This postcard came in the mail over the weekend. It was the only mail I received, and it was sitting in the box all alone. Normally, the stats on this card would not be times I would be proud of, but I kind of want to frame this postcard. The numbers on this postcard are the result of hard work, dedication, making good decisions, and paying attention to my body. I am not just talking about what happened on the day of the marathon, I am talking about everything that got me to the Boston Marathon in the first place. This postcard is a reminder of how far I have come in the past couple of years, and where I am headed.
When I crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon after 2PM in 90 degree weather, I actually felt good. I had some heat-related issues mid-course, but I persevered, and I finished. It was only my second marathon ever, and I chose to run as slow as I did. My goal was to cross the finish line, and I was going to do whatever I needed to do to succeed: run slow, walk, stop at every water station, run through every single sprinkler, fire hydrant, human car wash or squirt gun. I was going to cross that finish line.
Going into the Boston Marathon, I was #16544 out of 27000 runners. The fastest qualifying time was number 1, and the slowest was # 27000. So, I was in the slower half of the pack, which I thought was still admirable considering I was a newbie runner, and a completely rookie marathoner. Seeing how I finished, however, was even better. Of those 27000 runners, 21606 finished, and I was 9634th. Over 5000 runners did not finish the race on April 16, 2012. Whether that was because they: deferred until next year, chose not to run at all, or did not finish, I do not know. What I do know: I finished. I ran, and I finished. It was over 30 degrees warmer than I was used to running in, yet I finished. And, I only ran 27 minutes slower than my qualifying time. That equals out to about a minute per mile slower. Not bad, considering.
What’s even sweeter, however, is I went into the race in the bottom 40%, and I finished in the top 40%. Of all the runners who finished, I finished in the top 40% in my division (only the most difficult, and largest division 18-39), and I finished in the top 30% of all women who ran. If I include all the runners who did not finish, I finished in the top 35%…of all runners registered to run the Boston Marathon. That includes the Kenyans. Everyone ran slower because of the heat, but I actually ran better in comparison. I am patting myself on the back right now…with both hands. This is the Boston Marathon.
This was my second marathon ever. They told us “inexperienced” marathoners not to run. They tried to freak us out. I know they were trying to keep us safe, but I wasn’t worried. I know my body, and I know what it’s capable of. I train hard, and I train diligently, and nothing was going to keep me from running and finishing the oldest and greatest marathon in the world. When I am 90 years old and I tell people I finished the 2012 Boston Marathon, I will get looks of awe. I may even get asked to sign an autograph or two. I ran and finished not only the oldest and greatest marathon in the world, but a record breaking hot one, too. April 16, 2012 is a date that will be remembered forever in the marathon world, and I was a part of it. No one can ever take that away from me.