If you asked me two years ago what I thought about running, I would have told you it was a waste of time. But then I experienced Boston during marathon week, and that changed everything.
By Mayoli Weldelich
The energy in Boston was intoxicating and I left in absolute awe of the global community that forms around this event. I was inspired yet completely perplexed as to why 30,000 people gather together to run 42.1 kilometers voluntarily. Was there something about running that I didn’t get? I figure the best way to find out was by giving it a try.
Shortly returning home, I started off with short runs and I quickly understood the allure that it offers. Running helped me clear my mind, and manage stress and anxiety. It also gave me that amazing feeling that comes from setting goals and achieving them. There’s nothing like starting off the day by blowing your goal out of the water!
As a Manulife employee, I have the opportunity to enter an internal lottery for a limited number of Boston Marathon race bibs. Manulife operates as John Hancock in the U.S. and has been the marathon’s principal sponsor for the last 31 years. As part of that sponsorship, I get a chance at this incredible opportunity and although I had never tried to run more than 5k, I decided I would sign up and leave my fate up to chance.
Up until late-January, I had been on the waitlist. I was starting to think 2016 wasn’t going to be my year. When I received that fateful email telling me I had received a race bib, my immediate reaction was pure fear. I had just over 80 days to properly train for a marathon.
I called a few people and while some thought that training for a marathon just less than three months was insane, I realized that I wouldn’t be doing this on my own. As part of the Boston Marathon employee program at Manulife, we have access to a training support program. There’s a group of runners who meet weekly for lunch runs, and we connect online on a Facebook group to share tips. We also attend organized events where we get to chat with the likes of 1983 Boston Marathon champion Greg Meyer and Pan Am bronze medalist Rachel Hannah. Having these tools gave me an advantage. So the only question left was: Do I want to do it? And if so, why? And the answer was simple. Yes, because I can.
After training for about two weeks, I love it! I have been following John Hancock’s employee training guide, which has me running four times a week right now. On my rest days, I practice yoga which stretches out my incredibly sore legs, while strengthening my core and arms. I haven’t changed my diet too much but I’m relying heavily on plant-based proteins.And my running partner Ernie, my shorthaired German pointer, can outrun me on any day.
You can follow our process on Instagram or Twitter at @mayoliweidelich, or mayoliweidelich on SnapChat and if you have any advice for a novice runner, I would be so grateful if you’d share it! 🙂 #RunBold