I run a lot. I mean, more than the average person. On a given day I may run more than the typical American who considers themselves a runner might during an entire week. Casually saying I’m running nine miles doesn’t phase me. I was warned about this and I thought I already understood. But, I was wrong. In two weekends I will be running the Hyannis Half Marathon. I only just ran my first half marathon this past summer and it felt like an epic accomplishment in August. Now 13.1 miles feels pedestrian. When I think about running these days, it’s become habit – like my morning coffee, I do it instinctively, without thought – it just happens. There’s a word for all of this. It’s routine. I hate the word routine. So, this weekend was refreshing.
On Saturday I took part in the Love Your Liver run with the ALF. We take on the last 17 miles of the marathon course in Valentine’s Day Themed outfits. My plan was to dress as Cupid (I’m talking wings, bow and arrow, I even considered wearing a diaper). In the end I settled for buying a pair of Valentine’s themed boxers to wear over my running tights. This would seemed like an easy task. But, no. I had to go to five different stores at the Prudential and Copley Place before finally finding a pair at Banana Republic. It barely registered that this was the weekend people would be celebrating Valentine’s Day(as evidenced by the over hour wait I didn’t anticipate at the Salty Pig for dinner). For me this was the weekend I had a 17 mile run where I wore something red with hearts on it. In the end though, I got some snazzy boxers. I don’t know when I will really have occasion to wear them again, but I have them.
On Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and met up with Ally to hike over to Beaconfield to take the T to Woodland to then get on a bus, drive out to Natick and be deposited there only to run our way back to Copley . Well, we took the bus out, took a group picture and then started running. I should note that one member of our team did dress like Cupid, and I have nothing but respect for him being able to run 17 miles like that ( I received plenty of strange looks for wearing underwear). When I first looked at the Run for Research schedule, I was moderately upset that I would be actively running so much of the marathon course, I like the unknown when it comes to testing myself. That’s called being naïve. Now, I’m glad I will have so much on-course experience before the big day. From the Crossroads runs, I’m very familiar with the last 9 miles of the course. But, On Saturday I went on uncharted territory. I hit some hills I didn’t really know about and saw where the infamous Scream Tunnel at Wellesley College will be. I’m starting to slowly formulate a plan of how to run the marathon course, the places I can push myself, the places I need to pace myself, and memorizing every inch of the Newton Hills so I can hit the final last miles with confidence.
The best part of the running came shortly after Coolidge Corner around mile 14. My sister had been waiting in her car for over an hour on Beacon Street for me to come running down the sidewalk. She started cheering for me and snapping some pictures as I ran towards her. It felt awesome. If just having my sister cheer for me felt that great, Marathon Monday is going to be incredible with her and thousands of others making noise. That may have sound like complete narcissism, but every charity runner deserves all the applause they get. Our bodies are tired. Our minds are worn. But, every week we run and train, we go to work, we do our best to maintain a social life. At this point it’s not about ourselves or myself. I would have quit a long time ago if it was about me. Four months of this should qualify me as being in an abusive relationship. But, then I meet patients like the one who was on our bus on the way to Natick, an 8 year old girl who’s had liver disease her entire life. I’ve been ridiculously fortunate, even with all that’s happened in my life. I’m rambling now, and I realize this. The fact is I’m exhausted, but I’ve haven’t felt this full in a long, long time.
To get back on track…after finishing the run, the Boston Sports Club on Boylston was kind enough to lend their showers to the ALF and Children’s Hospital. So, I cleaned up and then headed to the Pour House to lunch and post run celebrations with the liver team. Ally and I sat down in a booth and barely moved for two hours. Towards the end of the afternoon, we had an awards ceremony. Guess who has two thumbs and won something? That’s right, this guy. I won the award for Best Underwear. Ladies, you heard it here first.
I hope everyone who celebrated Valentine’s Day this weekend had a great weekend. Please, send a little love my way in the form a donation to help the American Liver Foundation and their mission – on behalf on them and myself, I will already thank you. It’s what’s keeping me on my feet. Literally.
I would also like to thank an old friend, Chris Ryan from my alma mater Hopatcong High School for his awesome donation as well as fellow runner (and future marathoner) Brian Tatro! We appreciate it so much!
Song stuck in my head – Only Living Boy in New York – Simon and Garfunkle