Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"This year's different...there's a lot of intensity."

Ever since I arrived in Boston in 1971, the Boston Marathon has been a part of my life.

From my memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":

We woke up early on April 15, 2013. You would have thought we were running the Boston Marathon again. Tom and I had a ‘perfect’ morning together enjoying the coverage on WBZ TV and leisurely making our way to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for a reunion with some of our Race for Rehab team members. Although I grew up in New York, I called Boston home since 1971 when I began my freshman year at Boston University. Following numerous orthopedic surgeries when I hobbled around on crutches, I would often joke, “No I’m not going to run the marathon this year, maybe next year.” Be careful what you say out loud to the Universe.

I saw a link to the WHDH news story "Runners stop for painting of Boston Marathon finish line."

Bill Rodgers said, "This year's different...there's a lot of intensity."

I love Bill and the way that he states things so simply yet with such eloquence.

Here he is at the unveiling of the banners this year with a powerful conviction about the Boston Marathon and Bostonians:

I was blessed to meet Bill Rodgers in Hyannis 5 years ago

as I was preparing to run my first half marathon ever and then this year as he signed a copy of "Marathon Man: My 26.2 Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World."

He is so unassuming and perhaps one of the things I love most about being in the running community is that the every day runner can stand and chit chat with elite runners. As an aside, Bill Rodgers does say in his book that he hates the term elite runner. In his book, he sees the Boston Marathon first as a college student in Connecticut. His roommate, Amby Burfoot is the one who introduces him to endurance running. He offers a wonderful historical perspective about the race.

When we were training for Boston 2009, our daughter happened to be sitting next to Johnny (the elder) Kelley's nephew Tom and his wife Dottie on our return flight from Puerto Rico. We had to get out of the brutal cold for five days and train in warmer weather. We were treated to stories about Johnny and an autographed photo of Johnny graces our living room wall.

The other day I was going through our Boston 2009 Memorabilia and came across the note they sent us:

This is a poster created by Adidas for the 2004 BAA Marathon. I had Johnny sign a few when we roomed together at the Copley Plaza that week, and I know he would have gladly signed one for your family if he were here. Perhaps it will inspire you to run a good race, especially the last 6 miles. Johnny was an inspiration to many of us amateur runners and he lives on in the memories of countless runners. You can get a copy of his book Young at Heart on Amazon I believe. You'll note that his forefathers came over to the USA on the SS Marathon!!! Keep on running as I do..We loved your website and maybe some day we can meet again.

We did meet again when we picked up our bib numbers for the 2009 Marathon.

This year IS different. And to be honest, I don't even know how to begin to process or where to put the range of intense feelings I am experiencing as we prepare for the one year anniversary of the bombings and as we get ready for Marathon Monday in just a few weeks. In yesterday's post I shared how we decided we would not be at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel this year and needed to be cheering on our friends on Beacon Street either at Cleveland Circle or Dean Road.

Part of me wants to savor every moment leading up to Marathon Monday. Being support crew for the last long run this Saturday.

Greg Gordon's Boston Marathon Fundraiser Singing Boston Strong: An Evening of A Cappella Music to Benefit Spaulding Rehab

Tom's running of the BAA 5K and then packet stuffing the following weekend.

And part of me just wants it all to be over with!

Instead, I will breathe deeply and abide with whatever feelings may come up no matter how intensely because well - this year's Boston Marathon is different.

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