Things are beginning to feel more normal now, three weeks post-Boston. I still cry at times, particularly when I see images from the day of the race. It's the happy images that make me cry, though - the smiling runners and the cheering spectators and all the elated faces. It just breaks my heart to think about how so much was taken away from so many that day.
The past few weeks I had been reading everything I could get my hands on, and watching news clips constantly. I'm trying to back away from that now, though. I know what happened, and I don't need to keep rehashing it. I think it was contributing to the fog I was in, and I'm happy to be coming out of that fog.
Part of my return to reality was standing at the starting line of a race again, which I've done twice now. Two weeks ago, I ran the RI State Police 5K Foot Pursuit in Narragansett. I ran it last year and really enjoyed it, and even though I wouldn't recommend running a 5K two weeks after a marathon, I've now done it two years in a row and felt fine, so.......
It was a beautiful day, and I knew I was just going to go out and run a good effort. I wasn't expecting to run a PR, but I wasn't planning on just running easy, either, so I lined up at the front of the pack. I had my Garmin, but I didn't look at it a single time during the race - just put one foot in front of the other and ran.
It's a great course - pretty flat, and lots of it run along the ocean, and for being just two weeks out from running 26.2, I had a great day. Ran a 21:40, with almost negative splits - 6:52, 6:58, 6:40, 6:25. And I was tired when I finished, but I felt pretty good - except for the itchy hands, which started as I ran the final .1.
The second I finished, I took a Benadryl and sat down, and I never got the full-blown scary anaphylactic symptoms, which was good - and I think it was because I sat down right away. I never fully broke out in hives, either - just had some itchiness. So although I was a little frustrated, it wasn't anything more than just a nuisance, so I didn't get too down about it, and even stayed for a short while after the race to chat with friends.
And this past Saturday night, I did a Boston Benefit race put on by the running club, and although it was one of the toughest, hilliest courses I've ever run, I was so glad to be there. It was great to run with friends - all the chatting was a nice distraction from the hills. My god, the hills!
There was even one insanely steep at mile 5 (the friends I was running with had run this course before, and were referring to this particular hill as "the mountain) that was up a dirt road, which was preceeded by a sign that read "Pass at your own risk," and which was littered with potholes. Fun stuff.
We made it up without twisting any ankles, though, and continued on through one rolling hill after another, until we got to the final hill, which I thought was far worse than the mountain at mile 5. But of course, I just wanted to be done at that point, so I ran as fast as my beat-up legs would carry me.
This is my attempt at a smile, which is more of a grimace, which is actually a much more accurate depiction of how I felt.
I do feel proud that I survived such a tough course, though, and am pretty happy with our 8:43 pace. I had no intention of racing this one, and although I probably could have run a little faster, it would have been utterly miserable, and that's not what I was there for, so I'm glad I ran it easy.
And I'm glad that the event raised close to $600 for the One Fund Boston. I've donated through a few other outlets already, but was happy to contribute more, and especially happy that I was able to do so in a way that was meaningful to me - by running.
This coming weekend is the Cox Providence Rhode Races half-marathon - the kickoff fo the United Healthcare Triple Crown Series, which I'm doing again this year. I'm not sure if I can pull off a PR at this half, but I'm going to give it my best shot. Hoping that my marathon fitness will equate to a speedy half-marathon pace.
It's funny, though - I haven't been doing any kind of speedwork or tempo runs or anything, and as I'm out there running my easy, 8:30 pace for most of my weekday runs, it seems impossible that I could ever under a 7-minute pace - but I did just that at the State Police 5K. And as I finish up a 10-mile run on the weekend, I can't believe that I was at the point where 20-mile runs were routine. And I know I'll be back there soon enough. It seems far away now, but the time passes so, so quickly.
Lots more races to come this summer, and after the Providence half, I'll probably start back up with track workouts and occasional tempo runs. I am thoroughly enjoying running just for the fun of it right now, but I can already feel little hints that I'm going to be ready to start working on building some more speed to get me through my summer races and put me in a good position to start marathon training again next winter.
And in the midst of all this, my three crazy little men are keeping us extremely busy, especially now that spring sports are in full swing. We have two weeknight practices, plus games on Saturday and Sunday, and that doesn't leave us with a whole lot of down time.
I'm thrilled that the boys are enjoying their sports, but it always takes some time to get used to the hectic schedules. This is Gabe's first time on a travel/competitive team, and it's definitely been a learning experience. He's rising to the challenge, though, and it's been really great to see him learn more and develop into a stronger player.
His team has yet to win a game, but they still get out there every week and play their little hearts out, and it's so awesome to cheer them on. I do hope they win at least one game, though. They try so hard! I'm glad he has a great coach, too. They work hard, and they're learning a lot of new skills, but the emphasis is always on fun and teamwork, which is how it should be.
Dante is LOVING baseball, and I have to admit, I'm kind of hoping he sticks with it, because I think it's a fun sport to watch. I love watching Gabe's soccer games, too, but there's just something about baseball games in the summer.....
He's only 7, so the emphasis is definitely way more on the whole 'having fun' aspect of things, but he's learning a lot, too. And for only having played one season of T-ball two years ago, he's caught on quick, and is doing really well. All the kids on the team still have times where they're daydreaming in the outfield, or goofing around in the dugout, but they're only 7 - they're definitely allowed to still do that sometimes : )
Carmine spent a good week and a half wearing a Batman cape everywhere we went, which made for some really interesting outings.
He wore it to the store, he wore it to the gym, he wore it to my doctor's appointments, and he wore it for our walks along the ocean. It all started when he woke up one day declaring that it was Halloween. I didn't feel like arguing, so I grabbed the cape and he put it on, and that was it. I never thought it would last as long as it did, but it was pretty fun and entertaining, so we were all happy to indulge him.
He's pretty much potty trained, and is all registered for preschool in the fall, and I can't believe what a little man he is. He wants to do everything himself, and he flat out refuses to be pushed around by his big brothers, and is not the least bit shy about telling everyone how he feels - usually very, very loudly.
April was such a strange month, with the pre-Boston buildup, and the post-Boston emotional roller coaster. In some ways it feels like it all happened months ago, but at the same time, I feel like the whole month passed in the blink of an eye, and I can't believe that we're heading down the homestretch of the school season and before we know it, will be spending our days at the beach.
I'm looking forward to the slower pace that summer brings. We'll be plenty busy with camps and day trips and activities, but it's all fun stuff, so it doesn't feel stressful.
Spring and summer also mean a lot less time on the computer and a lot more time outside - which is as it should be. I do my best to keep up with blogging, but I'd rather be out there enjoying the days with my little guys rather than inside writing about it.
There have been times I've thought about giving up the blog entirely, since I post so much of what we do on Facebook, but I still like having this outlet to really write about things, in more than just a couple sentences.
And I've gotten several compliments on my blog over the past few weeks, so I'm happy that I didn't give it up. I enjoy writing it, and I'm glad there are people out there who enjoy reading it - thanks for sticking with me!