It’s hard to believe that 50 days have passed since Becca and Joe arrived home at Logan from Becca’s around-the-world adventure.
Becca hit the ground running, figuratively and literally. The town of Belmont threw a welcome-home parade in her honor, complete with helicopters and firetrucks; she was featured on CBS This Morning with Norah O’Donnell; she helped the BAA and Sam Adams tap the inaugural keg for this season’s 26.2 Beer; the Massachusetts Senate gave her a commendation (and a standing ovation!); she’s been interviewed for so many news stories that I’ve stopped hoping to catch them all; and she’s appeared at countless community events, radiating her sunshine for all around her to absorb. I love witnessing the goodness that Becca continues to bring to the world and the many tremendous, well-deserved opportunities that continue to pour in. And, after a very brief rest to recover from her groin pull, she is back running ALL of the time.
My 50 days have been less publicly eventful, but my life feels markedly different since I arrived home from Chile, in ways big and small. Although nowhere as easy on the eyes or good for the spirit as Patagonia, I came home to newly painted walls and refinished floors, so my every-day world looks a little cleaner and brighter. At work, I have very gradually been adjusting to a new role, enduring some growing pains, realizing how much this grasshopper has to learn, and finding joy and pride in the small successes along the way. I have also found a good man and, to borrow his words, have fallen into a “love hole.”
Given our past 50 days, Becca and I have much to discuss on our long Sunday runs. But, in so many ways, nothing has changed. The miles just tick by as we trade stories from our weeks. We have logged so much time together on the river or along the marathon course that we know every hole in the road, where the wind picks up, and when a gentle downhill is around the corner. These are the paths where we’ve worked through heartbreak and found hope, vented frustrations so we can return to our lives better people, and by pounding the pavement through shared laughter, tough work, and encouragement, made ourselves Becca Strong and Jenny Strong.
As the week has worn on since our last Sunday run on those familiar roads, two things stand out as reminders of just how much has changed in these 50 days. The first was stumbling upon the sign above: #Becca Strong. Mid-gab, mid-stride on the same stretch of Comm. Ave. we’ve run a thousand times and whoooooaaa. Lots of profanity. You famous, girl!
The second was when I made us stop for a good cry. On its own, that’s not remarkable. We make pit stops for extreme emotion, as it’s hard to breathe when laughing or crying. As Becca knows well, it had been sore subject that my best friend and boyfriend of five years never showed up to watch me run a single Boston Marathon. He was bitter that the different qualifying standards for men and women meant he couldn’t qualify. He didn’t want to miss work. He was anxious that previous women from his life might run into him cheering for me. He wanted to watch with his parents, but it wouldn’t be until after I had run by. The list went on and on, and, year after year, I chugged along from Hopkinton to Boston without his support. Last Sunday, I had to pull over after recounting to Becca that the new gentleman in my life had asked out of the blue how he could make me feel like the most special person on the planet when I crossed the marathon finish line. As I gulped for air and wiped snot on my sleeve, Becca pulled out one of my favorite Becca-isms, “I’m so happy for us!” We had a good laugh and got back on the road.