I got the email from the Boston Athletic Association yesterday while I was stopped at a light on my way home from a doctor visit. I’m not proud that I was so obsessive about checking my email that I would do it at a stop light, but it was after noon, and I knew I was going to get an email soon. BING. There it was. I actually said, “well, here we go” as I read it. I had prepared myself to get the bad email, the one that said, sorry, it was filled up with faster people. I would be ok. In the words of Eli Young, I would keep on dreaming even if it broke my heart.
The first sentence read: “This is to notify you that your entry into the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21, 2014 has been accepted, provided that the information you submitted is accurate.” WHAT? HAS BEEN ACCEPTED??? Not, has NOT been accepted?? I got in? I made it? I slipped through? Holy shit!!!! I re-read that part a million times looking for the word “not” in the middle of the sentence. I immediately said, “OH MY GOD….. OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!!!!” And I don’t normally say that. I started crying. Not a little drippy boo hoo; no, this was the UGLY cry. I covered my mouth and rocked back and forth. I couldn’t stop saying “OHMYGOD OHMY GOD”. The light turned green and I stayed in my lane like a good driver should. I admit, I freaked out. I was a hot mess. I get to run the Boston Marathon! Oh, MY GOD! I made it safely to my neighborhood and called my husband. He was thrilled. I went to my sister’s house and she was on a call for work. I was this pathetic, crying hot mess on her doorstep but I looked at her and smiled, so she knew that I got in. I texted people, I posted on Facebook. I re-read my email. I talked to my mom and heard my dad yelling in the background. “Who wants to go to Boston????” I re-read my email again. I wept. Then I went home and listened to the song Tessie, the song that I have on my marathon playlist to remind me what my goal is. I told my kids. We danced, we cried, we laughed, we forgot about homework. One of the most memorable days of my life was yesterday.
Because the remaining registrations were going to be given to people who ran the fastest for their qualifying time and I qualified by only 1 minute 42 seconds, I knew I was really close to the cutoff between those who made it and those who did not. I read the press release from the BAA that stated the cutoff time was 1:38. Wow. 4 seconds. I made it by four seconds. While four seconds is a very long time in some events, you look at a marathon and it’s usually not about seconds (unless you’re one of the top finishers), it’s about minutes.
I thought about the day I ran the Houston Marathon. I remember standing there in the downpour worrying that my shoes would get wet. I remember letting myself go at the pace I felt comfortable with, not the pace I had intended to go. I remember not stopping to change my shoes because no more rain was falling and I could deal with damp shoes and my hands were frozen. I remember nearing the end and hearing my grandmother’s voice to “KICK IT”. I remember hauling ass at the finish like I always do because that’s what she taught me to do. I remember thinking that I ran my best race. I remember finding out that I qualified for Boston well after the race was over and that I thought I missed it by 3:18, not made it by 1:42. I remember crying when I found out I had actually qualified for Boston that cold, rainy, and windy day.
I have terrible critical thinking and math skills when I’m running, so I thought that when we crossed the 26 mile mark, I only had .1 miles to go. I remember thinking the marathon people measured wrong and it’s way further than .1 miles. How could a huge marathon in Houston actually measure wrong?? I assume I felt that way because it actually was .2 miles, not .1 because that’s the actual distance of a marathon – duh. My terrible counting skills and my grandmother’s voice in my head telling me to kick it at the end of a race combined to make the perfect storm of a Boston qualification and acceptance. I would have loved to call my grandma and tell her the good news, but I look up to Heaven and I know that she already knows.
Thanks Grandma. Four seconds made all the difference. I’m goin’ to Boston!!!!
I have to mention that I feel terrible for those who qualified for Boston and who were not accepted. It’s torture, really. To spend so much time training for and running and then waiting for all this. To all of you, I’m sorry. I feel terrible that you reached the door of a dream but couldn’t actually open the door. I know I would have been devastated. My heart would have been broken. But again, like the song says, keep on dreamin’ even if it breaks your heart.