Dear Running Friends,
I got back from Boston on Tuesday, April 22, then, flew to China to visit my loved ones on Wednesday, April 23. Here I am, writing this report to you from my parents’ house. Once again, thank you all for the support.
Part 1: Boston Marathon Training
For about 10 weeks, I trained with ATP group for speed works on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I am very grateful to Coach Mark and Coach Fred who took me in, welcomed me, and guided me during the training. I am also very thankful to ATP runners who were so kind to me, encouraged me, and pushed my running limits. Your friendship is deeply appreciated.
For long runs on Saturdays, I trained with a group of runners (friends old and new) led by Coach Scott. As a person who was going to run his 9th Boston Marathon, Coach Scott designed an impeccable New Ulm long run plan specifically for Boston Marathon. During those long runs, he shared with us so much information about Boston Marathon and provided us practical advice, which are extremely helpful to me. He is my inspiration and one of role models in long distance running. Thank you, Coach Scott. Thanks also to those Saturday long run friends.
Last but not the least, my trainings with Blue/Green (BG) group during the 2013 running season helped me to build up the solid fitness base. Therefore, I was able to focus on speed works and hill runs late on. Thank you, my dear BG coaches and running friends.
Part II: The Run
The day prior to the Boston Marathon, I received a message from Coach Mike, which became the corner stone of my running day plan. He wrote “……This is going to be a very exceptional event. Normally, its greatness comes just from the collection of outstanding running talent. This year that normal greatness is overshadowed by an awesome display of human resiliency and compassion …… Just follow your heart. Run for speed as a display of the strength God gives to us and run with compassion and camaraderie to reflect God's love for us. Run with heart, soak it all in, and know that you are part of a great moment. You should know that all of us BGs are very proud to say that we run with you because of the whole person you are! Enjoy this moment……”
After reading Coach Mike’s message more than once, I replied to him “……I will remember what you said in the message just as I remembered your instructions for my previous races. I will run with my heart tomorrow and enjoy being a part of this extraordinary event……May God bless me with strength, speed, compassion, and joy to run this marathon……”. This turned out to be exactly what happened on the marathon day. Thank you, Coach Mike.
Even though I watched the Boston Marathon course video more than once, the first 16 miles and the last 5.2 miles still caught me off the guard and were more challenging than what I thought to be. It is true that overall the first 16 miles is downhill. However, there are several ups and downs in those 16 miles. So does the last 5.2 miles which has a couple of ups, too. On the positive side, those rolling Newton Hills were not as difficult as what I imagined. Regardless, I combined and followed Coach Mike’s as well as Coach Scott’s advice, ran this race with my heart, enjoyed it, and gave my very best to it both in spirit and in speed.
Therefore, I interacted often with spectators, especially with children who offered “High Five”. Among them, there was a boy with Down’s Syndrome. Together with his father, the boy stood on the edge of road along the running course. His father helped him to extend his right arm with High Five. When I saw the boy, I slowed down, gave him a big High Five, and said “thank you” with smile. The boy returned me with immense, bright, and innocent smile. He said loudly and excitedly “Boston Strong! Go! Go! Go!” His father gently said to me “thank you for running”. The presence of this father-son cheer team warmed my heart tremendously and motivated me to run fast.
Late on when I was tired, I responded to spectators’ cheers by raising my arms or making “V” signs as acknowledgements. I said “thank you” to volunteers every time when I drank at a water station. Seeing so many enthusiastic spectators and wonderful volunteers energized me. Seeing those heroic and amazing runners with challenged physical conditions inspired me. From what I read before the race, I knew that several runners with artificial legs are victims of the bomb tragedy. Those courageous physical challenged runners touched my heart deeply and motivated me to keep running when I was weary. It was such pleasure to hear joyful “screams” and to read hilarious poster signs from Wellesley girls around the half way. The thundering cheers from spectators along the last 5.2 miles encouraged me to give my very best to those wonderful people even though I was physically tired then. I had a strong finish. 3:30:06 was much faster than what I dreamed of.
Even though with so many spectators cheering for runners, I still had several moments of “silent” meditation in my heart. Thank God for blessing me with good health and running ability. Thank my family and friends who loved me, prayed for me, supported me, and even tracked my race during this special journey. Thank you all, especially my beloved husband M, our daughter H, and son-in-law YK. I am strong, all runners are strong, and Boston is Strong!