Our Ontario winter has started in typical fashion with some days snowy and mild, others bitterly cold in the -30’s, and even a few with bright green grass in view. Other than training camps of 2.5 weeks in Texas/Florida in 2015 and 4 weeks in Kenya in 2017, I have toughed it out like the thousands of other runners. We find ways to make it work; running on the roads when traffic is light, doing repeats on the few stretches of cleared sidewalks you can find, jumping on the treadmill, and doing those same routes over and over again. Dressing appropriately with multiple layers and ski goggles, adjusting your pace for the conditions, and shortening your stride for safety becomes normal while summer seems years away. No doubt, it makes us stronger. My 2017 has started out like many other typical winters with steady mileage and consistent workouts, and the plan to once again return to the local favourite races: the Robbie Burns 8 km and the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington, and Around the Bay 30 km in Hamilton. I’ve included these races in several other spring marathon builds, which has been of particular interest to me because they are local. No flights, new time zones, luggage, or roommates. After travelling so much in the last few years, one of my desires this season was to train and race locally, keeping it simple and being away less from my family. Without the need to hit standards and with the busyness of our children’s schedules, I looked forward to more of a relaxed build. I had no desire to aim to make the World Half Marathon team nor travel to half marathon races like Houston or New York City. I still have that desire to train and race hard but not at all costs. I wanted to do more and take risk without fear of injury. And I finally started skiing with my family! While wanting to stay local, not being concerned about fast times or specific courses, and continuing to have fun at this marathon thing, it was perfectly logical to choose Boston as my spring marathon. I was delighted to be accepted as a member of the 2018 elite field. I kept it quiet for a while, only telling a few close friends and family members, saying that I hoped I could place well in the masters field, “That is if someone like Deena Kastor doesn’t enter”. Well, guess who’s #2 on the women’s elite field? Yep, 2:19:36 American Record holder Deena Kastor! It’s all good. Simply returning to Boston 13 years after my 3:00:46 in 2005 in my third marathon is incredible enough. I was the third Canadian, it was the last time I ran over 3 hours, the last marathon before having children, and one of the last marathons I had to drive to instead of fly! Much has changed since then and the idea of finally going back to stand on that start line in Hopkinton as an elite certainly gives me much to smile about. And another journey begins. Onward 2018!