Just before Christmas, I got a phone call with the absolutely unbelievable news that I had been awarded a race waiver to this year’s Boston Marathon. A Christmas miracle! I thought to myself excitedly, picturing myself making the turn from Hereford to Boylston, finish line in sight. I imagined Nik and Henry cheering me on, the little man decked in his “My mommy runs faster…” onesie. I thought about pre-dawn training on the treadmill and weekends running alongside new friends in my club.
I knew it would require a lot of support, but I also knew my sisters would be pumped for one-on-one time with Henry. No matter that our routine wasn’t quite seamless or that I’d be jumping back into a full-time job with night and weekend needs only a few days later; I would be triumphant!
Are you sure it’s a good idea? Nik asked me almost right away. I was annoyed–disappointed–but had to think hard about his question. As usual always, I am the dreamer and Nik, the more practical.
I had already made up my mind to run, even though I promised to think about it. I could train on weekends, one morning before work, and another evening when Cait or Corey stepped in to help. I could take yoga on Friday nights, when Nik’s office closes early, before long runs. Put on your own mask before assisting others, I reminded myself. Running is my peace of mind. It makes me ‘me’.
A few nights later, waiver in hand, I told Nik I was ready to talk about it again. He simply asked the same question: Are you sure it’s a good idea?
And with a question, he carefully brought me back to earth.
And of course, in spite of myself, I knew the answer. I needed to give my waiver back.
I didn’t have a running base that would lend me confidence and that made me more susceptible to injury. I knew I could do it, but wasn’t certain I could run my strongest, and after a rough Boston Marathon in 2008, I considered how disappointed I might be the second time around. I knew we were still having a night once or twice a week when Henry would wake up and want to play, or eat, at two in the morning. I still hit snooze at least once as I ease back into the real world. I occasionally blow off workouts because Henry is fussing, or sometimes, because he’s so happy I don’t want to leave.
Just because I was certain I could do it, didn’t mean it was a good idea, or that I should.
I felt terrible. I fought back tears and felt a little sick to my stomach. I felt guilty, like I was letting an incredibly opportunity go, and worried my club would find me ungrateful. I worried the chance might not come up again. I wondered if I would look bad.
The answer to all of those questions: maybe, and I suppose I’ll find out.
Passing up a great opportunity isn’t easy, but in this case, is the smarter, braver route to take. Calling my club coordinator and saying thank you, but I’m sorry, didn’t feel good, but felt necessary. Keep volunteering and stay involved, he told me. You’re chance will come again.