A Rookie’s Journey to Run the Boston Marathon

Revelry – and a Long Run
As I discovered a few days beforehand, my 21-mile, longest-ever training run was scheduled for bright and early the morning after the EC Revelry ball – talk about bad timing.ÿ Safe to say, there was no way I was going to miss my final formal event at HBS in such a great venue – so I had to figure out how to both attend the ball and wake up the next morning at 5:30 to begin my run.ÿ As I stood in my comfortable, “pre-run” flats and sipped a glass of water at Revelry before sneaking out at 10:45 p.m., I secretly laughed at how much I had changed in the past few months.ÿ

Training for a marathon has an insidious way of changing your lifestyle and habits without your even noticing.ÿ New words and phrases had entered my vocabulary – words like foam roller, IT band, salt tablets, runner’s trots (far worse than it sounds) and fartleks (not nearly so bad as they sound).ÿ Minor sacrifices were made in the form of early nights in when I wanted to go out, sore muscles, and a nearly constant case of runner’s munchies.ÿ Certain sacrifices were also flatly and happily refused.ÿ Sorry, runner gods, I’m not giving up the occasional beer, nor am I cutting out kettle corn from my diet, because in my head, both of these things make me run a LOT faster.

The Final Countdown
Cue the synthesizer – the countdown is on.ÿ Seven days.ÿ That’s all that stands between me and my first ever marathon.ÿ As I write this, I can hardly believe it.ÿ I’m nervous, excited, impatient – and, in a way, ready to knock out “The Big Event” that has been looming in front of me for the past six months. I feel both incredibly well prepared and completely unprepared for the experience.ÿ While I’ve run up to 21 miles in my training, in my head, it seems like a quantum leap to go from running a mere 21 miles to finishing 26.2 of them in front of 500,000 spectators.

The bottom line: I’m ready.ÿ The weather is, for the most part, actually cooperating, and my strategy of “left, right, repeat” has worked well for me thus far. ÿI have, as Dana-Farber’s coach-in-residence Jack Fultz loves to say, “put the pennies in the bank” by knocking out hundreds of miles in training runs and, well, literally – by raising more than $5,000 toward my goal of $7,000 for Dana-Farber’s cancer research programs.ÿ

How YOU Can Help
1. Make a donation. (Please?) Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research supports scientists at the cutting edge of research – scientists whose discoveries enable more accurate testing, more effective treatments and new steps toward a cure for cancer.ÿ 100% of each dollar donated will benefit this great program.ÿ I need your help to reach my goal of raising $7,000 by race day! Simply visit //rundfmc.org/2010/kellyc to make a donation.

2. Come cheer on me and my fellow Dana-Farber runners on Marathon Monday! If you’re in Boston on April 19, you won’t want to miss the competition, insanity and fun that watching the marathon provides.ÿ From the elite, Olympic-caliber runners at the front of the pack to the crazy bandit runners in chicken suits to the 80-year-old men plodding along (probably faster than me!), you’ll have plenty to entertain you.ÿ Don’t forget to cheer especially loudly for the Dana-Farber folks in the bright orange singlets you can see in the attached photo – many of us will need all the cheers we can get!

3. No, really, donations are AWESOME.ÿ Gifts of any size, from $5 to $500, are so appreciated – and each incremental dollar has been (un)scientifically proven to make me run faster.ÿ Imagine – your dollar could shave a whole 1/100 of a second off of my marathon time!ÿ

Thank you all for sharing my journey to train for the Boston Marathon and raise funds for Dana-Farber.ÿ I look forward to sharing my race day stories with you in my final article!

Want to Follow My Run on Race Day? Simply text the word RUNNER to 31901 using your US mobile phone and reply to the text message you receive with my bib number – 22579.ÿ You’ll receive updates whenever I reach a milestone (starting line, 10k, half marathon, finish line).

Hope to see you out on the route next week!

Days until Boston: 7
Most miles run: 21
Funds raised: $5000.00

To support Kelly’s run for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, visit //rundfmc.org/2010/kellyc.

Kelly Carson is a proud member of Old A from Littleton, Colorado. When not running, you can find her singing with the She-E-O’s, walking backwards while leading campus tours for the admissions office or (most likely!) waiting in the sushi line at Spangler.