Singing the Pre-Race Blues

The faces of Boston Marathon statues were covered by fabric masks (Photo Courtesy: 26.2 Foundation)

Today is Patriot’s Day or otherwise known as Marathon Monday in Massachusetts.  

I need to be real with you.  I do not get the running for 26.2 miles thing and all of the training that goes into it, so I asked some of my runner family and friends for their thoughts. But, before you try this on your own, I should share with you that having a conversation with a runner requires some ground rules and a common understanding of the lingo used.  

Rule 1- Never refer to a runner as a jogger!  I don’t know what the difference is, but it must be like saying to a tequila drinker that Don Julio is the same as Jose Cuervo!

Rule 2- When they refer to their PR, they are not talking about their “public relations” or all of the people they smiled at during their run. It is their “personal record” or best time.

Rule 3- When the runner refers to himself as a “streaker”, this does not mean that he runs naked.  It refers to his number of consecutive days of running.

Rule 4- If the runner suggests that you begin your training with fartleks, do not smirk, thinking of that SBD you let loose and blamed on the dog!  It is a style of running when you randomly change your pace from slow to fast.

Rule 5- The black toenail is their trophy.  Do not squish up your nose when they discuss in detail how disgusting it is, while beaming with pride.  Then, when they announce to you that it has finally fallen off,  congratulate them.

Rule 6- When the runner excitedly announces that they are going to pick up their ‘bib”, it is not something that they will put around their neck to catch the spill of water from roadside cups.  It is the piece of paper that adorns their body and identifies their number as a runner during the race.

Rule 7- They will most likely give your their “chip time” when they share with you how long it took them from starting line to finish line.  (I don’t know about you, but “chip time” to me is grabbing the bag to eat with my tuna sandwich!)

Rule 8- Do not refer to their footwear as a sneaker!  The proper term is a running shoe.  I made that mistake…once!

So why do they do it? 

According to my lovely sister-in-law Jen, her love/hate relationship with running requires as much mental exertion as it does physical. She always tells her girls, “How do you win a race? Cross the finish line!” She runs for that feeling of accomplishment, knowing that all of her hard work has paid off.

Kathy proudly wearing her 2020 Boston Marathon jacket.

 My close friend and former co-teacher, Kathy shared what she misses by not being able to run Boston today:

1. I miss going to the Expo to pick up my number and get new running gear, another jacket of course. 

2.  I miss going to Hopkinton and hanging out at the athletes village, feeling an absolute wreck, but loving being with all the other runners. 

3. I am going to miss the volunteers who are so kind and supportive and give up their day for me. 

4. I am going to miss the law enforcement people who keep us safe and who are so encouraging and brave. 

5. I am going to miss my favorite points of the marathon course where the spectators are cheering wildly for you or I have some special memory. Framingham, where you look at yourself in a huge storefront window. Wellesley, where the college girls are amazing. Turning the corner at the Newton Fire-station and then facing the hills. 

6. I am going to miss the 23 mile mark, when I know I am going to get this difficult challenge done. 

7. I am going to miss turning the corner at Hereford St-the most amazing feeling of joy. 

8. I am going to miss having a volunteer put the medal around my neck and congratulate me. 

9. I am going to miss that wonderful shower after running 26.2 miles. 

10. I am going to miss the pain I feel the next day knowing I gave it all I could. 

But, the most important thing that I will miss is seeing all of the people I love along the course. I can’t even say how much it means when I see those people cheering, screaming and hugging me. It is utter love! 💙💛💙💛

So for all of the runners out there who can not run Boston today, know that others are thinking of you.  We are hoping that your opportunity to “cross the finish line” is just PPD until September.  In the meantime, this one is for you: