A blog by runners. For runners.

Returning to the Boston Marathon after injury

Boston Marathon Kelsey Barry

Every year when I was younger, my mother and I would go to Heartbreak Hill and watch the Boston Marathon runners. I remember looking her in the eye and saying, “I want to run the marathon some day”. She nodded as we continued to watch the race. That's a big statement for a young child to say, yet here I am training for my second Boston Marathon. But it wasn't easy to get to where I am today.

From the time I was 9 years old, I competed in many three mile races and I would always place in the top three. I knew I loved to run, but never took it too seriously as a child. As I got older and the races were more intense, my mind got the best of me. I would over think things, and mixed with the pressure from my coaches to win, I would lose my focus. This caused me to slip from one of the best runners in my high school to just another face. I still competed, but knew it wasn't to the best of my ability. I managed to make it to states my senior year and compete in the mile, but my outcome was not how I planned.

After I graduated high school, I focused more on my studies and let running take the back burner, running just for fun. It wasn't until my senior year of college when I realized I wanted to start competing again and push myself to accomplish something I've never done. The next day, I signed up for a half marathon. I followed a strict running schedule and once the big day came and that gun sounded, all the excitement rushed through me — I knew I was ready and that I was going to do great. But I wasn't done there.

Six months after the half, I found myself surrounded by the most elite runners in the world on the famous starting line in Hopkinton, Mass. I couldn't help but have tears in my eyes as I stood there, realizing my childhood dream would soon come true. I was going to run the Boston Marathon.

The day after the marathon wasn't as wonderful. I was so sore I could barely walk to class. The pain only got worse and after a few weeks, I knew that something was wrong with my knee. Turns out, forgoing strength training during my marathon training was not the right move. After three months in physical therapy, I was so eager to run again I thought I was going to lose my mind.

But that wasn't the worst part. As the 2012 marathon approached, I was forced to watch as a spectator instead of participating: All I wanted to do was jump in. It's true what they say, once you run a marathon, it's in your blood. I knew I needed to get stronger as a runner so I could be a part of the next Boston Marathon.

As I slowly started to run again, I signed up for my fourth half marathon and invested in a personal trainer to help me through my journey. I also added some cross training to my schedule to reduce the impact of running on my body. When that race went well, I knew I could push myself again and run a marathon. I received confirmation that I would in fact be participating in the 117th Boston Marathon — and here I am.

This time around, I completely changed my training schedule, and with two days of personal training, I've noticed such a difference in the way I run. I feel stronger, and I feel confident. I love to run, I love to compete, and I know that this will not be my last marathon.

Good luck to all the other runners out there!

Written by WalkJogRun member Kelsey Barry.