[Dimity note: Sarah wrote this before the high temps were predicted, so she's amended #4: she's happy to have it be her slowest marathon. She'll be happy to see the finish line smiling.]
In the blur of everyday life (The daffodils are already disappearing! I swear I just paid last month's AmEx bill. How are there only two months of school left? Weren't the Summer Olympics just on?), it's tough to gain perspective on upcoming events. Thankfully, at a few recent readings of Train Like a Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line - and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity, women have asked me about my goals for the Boston Marathon. The queries helped me coalesce my thoughts and dreams, and I wanted to share them with a broader audience. (I also got the chance to hash out some of them on our most recent podcast when Dim sprung the topic on me--I was delighted to get to focus and voice some of my thoughts.) Depending on when you read this, I might even be meeting some of these goals: The wave I'm in goes off at 10:40 a.m. Eastern. If you're so inclined, I'm bib #20710, and you can go to www.baa.org for live-ish updates.
1. Arrive at the starting line injury free. After being sidelined last year with my first-ever running injury (plantar fasciitis), I have a newfound appreciation for being free of aches and pains. So far, so good (well, except for being diagnosed with strep throat last Tuesday, but I got on antibiotics quickly, and never felt too crummy).
2. Be present and live in the moment. This has been a guiding principle in my life since the unexpected dissolution of my first marriage in the mid-1990s, yet I still struggle with experiencing life as it happens. I figure this might be the one and only time I'll have the privilege to run Boston, and I want to take in all the details. I want to high-five spectators; kiss a Wellesley student and a drunken fraternity fellow; spy the Citgo sign; soak up the energy of dedicated marathoners. In a race, in particular, it's so tempting to fantasize about being somewhere else--back home, tucked into my hotel bed, at Mile 25. Instead, I'm vowing to appreciate being at Mile 3, Mile 14, Mile 23, Mile 26.2, and every blessed step in between.
3. Don't have it be my slowest marathon.I have no real time expectations as so much depends on the weather. We had a chilly-for-Portland winter and spring, so I'm not acclimated to hot temps, and Boston is run during the middle of the day. And then there are the infamous Newton hills late in the race. But I am feeling strong. Not PR strong, but confident and fit. As always, I'd love to finish around 4:00, but mainly I just want to beat 4:11, which is my least-speedy 26.2.
4. Get a kickass finish line photo. Again, I figure this might be my only shot at Beantown, and I want a photo to record it for eternity. The photo of Christy Zuzelo, a mother runner we spotlighted, is my ideal. I've literally been practicing raising my arms straight up so I don't look like a bank hostage pleading not to be shot. And bonus points if I'm sporting a grin instead of a grimace and at least one foot is off the ground.
5. Feel proud of my effort. I have had a fantastic training cycle. I followed the Marathon: Own It plan from TLAM, and it was perfection. I didn't feel burnt out, physically or mentally, and I felt strong. I know I'm going to get passed by a lot of runners, but I'm fine with that; I know I qualified by the skin of my teeth. I want to hold my head high and feel proud of the effort I put forth.
6. Feel the love. Every Boston vet I've ever talked to rhapsodizes about the incredible crowd support from start to finish. I want to soak up those supportive vibes and feed off of it. In addition, I have felt such an outpouring of support, love, and admiration from the Another Mother Runner tribe. I've had so many well wishes and prayers sent my way, and I am so looking forward to having those feelings and thoughts carry me along the road from Hopkinton to Boston. Thank you all--you'll be the wind at my back.