Marathon Inspires Thoughts of Past, Present, and Future
This week, the 126th Boston Marathon was held. It was exciting to see 30,000 runners pushing through the 26.2-mile course on the streets of Boston. I had a few friends running this year, and I was so glad that technology allowed us to cheer on our favorites (as well as strangers) through the hilly course.
For me, the race raised thoughts of what was in the past, what could have been in the present, and what I hope to do in the future. All three were inspiring.
This was the 126th race, which means the event dates to the 19th century. But perhaps more importantly, as the world struggles to navigate a COVID-19 “normal,” an in-person marathon is a welcome return to races as they used to be, with thousands of runners, from Olympians and professionals competing for prizes to first-timers who are just happy to be there. We used to have races like this all the time, and their absences or delays since the pandemic have made us miss the events.
Seeing the runners inspired me. I hope we cherish what can easily be lost, especially as the pandemic continues (and remains a high risk for immunocompromised persons like me).
For what is and could have been, the Boston Marathon reminds me of the marathon this coming weekend in Brooklyn (just a block away from my place) that will take place without me.
I signed up for this marathon, and technically I’m still signed up. But because I had COVID-19 in January, I had to drop out. Thanks to quick access to rapid testing at home and monoclonal antibodies, my time with COVID-19 was rather mild. I just had a slight fever and breathing challenges for a day or two. However, I was under doctor-ordered isolation for 20 days (as recommended for high-risk people like myself). I couldn’t go outside, even when I felt fine, and I couldn’t go downstairs to the treadmills we have in my apartment building.
Three weeks of lost training were bad enough, but even once I was cleared to participate, I needed another few weeks before my running returned to normal. After my isolation, I was barely able to run a mile before needing to walk or slow down. And if you can’t run a mile without slowing down, running more than 26 miles isn’t a great idea.
So I had to drop out. It was the right thing to do, and I moved my attention to a half-marathon here in Brooklyn next month.
And while seeing this year’s Boston Marathon runners made me sad about the race I can’t run this weekend, it does make me thankful that I am able to train again for next month. While I’m still not quite as strong as I was pre-COVID-19, I’m so thankful that I get to train again. So many of us with sarcoidosis cannot run the way I can (sometimes our lungs just won’t allow it), and I do my best to run my own race for those who cannot.
But while the Boston Marathon has me thankful for the past and mindful of the present, it also has me excited for the future. Boston is one of the six major global marathons, and I’m excited (and a bit scared) to run another major, the New York City Marathon, this November.
NYC will now be my first marathon, after having to drop out of this weekend’s race in Brooklyn. And seeing those runners is a great reminder of the challenge ahead. A lot of things need to go right for me to cross the finish line. I’ll need a great training schedule, a great and mindful attitude, and admittedly, some great fortune and blessing. Deep down, I feel confident that I can do this, and I’m so excited for the chance to try.
Until then, I’ll keep running my race. And if I remember my past, stay mindful of my present, and have hope for my future, I might just be able to push these lungs and legs past the finish line. But even if I can’t, I’m grateful just for the attempt.
I’ll see you at the finish line.
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