In the spirit of “Marathon Monday,” today’s post is a guest blog from my sister J, who is running the Boston Marathon for the first time on Monday, alongside two of our own amazing Hearts On Fire family members! They are all an inspiration to me and so many others…so please enjoy!
Marathon Monday. To many, this exciting phrase might not mean much, but here in Boston…it means everything.
For some, it’s the Super Bowl of running…the goal every runner strives to achieve. For others, it’s a day to celebrate…a major holiday where roads are closed and work is canceled. And starting early in the morning, eager fans spill outside to line the entire 26.2 mile course.
Last year, I joined the sideline crowd with lululemon’s cheer station on “Heartbreak Hill.” As one of the hardest stretches – and where runners need the most support – we arrived early, pumped music, and danced with motivational signs.
I still remember watching contestants pass by: Wheelchair competitors, with flexed arms and sweat pouring. Military crews in full uniform. The amazing Kenyan on his way to win. And the very last charity runner, winning a personal battle for both himself and someone else. And I knew in this moment, “I want that.
Fast forward one year later, and I could not be more honored, excited and – let’s be honest – terrified to participate in this monumental day.
Because, boy – I had no idea what I was in for! What spectators don’t see are the struggles with chaffing. Or trekking through snow…in the dark. Or determining if it’s even possible to chew and breathe at the same time.
That’s why the incomparable support of Boston’s sideline – from Newton to Boylston Street – now means more than ever before. It’s funny, but I’ve learned you actually do hear the things people say along the way. “You’re almost there!” starts at mile six. “It’s all downhill from here!” as you approach Heartbreak Hill. Or my personal favorite, “You’re looking great!” Really? With spit foaming at the mouth, and salt crusting to my face, I doubt it – but hey, thanks for making me think I do!
So, if you are in Boston on April 16, go stake out your spot and cheer on the runners. Because, we can train all we want and eat the right gel packs during the race, but it’s that smiling face, that crazy cheering fan that is going to pick us up and push us forward when we think we have nothing left.
And honestly, it really doesn’t matter what you do – hold a sign, hand out high-fives, or yell any ridiculous phrase. Because those small gestures mean more than you will ever know.
Have you ever experienced the thrill of a marathon? Or stood on the sidelines and cheered the runners on? Let us know!
♥ HOF Girl