Last weekend, as we made our way around Boston (learning a few things the hard way), we kept saying, "Next time, we're going to..." When we told friends about our trip, they kept calling it a "once in a lifetime opportunity," and a part of me saw it that way too. But, being in Boston, seeing my friends, remembering how much I love the area, and being totally swept up in the excitement of the race events, we became more and more certain that there was definitely going to be a "next time" and another "next time" and who knows how many others. In fact, with each utterance of "next time," I got nearer and nearer to seeing myself as a runner in those "next times" rather than a spectator, and I found myself getting excited by that prospect, as strange and impossible as it seemed.
Never did I feel more eager for that prospect than on race day. Be warned, my friends. If you are starting out as a runner and then watch someone you love run and finish the Boston Marathon, you're going to be infected by an intense disease... and the only cure for that disease is running the dang thing yourself. Everything about the Boston Marathon is infectious! I feel like I won't be able to rest until I have returned and felt the agony and ecstasy of the journey from Hopkinton to Boylston Street. I want to see and hear and touch those screaming throngs of spectators. I want to stare in awe at the sea of runners ahead of me as I descend a slope. Call me crazy, but I even want to know how it feels to tackle the infamous Newton hills and discover that deep within myself there is a well of strength that flows even when I can't comprehend how there could possibly be anything left to give. I want to experience it all for myself, not just second-hand. Most especially, I want to experience it with Reid by my side. What could be more incredible than that?
Last Saturday night we went to dinner with two of my friends from high school. One of them mentioned a recent radio discussion about self-deception. Apparently the thing that distinguishes successful athletes from mediocre athletes is that the winners are "good at lying to themselves." I guess I'm starting out on the right foot, then, because I can't believe these words are coming out of my mouth/fingertips:
I will qualify for the Boston Marathon within the next two years, and I will run the Boston Marathon with Reid in 2010!
Crazy, huh? Really though, I prefer not to think of it as "lying to myself." Instead, I'd like to call it "reaching beyond reason." The rational voice in my head says that I am nowhere near fast enough or tough enough to qualify for Boston. The rational voice in my head says I'm crazy to even consider the prospect. The rational voice brings to mind the countless people who have shaken their heads at Reid and declared, "No marathons for me!" and all the times I have uttered the words, "I'm just not built for running." I can be rational. Boston 2010 is pretty much impossible for me. I'm not going to lie to myself. I'm just going to tell that rational little voice to "Shut up." And then I'm going to defy the impossible.