A Driving Force

For years the idea of running the Boston Marathon was a driving force in my training.

Back in 2008, when I ran my first marathon, it wasn’t a realistic goal. But running a marathon was deeply personal — even transformational — and the reason to start a blog.

A blog to provide a digital journal of the journey. I didn’t expect anyone to read it.

But after finishing Grandma’s Marathon, my life changed. Dick Beardsley was right about the magnitude of completing a marathon.

For years, I thought it was in my grasp. Race after race, I sought out that breakthrough moment.

There’s little more exhilarating than running a good race. Along the journey, I’ve had some — and those are the medals that mean the most to me. The memories are even more meaningful. The friendships — the miles of conversation and trials and poignant moments — priceless.

Last fall, I finally qualified for the 2018 thanks to a focused, gutsy race and the benefit of a joining a new age group. Still, it’s no guarantee I will be there — I ran faster races just months before New York City but in a younger age group. Ever since, I’ve felt the pressure to regain that earlier fitness (and pre-injury status) because running a time resembling last spring should make my entry near certain.

But nothing is certain. Especially when qualifying isn’t good enough — it depends on how much faster you run than your qualifying time.

After watching Monday’s Boston Marathon — seeing and hearing friends attain a hard-fought goal — makes me want it even more.

Take Eric Loeffler — who twice qualified and ran in the U.S. Olympic Trials. Still laying it on the line, fighting for every second, and gaining an amazing Top 3 U.S. masters finish (and 6th masters runner overall). And Lisa Kresky-Griffin, the former North Dakota State University track star who still holds top 10 status in 3 different events, who ran but served as coach and inspiration to members of her club team. And Robyn Bancroft, one of the grittiest runners I’ve ever known, who rose above a disastrous finish in last year’s Grandma’s Marathon and tragedy to attain her goal.

More than ever, I’m determined to make it there myself. Maybe in 2018. Or the year after. Or the year after that. One day, I’ll be there.

Congrats, Boston finishers. You inspire me.