Sunday, September 30, 2018

19 Seconds.

I have referenced many times, the plans you make for yourself aren't always the plans that the good Lord has in store for us. 

Almost exactly a year ago, I decided I was going to devote 2018 to "Boston or Bust." I put my head down and gave my training every ounce of focus it required. Just after the New Year, Rob and I got engaged. When it came time to choose a wedding date, I immediately nixed the month of April. "I am not going to get married and possibly run The Boston Marathon in the same month. That's just too much." At this point, I hadn't qualified for Boston. But Rob understood, my mental game was on point. By literally planning one of the biggest events of our life around the POSSIBILITY of a race meant one thing, it was game on and nothing was going to stop me from toeing that line in Hopkinton. 

Until I received this email a few days ago:

About as crushing as it gets
I had done my part. I trained my ass off. I suffered through the mental breakdowns of marathon training. I damn near sacrificed my left hamstring in the process. I qualified for the race. With 4 minutes and 33 seconds to spare. But apparently my security blanket needed another 19 seconds.

No one could have predicted such a huge jump in the time qualification.  Last year, you needed to better your qualifying time by 3 minutes and 23 seconds. Add a minute and 29 seconds to that this year and you officially have 7,384 runners that were rejected from the 2019 Boston Marathon. Myself included.

It's been a roller coaster of emotions for me the last few days. Instantly I felt shock, anger, complete and utter disbelief. I made my phone calls and marched myself right back into work and put on my poker face. In the hours immediately following I felt almost petty for being so upset. Megan, there are SO many other more important things in life. A silly race shouldn't cause this much emotion. Get over it. And then 10 minutes later, Of course you deserve to be angry and upset. You worked your tail end off to be able add the term "Boston Qualifier" after your name. Go ahead, cry. Eat all the cards. Cry some more. That night I wallowed in my self pity and ate almost an entire pound of baked macaroni and cheese from Mariano's. I've had my eye on it for months now, and moments like this completely justified an indulgence. I needed comfort food.

I woke up on Friday morning and I honestly felt hungover, without a sip of alcohol the night before. My eyes were as puffy as I'd ever seen them. I had a pounding headache. I felt as though I hadn't truly slept. I wasn't normal peppy self walking into work. My boss noticed. My coworkers noticed. Hell, even the owner noticed and approached me, "Hey, you alright?" I thought I was ok, I just kept to myself and did my job and didn't really interact with anyone unless I needed to. Apparently that's everything I needed to do to reassure everyone that I really wasn't ok. I made a conscious effort after that to be more like "Megan."

So many people have reached out to me since Thursday evening. Phrases like "you deserve to be at that starting line" and "that's absolutely brutal" and "my heart aches for you" and "I've been in your exact position before" have been flying around. I can't thank everyone enough for their kind words. At times, running can feel like such a lonely sport, especially on the bad days. But after a situation like this, I'm assured that the running community is as tight nit as they come. Support runs deep and thick in our blood. Success isn't measured by speed or distance run. It's measured by the joy running brings, the passion runners hold in their hearts, and our complete disregard to accept failure as an option. The email I received on Thursday evening, some would consider this a failure. Me? I'm choosing to look at it as an opportunity to grow. I refuse to let myself be bitter about this situation. I'm going to allow it to make me get better. In the words or Kara Goucher, "Nothing has ever broken my heart the way running has. And yet, I can't breath without it."  The amount of truth behind this statement is unreal and completely defines this situation.

Not for a single second do I discredit the success I had at Grandma's Marathon in June after receiving that email from the B.A.A. on Thursday. Grandma's Marathon is easily the best race I've ever executed. I just hope I can remember every single detail I need to execute that type of race again, because this isn't over. Boston and I aren't done. Thoughts and ideas have already hit the drawing board to find a way to get me to Boston in 2020. And, the plan {hope} is that I won't be running Boston alone in 2020. My birthday twin, Lauren. has some unfinished business herself with the Boston Marathon. Lauren ran Boston in in 2016. Well, she started the race. She knew she wouldn't be able to finish due to an outstanding injury but she wanted to be apart of the experience. She promised her boyfriend (now fiance) that she'd see him at the finish line. She soaked up 7 miles of the Boston Marathon, stepped off course, and was driven to the finish line so she could welcome Matt to Boston. Between the 2 of us, we have a serious fire lit. 

Pre-race miles in Lake Placid, NY circa 2016

We know, plans can change. Curveballs happen. At this point, rollin' with the punches is my middle name. But this is where I stand. This is what I have my sights set on. And if you thought I was motivated before, hell you ain't see nothin' yet.

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