Becoming Boston Strong by Amy Noelle Roe

Becoming Boston Strong by Amy Noelle Roe

Author:Amy Noelle Roe
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781510741706
Publisher: Skyhorse
Published: 2019-02-25T16:00:00+00:00


Get It in Writing

AS SOON AS I lean back onto the padded table, I realize it’s a mistake. My knees lock at a 90-degree angle. I let out a shriek. A member of the medical team tries to massage my legs, but I can’t stand to be touched and fear I’ll kick him the next time I’m hit with a cramp.

I can’t read my watch.

What was my time? What was my time? No one is listening to me. Or maybe I’m not actually speaking?

I sit up, surveying my surroundings, the medical tent of the 2010 Eugene [Oregon] Marathon. So many different scenes of suffering play out before me, it’s like a painting by Hieronymus Bosch. Half-naked bodies sprawl on white sheets. One of them writhes in pain. Another slowly rolls over, letting out an anguished moan.

A kindly volunteer removes my running cap, which is soaked with sweat, and hands me a towel. I press my face into it and focus on relaxing my muscles. Someone insists I drink a bottle of water, and some Gatorade, and I dutifully lean forward to get it all down, then put the towel back over my face.

I don’t need to be here. The medical tent is a sign something is wrong. And I just had the race of my life, ran 3:44, and qualified for Boston. Wait: Did I?

I take deep breaths, yoga-class breaths. My legs tremble. Out of the corner of one eye, I can see rows of cots full of people much worse off than I am.

The medical volunteer kneads my legs a little more. It’s uncomfortable, but I know he’s only trying to help. I try not to fight him.

After a few interminable minutes, the cramps subside. Dan must be waiting and wondering about me. He’s probably worried. I say I feel okay to go, but the medical staff insists I wait a little longer, drink a little more.

I can’t wait to get out of this place.

Someone is moaning again. The cots are nearly full; I should leave.

I did this to myself. What a way to spend a weekend. What a way to spend my life.

I started the race brimming with confidence, determined to follow the plan I’d written in Sharpie on my arm. Whenever it looked like I might be going too fast, I adjusted my speed with a surgeon’s precision. But at mile 23, the pace that had for so long seemed too easy suddenly felt impossible.

After crossing the finish line, I went into a stiff-legged walk. My arm extended, I’d been thinking I could support myself on a chain link fence. But my depth perception was off; the fence was well out of reach. My hand dangled in mid-air, grasping for something when nothing was there.

A volunteer came over and put her arm around me. I wanted to keep walking, but she had other ideas. Now here I am among those whose bodies have truly betrayed them. I’m not really one of them, at least.

At last, a medical volunteer finally clears me to go.


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