“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
It was a cool fall morning on the other side of the country in 2011 when I decided I was going to attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I was in California with Team GSF, an amazing group of athletes who race for the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, to run the Santa Barbara marathon, just six days after running New York City. The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation ( www.thegsf.org) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing global awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (the #1 genetic killer of young children), accelerating research focused on ending this cruel disease, and supporting families impacted by SMA. As we gathered at the start, another GSF runner asked “So, you going for the BQ today?” I laughed and looked at him like he was crazy.
My best time at that point was 3:51 and the new Boston qualifying time was 3:35 flat. Like me, my new found running buddy Billy had also just run NYC, and he was determined and close to qualifying for Boston. We chatted more about it and after hearing his “just train faster” advice, while struggling at Mile 18 in Santa Barbara, I decided I was going to go for it. I started running more, and pushing myself over the winter months, I realized I could run faster. Billy went on to qualify in LA 2012, at which point my competitive juices really kicked in, and I was determined to BQ at the Nashville marathon.
However, Nashville unfortunately had other plans for me, plans involving hills, heat and humidity. At Mile 24, my Garmin flashed 3:35 and I said “forget it, I will never qualify.” In my mind I was done with this goal chasing. I had just proved I wasn’t good enough.
In the meantime, I was still registered for Ojai 2 Ocean Marathon. Billy had registered for that race because it was listed as a top “Boston Qualifier,” and he was using it as a backup to LA, so I had registered as well. I wasn’t going to run it, but I realized I could visit Gwendolyn while out there; and I decided I would just run it. Billy told me the day before the race he was still running it and then to my surprise, while meeting up at the start he said he would be running with me, pacing me to ensure I get that BQ. 26.2 miles and 3:24:24 hours later I finished among the top 20 women as a BOSTON QUALIFIER!!!
|With Billy Crader and Gwendolyn Strong after Ojai to Ocean|
|Boston 2013 – Steve, Lundy (me), Bill, & Billy|
Fast forward to Boston 2013… Billy Crader, Gwendolyn’s dad – my great friend Bill Strong, another great friend Steve “Vintage” Taylor, and I were all running the 117th Boston marathon, representing Team GSF in our “Never Give Up” jerseys. The excitement at the start made me feel so nervous, but the collective energy was so positive. The boys and I talked about our goals. I just wanted to run 26.2 miles and enjoy it. I worked hard to get there, I didn’t want any of my typical grumpy miles.
This was my Olympics. I wanted to love every mile.
I covered my Garmin with my Never Give Up bracelet, tied my kicks, said my goodbyes to my friends, shuffled my “Olympics” playlist and ran the Boston Marathon….in 3:17:09!!
A new PR by seven minutes, and a BQ for 2014 at my OLYMPICS!!! The race I NEVER dared to dream of running. The race I told myself I was a fool for trying and wasn’t good enough to qualify!
Billy, Bill, and Steve also ran their best races which ended up being a blessing for all four of us. We had all safely crossed the finish line by the time the bombs went off. A dream come true turned nightmare for so many. After dealing with an array of emotions, I realized what Meb Keflezighi said about life was true, “Like the marathon, life can sometimes be difficult, challenging and present obstacles. However, if you believe in your dreams and never ever give up, things will turn out for the best.”
I laced up my kicks again. Never Give Up!
Nanuet, New York
For more personal accounts of the 2013 Boston marathon, click here.
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