The Boston Marathon Bombings really upset me.
I remember watching it happen on TV and being completely shocked.
How could someone hurt something that I loved so much.
I couldn’t imagine training for so long only to have it ruined by a careless and heartless act.
I really wanted to do something to honor everyone involved in that horrific event.
I remember texting my sister telling her that we had to do something.
We brought up our local marathon, the Portland Marathon in October.
We thought it was crazy.
The furthest we had ever run up until that point was probably 15 miles, how on earth could we do 26.2.
But that didn’t matter.
We wanted to do whatever we could to honor everyone involved at Boston.
So we did it.
We clicked “register” and signed up for our first marathon just 5 months later.
The training started.
It was gradual and then took off.
I got help from an awesome teammate of mine in College, who wrote me a training plan that I religiously followed.
We realized what our end goal was going to be right away.
We wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
The qualifying time for women our age is a 3 hour a 35 minute marathon.
We were going to do it.
We were so freakin excited.
After months of training, training, and more training.
Some of the longest and most challenging months of my life.
The day had come.
God I was so scared.
It was such a scary thing, 26.2 miles, but I knew if I had my sister by my side, I would be okay.
My running partner since birth was going to be with me today and all was fine.
We got up probably around 3:30 or 4 in the morning since we lived about an hour away from the race start.
I remember the butterflies in my stomach on the drive up, hell I can feel them even now four and a half years later.
Listening to my drake playlist over and over again.
Trying to pump myself up for the challenge ahead.
When I got a text from my best friend.
“Give me speed, give me strength, let me fly.”
It reminded me of all of the people I had met along the way.
The support system I had driving up with me to stand around for hours just to watch me run.
We got up to Portland and found our starting area, and most importantly the bathrooms.
My family took pictures as Janelle and I sat and waited.
I remember saying our goodbyes to our parents and my husband, who was just my boyfriend at the time, as the race neared.
It was all starting to feel so real.
Before the race a voice came over the speakers and said that we were going to have a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings along with a tribute.
And next thing we know, Sweet Caroline played through the streets of Portland.
A song sang during Boston Red Soxs games.
My heart was so happy.
Everyone around us sang along, hand in hand with each other.
But that wasn’t the best part.
They were trying to play the national anthem when something went wrong with the speakers, so they suggested we all sing it out loud.
I had never heard anything more beautiful.
Singing the national anthem with strangers who were spread through the city, all with the same goals.
Who were all running for something bigger than ourselves.
It was something that I’ll never forget.
Next thing I knew, the gun was off.
In typical Megan and Janelle fashion, we got out quick.
We had to get into a good spot and get into a good rhythm.
I was surprised with how good I felt.
Step by step.
Mile after Mile.
I felt strong.
We came up along a group of runners who cheered us on and asked if were were twins.
We answered in sync, like we always did.
He called us the “wonder twins” and as silly as that sounds it motivated us that much more.
We felt empowered and strong, because we were.
We were running a marathon.
I remember even seeing my family a couple of times and hearing them shout our names. It reminded me why I was doing this.
For the people that I loved.
And those who lost theirs that last April.
We just kept running, right next to each other, up until the half way mark.
I had written my paces on my arm in sharpie, to make sure I could hit that 3:35 Boston Marathon qualifying time.
I was feeling great, and we were ahead of pace as we approached the arch of balloons letting us know we were at mile 13.
Janelle wasn’t feeling great, and I was.
I kept trying to walk her through getting rid of her side ache and for the most part it was working.
She could tell I was feeling better than she was, so she let me go.
She told me to leave, that she was fine and if I could do it, to go.
We squeezed each others hand and I was off to do the rest by myself.
I still felt good.
I was hitting my paces and breathing just fine.
Until I approached the St. Johns Bridge.
I had been warned about this bridge.
But nothing could have prepared me for it.
The hill leading up to it was huge.
I could barely pick up my legs.
I was trying and trying, giving it everything I had.
I remember someone coming up behind me and telling me to follow him up the hill.
Once I got to the top I had a little more energy.
I was told by that after you get over the bridge, that the rest of the course is a gradual downhill.
I wanted that downhill so bad.
I was feeling better.
Getting my stride back.
One foot in front of the other.
That’s what I kept telling myself.
The streets of Portland were flooded with fans.
Pom Poms, huge signs, and voices louder than you could imagine.
It was so encouraging.
Until mile 24.
At mile 24 my vision started to get blurry.
I felt like I couldn’t see my feet hit the ground.
Like I was moving but I wasn’t.
If that makes any sense.
Looking at my watch I noticed that my pace was starting to slip just a little.
I couldn’t have that.
I had one goal, and I was going to achieve that goal.
Janelle passed me at mile 25 as we crossed the Broadway Bridge.
She told me good job.
I tried to mutter “you too” but just a bunch of sounds came out of my mouth.
I was slowly losing it.
I was so close though.
So close that I could hear the crowd at the finish line.
The finish line that I wanted so badly.
I turned onto Naito Parkway, which meant that I only had about a half mile or so left.
And then it happened.
Maybe I wasn’t picking my feet up or something.
But I fell.
Right on my knees in front of everyone watching.
I remember this sweet woman in a pink shirt stopped and grabbed me as she called for the medics.
People in white shirts came running from the sidewalk.
My knee was cut up pretty badly and they wanted to take me off the course.
I told them no.
That I had to finish.
I was only two minutes away from finishing and I needed to finish.
They let me go, and the sweet woman in the pink shirt agreed to run right next to me as we finished, in case I fell again.
I turned the corner to the finish.
And don’t remember anything after that.
Except getting placed down on a bed under a medical tent.
I woke up to an IV getting stuck in my arm.
I freaked out.
Instantly I looked down around my neck searching for my finishers medal.
I found it.
I had finished.
But I didn’t know how.
I blacked out and didn’t remember any of it as I took that final turn.
I had been training my butt off all spring and summer for this race.
But I didn’t remember finishing.
I looked back at pictures of other people finishing.
There were smiles, and hands tossed in the air with the look of pure joy on their faces.
Whereas I, from what I heard from my family, crossed the finish line with a blank stare on my face and instantly dropped.
I found pictures of myself in a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk.
I still ran an amazing time.
I ran a 3:42:59.
I missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 8 minutes.
That was it.
Do you know how it feels to want something so bad.
To the point where it’s all you think about?
That you consume your life with it.
To get so close to finishing and not even remembering it?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly proud of myself, and always be.
To be a 23 year old and miss qualifying for the Boston Marathon by only 8 minutes during your first ever marathon?
But I didn’t get my moment.
I didn’t cross the finish line feeling like I was on top of the world.
I didn’t have that moment that I can look back at and remember with pure happiness.
I don’t remember it.
It’s almost like I left it unfinished.
I’m surprised sitting here today, four and a half years later.
It still gets to me.
Crying as I write these words down for everyone to see.
To see that I wanted something so bad and was so close to getting it.
That I blacked out at the end and don’t even remember finishing.
Some people would use that to quit.
Some people would take that moment and never do it again.
They would be embarrassed or say that it wasn’t meant to be.
They would be discouraged.
But not me.
I’ll always have that drive.
That motivation that one day I will remember finishing a marathon.
That I still have so many years to reach my goal.
There will always be this fire under me, reminding me of what I still have to do.
I was and still am so incredibly proud of myself.
I know that one day, I’ll do it.
I’ll run those 26.2 miles and have my moment.
I’ll cross the finish line with the biggest smile imaginable.
And I’ll do it.