“You exude confidence, Kass. You are SURE of who you are,” Flower affirmed. As she spoke I fidgeted with my hands, nerves flowing through every course of my being and I outright questioned her, “I am??” And with some sarcasm I jabbed back, “Suuuuure I am.” She flickered a beautiful half-smile and chirped, “Well, when you talk about running you are!” I silently nodded my head. It’s true, when it comes to running I feel safe, secure and self-assured. Somehow over the past three years running has become my security blanket. It’s where I feel most like myself, or at the very least the person whom I’d like to become.
But we can’t ALWAYS be running (This is the most depressing sentence of this post). We can’t. We can’t live in a bubble and pretend that the world doesn’t keep spinning while we’re running. Trust me- I’ve tried it.
We have to leave the safety and security of our shells to live our lives. We need to learn about ourselves and what makes us happy.
We have to live.
I have to live.
I have spent the past 4 months of training the Boston Marathon, but really I’ve spent past four months learning how to live by myself, how to love myself and how to be on my own. This training cycle has been entirely different than previous cycles. I have reached out to friends to have a running buddy during long runs (thanks Molly & Mike!!). Instead of focusing on heart rate 100% of the time, I have used it as a guide and focused on running to perceived exertion. And on Monday instead of going in to the marathon with a clear goal time in mind I have given myself a ten minute window of ideal finish.
Like the chapters of a book every marathon training cycle represents a different part of my story. New York (2013) was about discovering this new side of myself. Chicago (2014) revolved around getting serious with the run-game while beginning to work full-time. Boston (2015) training embodied digging deep to train through the WORST winter Boston has ever seen (and then to show up and run in the rain for 3+ hours ouch)!!!
The training this season has been entirely different; instead of focusing on pace 100% of the time, I have been embracing the process of running. Running has been my daily therapy as I have begun to process every part of my new circumstances. After 10 years of being a part of a duo, most day being alone is flat-out overwhelming. And yet the most important lesson that I have learned during this training cycle is that no matter how alone I ever felt I was NEVER really alone. I have been surrounded by the most amazing friends, family, athletes and even readers who all at times helped me dry my tears and find the smile within.
I wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU to all of the amazing people who have reached out to me throughout the past four months. I am running this marathon because of YOU. Whether you know it or not- you have given me strength. You have helped me smile and laugh again. You have reassured me that I am not alone in this world. You have been my friend during a time when I have needed one the most- so THANK YOU. I am running Boston because of you!
Where do I even begin….
* Eric Wheeler– THANK YOU for using social media to lovingly harass me to run this race in the first place. Without you this Boston would never have happened. Thank you for your kind words and PT advice ;).
*Yoda-Beth, my coach at The Run Formula– THANK YOU for listening. It’s insanely difficult to coach someone whose life is in upheaval and who can’t pinpoint a goal. So, thank you for simply listening for the past 4 months. I love you.
*Mom, dad, Ken & Ker- my family. THANK YOU for supporting me no matter what. I love you.
*The Simons Family & The Benjamin Family – THANK YOU for watching Lillian so I could complete my weekend long runs!! You didn’t just watch Lillian for a few hours- you let us into your family’s Saturday morning routine and you cared for my child like she was one of your own. THANK YOU for making this transition seamless and full of smiles for Lillian and I. I love you.
* My athletes near and far: Flower, Mark, Gina ;), Adrienne, Laura, Lori, Perry, Grace, Kinsey, Bree!!, Dana, Molly, Julie and Kristi- THANK YOU to my Lone Runners!!! You are my family. From Bree’s naroleptic tendencies to Molly’s hot strava fly-by’s and Adrienne’s baby belly and more – you have become family!! I haven’t even met so many of you – but I hope you realize HOW MUCH I love and value your daily emails. Coaching has become SO MUCH MORE than just talking about running; you have filled my cup to the brim. I love you all!! Thank you team!!
*Lillian– of course she can’t read this yet- but maybe one day… Lillian I love you. You have helped me smile and laugh during a very difficult time- THANK YOU. You are my mini-me, my chicken wing and my best-friend. I love you and I can’t wait to see you wear my medal after the race. I promise I’ll try really really hard to win, just like you asked me to.
*Molly- I am so thankful for our long runs this training cycle. I am so profoundly lucky to have you in my life to laugh and listen on the long run. You are the runner who helped me hit my 8×800 splits. You are the friend who STOPPED SHORT during a tempo run to pick up a penny.. “I’ll catch up” haha. You tugged me along for 19 training miles in Bridgewater. You ran with me 3 days after your own GD marathon!! You are amazing. You are strong, funny, patient and beyond kind. I hope you realize how important our friendship is to me. GOOD LUCK on Monday!!! Kick ass and RUN SMART silly girl!! I love you. THANK YOU for being there and being you.
*Amanda Deblauw– FRIEND WHO I DON’T KNOW, BUT WHOSE OPINION I VALUE GREATLY!!!! Thank you for listening. You know what I mean. Really, truly, THANK YOU for being there when you didn’t have to be. KICK ASS on Monday!!! I’ll be tracking you…which means very little cause you’ll finish WAYYYY ahead of me.
*The Ladies of LuluLemon, Paula Hoss, Emily Racicot & Maureen Hayes. Genuine. Giving. Empowering. You women are an amazing bunch. I walk into your store and instantly feel loved and cared for. Deep breath. Thank you for believing in me and for sharing this amazing opportunity and incredibly fun experience with me. I am honored to be your maven. Maureen- SO much luck to you and the rest of Team Hoyt on Monday. HUGS to all of you 😉 THANK YOU.
*My readers– Throughout December many readers took the time out to privately message or email me. I wanted to take a minute to say THANK YOU for your kind words, love and support. It’s amazing how a short email or FB message can impact someone’s day, but it really can. Thank you for your ongoing support during this training cycle. 🙂
In the midst of the most chaotic time in my life, I didn’t have to train for Boston. No one would have questioned it if I did. And yet, I did have to run. I had to know that I could keep being “me” when the rest of my life was in flux.
Boston 2016 represents a new beginning for this Lone Runner.
The Boston Marathon will be my victory lap and my new beginning. It’s going to be 75 degrees on Monday. I have an uninjured, yet unhappy hamstring- so am I shooting for a time? Good question. Honestly, I’ve been training to run 7:30s but I’m not going to run 7:30s. I’m going to run easy, take it all in and see this marathon from a completely different angle. I’m going to aim for somewhere in the 3:20-3:30 range and see what happens :). I’ll race again one day, but this race is different. This is Boston 2016, my new beginning and my victory lap all in one.
Never stop running
Kass/The Lone Runner