Friday, April 19, 2013

The Real Spirit of the Marathon

When I first started this blog, I had been running regularly for several years. One of my first posts was about how moving to Madison made me finally love running. And I still get pumped. My fastest and easiest to write post was the one where I wrote about how I started getting into it. If you look back at that post today, you will see what inspired me to run in a marathon. I was living in Boston and was watching the event in the spring of 2003.

Here is what I told you about the event back in 2011:

Let me tell you about the Boston Marathon. It is one of the ultimate marathons because unlike most marathons, you have to qualify for it [unless you do one of those “Team in Training” type of fundraisers.] For example, if I wanted to participate in it, I would have to run a previous marathon at about an 8.40 pace. [Dad – you would need to complete one at a 10.8 minute pace, so you should really consider it. Just saying]. So, I watched the marathon and said, “I can do this” and then I signed up for one and started training.

I was motivated to push myself. Watching a marathon, especially as a runner [even an amateur like myself] is like nothing else I can describe. Participating in a race is such a great feeling. Well - at the end anyway. There is nothing like finishing a race and rewarding yourself with a beverage and feeling all sore and worked hard. The physical goodness. It's just a remarkable feeling.

That finish line. That's where you want to be. When I went to New York to watch my sister Leslie run in the marathon, I described the emotions you feel as someone who has raced.

When I reflect on my run in the marathon, I get very emotional. I didn't then, but I do now. In 2007, my sister ran the New York marathon. I flew in to watch her. As I got off the subway, and entered the street, searching for my sister, tears streamed down my face. It was a beautiful moment, all of these people who all experienced the same grueling training, pushing their bodies to do things God did not intend to put us on this planet for. I completely connected with, and understood their feelings. It was also beautiful because there are few times I have ever been surrounded by so many people, in a large city, who have all come together for a joyous event, in a city that was terrorized. I cried a lot that day. I felt for the runners, and I think it was the first time that I ever realized what I had accomplished four years earlier

There really is something to be said about the beauty of a marathon. What happened on Monday in Boston is so sick. I feel for everyone who was there or had any connection. Let's keep the spirit of running a joyous one. There's nothing in my life that brings me the physical and mental pleasure that running does.


  1. Great piece, Janie! So great to have people from all over Madison and beyond stand with Bostonians in this tough time...

  2. Great piece, Janie! So great to have people from all over Madison and beyond stand with Bostonians in this tough time...