Monday, April 15, 2013

The Finish Line

As a marathon runner, I can tell you this: the finish line of a marathon is sacred.  It's yours for a split second but it's the one moment everything is perfect.  And the glory of having gone through it, last forever.  Regardless of your performance at the actual race, the finish line moment is perfect.  Regardless of what else is going on in your life, the moment you cross a finish line, nothing else matters.  Regardless of if you crawl, walk, jog, run or sprint to it, the moment that you cross it, you know you've accomplished something not anyone can do.

I have quite the special memories crossing finish lines: 

My first marathon ever with my BFF Theresita.  She "taught" me how to run a marathon, and helped design an IT band brace. 
Denver, my second marathon.  IT band brace got an upgrade... and I learned to finish with a real smile. 
My third marathon in San Antonio.  The one that qualified me to be part of the Marathon Maniac Club.  And the one where my besties from Mexico came to cheer me on. 
Fourth and most painful marathon yet.  Big Sur- Big smile, first time I allowed myself to cry.  First of many (Until today, I still cry at the finish of ALL my marathons). 
I remember San Diego, my fifth marathon.  I missed my personal best by 2 minutes, but the course had been quite the delight.  Later that year, I ran Denver again, where my friend Theresa met up with me a little past half way.  Then, there's the joy of running a marathon in an Ironman.  Those feel even better! 

My first Ironman Marathon in 2011
My second Ironman Marathon... seriously, does it get any better than that. 
Of course, there the joys of running your third and fourth Denver marathons.  It doesn't matter that it's the same course... it's still a marathon. And it's still a finish line. 

Sharing the joy with my little brother
Or your marathon #9 where you manage to break your personal best after 8 tries
Or when you break your personal best on your marathon #10 and you speak to some force from a galaxy far far away. 
Anyway, the reason why I decided to speak about the finish line of a marathon is because of today's events in Boston.  I can't fully express how I feel, but it strikes me too close to home.  Not physically, but figuratively. The finish line of a marathon is my home, it's where I feel complete.  I'm angry and heartbroken that someone so evil would go after healthy and happy people.  Us runners, are healthy and happy.  We run marathons to stay sane and to have some big challenges and goals to work towards.  

Some of my thoughts about it are selfish.  Sorta thanking that my friend who ran it is ok.  Thanking that I was not fast enough this year to be there, but I do also think about the race staff, the spectators, the runners and Boston residents.  THE Boston Marathon is a celebration for those who run marathons.  Just like Kona is the ultimate goal for all of those racing in Ironman, the Boston Marathon is that for runners.  I feel horrible for those people who put their heart and soul into getting to this race and have it end the way it did.  For some reason or another, it makes me want to work harder to qualify... I can't imagine how amazing it must feel to finish your race fast enough to say those words: "I qualified for Boston".  Can you imagine those who were running their first Boston?  Heck... I hold close to my heart all my Denver Marathon finishes (and it's been 4).  Can you imagine those who were finishing their 4th Boston?  Finishing a marathon should not be associated with terror, violence or anything negative.  Much less THE Boston Marathon. 

Let this be a lesson for us runners to stay together, more than ever.  Remember to wave at each other when running on the street, path or trail. We are all on the same team: all training to reach our finish lines.  

"You can never be sure. That's what makes the marathon both fearsome and fascinating.  The deeper you go into the unknown, the more uncertain you become.  But then you finish. And you wonder later, 'how did I do that?' This question compels you to keep making the journey from the usual to the magical." -Joe Henderson


  1. I know this is a serious post, but that pic of you is probably the best thing to happen to me this morning.

  2. Well said, Gaby. It's sad out here but Boston, and the running community, are pretty resilient.

    1. Mary! Great to hear you swing by my page every once in a while! :)

      Hope all is good with you and glad to hear you are okay. We miss you lots.