The BAA Distance Medley & a World Series

8 Nov

Seven days after my latest marathon was the BAA Half Marathon. Although I wasn’t terribly mentally excited to race again so soon, it’s nice to be able to sleep in your own bed the night before a race, have a coworker ready to run with you, and know that the race was about much more than just 13.1 miles.

This is the second year of the BAA Distance Medley (5k in April, 10K in June, half marathon in Oct) and my second year participating. It took on new meaning this year after the Boston Marathon bombings as the 10K and the half marathon were the only other BAA races for 2013.

I honestly didn’t care how tired or sore I was from the marathon, this race was happening. Luckily, I wasn’t sore at all and we had a good time.  It’s not a race you can PR on because it is so packed and parts of the final 2 miles in the Franklin Park Zoo are on a footpath wide enough for just one person – and its always a bit funny to reach the halfway point, a few hundred yards from my home, and then have to turn around and run away.

There was a mile long stretch with absolutely no spectators and it was directly after they passed out Gu. You know that awful feeling in the movie theater when your feet are sticky with everyone else’s spilled sodas and buttered popcorn?  It was like that but on steroids.  All you could hear was heavy breathing (we were running uphill) and squishiness (as everyone’s soles were coated in Gu).  It didn’t make me real interested in trying to fuel with Gu again, there’s no way a substance that slick and sticky and sugary is going to be happy in my system.  We gained time on the hills which was great – all those stadium steps and hill climbs and box jumps must be paying off – because we passed people constantly and while I was breathing heavy, I actually enjoyed the challenge.

I remember thinking – well, that wasn’t emotional at all.  But when you see the finish line, and you think back to that finish line, it’s hard to not get a little sad.  I heard one runner say “Well, only a few more months and we can cheer another Boston Marathon and put this all behind us.”  I agree with the sentiment of moving forward faster and stronger and with more determination. But can a tragedy like this ever be swept away, packed away, thrown away?  I don’t think so.

I know personally that it isn’t completely behind me.

Game 6 of the World Series brought an announcement to Fenway residents that Boston Police were expecting riots (regardless of a win or a loss and also for Game 7, should there be one). We were asked to “shelter in place” for the evening.  Those words again.  Those words + the incessant drone of media helicopters definitely had me on edge the entire evening.

Part of me was enjoying my Boston Red Sox not only winning but winning big. It was hard, even during the final 3 outs, to fully comprehend that my team made it. That this was the World Series and we were about to win it.  That I might have been raised to cheer for an underdog losing team but kids born in the past 10 years have been raised to rout for a champion – and its the same team.

Part of me was going crazy with the noise. I had on the air conditioner, a fan, the dishwasher and a radio and all  I could still here was chopper blades hovering overhead – an experience I hoped to never live through again after that week in April. It happened again at 4 AM on Saturday, the morning of the World Series parade.  One minute, sound asleep.  The next minute, awake to the noise of 3 media helicopters already aloft, already circling, making me feel anxious.

It will take time to appreciate helicopters again…to not jump at loud noises…to not panic when I have no phone service (this happened during Game 6 of the World Series thanks to so many people in such a small area all trying to call and text at the same time…once again eerily reminiscent of April).

I am not a pack rat. I throw things away as soon as possible.  Yet I held onto these Sports Illustrated covers from April in case. I guess even then, I was hoping, although not hopeful, that the Boston Red Sox could pull it off.  Triumph from tragedy is, after all, essentially the American dream.  And more than that, maybe the greatest universal human desire.




One Response to “The BAA Distance Medley & a World Series”

  1. Sarah Hussey November 8, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    Wow- this is a great post, Liz!! It is a different view than most people have of this past year… For many, who don’t live in the Boston area, or who aren’t runners, the Boston Marathon is somewhat a distant memory… But I know for me, I think about it every time I race, and often while I’m running any time. For you though, its even more… You were right there in the thick of it, and you heard the commotion first hand, not on TV. I couldn’t imagine how you must feel. I’m glad though, that this time the helicopters were there for a good reason 🙂 GO SOX!! Thankfully I know that some day, none of us will live in fear 🙂

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