Thursday, April 17, 2014

Boston Marathon Preview with Ali Mohsen

Ali at the 2013 Boston Marathon start
Hearts will be worn on all the runner's sleeves Monday at the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. But, this race will also be a day to celebrate our sport and show that terrorism will not scare us away from our passion. For my friend Ali, this is her chance to put the 2013 race behind her. Last year, Ali crossed the finish line hand-in-hand with her two friends 30 minutes before the bombings occurred. What was a joyous occasion quickly turned into a nightmare for her. Ali's Boston story is captured in a recently published book, If Not for a Perfect Stranger. Her story can be viewed here and I highly encourage you to read it before you read my interview with her. To Ali and all the other runners running on Monday, have a great race! I'll be thinking of you all! BOSTON STRONG!

Q: First and foremost, how has your training gone?
Ali Mohsen: Training has gone great!! I was not expecting to be training for this race, and was a little nervous to start training again with everything going on in my life. I got a new job in December, got married in March, and was still in the process of settling into a new home. Out of all of those things, training for Boston has been the easiest. Running is something I know and love. And it is the thing that really kept me sane the last few months while everything else was so crazy! In fact, the morning of my wedding I knew exactly what I needed to chill out – an easy run by myself :) 
Q: You were invited by the Boston Marathon race committee to come back and run in 2014. How did that come about?
AM: As of November 3rd 2013, I had not qualified for the 2014 race. When I did qualify at the NYC Marathon last fall, Boston was already closed to entrants. I was sad I would not be there, but accepted the fact that I would have to watch the race from afar and would be there to run again in 2015.
A couple weeks after NYC, I saw on the Boston Marathon Facebook page that they would be accepting a few entrants based on essays they submitted. The essay had to be based off experiences from the 2013 race and why you should be accepted to run again in 2014. As soon as I read this post, I wrote my essay. I think it took me 10 minutes to write, and within an hour I had submitted it to the BAA. I told myself that if I was accepted, I would not turn it down. I also told myself I would not be upset if my essay wasn't picked. 

The first week of December, I received the email that I was ACCEPTED into the race. I let out a high pitched squeal in Panera Bread and immediately called my husband to tell him the news. He was excited for me, and knew that this is something I really needed to move on from my 2013 experience.

If you want to read the essay, it is posted on this blog post. 

Q: What does it mean to be able to run Boston again this year?

AM: I am so excited to run this race again. And I am honored to be back. I know it will be extremely emotional, but it will be so good for our running community to experience this race together. This race will be dedicated to all of those affected last year, and I will be paying tribute to them with every step I take on that course. 
We will all run as ONE on marathon Monday and we will all heal together. We are stronger than ever before, and on April 21, 2014 we will prove that.

I cannot freaking wait. 

Q: Any goals on race day?

AM: No big goals for this race. I want to have fun and enjoy the experience. My training has been good, but not PR good. I would be absolutely thrilled with anything under 3:40. I will be running alone this year, and plan to focus on the experience and soak it all in. I will also be using my GoPro to capture moments so I can put together a video after the race and give people a feel of how awesome this race really is. 
Q: Do you plan to reunite with the 'Perfect Strangers' you met last year?
AM: As of right now, I do not have plans to reunite. I sent both of them emails today letting them know once again that I appreciated them so much and would be thinking about them when I am back in Boston. I wish nothing but the best for the people that took care of us when we needed it most. They are my Boston heroes!!!

Ali and her friends lay at the Boston Marathon finish line the night before the race

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