Saturday, February 11th
Time: 2 hours, 34 minutes
Hill Count: 5
1. Discovering that the Dunkin Donuts by Boston College does not keep their bathroom under lock and key (although now that I plan on making it my mid-run pit stop, they might).
2. The gentleman who glided by me somewhere around mile 15 wearing frilly, heart-covered underwear over his spandex leggings. Chafe-prevention has never looked so romahhhhntic.
This week, Sarad advised us to keep track of our workouts in a running journal. Ever the obedient participant, I went right out to snag myself Lisa Frank’s finest. Unfortunately, it seems that Madame Frank has moved on to bigger and better things (the Louvre, no doubt), and so I had to make do with a run-of-the-mill Mead.
For serious though (not that fluorescent dolphins aren’t of the utmost gravity). The journal bit came up because Sarad shared with us a quote that he wrote in his running log back in 2000. Confucious (the original dispenser of Pro Tips) said: Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
This hits close to home for the obvious reasons (see left), but also because it’s one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from marathon training. I can’t count the number of times during the first season I was ready to throw in the towel half-way through a run. Luckily (question mark?) there’s not much you can do at mile 9 of an 18 mile out-and-back except turn around and make the best of it. And eventually, I realized that Sarad (and Confucious) were right. The runs where I push through my hatred for the hills for being so STEEP WHY ARE THEY SO STEEP and WHILE WE ARE AT IT I HAVE A BONE TO PICK WITH THE WIND FOR EXISTING and ALSO I hate sunshine and LAUGHTER – those runs are the ones I am most proud of. (Aside from the sunshine and laughter-hating. That’s a little embarrassing).
Saturday’s dedication came from Jen, who signed up for Boston after running a half with Team in Training a few years ago. Like many of us, her initial motivation didn’t come from a personal connection with blood cancer – actually, it was to impress a dude (way more badass than my “challenge to a dance-off and disorient with wild-arm flailing” strategy).
Although the dude turned out to be nowhere near half-marathon worthy, Jen found true love in TEAM. Her mentors, coaches, and teammates became her personal connection – and as she fundraised, she heard from more people in her life who had been affected by blood cancer. So now, Jen runs for them. And for her sister, who was diagnosed with breast cancer just last week.
Team in Training doesn’t just help people whose lives are directly affected by blood cancer. Those of us who run benefit from a network of friendship, support and snacks that can get you through anything from a misanthropy-inducing blood sugar low to a devastating diagnosis. That kind of love is hard to find.
TAKEAWAY: Happy Valentine’s Day! Sign up for a marathon! Or, if you can’t bring yourself to trade in the Ghirardelli for Gu, spread the love with a donation and some warm thoughts for Jen and her sister.