For those of you not familiar with Heartbreak Hilll -- here's a summary (from (Wikipedia):
Heartbreak Hill is an ascent over 0.4 mile (600 m) of the Boston Marathon course, between the 20 and 21 mile (32 and 34 km) marks, in the vicinity of Boston College. It is the last of four "Newton hills", which begin at the 16-mile (26 km) mark. The Newton hills confound contestants (out of proportion to their modest elevation gain) by forcing a late climb after the downhill trend of the race to that point. Heartbreak Hill itself rises only 88 vertical feet (27 m), from an elevation of 148 feet (45 m) at the bottom to an elevation of 236 feet (72 m) at the top, but is positioned at a point on a marathon course where muscle glycogen stores are likely to be depleted—a phenomenon referred to by marathoners as "hitting the wall."
The nickname "Heartbreak Hill" originated with an incident in the 1936 race. On this stretch, defending champion John A. Kelley caught race leader Ellison "Tarzan" Brown, giving Brown a consolatory pat on the shoulder as he passed. His competitive drive apparently stoked by this gesture, Tarzan Brown rallied, pulled away from Kelley, and went on to win—in the words of Boston Globe reporter Jerry Nason, "breaking Kelley's heart."
Late last year, after contending with what still goes down in the history of my life as being "the worst period of time I've ever lived through", I came to the realization that I have to dream, dream big, and dream bigger -- but I also have to put plans into motion to make those dreams happen. And then it dawned on me. I love running -- why not aim to run the Boston Marathon?
At the time I had zero inclination that we would wind up actually living in Boston.
I kind of let that dream slide as we got busy with the moving and settling in, and the job hunt and all the other crazyness that goes along with a move. But then, as I figured out the best route to take to work actually took me through Heartbreak Hill, I decided to start training again. Last Wednesday I looked at my calendar, tried to pick a good date to start and then in one very centered moment of clarity it hit me. I'm not going to make a plan for when to start. I'm just going to do it. Today.
That night after Angelica was in bed, I laced up my sneakers and went running and on Sunday, I completed my first week of the Couch to 5k program, again. I also learned a major difference between here and Florida: There is no level terrain in Boston. My average climb for a run in Florida was 20 feet. My average climb last week was 120. Needless to say, by Sunday night my legs were screaming. But I'm determined to keep going. (I've also found a slightly more level area to run since then, thank goodness.)
I also looked into what it would take to sign up for the Boston Marathon, and discovered that it's too late to qualify for 2013's race (qualification starts about 18 mos before the race), and I probably won't be ready by the time qualifications start for the 2014 race (you have to be able to keep a certain pace to qualify and I don't think I'll be there yet the next time it comes around). So, I am putting it out there right now. I WILL run the 2015 Boston Marathon.
This may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people. Lots of people run every day. The difference is, I've got about 100lbs of extra weight on me to shed and people have told me time after time that I shouldn't run. Which turned into me telling myself I shouldn't. And now I'm letting go of that false belief. I can do this.
Fortunately, I have that drive on Heartbreak Hill to remind me each day what my goal is.