YOU MUST PREPARE NOW

That was Weather.com’s headline yesterday afternoon, and judging by the scenes of post-apocalyptic devastation in the Shaw’s eggs and dairy aisle, everyone took their instructions to heart. (In case anyone is wondering how my personal nemesis weatherman Pete Bouchard is handling the storm…not well. Thanks for the pep talk, Pete.)

If I did, buddy, you'd be in trouble
If I did, buddy, you’d be in trouble

But while my neighbors ransacked Kiki’s for the last stale loaf of Irish soda bread, my teammates and I started stocking up on miles. We are a dedicated bunch, but nobody’s risking life and limb to slalom down Heartbreak for our planned 15-mile run tomorrow. So instead, we got up early and started out to get our miles in before the storm hit.

I think I saw at least half the city’s running population out by the Charles this morning, wearing 17 layers of ear warmers and the same expression of grim determination I saw on the grocery shoppers lined up 6-deep when I stopped for water at 7am. But there was also this sense of fellowship – we all may be clawing each other’s eyes out over the last box of Franzia, but we’re doing it TOGETHER.

Picture of sophistication
Picture of sophistication

For me, at least, part of the reason I run is that sense of camaraderie in the face of looming disaster. I mean, granted, we sign up for these things (I guess in that sense we’re kind of like storm-chasers). But when you’re face something terrifying – whether it’s the prospect of running out of wine, a double-digit run in a blizzard, or an uncertain diagnosis for someone you love – it helps to know you’re not facing it alone. My mentee Jenna gave the dedication for our run last week, and talked about how when her sister was first diagnosed, Team in Training was the only place she could really go to talk about it. It’s a lucky thing in life, I think, to feel like you have even a few people who’ve got your back no matter what. With Team in Training, you have a hundred.

I am EXTRAORDINARILY lucky to have had all of you at my back for so many years. And it’s not just me – every person on my team, and every friend or family member they’re running for feels more supported because of your donation. I’ve got $1,800 to go right now – trade you a gallon of milk for a donation?

Love you more than all the eggs and beer in Boston,

Cait

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Marathoning and the Montage

(WAIT! Every good montage needs a soundtrack. So before you start reading, let’s set the mood.)

That’s better. Happy last day of 2012, you guys! I trust you are spending it as I am, listening to the top 40 songs of 2012 (38 of them Taylor Swift’s, god bless her) while uploading every picture I’ve taken since January so Facebook stops trying to convince me that one of my 20 biggest moments of 2012 was updating my profile picture on December 14.

I'm not saying it's a bad picture, but come on.
I’m not saying it’s a bad picture, but come on.

Given my previously documented love of montages, you’d think this would be my favorite time of year. So much reflection and review on the best of 2012, from music to memes. But you can’t just slap together a few Drunk Nate Silver tweets, set it to Call Me Maybe, and call it montage. The best montages provide narrative arc. They take your struggles and re-frame them as a necessary step on the path to greatness.

I’ve used the montage to get me through all KINDS of difficult moments. Bad date? You’re simply in the Bad Date Montage of a romantic comedy. Matthew McConaughey should be along shortly.

And oh, how we'll laugh
And oh, how we’ll laugh

Apartment a disaster? Put on a jazzy little number and you’ll be done in 4-6 minutes. The classic of the genre, however, is the training montage. And the marathon is MADE for it. We start out wheezing through our first four mile run, gulping nervously at the prospect of raising $1M. Fast-forward through a few blizzard runs, the number on our goal tracker steadily increasing, some slow-motion burrito-eating, and before you know it we’re cruising triumphantly up Heartbreak in front of cheering crowds while Eye of the Tiger plays in the background.

The reason I love montages so much is that they don’t gloss over the tough stuff. They just put it in its place. The runs that make me wonder why I didn’t decide on something nice and easy like competitive lumberjacking; the years I put $2,000 on my credit card in January and cross my fingers I raise it before May – those are what make actually managing to pull this whole thing off meaningful. So when we find a new treatment or even a cure for blood cancers, it doesn’t mean we forget the people we’ve lost or the struggle they’ve endured. It means we value the progress we’ve made that much more.

So how are you going to round out your 2012 montage? Having that ill-advised 14th glass of champagne, or making a donation to an excellent charity? (No one’s saying you can’t do both). Whatever it is, stay safe, warm, and full of shrimp cocktail. See you next year!

Love and a victorious slow-motion fist pump,

Cait