Lots of people have been asking me this week if I'm ready for the marathon. They ask how I'm feeling, and I always answer that I'm feeling good, because physically, for the most part, I am (will blog about that later in the week).
Mentally, it's a little more complicated.
To say I'm struggling with my emotions is an understatement. I'm experiencing every emotion imaginable, and I seem to cycle through them almost hourly.
This year's Boston would have been incredibly emotional to begin with, but then I got injured and went through those months of not running and wondering whether I'd even be able to make it to the starting line.
And then the following months, when I did begin logging some miles and allowed myself to consider that I'd be there, but didn't want to get my hopes up, fearing another setback.
So now here I am, just 12 days away, and of course I'm elated. I'm beyond thrilled that I made my comeback, and that I feel completely confident that I will cover those 26.2 miles on April 21.
I'm also so very grateful to everyone who stuck with me through all those months of uncertainty, and who tolerated my whining and complaining, and who never doubted that I'd get to the starting line in Hopkinton.
But as race day gets closer, and I'm truly faced with the reality of being there again, I can't help but feel a lot of sadness, too. I want to be excited and happy and positive - and I am, in so many ways - but those rushes of excitement are always followed by an almost physical feeling of heartache.
I think about how it's tough for me to imagine being back there this year, and then I think about how I was so far removed from the actual events of the day, and my feelings pale in comparison to those who were injured, or who lost a loved one, or who witnessed the horror firsthand. And if they can find their way back to run, or to spectate, or to be at the race in any capacity, then I certainly can, too.
I also think about how sad it made me when my 10-year-old said he was worried about me running again; that he didn't want anything to happen to me. I reassured him that the race would be incredibly safe, and he doesn't seem like he's too terribly anxious about it, but I hate that thoughts like that even have to cross his mind.
There's a memorial at the Boston Public Library, and I'm torn about whether or not I want to go see it. I want to, and I feel drawn to it, but I also know that it will tear my heart to pieces to see it.
But I also think that somehow it might be helpful. I feel like, even after all this time, I still haven't fully processed last year's events. In so many ways, it still kind of feels like it wasn't real. And I know the phrase "finding closure" is so cliche, but maybe that's something the memorial would provide me.
Or maybe the real therapy lies in tracing my footsteps and covering those miles again.
I've been listening to this song and watching this video a lot - sometimes it makes me cry, and other times it makes me smile.
But every time it makes me proud to be running the 118th Boston Marathon. Proud to be one of the 36,000 runners taking back this race. Proud to be representing Boston Strong. Proud to have fought so hard to get here, and to have never given up.
I know that it's not going to be like last year, when I felt strong and healthy and my stride hardly faltered at all - my training just hasn't been sufficient to prepare me to run at that level. But I also know that no matter how tired my legs get, my heart will not fail me.
I may not be fully trained, but I am ready.
I'm ready to cry, I'm ready to run, I'm ready to experience all the emotions the day will undoubtedly bring forth.
And I'm ready to celebrate, because ultimately that place of celebration and joy and happiness is what we're all running towards, and I know we'll get there this year. We have to.