A 61-Year-Old Bootcamper, The 2012 Boston Marathon, And Me

A few weeks ago while traveling in Washington, DC for work, I happened to walk by the gym I used while living there this past summer.  Through the glass walls and door I could see my former bootcamp instructor speaking with another gym member.  We caught eyes she began waving excitedly, motioning that I should come over.

After hugs and a brief motherly/priestly check-in that coaxed out a confession of falling off the exercise wagon and eating lots more sugar, I turned to go about my merry way when my instructor exclaimed, "Oh! I did my marathon! I have pictures! Come and see!"  I'd completely forgotten about seeing her morning after morning, trudging along on a treadmill in the corner, head down, earbuds in place, until it was time to teach her first bootcamp or spinning class of the day.

I followed her into her office, and she proudly placed a large 8 x 10 photo of her victoriously crossing the finish line at the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC.  "I finished in 6 hours and because of my age group I placed pretty well! Right in the middle of the pack."

Oh yes.  I should mention that my instructor was running the marathon to celebrate her birthday.  Her 61st birthday.

As I smiled, nodded and listened to her marathon highlights,  she had no way of knowing about the thoughts going on in my head; how just a few hours earlier during my flight from Boston, I continued mulling over the idea of running the Boston Marathon -- a thought planted by my husband after completing a longer-than-usual run.  But I could think of a lot of other things I'd rather do for four hours on a state holiday, like eating a big plate of chicken nachos from my favorite burrito place.
"Wow, well this is really inspiring," I responded.  "I've been thinking about running a marathon myself --"
"DO IT," my instructor insisted,"You can totally do it."
Aside from the whole 26.2 mile thing, I also knew running the Boston Marathon wouldn't be easy just in terms of getting into the race.  I had no qualifying races under my belt.  Regular registration was over.  And considering how late I was in the game, I new the few nonprofits able to get numbers through the John Hancock Charity Program finished their application processes months, kicked off their respective fundraising campaigns, and already began team training.  Yet, I failed to see the timing of this conversation as random.

I returned to Boston and thought of the nonprofit organizations to which I felt most connected.  I had no expectations that my inquiries about applying for a charity team and made peace with the fact that if it didn't work out, well, it just wasn't meant to be.   But I thought, "What the heck, it never hurts to ask right?  What's the worst they say? No?"

So I emailed Boston Partners in Education, an organization whose doors were some of the first I walked through when we moved to Boston five years ago: "I know the application period ended last month," I wrote, "but just wanted to see if you were still looking for team members."  The response?  Suprising: "Hi Tinu,  We are still looking for one more team member to run the 2012 Boston Marathon for Boston Partners in Education and fundraise for us."

After completing an application and providing some additional information to Executive Director, Pam Civins, later that week I received a call inviting me to join Team Boston Partners.  And I accepted.  Afterward I hung up the phone, sat back at my desk and said, "WHAT DID I JUST DO?!?!"  With each ensuing week of training, I'm finding that out.

To keep up to date with my training and fundraising progress, check out my Team Boston Partners Crowdrise page: 

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