Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon - You can reach any finish line when you “Run like a Mother”

Written By: Jen Myers

This year I be will lining the streets of Boston with about 20,000 runners from all over the world to run the famous Boston Marathon. What started out a dream as distant as the 26.2-mile finish line itself has quickly become my reality. I have been running marathons for the past 8 years and to date have 5 under my water belt. Running a marathon was something I didn’t see happening for me for many years, as I was a runner plagued by injury and self-doubt. To start my life on a new path, I took a leap of faith and moved from Eugene to Central Oregon. In the glory of my new location and newfound confidence I felt like I could do anything, even train for a marathon. I set out on the red, dusty back roads of Sisters and this time my body saw me through to the end of the Nike Women’s Marathon in 2006.

The next few years of running were filled with a few more marathons and two kids. I was thankful I was even able to run after the numerous IT issues, stress fractures, and pulled muscles that characterized my running in Eugene. But after I had my kids, I realized that I could do more. As I looked at my babies and told them I would always believe in them, I knew I had never believed in myself enough to tackle my ultimate dream. Boston.

To get into Boston you have to qualify by running an uber fast time in another marathon, so my other marathon would be Portland. I knew I was going to have to run 26.2 miles in 3 hours and 35 minutes, almost 40 minutes faster than my fastest time. The PR I needed was so big I knew I needed to commit to a plan and do it all the way, or this wouldn’t happen. After months of training, sacrifice, and numerous high fives from my son I went to the start line. My best friend made me a “Boston or Bust” shirt, which earned me the nickname “Boston” with my pace group. The first half of the race was smooth and easy. Then, at about mile 13 I was tripped trying to pass another runner and was sent sliding across the pavement. I thought my race was over when another runner swooped in to my rescue and placed me upright again. I took off, and with a pace group runner behind me saying, “You can do it Boston!” I crossed the finish line in 3 hours 32 minutes and 24 seconds –144 seconds to spare. My finish was filled with sweat, tears and bananas.

I originally thought that after Portland I couldn’t register for Boston until 2014, but after checking the Boston website I realized I was wrong. I could run a whole year earlier than I thought and enter in the 2013 race. As a Realtor working in a struggling market with a husband following his non-profit dream, the issue of funds was my mind. I told my husband, Stefan, the date and my concerns. He looked at me and said, “We need to go for it, and we will do whatever it takes to make this dream happen.” Stefan entered my name in the Boston lottery and I waited to see if I made it. Each week I checked the mail and nothing. One day an email arrived saying I made it. I was in. I was floored.
Once I knew I was in I started thinking of some of the things I needed help with and who could sponsor me to cover the large expenses. My employer, Century 21, immediately stepped up and covered my registration fee. I also needed a gym membership so I could run indoors out of the snow and ice. Anytime Fitness was on top of that. My foot orthotics were worn and needed work so Summit Orthotics and Prosthetics insured I stayed injury free with new orthotics and adjustments. My final sponsor, a local author named H.C.Wells, covered my shoes and my lodging. Together they covered over $700 in expenses. Because of them I am now on my way to the starting line in Boston and off to fulfill my dream.

Every race is different. When you are out on the road logging numerous miles you are forced to confront different aspects of yourself and you always learn something new. Boston is my 6th marathon and the training miles for this race have been the most revealing of all. I learned that we are all looking for inspiration. I initially found mine in the soft words of encouragement I spoke to my kids, which snowballed into a few local companies being inspired enough to say “yes” and cheer me on. I am sharing my story because we all have journeys that we are taking. Be it music or art, whether we are fighting cancer or fighting for others, there are people everyday who confront the fear they face and forge ahead to find the roaring crowd at their finish line. My High school running coach used to say “Anyone can run a marathon if they pace themselves.” This applies to all of us, no matter what our marathon is. We just have to be brave enough to make it to the starting line.

Jen Myers lives in Redmond, Oregon, married to her high school sweet heart Stefan. They have two rambunctious boys Ryland and Everett who spend their days chasing a flat-coat retriever rescued from a Wal-Mart parking lot. Jen enjoys finding and selling homes for clients as an agent at Century 21 and has been a “just for fun” runner for 15 years and “hey I can place”runner for 2 years.

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