Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Post Boston's Run to Remember

Amy and me
On Saturday, May 25th, I went back to Boston to run the "Boston's Run to Remember" half marathon held on Sunday morning, along with my friend Amy. This half marathon was special. It was a tribute to fallen officers. When Amy and I arrived, we went to the expo to pick up our bibs and met up with seven of our fellow officers. We all went to Boston to run the race as the Albany, NY Police Running Club.

Albany PD running club
After the expo, we jumped on the subway and headed out to Boylston Street. I had not been on Boylston St. since April 15th. Walking down the same path I took on that day sent chills up my spine, but I was ok. It was good to see so many people walking up and down the street. The same street that had been terrorized on marathon Monday was full of life.

We made our way past the finish line to the memorial. While at the memorial, I left the sneakers I wore on April 15th...this is were they belong. I got teary-eyed, but my friend Amy was there to lean on. She was my rock that day.

My sneakers at the memorial
Sunday morning - my watch alarm went off at 4:50 am. It's race morning! This was the second race of the year for me and the first one since the Boston Marathon. Boy, was I nervous! It was my third time running this half marathon so I had set some goals.

First, I wanted to set a new personal record. Second, I wanted to place in the top three for the female law enforcement category. No pressure.

 As part of a law enforcement team, we got to start at the front of the pack. What a treat! The gun went off at 7am and we were off. Aside from the goals that I wanted to accomplish on Sunday, I decided that I would just run as hard as I could, and push myself as much as my body could stand. My garmin did not pick up a signal, so I just ran by feel.

My first mile was a 7:35 min mile. I told myself "that's to fast." I past the second mile mark at 15:15. This is where one of my fellow officers, Sgt. Rick Romand, caught up to me. From that point on, we would stick together and finish the race.

We past the 5k mark at 23:20. We began to pace ourselves at a 7:30 - 8:00 minute mile. We hit five miles at about 39:40. The next time clock I remembered seeing was at seven miles and the time on that was 57:45. Damn! We reached nine miles in just over 1:12. I thought, "Holy shit, I better PR at the Boilermaker 15k this year." From that point on, I don't remember seeing any other time clocks until I reach the finish.

After ten miles, I was just keeping pace with my partner and giving it everything I had. My breathing became grunting. I would not give in. With two miles to go, we may have slowed down some, but Rick and I kept charging. He kept saying to me "run boston strong!" Great motivational speech!

As we approached the finish line, I went into a full sprint. I could see the clock and I knew I would get my new personal record. Done in 1:45:49! 8:05 min/mile average.

Sprinting to the finish
I got my new personal record and a second place finish in the female law enforcement category. I accomplished both my goals. I was and still am so super happy. I utilized all the sadness and anger I have felt since the Boston bombings and left it on the pavement. I WILL KEEP RUNNING! I won't let anyone take that away from me. And, I am so proud of the men and women that are my second family; my Albany PD family. We all ran Boston Strong.

Love my finisher medal

2nd place female law enforcement award

                Thank you for stopping by,


Sunday, May 19, 2013

One Month After The Boston Marathon

It has been a month since the horrible bombings at the Boston Marathon... and I have so many mixed emotions. My eyes still tear up when I think and talk about it. I've been asked about it so many times. Sharing my experience has helped me get through this; one of the toughest times of my life. I have stayed glued to the television, watching every update and commentary. I had a headache every day for a week until they had captured those responsible.

Sometimes, I have a hard time falling asleep. The instant replay of the explosions fill my mind. In time, I know I will think less and less of the bombings, but I will NEVER forget April 15, 2013.

A week after the bombings, I went back to Boston. I went back to claim the baggage that I had left behind at the finish line. When I arrived at 40 Trinity Pl, the Boston Athletic Association headquarters, I didn't expect to cross a make-shift finish line. A volunteer checked my bib and ID. While she recorded my information, another volunteer retrieved my baggage. A third volunteer then placed a medal around my neck and then they all clapped and said congratulations!

The tears just started pouring down my face. The B.A.A. has been nothing but amazing during this time. They had professionals on staff for whomever needed to talk. One of the volunteers introduced herself as "the official hugger" as she squeezed me tight. She sat me down until I could calm down and we talked about race day. Shortly after I wiped the tears and made the journey back home. There is something about having that medal that is special but I still feel like I didn't earn it because I didn't cross that finish line. I know, many of you will say that I did earn it, but I just feel differently.

B.A.A. headquarter 

Following the marathon, I took a week off from running. My body and mind where pretty beat up. But the clouds lifted a bit and I got back out on the road. Running just makes everything better for me. It's my high. My therapy.

I met an inspirational woman by the name of Mary Signorelli, who has ran 72 marathons. We chatted for a while about Boston and before she took off she said to me "just keep running." Although, I have continued to run, I have not raced since Boston. Instead, I was on bike patrol for the Workforce Challenge race. I felt responsible for all 9,000 runners that day. To see so many runners come out for this race brought on the emotions all over again.

On the same day of the Workforce Challenge race, the B.A.A. sent me an email with an invitation to run the 2014 Boston Marathon. Absolutely nothing could ruin the joy that I felt knowing that next year I would get the opportunity to run down Boylston St and across the Boston Marathon finish line.

Bike patrol at the race

It also brought me joy to see both of my daughters, Gabriella and Brooke, race the Rensselaer Rotary Run. Gabby ran the 1 mile race and Brooke ran the one-lap wonder. Despite the rain, we all had a great time. Matt and I are so very proud of them because despite walking a little, they both did not give up and finished their race.
Gabby and me
Our family


Brooke, the one-lap wonder kid

One week from today, I will head back to Boston for the Boston's Run to Remember half-marathon. I'm race ready! I am happy to be racing again, but I know my emotions will be running high. I will use them to my benefit. Let them fuel my run during the race. 

In my heart, I will never forget the loss of life and the many injured. THANK YOU to the first responders for your courage during the events that unfolded on what should have been a proud day for so many. And, finally, THANK YOU to my husband,  family, friends, and co-works for your continued support.

Love Sheila