Thursday, April 17, 2014

We're In This Together

A key to having a good race, whatever distance you're doing, is to approach it with a plan in mind. For M and me, that sometimes involves deciding whether we will be running a race together the whole time, or just start the race together and run our separate races to the best of our individual abilities. We've done both, and as long as we have an understanding of how we're approaching the race, either way works out fine. That's one thing I really love about our running partnership -- we are both happy to see each other succeed. While it grinds my gears to get beat by some people, I honestly never mind if McKenzie has a better race than I do because I'm genuinely pleased for her and I know just how hard she's worked for it. We're now officially in different age groups for most races, but even when we were in the same bracket, this was always true. 

Ya win some, ya lose some -- but you're always happy for your teammate.

So, after some deliberation, we came to the conclusion that no matter what, we were running Boston together. We trained for this together, sweat for this together, and probably went a little crazy for this together, so we want to finish together. Decision made. Plan, in hand. Let's do this. 

Well, not quite so fast. 

I must say, I had a bit of a panic upon finding out my bib number. With 39 days to go, I checked the BAA Twitter feed (OK, I really checked it every day, several times a day), and saw they had just alerted that bib numbers and starting times were posted. I was SO EXCITED to go online and type in my name to find out that I , Victoria Dugger of Perrysburg, Ohio, would be sporting bib number 18396 and would be leaving on my journey from Hopkinton in Wave 3, Corral 1 -- right up front! Yeah, buddy!

The 118th Boston Marathon is slated to have 36,000 runners, and there's not enough room for them all to start at the same time. The streets in Hopkinton are narrow, and it would be a logistical nightmare to release everyone at once. So, there are four waves with four different start times to space it out. Being in Corral 1 meant I'd be among those leading the third bunch of runners as that squad of 9,000 started the 26.2-mile march toward Copley Square. 

With McKenzie by my side, the race was bound to start out great! With McKenzie by my side ... oh. Oh, no. That couldn't be right. A quick search of marathon runners from Oregon, Ohio, (she's the only one) showed my training buddy, with whom I've logged literally hundreds and hundreds of miles, gallons of sweat, dozens of inappropriate jokes, several long-run induced hallucinations, and buckets of tears ranging from heart-breaking sorrow to delirious joy, was in Wave 2, Corral 8. She might as well be running the marathon on Mars. 

A furious texting exchange ensued that involved plots to sneak onto the bus of another wave (which we determined might get you disqualified), me trying to catch up with her after her wave starts (seriously, impossible -- I'm of stubby French-German-Welsh descent, with nowhere near the Kenyan-type closing speed I'd need to do that), and then ended with the resignation that, well, we'd at least be able to hang out at Athletes' Village together until our respective waves started. I texted that I'd hold out hope and dig for more information -- surely the BAA wouldn't intentionally try to stop two training partners and best sister friends from running together. 


Digging into the marathon Web site's frequently asked questions section, I found my answer. 
"WE CAN MOVE!!!! WE CAN RUN TOGETHER AFTER ALL!" I triumphantly texted. 
It was going to take some shuffling -- McKenzie was allowed to move backward into a later wave. However, she couldn't go into the first corral, which makes sense -- otherwise people way in the back of earlier waves would want to crowd into the first corrals of other waves, pushing out those who were seeded up front. So, I needed to move into a corral further back -- the best we could hope for was to be in Wave 3, Corral 2 together. But, oh, sweet relief. I've done marathons by myself, but I really couldn't picture doing this one -- The Big One -- without her. As McKenzie texted back, "Super happy!! I don't give a crap what wave or corral we are as long as we are together!!!"

Speaking of being "in this together," I really feel like we're bringing so much support with us -- it's been incredibly touching and overwhelming to be on the receiving end of so many well wishes from family, friends, loved ones, and co-workers. I've honestly been moved to tears by such expressions as a video card made by co-workers, and cards sent by family, and even a Boston Cream Pie that my "copy desk mom" Heather brought in on behalf of the desk. Yes, I cried over Boston Cream Pie. Then I ate it. It was delicious (hey -- carbs, right??). 

Boston Cream Pie! 

But seriously -- we can't thank everyone enough for how gosh darn NICE you've all been! I feel like I'm taking you all with me, and we're really all in this together. From the bottom of my shoes, thanks a million. 

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to each other.  -- V. 

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