Saturday, April 14, 2012


Tonight's update could have gone either way. I'm so, so tempted to write a top ten list of the things NOT to say or do to someone on the brink of one of the most important moments in her life. But I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, even though that post would have been rather comical.

(example: 'Why don't you just start running earlier in the day because of the heat?' Oh, sure, let me call the BAA and tell them that I want to start earlier, I am sure they will accomodate ME, one of 27,000 runners.)

Instead, I'm keeping it serious. Letting you into my head for a bit on how I am feeling right now.

I understand that there are so many people that don't quite get it - and that's okay. Many do not (and cannot) understand what this coming Monday means to me. Here is my weak attempt to explain.

Monday is a life-changing event for me. I have been referring to this past week as "one of the most important weeks of my life," and that is not an exaggeration. Having the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon on Monday is comparable to the day I gave birth to my daughter - truly. There are many, many parallels. Months of discomfort leading up to the event. Months of preparation. Lots of emotions - highs, lows, and everything in-between. Months and months of leading up to one day that you know will make your life forever changed, and forever different.

But there are more parallels than that. The journey has been very similar, as well.

I came very close to not being able to have children, and I am extremely blessed that I have my remarkable daughter Amanda. The fertility specialists who brought her into my life, doctors who have pretty much "seen it all," called her a miracle and could not explain how she came to be, against all odds. Pregnancy was not in the cards for me, and somehow for one moment we were able to trick nature and the result was my precious girl. If this is any indication on how fortunate I am to have her: my fertility clinic told us to count our blessings with her and STOP pushing our luck to try to have a second child. They are in the BUSINESS of helping people have babies - this is how they make their money - and they told us to stop because our chances of a second miracle were that bleak.

Anyways. Story I've told a million times.

What does this have to do with Monday? A lot, actually.

Monday, for me, is also about overcoming odds.

I have asthma. I have had pretty severe asthma since I was two years old. I have taken medicine my entire life to help with it, and still do. I currently have two different inhalers to help me control my asthma - one that I take use twice daily and one that I use "if needed." It wasn't that many years ago that I used that "if needed" inhaler multiple times a day. And now - I can go days on end without touching it.

I was the kid who always felt like an outsider, because of my asthma. If it was under 50 degrees outside, I couldn't participate in outdoor recess. It was very isolating to be an elementary school child, and have to be the only kid left sitting in the classroom day after day as everyone went outside to play. I would sit alone in the classroom and do school work, or read a book. It was lonely, and to be completely honest, it totally sucked.

I was the kid who couldn't participate in gym class. Yup. I had a note from my parents and from my doctor excluding me from gym. Once again, I was alone and felt left out.

Growing up here, I watched the Boston Marathon every year - whether on TV or in person - and found it remarkable. I always wondered what it would be like to be able to run like that. If I ran more than ten steps I would wind up having a full blown asthma attack. These marathoners seemed, to me, to be super-human. I envied them, and I revered them.

Once I started seriously running several years ago, what once seemed like an impossible dream started coming into focus. Me, the kid with severe asthma and the note to skip gym class, actually started contemplating marathon-ing. When I crossed the finish line of the New York Marathon in November of 2010, I was overcome with a feeling I had only experienced once before in my entire life: it was the same exact feeling I had when I gave birth to my child and they placed her in my arms. Exhilaration and pure joy unlike nothing else. For those two moments in my life, I felt divine, invincible, and powerful.

What does all of this mean? I can be super-cheesy and quote Phil Collins now by saying "I've been waiting for this moment for all my life." It is true, though.

Everyone has their moment. A moment when they prove, not to the rest of the world, but to themselves, what they are capable of. Monday is my moment. The weather reports are scaring me, and I have received several emails today advising me about the dangers of attempting to run a marathon in 90-degree heat. But I am trying not to let that get to me. It is what it is. I cannot control the weather. Everything that I CAN control, I have. I trained. I rested. I have the proper gear. I have emotional and actual support from the people in my life that I cherish. I am going to take all of that with me, line up at the start in Hopkinton, and give it my best effort. The weather may get the best of me - who knows, really? - but I am going to take my shot. As I explained to my wonderful six year old (who asked why I would run the Boston Marathon KNOWING I am not going to win), showing up and trying on Monday, against every odd and hurdle that has been thrown at me since I was two years old, already makes me a winner.