Ugly Cry Face

(Originally posted April 2016)

Ugly cry face. We have all been there, and if you claim to have never experienced it, I am thinking you have the most beautiful, fiercest ugly cry face of all that you bust out only in private, so maybe you have never seen it in a mirror or on film. And that’s okay, because it is pretty intense, and can scare your loved ones if they see it in real-time and wonder what in the what made your face do that. But, the ugly cry face I am talking about below stems from something beautiful. Read on for a post I wrote in honor of the Boston Marathon this past Monday, But first, an example of ugly cry face from Zooey Deschanel:

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The 2016 Boston Marathon is a few days away, and whether you know someone heading to the starting line this year, or someone preparing for their first marathon ever somewhere else on the globe, this event looms large in the mind of most anyone who has ever thought about distance running.

On a run this morning, I told a friend tapering for her first marathon that somewhere along her own race course in a few weeks time, she will experience what I call “ugly cry face” as the emotions that lead up to her race, and are involved in her race, come to the surface. I shared with her that I tend to get ugly cry face at every marathon I run, and in my marathon history, Boston has produced the ugliest cry face of all. It’s a beautiful thing, even when–perhaps especially when–it literally takes my breath away mid-stride.

I have cried thinking about the passage of events over the course of my training season, I have thought about personal heartaches pounded out of me through foot strikes on the pavement, triumphs that have come that same way, friendships that have taken shape like the well-worn path through the streets of suburban Boston leading to a crown jewel of marathoning, the finish line on Boylston Street.

I have cried passing the girls at Wellesley, I have cried passing the Hoyts, I have cried passing a soldier in full uniform and field gear carrying an American flag, I have even teared up seeing a guy dressed up like a hamburger. I have cried at the sight of the Citgo sign, the baseball crowd at Fenway, and the brunch crowd lining the final stretch to the finish.

I could have kept my friend this morning for many more miles, telling her about my ugly crying and regaling her with my own marathon memories, but it is best when experienced personally. I highly recommend it.

This year will mark the fourth Boston Marathon I haven’t participated in since the birth of my son in late 2012 (who, by the way, ran that year as a stowaway!). Re-qualifying for me has become once again a goal looming, something that now represents to me something more than just a fast pace, but also a regeneration of my love for running now that I know the abundant love of building a family (we enjoy runs with a double-wide stroller these days) and the joy of showing my children my passion for the sport.

For all those toeing the line on Monday, have fun. Get your ugly cry on as you take in the sights and sounds and sensations of the day. Embrace with love everyone you come to see on the course and off, even those who tell you “You’re almost there!” at mile 10. Love them too, because they are lending their energy to the atmosphere that will inspire your ugly cry.

And no matter what race you run, give high fives, hand out smooches, hug a volunteer, encourage those around you. Do that at every race. Be the love that encourages others to put one foot in front of the other and make their way to their own starting line.

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