For me, having two young kids and suffering through the worst winter in decades meant lots of time in front of the television and the Dunkin Donuts drive-through. For my neighbor Kelly Widener, however, having her second baby this past December and toughing out the weather were just part and parcel of training for tomorrow’s 118th Boston Marathon.
Widener managed to train for around 15 weeks this winter, squeezing in the requisite long runs while on maternity leave. She says having the physical training under her belt, along with her experience finishing five other marathons, eases her mind for the race tomorrow.
But she says running Boston on the one-year anniversary of the bombings presents a different mental challenge to athletes.
“Security is and will be the highest priority on Monday, yet I still have a little anxiety,” she says, noting that her husband and two sons will be with her in Boston but not near the finish line.
A devoted athlete, Widener played field hockey for Ohio State University. She currently works as assistant athletic director for Princeton University and says being an intercollegiate athlete herself was character defining.
Widener set her sights on running Boston after finishing her first marathon within 8 minutes of the Boston qualifying time. Watching her husband Ben run the race in 2006 cemented that goal further. She qualified for Boston in 2009 after running the New York marathon, but didn’t immediately register. Her older son was born in 2011 and she ran her personal best in the Philadelphia marathon in November 2012. Despite the tragedy of the bombings and challenges of training while working full time and having two young children, Widener says she felt like this was the perfect time to train for and run the Boston race.
She says her personal goal, like every race, is to finish and enjoy it.
“I truly love running and being a part of this epic race will be etched in my fondest memories,” she says. “For this race, given that I had more on my plate, I don’t want to stress myself out and just want to enjoy the experience, soak in every moment.”