Are you as excited about the upcoming Boston Marathon as we are? Whether you're running it, watching it from home or cheering someone on from the sidelines—this major marathon is always one for the books. Today, we feature Lauren from Breathe Deeply and Smile. She will be out there running, and this is her story:
The Boston Marathon is less than a week away. As it is for a lot of marathoners, the Boston Marathon has been on my bucket list ever since I ran my first marathon in 2013. I hit my goal time at that race (3:45) and I remember thinking that a Boston qualifier wasn't too far off (3:35). It took me two more marathons and two more years to get that qualifying time, and then three more marathons before I actually got accepted to run Boston.
It’s not that I think I’m the most inspiring or the fastest runner out there...I know there are others who have had larger amounts of time to lower their marathon times, or who have chased their Boston qualification time for more years than I did. For me, the Boston Marathon is a victory lap and a way for me to celebrate how much running has positively influenced my life.
To this day, I often talk to my boyfriend about my life before I took up running. He was there from the beginning when I decided to get in shape and sign up for my first 5K back in the Fall of 2011. In the span of a year, that 5K snowballed into a 5-miler, then a 10-miler and then two half marathons.
That first year of running, I did not have any running friends. I did not have a running blog or cool running gear—but after my first half marathon, I was officially hooked. I remember reuniting with my boyfriend at the finish line because I broke down crying. It was one of those big emotional releases because I had trained hard, and because I ran 13.1 miles for the very first time. I felt so strong and was so proud of myself.
After that race, I realized that running wasn’t about getting in shape or losing weight. Something special was happening to me as I trained for and completed my races. After playing soccer in school and then not being very active in college, it felt like I had finally found that highly active part of myself again. One year after that first half marathon, I was running my first marathon. Running gave me the confidence to take on that challenge.
Running also changed my mindset. As I dealt with anxiety that was amplified by post-college adulthood, running gave me space to clear my head and meditate. Instead of trying to count calories to lose pounds and get skinny, I began focusing on fueling my body and gaining strength.
At my fourth marathon (Chicago), I got a big PR and my second BQ. I wore a Motivate Wrap with my personal mantra: Stronger Than You Know. I repeated that mantra to myself during all of those tough Chicago miles, and the miles that followed, too. Training for and running five marathons has shown me that I can do hard things. I can even do them with a smile on my face.
Running has shown me that putting myself out there is less scary than I think it is. Running has given me opportunities and excuses to travel across the country and internationally to fulfill some of my wanderlust. My main goal for the 2018 Boston Marathon is to enjoy every mile. It’s a victory lap for my running accomplishments and it's also a celebration of running and what it's done for me. Five years after my first marathon, I’ll be on the starting line of the Boston Marathon, and I'll know that all of the strength I need for anything that comes my way is inside me.
Are you stronger than you know? We believe the answer to that question is "yes, you absolutely are." Learn from Lauren and believe in yourself. And if you're a runner, learn to harness the side of running that can be truly transformative. Finally, we wish the best of luck to all of you that will be at the starting line of The Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16th. You've got this!