Today is the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. A day for me that conjures up all kinds of emotions. It was a day that I felt so strong as I ran the famed Boston Marathon race course and then a day that changed my life. Now every day I am working on finding my “Fearless”.
I had worked so hard to get to race day at the Boston Marathon in 2013. My quest for a Boston Marathon qualifier began before I had kids and then my drive to qualify was re-ignited after the birth of my second child. Training to qualify for the Boston Marathon gave me a goal to help pull me out of several tough years of dealing with severe post partum depression.
Having children is the best thing we ever did but it was by no means easy or straightforward. Upon learning that we were having our first child within a few weeks we came to know that I would be needing abdominal surgery due to some health issues that I was having that could affect my baby. It was a scary time. Everything was uncertain and my stress levels were through the roof. Thankfully we made it through everything and after some more minor pregnancy complications and a c-section we had a beautiful baby girl.
No one really knows why some people have Post Partum depression while others do not but perhaps it was all of the complications during my pregnancy and the stress that set me up for it. I never got over the baby blues. The baby blues turned into a difficult time of emotional turmoil. Thankfully with support from family and friends and seeing a doctor and someone to talk to I was able to move through this challenging time.
When we got pregnant for a second time with our son I was immediately worried about having PPD again and like our first pregnancy this one too was full of extra doctor visits and stress (I’ve learned that pregnancy is not easy and definitely not what it looks like in the movies!). At the end of my second pregnancy the baby and I needed to be monitored closely. Again we ended up with an early c-section but thankfully a healthy baby boy. This time we caught the PPD earlier because we knew what to look for but still the emotional challenges were overwhelming.
Out of everything that I did to recover from Post Partum Depression running again was what truly saved me and gave me back my spirit. In 2012 I set my sights on getting that elusive Boston qualifier again this time with the time standards being dropped by 5 minutes. A Boston Marathon qualifying time seemed like an impossible dream but I knew that I had to go for it. I had to push myself further than I had before both physically and mentally. My body was not the same, I was older and bore a scar from three surgeries. My scar for me is a reminder of my strength and of everything that I had gone through. It reminded me that I could push my way through anything. I trained like a madwoman. I slogged through cold winter miles. I ran hill sprints. I ran fast and hard. I wanted my dream. The first try to qualify at the Vermont City Marathon I ran like a woman on fire and did not keep my goal in sight. I was desperate to qualify and so ran too fast, missing my chance at qualifying by five minutes.
I couldn’t let my goal slip away that easily, I had worked too hard. I had one last chance at a qualifying time and I knew I could do it and I needed it. I went to my last chance marathon (Marathon Around the Lake) alone. It was to be me against the race course and me against myself. The only person to cheer me on and to tell me that I could do it was me. The race an unusual course lapping around a lake just more than 8 times and at night was not your typical marathon. It was perfect however. The night started out hot but then cooled down just enough. Running by the lake brought me calm and I was able to settle down into a rhythmic 8:09 pace. I can still remember how relaxed I felt as I ran and how strong. I listened to my body and I believed in myself which is something that I had struggled with so much during my Post Partum Depression.
Instead of filling myself with worry and self-doubt I just let myself run.
And I qualified. 3:33. A huge PR and a qualifying time.
At the Boston Marathon in 2013 I was at my peak. I was strong. I was fast and was ready to run. I ran a perfect race. Even splits with negative splits at the end. A 3:34 finish. I was Fearless!
Then it felt like everything had been taken away. My strength, my confidence. my safety. I felt afraid.
Today is a day that we must remember and find a way to be strong and to be fearless. We must not let those things that scare us stop us in our tracks. We must not let ourselves be defeated by things that are out of our control.
The Boston Marathon has as special meaning for women everywhere for it was first solely only a race to be run by men. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first official women’s finisher at the Boston Marathon. She ran even though women were not allowed. She defied the rules and showed the world that women could run the marathon too. She proudly displayed her race number 261 and she was fearless. When the marathon events occurred on April 15, 2013 many questioned would the marathon run again. Would the race be forever changed. Last year all of Boston and the world rose together to run the marathon again to be fearless, to not allow the terrifying events stand in the way of our freedom.
Today is an important day to remember the lessons of Kathrine Switzer and to be Fearless. This weekend I will be running the 261 Virtual Race with Skirts Sports to celebrate this being fearless. I find it fitting that I will be running these miles during the Boston Marathon Events. While I will not be at the marathon this year my heart will always be on that race course in spirit and I will always carry my journey to Boston and beyond with me. There is still time to join in . . . enter my code SSORM20 at checkout for 20% off if you decided to register.
Thank you for joining me in learning more about my journey of personal discovery and how I am working to be Fearless every day.
How have you become fearless in your life? What has taught you to be more fearless?
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