Sunday, April 17, 2011

Run Forrest Run

On Monday morning while I am still sleeping, my first born will be stepping onto a bus to join 27,000 other men and women who are congregating outside Boston.  The air will be filled with tense excitement as the hours dwindle to minutes until their start times. 

It's the 115th Boston Marathon.

26.2 miles of winding roads from the rural town of Hopkinton to urban Boston.

The Holy Grail of running.  Renown for its level of difficulty to qualify.

And my boy will be there for the second year in a row.   I'm one proud mother.

Proud because, not only is it incredibly hard to qualify for the Boston, but that my son did not start running until several years ago. 

I know!

Pretty remarkable for a 40 year old! 

But then this is a kid who started walking at 9 months!  Always one determined-goal oriented-high achiever-kind of kid. 

Here's my boy running the Boston last year.  I was a spectator among 500,000 others that day.  The roar of the crowd was incredible as we all cheered and encouraged the runners onward.

But things can get a little tough around mile 15, where the road starts going up a series of hills, named the Newton Hills.  Tough because after running 15 miles downhill, these slight inclines can break even the toughest runner. 

But not my boy.  He plowed through.  See that determined look on his face.   One more hill to go.

The last of the four hills is known as Heartbreak Hill.  And not because the runners feel *heartbroken* from the fact that they have to conquer yet another ascent.

Which would be totally understandable!  I would have been flat on my back at mile marker 1.

No, Heartbreak Hill was named in the 1936 race when defending champion, John Kelley, caught up with the race leader, Ellison ‘Tarzan’ Brown, giving him a consolatory pat on the shoulder as he passed him.  This dominating gesture apparently gave Tarzan supernatural strength, and he went on to win the race in front of Kelley.  In the words of a local journalist, the outcome of this act ‘broke Kelley’s heart’.  Thus, Heartbreak Hill.

Heartbreak Hill didn't crack my boy though.  He said there was no greater sight than that last mile and coming around the bend and seeing the finish line.  He almost broke into smile.   

And no greater joy than coming across that line.  You can see it in all the runners' faces as they reach the finish.

So tomorrow morning, I will be thinking of my son as he paces and tries to keep warm in the early morning hour.  By 10:00 am, he and 9,000 others in his wave will charge out.

I am awestruck at all of them for their commitment and dedication to an extreme sport that requires discipline, sacrifice and physical and mental strength.

Even more so, I am overwhelmed with pride and love of this boy who has grown into this man.


missing the mom gene