Looking back at my previous posts, I realize how bad of a place I was in at the beginning of the summer. After a horrible marathon experience, I was emotionally drained. I spent months and months training for that one race and it had gone terribly wrong. I still cringe talking about it. Add on top of that moving to an unfamiliar city where the only people I really knew were my immediate family and let’s just say I wasn’t too happy. I had a summer full of physics classes ahead of me, no real friends in the area, and was questioning my running ability.
When I think about it, though, a summer in Boston was just what I needed. At first it seemed new and intimidating, but it was also a place for me to start with a clean slate. I wasn’t around people I knew, which in a way was relieving because I didn’t have to explain over and over again about my marathon. Nobody knew who I was, which was just fine with me.
I still remember those first few runs on the Charles. Everything seemed so loud and busy. There were so many people going in different directions in comparison to what I was used to. I also spent the first week back to training on the Cambridge side getting extremely frustrated at all of the intersections. Took me a little while to realize that I preferred the Esplanade.
At this point, I was still registered for the Baystate Marathon, but was very unsure if I wanted to go through with it. VCM had been so extremely painful that I’d thought, “Why would I ever want to do that again?” after crossing the finish line. I spent a while moping around trying to figure things out before fully committing to running Baystate. I just couldn’t leave the marathon alone after having some bad timing getting sick.
However, I decided that things needed to change. I absolutely love running. It’s my passion, but at the beginning of the summer my heart just wasn’t there. The spring hadn’t gone as planned and my confidence had taken a blow. I needed to add some more fun back into the mix.
One of the biggest changes I made was joining the November Project. From the very first session, I felt welcomed and included. After going to the first Monday workout, I was hooked. The November Project had worked its magic on me and I started to get my spark back. I was determined to go to all three workouts that week. If you’re curious, I did accomplish all three workouts, but I also couldn’t walk normally at the end of the week because I was so sore!
I had the stupid idea of running to and from the Wednesday workout at Harvard stadium. I learned pretty quickly that that wouldn’t be possible. I was humbled, and by the end of the workout I had to call for a ride because there was no way I could run the five miles home.
Throughout the summer, I learned what the tribe was all about – having fun while getting a good workout in. Hugs from strangers, high fives, and “f*** yeah’s” are all in a day’s work.
I had to find my way around Boston to all of the different locations of the November Project. Most of the time, this meant I had to use a GPS to get me to wherever it was. I’ve run into the heart of Boston, all up and down the Charles, around Cambridge, Brookline, Brighton, etc. It helped to get me out of my comfort zone and I explored a lot of places I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.
I signed up for a few 10ks over the summer and surprised myself by taking a big chunk of time off my previous PR. That helped give me the confirmation that I still had my running ability and was in good shape. Heck, I was in PR shape!
Now that I’m back at UVM, I feel like my old self and I know that Boston was a huge influence in making that happen. It provided me with the new motivation and confidence I needed. Thank you, November Project, for welcoming me with open arms. I’m already looking forward to working out with you again when I get back for winter break! More in general, thanks Boston, for providing me with a clean slate and a home away from home. You helped to light that fire in me again.