What it Takes

I've been trying to figure it out since the 8-hour registration closing controversy, but I haven't been able to quite put my finger on it. I know that I wrote in my blog post on the subject that there was something special about Boston. There was history, tradition, the crowds, the stories. But somehow, that didn't seem to be enough. Somehow I felt like I was missing something. I mean, there are plenty of other marathons with tougher qualifying standards. Many marathons like NYC, or even Fukuoka where the "qualifying" standards really set qualifiers apart from the rest a truly "elite." However, when you talk to runners, real runners, about their goals, inevitably the subject of the running a Boston, or even a BQ (Boston Qualifier) comes up. Runners and non-runners alike often refer to Boston as simply "the marathon."

When I stepped-out of my door this morning it hit me. The first several breaths I took in the pre-dawn 18 degree (F) silence burned my lungs. It was a lot colder than I had anticipated, but it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks... This is what it's all about! Training for the Boston Marathon takes a special kind of person. that special kind of person has to also have a certain level of dedication. They have to be just a little "off." Not all of us are "elite" runners, you can't even say that we are the "best of the best." But in order to train for the Boston Marathon you do have to be the "cream of the crop," definitely the "salt of the Earth" type, and most importantly, you really have to love running.

Ok, well, maybe you don't have to love running necessarily (I know I didn't love running while I was training last year), but you certainly have to be motivated by something. You have to be "on a mission" so to speak. In other words, you have to love your cause, you have to be driven by it in order to get out on the roads at all times and in all weather conditions. If you aren't blessed enough to be independently wealthy and you have to work for a living, and especially if you have children and a family that means you often find yourself on the roads at 4:30 or 5:00 am before work, even 7 or 8pm after work and family obligations. You end-up running in every weather condition imaginable, from 10 below zero runs where your water bottles freeze halfway through, to blizzards, ice storms, or even Nor'Easter's with 6-8 inches of rain and 40mph winds.

Statistics show that only 1/10 of 1% of all people will ever run a marathon. And less than 1% of all marathon runner's will ever run the Boston Marathon. So, whether you are a qualified runner, a charity runner, or even the beneficiary of one of the nearly 5000 "invitational" bibs and you train for and run the Boston Marathon, you are an elite runner. You may not be "elite" because you are particularly speedy, but you are elite because you are a breed apart. You have something in you that almost nobody else has, even most other marathon runners. It's almost overwhelming when you think about it in those terms. For me, I don't know any different. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

For those of you that are like me and training throughout the Winter for the 115th Boston Marathon, the weather is turning COLD. Wouldn't it be great to have your own custom, hand knit hat with matching mittens and scarf to get you through the drudgery? And I mean custom... If you win my blog contest this week, you'll be put in touch with my friends Melody (@MrsKnitpho), and Heather (@wickedphysics) and give them your sizes and you can even specify the colors you'd like to have used in the set! How completely AWESOME is that? In fact, I'm more than a little jealous of the fact that I have to give this prize package away! If you want to enter, you have 2 hours left! Go to my "Miles for Miracles" page and make a donation of $26.20 or more, then come back here and make a comment in the comment section letting me know you've entered the contest. I'll assign all of the entries a number based on the order I received them and use the Random Number Generator to determine the winner!

I'm going to sign-off this post with a lyric from the Katy Perry song "Firework." I know what you're thinking, but I heard it on Radio Disney the other day when I was driving Isabelle to school (of course, like every other song that comes on, she said it was her "favorite" and sang along). The chorus really stuck with me and I put it on my iPod. It came on in the first couple of miles of my long run this morning and got me thinking...

 "Baby, you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go, aye, aye, aye
As you shoot across the sky

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colors burst

Make 'em go, oh, oh, oh
You're gonna leave 'em falling down"

I am really not a runner, but I am a firework!

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