May 20, 2013

Chair Day - Post Boston Musings

This morning I stood for 10 minutes, turned to consider my stability ball in the corner, and have been sitting in this office chair ever since. I wrote the following two months ago: "I love that I have a job that I care about, a job that I lose sleep over, a job that, come May 6th, will have made me a new girl". The months between January and May changed me. I knew that's what they were doing while living them. I knew that when they were over I would sit down in a quiet, dark office to write this post and say that these months proved how hard I was capable of working, that I had never cared so much about a job, that I was tired and invigorated and grateful and overwhelmed and calm all at the same time, and that that combination is intoxicating. I also knew that when it was over, I would crash. Monday, April 15th changed me- The 117th Annual Boston Marathon. I was tired going in to the race, preoccupied with thoughts (and nightmares) of Walk MS, which would take place 3 weeks later. I failed at carbo loading, many thanks to my sometimes dysfunctional digestive system. And I was ready to go home before I even left for Boston. That being said, every marathoner who has a chance to run Boston, should. I am so glad I did. I am so glad I trained (and complained) my way through the cold, dark, miserable (get the point?) Upstate New York winter in order to run decently on race-day. If I run Boston again I will absolutely run for Boston Children's Hospital. I am amazed at the quality of the Miles for Miracles fundraising program and was so proud to be wearing their jersey on Marathon Monday. I re-qualified, should I desire to run in 2014, but honestly, I'm not so sure. It's not because of the explosions an hour after I finished and the chaos that followed, nor does it have anything to do with the challenges the course itself presents. Or... maybe it is. Maybe I'm tired of pounding my body into the pavement day after day, logging 65+ mile weeks, being famished all the time. Maybe I'd rather go for a walk and drink coffee in the morning with my most wonderful man than head out solo for an hour and a half run before work. Maybe watching the smoke and masses of people running in each direction from the 7th floor of the Westin and being left to find my way out of a city I did not know and was not safe in marred me in a way I have yet to come to terms with. What I do know is that I wanted to collapse into E's arms and be carried home to my bed the minute I crossed the finish line. I was done. The 20 minute walk to the family meeting area was more agonizing than the race itself. And when the event went from physically exhausting to emotionally and psychologically debilitating, the pain of realization and even understanding were at times too much for this one mind to hold. I crumbled in the most unexpected ways. I will not forget the feeling in the week that followed of being unable to wrap my brain around simple concepts, being brought to tears by too many people speaking at once, being distraught by fear and flashbacks.. and I was three blocks away. My heart goes to those who were en route to the finish line.. to those waiting there for their loved ones to run by. I cannot, nor do I want to, imagine. This wasn't going to be a post about Boston. It was going to be mostly about Walk MS and striving to meet goals and taking pride in what I do. It was going to be about things larger than myself that have shaped mere me. I still smell Boston. I feel the quiet and simplicity of the starting line, see the endless, encouraging people lining the streets, sense my brother suddenly by my side at mile 20. I was blinded by the sun as I turned the corner onto Boylston Street, knowing my parents were there somewhere in the crowd but unable to pick them out of the thousands of shouting, cheering voices. I crossed the finish line and wobbled to my right, bumping into a blonde haired girl and muttering something about it hurting more to stop. She agreed. I took a sip of water and my stomach tightened into a painful mess of "that's enough, get me out of here, please, no more". It felt like there were hundreds of people closing in on me, pushing me slowly through the chute: foil blanket, medal, photo, follow the signs to your parents and lover, just follow the signs, keep moving, if you curl up and cry now you'll never get there." And that was before it got intense. Dear Boston, I respect you. I appreciate what you do for people like me. But I've seen enough of you for awhile, and I can't say with certainty when I'll be back. This one is going to take some time to recover from. You are brilliantly vibrant, and you will bounce back and be better than ever, I am certain of it.. in fact, we will all bounce back, eventually. Some things just take longer than 3 hours and 26 minutes.

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