Running Through Law School

Note from Elizabeth: This is a guest-post from my friend and  BU Law classmate Amy Baral. The Boston Marathon is coming up in just a few short weeks, on April 21. Last year, I wrote about what it was like to see my home shattered, and what it might be like to pick up the pieces. This year, Amy is running the Marathon to support the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. If you can support her, do so here. I can’t wait to watch Amy, and all the Marathoners run, run, run.

Amy, on the left, and our fellow classmate Michelle Pascucci, on the right, after running the Hyannis Half Marathon earlier this year.

Amy, on the left, and our fellow classmate Michelle Pascucci, on the right, after running the Hyannis Half Marathon earlier this year.

Law school is sometimes referred to as a marathon. It takes three years of hard work that just cannot be rushed – don’t try skimming cases during 1L year, you will most certainly miss the most important parts!

So, who would try to run an actual marathon during law school? That would be me, and several other current and former BU Law students. On April 21, I will be running in the 118th Boston Marathon as a charity runner raising money to support the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

I decided to run the Boston Marathon for several reasons:

I believed in the charity I am running to support. The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is a camp for children with seriously illness, like my young brother who attended camp for two summers while he was undergoing treatment for leukemia. Camp is such a magical place that I wanted other kids to have the same opportunity to attend. I could raise $7,500+ for charity, right? Will you donate?

I wanted to get back into running. I ran on my high school’s cross-country and track teams, but since high school I had mostly been elliptical-ing. BU Law’s 5K race – the Ambulance Chase – never fit into my schedule, so why not try the Boston Marathon?

I thought the Boston Marathon would be a great way to cap off my 3L year. After 2+ years of law school, I was ready to shed my books and pound the pavement. Wouldn’t it be great to run through the streets of Boston (and Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, and Brookline) to throngs of cheering fans?

Training for the Boston Marathon has been tough. But, I’ve learned several life lessons along the way, applicable to running and lawyering alike:

Never doubt yourself. Running 26.2 miles is hard, training is hard, law school is hard, and life is hard. I’ve learned to try to turn a difficult task into a more manageable one. Is your next training run 16 miles? It doesn’t sound as bad if you know that you can eat all the ice cream you want after! Are you doing an assignment for the highest-grossing partner in your firm? That’s okay, ask the associates that usually work with her for advice and whether they will review your work.

Network, network, network. If you start networking during 1L year, you’ll meet attorneys who will become mentors and people you can rely on to key you into pro bono, internship, and job opportunities. As a bonus, you can reach out to your legal network while you’re trying to raise $7,500+ for your Boston Marathon charity team!

Don’t forget to eat. During law school, I’ve often forgotten to eat while studying or writing papers. But, while training for the marathon, I learned that it’s very important to fuel your body before the run, on the run, and after the run. You don’t want to crash, do you? Remember to eat – snacks, meals, coffee – to keep up your stamina and focus.

Balance is so important. Yes, I’ve slipped on the snow and ice while training this winter during the polar vortex, but that’s not the balance I’m referring to. I’m talking about the work-life balance. Somehow everything will get done – schoolwork, running, and wedding planning – that’s what I’ve been telling myself for the past several months. Training has helped me balance the things in my life better. You have a 15-mile training run planned for this Thursday? Well then you better get ahead on your schoolwork now because you’ll only have the time and energy to do a couple of hours of homework on Thursday.

You have to work for what you want. It wouldn’t be a good idea to run a marathon if you hadn’t trained, just as it wouldn’t be smart to sit for the bar exam if you hadn’t studied. So train, study, and do all that you can to perform your best.

The Boston Marathon is only three weeks away (which means spring semester exams are only four weeks away . . . yikes!). It’s time to taper, carbo-load, and do plenty of schoolwork so I can run my heart out on Marathon Monday and then relax in the days that follow.

If you’re interested in running while in law school – whether it’s the Boston Marathon or just to stay fit – here are some great resources:

Pick up some new running shoes and gear at Boston’s local running stores. I like Marathon Sports and the Heartbreak Hill Running Company.

Find a place to train:

  • All BU Law students have memberships to BU’s FitRec center, which has a super cool indoor track!
  • The November Project meets for workouts at locations across Boston and Cambridge on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Join them to run hills up Summit Avenue every Friday morning.
  • Run on the Boston Marathon course. The Commonwealth Avenue, Beacon Street, and Boylston Street legs of the course are all close to campus.
  • Run along the Charles River on Boston’s Esplanade. It’s a short pedestrian bridge away from campus.

Sign up for a race:

  • BU Law’s 5K Ambulance Chase is held every spring. Can you beat your Criminal Law professor?
  • The Boston Marathon is held every Patriots Day in April, but you’ll need to get a qualifying time or one of the coveted charity spots to run.
  • Other races are held throughout the year. Check out the Boston Athletic Association’s races, to the Blacklight Run, and the Color Run, among many others!


Elen McPherson posted on April 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Amy, this is a wonderful piece! Inspiring yet practical! Keep up the great work, I am sure you will meet all your goals. I am so happy that my nephew found such a wonderful woman to share his life with. Best Wishes on Marathon Day.
Love, Auntie Ellen

janice Spellman posted on April 3, 2014 at 7:49 am

Dear Amy, We are so proud of you and your achievements in your young life! You have accomplished and reached goals that are outstanding. We are with you each and every step with this challenge!! Congratulations and Best Wishes on Marathon Day!!

janice Spellman posted on April 3, 2014 at 7:51 am

Luv U! Grandpa and Grandma

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