On The Road Back To Boston, Two Runners Tell Their Stories

For the last 10 weeks, NPR has followed eight runners in their preparations for the Boston Marathon. Two members of the group, which is dubbed the NPR 8, offer snippets from their audio diaries.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. For the last 10 weeks, NPR has been following eight runners who have been preparing for this year's Boston Marathon. We've dubbed our runners the NPR 8, and they've been blogging the highs and lows of their training. Today, we have some excerpts from their audio diaries.

AMELIA NELSON: It's the getting the shoes on and getting out the door. It's that dread before you make it happen, and the first two miles. I don't like that part.

CORNISH: That's Amelia Nelson(ph), out for a run back in February. She's a first-time marathoner and a reluctant runner.

NELSON: You know, you take on this challenge and you take on the idea of running, having never done before and you don't want to fail. You don't anyone to think you can't do it.

CORNISH: She's also a nurse, and the 27-year-old was working at the finish line last year on the day of the Boston bombings. She had to shift gears to set up triage units and help save lives. The bloody images from that day fuel her determination to keep running.

NELSON: I don't really enjoy this, but it does allow me to get away from everything else because I see running as an ability to kind of put everything else away. And it gives me time to think and process and understand whatever's going on. And most of the time, I think about the 110 other things I have to do. But when you get to that, you know, eight-, nine-, 10-mile mark, all that goes away.

I think because you're so physically exhausted - maybe lack of blood sugar, I don't know - but I seem to get to that point, and you just see things differently when you run and you are able to process better. That's how it is for me. So I enjoy that part of it.

CORNISH: Now meet mom, runner and NPR 8 blogger, 37-year-old Demi Clark(ph).

DEMI CLARK: I'm sitting in an ice bath. My teeth aren't chattering yet. I'm used to it by now. I did a 17-miler today, this afternoon; so it's pretty late. It's about 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

CORNISH: At last year's marathon, she was among the last runners to receive an official time as the bombs went off. Her left eardrum was blown out by the explosion, but she says she has not missed a day of running since then.

CLARK: I have recently, the last couple of weeks, been kind dreading my long runs. I'm trying to turn that into an attitude of gratitude, and forcing myself after church to literally say intentions to myself that this is going to be a beautiful run. You're grateful to have this time for yourself despite, you know, whatever else is happening in the world and whatever's busy. This is my time, and I feel like overall in my life, this is my time - meaning, I'm the only one who can walk out the front door after I tie my laces and get it done, and nobody else can do that for me.

CORNISH: That's Demi Clark. Earlier, we heard from Amelia Nelson. They're part of our NPR 8, runners who've been blogging about training for the 118th Boston Marathon. To meet all our runners, head to NPR.org.

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