Globe correspondent Elizabeth Cooney is writing about the Boston
Marathon in the series "Going the Distance," which appears in the Globe's G Health section. She's also training for it, and hopes you'll check in with her along the way.
I am running the Boston Marathon.
Not "I'm thinking about running the Boston Marathon." Not "Someday I'd like to run the Boston Marathon." But "I am running the Boston Marathon."
Starting today, I am writing stories about the health implications of running the marathon, following runners and interviewing specialists about such topics as training in the cold, keeping motivated, staying on top of hydration and nutrition, and the wear and tear of race day. We hope you — whether you're a runner or not — will see your own fitness challenges mirrored in these athletes' journeys.
But this blog is my story. I hope you'll come along for the ride I'm lucky/crazy/privileged/all of the above to take. Hit "comment" to tell me your stories and what you think.
My promise to the BAA means I'm committed to completing 26.2 miles in under six hours. I'm not running for charity and I didn't finish a qualifying race. If I really do it, I can put one of those oval decals on my car that says 26.2, just like the ones I see every Saturday morning in the parking lot where my running club buddies gather for a friendly 5K.
We joke about the wind and which direction around the circular course favors the fleet. But we're serious about those 3.1 miles and about supporting one another as we practice our individual sport together. I joined the group only a few years ago, after an adult life of on-again, off-again jogging, cycling, and swimming. I'd been thinking a triathlon might be nice, if I could just get my running up to speed. My dream was to fly through the field with the abandon and ease of childhood.
My first road race gave me a taste of competition, if not that lighter-than-air feeling. At 55, I'm one of those women born too soon for Title IX to make girls' sports everyday options. I
still get a kick out of seeing colt-like girls galloping down soccer fields, pony tails streaming behind them. At my debut 5K, just finishing was my first goal, then not finishing last, then taking my category, which is not as crowded as some age groups. Some days I
plod, some days I fly. I haven't seriously swum or cycled since, so the triathlon will have to wait.
Two summers ago, I felt like a kid again when I ran my first cross-country race up and over a ragged trail bumpy with tree roots.
Then Art passed me. At 72, the Marine veteran had dozens of marathons
behind him. He looked like a lifetime runner, but he didn't start racing until he was 49.
"Don't stop!" he yelled as he high-stepped past me up the staircase-steep hill.
Later, when I asked him how he does it, he said it's easy, if you follow just one rule. "Don't stop."
Art's in Florida this winter as I rack up the miles for Boston, running through slush puddles that make me feel like I'm dipping my feet in and out of ice buckets. According to the rookie training schedule, I'll run at least 700 miles before I reach the starting line in Hopkinton.
I am running the Boston Marathon.
I am following one rule.
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 15-time Boston qualifier who's completed 11 consecutive Boston Marathons and 23 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 12th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes