and a half weeks ago. I recognized it for what it was, which was, I think, equal parts:

  1. a bizarre “injury” to my right side…
  2. legitimate post-PR need for rest
  3. a conflagration of conflicting emotions that were a bit slow to take shape regarding the events post-marathon in Boston
  4. frustration when I realized how big my goals are and how limited my resources seem (and the profound guilt at thinking that way, see #3)

The 3rd point has taken a lot of forms, but the one related to running is that it has seemed foolish to focus at all on my very self-indulgent, self-interested running goals, amidst what has happened.

I spent some time last weekend speaking with a friend who was writing an article that focuses on having ran the Boston Marathon and coping with the stark change in tone that occurred during the experience. It was a hugely therapeutic exercise that made me realize I’ve been avoiding blogging, planning my training, reading blogs/articles, and indulging in all things running, because admitting how important it is to me is uncomfortable given the recent context.

Although this is a personal blog, I still don’t want to re-count my experience in Boston here (it’s not going to add anything to what others have already written), but people have been so kind to inquire so I’ll say this: I felt safe the entire time and  was surrounded by friends. The way the bombing has affected me, personally, has nothing to do with running (Except that I will not be posting a race re-cap) and doesn’t belong in this format.

I will say this piece though: I am very disappointed in the general attitude amongst running-bloggers that it’s important to “move-on” quickly. Within 8 hours of the bombing in Boston I saw posts mentioning moving on and focusing back on your goals and training. I think that is OK, for some people, but to pressure everyone to do the same is not.

Being “Boston Strong” doesn’t mean to push ahead with aggressive defiance, it’s ok to be shaken.

If terrorism didn’t make us self-reflect, didn’t scare us, and didn’t throw us off our game for a while, then we would call it something else, and we’d be changed fundamentally, and in a way that reduces freedom.

Running is perhaps the ultimate expression of freedom.Very often my motivator to get out there when I’m not feeling like it, is to remind myself how amazingly fortunate I am to have not only the capacity to make such a choice, but the freedom to execute that choice.

So please, stop telling me that I am “entitled to celebrate” my PR.

I know that I am.

I just don’t want to.

On a happier note, although jumping right into training again hasn’t panned out, I did, last weekend make a list of the things that would help me move up another “level” in racing. I’ve got two items crossed off already: I am currently “shopping” a few chiropractor, and with help from some former colleagues, I got a membership to the kick-assingest gyms in Chicago (slight bias there). This morning marked my first swim workout in years. Which, as you can see, I was thrilled about.

Flatterning picture, isn't it?

Flattering picture, isn’t it?

I’m running this Sunday in Palos (First Midwest Half Marathon). Back in March I was planning on a PR effort, and to break 1:30, however, it appears I can’t maintain my marathon pace (so certainly not Half pace) for more than a mile without some pain, so I’ll be running just to soak up the environment, and the energy.


10 responses to “Transitioning from Boston

  1. I totally agree with this: “Being “Boston Strong” doesn’t mean to push ahead with aggressive defiance, it’s ok to be shaken.” My celebration was short-lived and bittersweet and I’m not sure it actually made me feel better about the situation in the end. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! And have fun this weekend! (you’ll get that 1:30 in no time)

  2. I think it is hard to full appreciate Boston strong, if you haven’t spent some time in the area. It is pride in being from Boston, a Masshole, in the ideas behind Boston and it’s history. Its being proud of your teams no matter how they are doing. It’s walking around with your proudest form saying, hell yeah I’m from Boston, wicked pissah.

    Your foundation can shake, but you bring it back together and stay strong.

    I spent most of my life in Massachusetts, and still see of pride from this on my Facebook feed.

    Thank you for the post!

    • I grew up just north of Boston (Methuen, then southern NH), I guess what I am getting at is that, yes solidarity in frightening times is great, but it’s also OK to not be feeling very tough in the wake of hateful and totally unjust actions, even if you grew up in a culture of self-preservation and standing up for your clan, it’s OK to be sad, to be feeling vulnerable.

      I’m not flinty, I’m not even that resilient, I’m a blood and bred New Englander, and I lived in Boston, and the Boston Marathon carries more personal symbolism for me than I can ever share on this blog…I guess all I wanted to say was, it is kind for the nation of social media to keep posting clever images of the New England and Boston sports teams as a gesture of support, but I personally, would rather have a hug.

  3. I am not from Boston and will never BQ but I am still shaken by what happened and I still find myself on the verge of tears (probably) more often than a person who has never been there should be, 9-11 affected me deeply and my reaction to Boston is just as deep. For me, my “moving on” will be slow and over the course of several years. I will always feel sadness and I will probably cry several more times. I have not “moved on” and I think that is just fine.

  4. Similar to you, I was surrounded by friends and did feel safe on April 15. I’m new to following you and am very much looking forward to getting to know you. Good luck this weekend. Man … 90-(something)-minute half is so fast!!

    • Oh, thanks! I’ve been enjoying your twitter “posts” (twitter tweets…just tweets?…). Anyway, I hope to meet more loggers in the flesh this summer!

  5. Goodluck! And stay safe! 🙂

  6. I agree with your post entirely. I think we all need to process the attacks as we need to and I respect your right to not celebrate your PR. Though I am still proud and impressed for you despite the events!

    I think you failed to mention the craziness that you are embarking on on 6/15 as running plans ahead. I started my TM training at 10% grade. Oh not easy. Need to meet you and Bertha soon!

  7. I’m dreading my date with Bertha tomorrow already! Ok, Ok, next post will be about my home state….and my race plans. IT SO SOON WE HAVE TO MAKE A PLAN!!!


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