BREAKING NEWS: Verna Gass is our randomly selected winner! Please check your email, Verna, and congratulations.
Edith writing from north of Boston, where the daffodils and forsythia are in full cheery bloom and the words are flowing! To celebrate persevering to reach goals, I’ll give away an advance copy of Strangled Eggs and Ham to one commenter here today.
I moved to the Boston area the year I turned thirty. After taking up karate again (after a five year break for grad school) and earning my black belt, I started running for exercise. I also started watching the Boston Marathon on television every year on Patriots Day.
The following year, a petite woman named Joan Benoit won Boston with a record-setting time of 2:22, and the year after that, she won gold in the Olympics first women’s marathon event in Los Angeles.
Joanie is five years younger than me, and in those days I was nearly as petite as her. While I didn’t aspire to running fast and long, I used to channel her as I slapped on a ball cap and set out on a six-mile run around the Mystic Lakes. I’d picture her even stride, her focused look, and it really helped me get through the distance.
Fast forward fifteen years and two children. I was running again and going longer and longer distances with a running buddy. After we finished a half-marathon in the fall, we decided to aim high and run Boston the next spring. Talk about persevering! Training to run 26 miles is way different than 13. We’d go out for ten or twelve-mile long runs on the weekends. In February I ran the Tri-State 20, a twenty-mile race one way from Kittery, Maine to Salisbury, Massachusetts – and finished. My friend and I got charity numbers (because neither of us was remotely fast enough to qualify) and each raised more than a hundred dollars a mile, me for the Leukemia Foundation, him for another charity.
Marathon day rolled around. Full of nerves, we set out. It was tough, but we crossed the finish line together, in under six hours!
See? I even got a certificate! I didn’t win a thing except a huge sense of accomplishment, some needed confidence, and a set of really sore quads.
Every year I still watch Boston on TV as my annual sporting event. This year, last Monday, I was delighted to hear that Joan Benoit Samuelson was running again, with a goal of finishing within forty minutes of her time in 1979. I don’t run at all anymore, but I was rooting for her. I tracked her on the app the Boston Athletic Association provides.
And she did it! What a treat to see this lean, still petite sixty-one year old finish with a big honking smile. She ran it with her daughter, which made it even more special.
Joanie persevered to reach her goal, so she’s still my role model. We all know how much perseverance and persistence it takes for us to reach our writing goals. My Boston finish twenty-one years ago is one of the things that gives me a boost when I’m feeling challenged. If I could do that, I can do anything.
Readers: What have you persisted at? What goals are you proudest of reaching? I will send an ARC of my eighteenth mystery to one lucky commenter!