Final Thoughts on Deferring

I wanted to write one last post on this topic because while I’ve written to some of you in comments, e-mails, etc. I haven’t publicly addressed how I felt after I made my decision and during the marathon.

Like I’ve mentioned before, making the decision was incredibly difficult and part of me wanted to pretend that I’d never heard about the deferral option. Then I could just run the race as planned, no decision making would keep things easy! I had qualified for Boston in April of 2011 so I had been looking forward to the race for quite a while.

If I had trained the 6 weeks prior to the race I would have run the marathon, regardless of the heat, but what it ultimately came down to was what I thought my body was capable of and if I wanted to take time off after the race to recover from injuries that I surely would have aggravated. Obviously the answer to that last question was no. Given the circumstances, I tried to look at the deferral option as a gift, I have another shot at a great first Boston.

Am I happy with my decision? No. Would I be happy if I had run the race? Probably not. I don’t think I will ever be 100% content with the fact that I took a deferral at my first Boston Marathon. That being said, do I regret my decision? No. I was in a lose-lose situation and I know I made the smartest and safest choice for me. The disappointment of running injuries is something that I will have to live with and learn from.

I thought it would be incredibly difficult to spectate on Monday but it wasn’t at all. I enjoyed cheering on all of the amazing athletes and was impressed by their determination and will power. Some of the men and women were incredible athletes and I am inspired to train hard this fall and winter and come back to Boston even stronger than I would have been without injuries.

My only twinges of jealousy were post-race when I saw runners walking around with their medals on. Then I started to feel the “that could have been me”‘s.

I was really worried about what to tell people when I got home. I didn’t talk too much about my heel fracture and hamstring with anyone but family and close friends (I was too upset) and I was nervous that my decision to defer would come across as taking the easy way out. I quickly realized that thinking this way was really silly. I shouldn’t care what other people think and anyone who is important enough to me would completely understand and respect the decision I made.

I also didn’t know what to do with all of the gear I bought at the expo before I knew I wouldn’t be running. Would I be an imposter if I wore the gear? What do I say if someone asks me about the race? Again, more silly thoughts! I QUALIFIED for the 2012 Boston Marathon and was fast enough to earn a spot in the field. I earned my right to wear my gear whether or not I ran the race. In addition, I actually requalified for Boston 2013 in Chicago last October (although I was on the bubble and it may not be fast enough to register- again another reason to take the deferral). Making a smart decision not to run a race does not mean that I am not a good, fast, or determined athlete and I shouldn’t act like it does. Even though I did not run, I deserve to be proud of the fact that I qualified two years in a row. Qualifying is an accomplishment in itself!

So while I’m extremely disappointed that I was unable to run Boston this year, it was a decision in the making from way back in March when I injured my heel. I’ve learned just how difficult it is to make decisions based on what your body needs and not what your mind wants and overall I hope this whole experience makes me a better runner and a better person.