The Boston Marathon has once again encompassed the town in which I live and work – Hopkinton, Massachusetts. Snuggled 26.2 miles away from the heart of Boston, this sleepy town comes alive each and every Spring.
I’ve called Hopkinton home for the last 17 years, and each year I have stood just mere feet from the start of the most prestigious marathons of all times cheering & encouraging every single runner that crosses that bright blue & yellow starting line. And year after year, without fail, it amazes me that all these people take one-step after another and make their way to a finish line that seems so far, far away. How do they train? How do they prepare? What do they think about during that 26.2 mile trek?
I asked a friend who has run the Boston Marathon numerous times what thoughts are passing through runner’s minds as they attempt the most challenging marathon in the world. She told me that for most runners, come race day, it is not a physical challenge, but a mental one. She quoted Mike Fanelli, a running coach, by saying most runners “Divide the race into thirds. Running the first part with their head, the middle part with their personality, and the last part with their heart”.
And after 17 years, I finally got it.
I realized that all of us with celiac disease and/or food allergies are just like those runners that I have been in awe and mystified with for years.
Like the runners, we all start our journey with “our head”, making sure we read and research, learn as much as we can, ask questions and most importantly act smart.
Once we get comfortable with the pace of our new dietary lifestyles, we add a bit of spice & our own personalities… we develop our own signature dishes, try new things, determine what we like and dislike; we get a skip in our step, and yes… we get a rhythm and a momentum that get us through even the Heartbreak Hills of life.
Then, comes the good part… action from the heart. This comes when you round that final corner and see the finish line and you know, just know, that yes, you have run the marathon of your life… that you’ve done it. Defeated it. You become aware that the support and cheering of others has illuminated your journey. And most important, it is at this time you are able to root for and encourage others that are on the same course you have just traveled.
Welcome to the marathon of your life. Lace up and take it one step at a time.
They’ll be plenty of us be cheering you on every step of the way.