It's taken me a while to get to writing this, partly because the boys were on vacation last week, so I didn't have a whole lot of free time. But also partly because I'm having a hard time even figuring out what to say about it. I have moments where I'm still just kind of astounded at how this all turned out. How I went from feeling like I was healthier and stronger than I've ever felt in my life, to spending several days barely able to walk.
And I have moments where I want to scream and yell and hit things, because I'm so mad and frustrated that all those weeks and weeks of hard work just evaporated in an instant. And moments where I want to cry, when I think of how badly I wanted this, and how I poured my heart and soul into it for 4 months, with this ultimate goal in mind.
But that is the risk we take as runners when we train for an endurance event. The potential for heartbreak is always out there; I've just been fortunate enough to avoid it until now. But my luck finally ran out.
Even as I accepted that running Boston was definitely not going to happen, there was a part of me that felt really strongly that I still wanted to be there, and to be a part of it on some level. And I also felt like I wanted to go and pick up my number. Even though I wouldn't be pinning it on and wearing it, I earned it, and I hated the thought of it just sitting there unclaimed and then ending up in the trash.
But I also knew that going to the expo and being among the throngs of excited, happy runners would be really, really tough. So I decided that I would try to turn it into a more positive experience, and invited Dante to come with me. I was pretty certain he'd have a good time, and that having him with me would make it more of a fun adventure, and distract me from some of the emotional turmoil that was swirling around in my head and heart.
I was right on both counts. He loved going, and although I did tear up several times, it was far less difficult than it would have been if I had gone by myself. And it was great to be able to show him a glimpse of the magic that is the Boston Marathon.
Also great to see Sarah Bowen Shea. Even though we only got to chat for a few minutes, it's always a treat to be able to see her in person : )
As certain as I was that I wanted to be at the expo and pick up my number, I was even more certain that I wanted to go to the race on Monday to spectate. I knew that if I stayed away, I'd regret it and spend the whole day wishing I was there.
I took the train up and arrived at the finish line around 10am, and managed to get a pretty good spot right behind the barricades, about 200 yards before the actual finish. It was a very warm morning (close to 70 degrees at 10am!), and I admit that I did take some comfort in the fact that the PR I had trained so hard for almost definitely would not have happened in heat like that.
I still would have rather been running, though. And I actually had a moment when I woke up that morning thinking that if I hurried, I had time to get to the buses at Boston Common and get to the starting line, and I could just run/walk the whole thing, just to get across that finish line. But sanity prevailed, and I knew that I didn't want to cross the finish line that way, and also that even if I mostly walked, traveling 26 miles by foot would be a very bad idea for my still-not-right back.
It was amazing to be there as a spectator, though, and I was thrilled to see the elites finish, and to see the wheelchair competitors, and to catch a glimpse of Bobbi Gibb. I knew that some friends were spectating in Natick, and although it would have been fun to hang out with them for the day, I'm glad I was at the finish - that's where I really wanted to be on this day.
There was a big screen right near where I was standing, and I cried when I saw my wave starting in Hopkinton. Not easy to see at all.
But as the day went on, and the trickle of finishers turned into a steady stream, and then huge crowds, I got caught up in the excitement and was able to enjoy the day a little more. I chatted with the people near me, and tracked their runners with them, and cheered when we saw one of them cross the finish.
I had planned to take a 1:30 train home, but couldn't tear myself away that early, so ended up staying until after 2pm. At that point, my back hurt, my feet hurt, and I was hungry, so I gave my spot to a young girl who was waiting for her father to come into the finish, and headed out.
And I can sincerely say that I am so glad that I went. I know I would have been mad at myself if I had missed the opportunity to go and spectate. It was a beautiful day to be there, and although it tore at my heart, it would have torn at it even more to be sitting at home sulking.
So now I close the chapter on Boston 2016. I hate how this story ended, and I wish I could rewrite it, and I've spent too much time going over and over it in my head, wondering if there was something I did that I shouldn't have done, or something I didn't do that I should have done. But that's wasted energy, and I know it.
I'm doing my best to move forward, and having Boston in the rearview mirror helps a bit. But not being able to run is a big roadblock. Yes, I can work out, and I'm putting all my energy into doing the things I can do - weights, biking, elliptical, yoga (getting back to that this week) - but it's not running. And it's not what I want to be doing in this beautiful spring weather.
When I first got injured, I thought that maybe it would be a quick recovery and even if I couldn't run Boston, I could bounce back in time to capitalize on my marathon training and turn it into some fast, shorter-distance spring and summer races.
But now that I seem to be in it for the long haul, I'm not even allowing myself to think about that. I just don't know where I am, and what I'll be able to do, and if I'll even be able to run a mile anytime soon.
It's frustrating, and depressing, and I'm angry. I have days where I just roll with it and I feel ok, and other days where I get really down. Thank god I have an understanding husband and family.
I went for an MRI yesterday to try to get some more answers. The diagnosis up to this point has been SI joint dysfunction, but I want more clarity and more concrete information. I'm absolutely terrified that I'm going to get bad news, but somehow even bad news will be better than being in limbo and not being entirely sure what's wrong and when it will be better.
So for now, I wait. And I do what I can. And I continue to try to put all this behind me and move forward, one step at a time.