(Photo from my very first marathon in 2002.)
Boston On My Mind…
Spring of 1995 is when it all began; spring of 2015 made 20 years ago that I started running. I didn’t know at that time what an important role running would play in my life; how it would shape me as a person and how it would build some of the strongest bonds of friendship in my life. I didn’t know the places it would take me, or the challenges it would present. I was in my junior year of high school and wanted to keep in shape so I simply laced up my shoes (Air Max Triax to be exact) and set out on a journey that unknowing would be one of the most important decisions I ever made.
Running has gotten me through some of the darkest times in my life and has given me some of the greatest joys. The shared love and respect of running has been one of the strongest bonds in my marriage. Running has opened the doors for me to other sports like triathlons. It truly has formed my life in ways that I would have never understood back in 1995.
When I started running I had no idea what a 5k was much less a marathon or beyond. However, as with any runner, as I got more entrenched in the sport I wanted to challenge myself. My competitive nature lead me to the racing aspect of running. Fast forward to 2015… I’ve competed in countless races, run thousands of miles and my passion for running has not wavered. I made LOTS of ‘rookie’ mistakes and paid the price of injury from over training time and time again. It’s amazing what you learn in 20 years!
Now as a veteran runner, I still learn everyday but I’m a much smarter and a more skilled steward of my sport. For years my friends and fellow runners have asked me when I’m going to qualify for Boston. For years I told them it’s on my ‘bucket list’ but I’m not going set out on that journey until I’m ready. By ready I didn’t just mean physically trained but mostly when my runner heart truly wanted to do it. Joey and I have discussed it for years and after the Run Across Ga this past spring, I knew it was time and I’ve spent the last 5 months preparing both mentally and physically.
I called Coach Valentin Alvarez with Peak Racing. Peak Racing has coached me through my training as a triathlete and Coach V specializes in running. I told him my goals and together we’ve put a plan into action to help me succeed. I’m consumed with work and just as I lay-out the plans and coach my clients in real estate, I needed an expert to do the same for me in running. I also reached out to my long time friend from grade school, Joan Dadeneau, who is a fitness and nutrition expert. She has helped me modify my diet and put together a meal plan to optimize the potential of my body. She and I have had some dietary surprises, which have been interesting and I’ll share those in another post.
The most important part of my training has been my husband, Joey Mixon. When I tell you he has supported me every stride I literally mean he has been by my side for every run. Due to arthritis Joey is not currently able to run with me but he has aired up the tires and ridden his bike hundreds of miles with me through my training; in the heat & the cold, in the dark and in the hard driving rain. He has sacrificed sleep (getting up at 4am with me on a regular basis) and has sacrificed his own training to keep me safe and make sure I have everything I need. My running friends know I often run solo but for years, before arthritis became an issue, Joey and I ran together everyday. This time with him has been so special to me; it’s been the best part of my journey.
Yesterday, October 25, was the last long run before my race and true to form, Joey was with me every minute of every mile. On November 7 2015, a little over 20 years since I started running, I will set out to run the hardest marathon pace I’ve ever attempted. I have just one goal, qualify for Boston. It’s been about 11 years since I last ran a marathon so I’ve changed a lot as a runner but one thing has always remained, my desire to run the ‘Kona’ of marathons, the Boston Marathon. If I’ve learned anything in my 20 years of running it’s that you never know what race day will bring. Sometimes, it’s just not your day; I’m prepared for that. My experience as a runner allows me the comfort of knowing if it doesn’t happen November 7th, I will go out and try again. You see, once you’ve been doing something for 20 years it’s inherently apart of you and quitting is not an option.
In advance… Thank you to Coach V & Peak Racing for pushing me and challenging me in new ways. Thank you to Joni Biancardi, my massage therapist, from whom I’ve had weekly sports massages and I have no doubt has been a big reason I have remained injury free (thank God!) through all of this mileage. A HUGE Thank You to my husband for being my biggest cheerleader, my biggest fan, always believing in me, always being on board for whatever adventure comes next, loving me and sharing this wonderful life with me. Most of all thank you to God for putting the desire and fire in my heart to be a runner. He knows my goals and will see me through be it now or later; I know that will all my heart. He delights in even the simple joys for His children.
What I do as a runner is not life and death and I’ve learned to keep myself in check. I will set out on the road to Boston November 7th but no matter what the day brings I will give it my all. If it’s my day or if it’s not is yet to be seen but I’m thankful to have a body that gives me the opportunity to try. I guess you could say my “Road to Boston” really started 20 years ago in my Nike Air Max Triax. Let’s see where it takes me for the next 20 years…
“The shortest distance between two points is not the point.”