932. That's how many people laced up their running shoes, took that first step across the Boston Marathon start line, but ultimately never crossed the finish. It's likely all of us runners wondered if we'd make it all the way to 26.2 miles when that start gun fired on Monday morning in Hopkinton, MA. I know I certainly had doubts about my abilities that day. It was a perfect storm for disaster. Not only was it forecasted to reach 89 degrees and not a cloud in the sky to shield us from the hot sun, but the Boston Marathon is unique in how late in the day it begins. Every marathon I've ever ran typically starts between 7-7:45 am. There's good reason for that... to beat the heat! But, for reasons I'm not sure why, Boston begins at 10 a.m., my wave at 10:20. I'd never ran a marathon that late, I was nervous.
My game plan was this. Drink Gatorade at every stop to help replenish electrolytes, grab a cup of water at each stop to dump over my head and run for the hoses! Thank goodness there were tons of people with hoses, sprinklers and even the fire department opened hydrants. This is what saved me! I also forced myself to run a slow pace. It took me a couple tries to qualify for Boston Marathon. You can read my blog entry here about how I qualified in Duluth with 3:37-- just minutes to spare to reach the 3:40 required time. I qualified, my family and I spent money on airfare and hotel... darn it, I was going to cross that finish line if I had to crawl across it!
Luckily, I didn't crawl, I sprinted with a smile from ear to ear, dripping in sweat and hose water. It was a hard marathon, but finding a way to overcome what hundreds couldn't reminded me of why I do it. I'm stronger now for it and next time I come across a hurdle, I have one more example to remind myself that with preparation and perseverance anything is possible.