Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Boston Reunion

It's been six marathon registrations, three DNFs and two years since I had completed a marathon. There have been many moments in the past two years where I've questioned whether I had already completed my last marathon.  Well, yesterday I actually managed to stay on the course for the full distance and though I didn't set any records (personal or otherwise) it felt good to extricate that large, burdensome monkey from my back.

Monday was a great day for racing.  Sunshine, smiles and promise filled the crisp air of Hopkinton well before Joan Benoit-Samuelson fired the starter's pistol.  Though the least important marathoner in the crowd (Lance) garnered the most attention -- the focus of the crowd remained on the anonymous travelers that came from far and wide to run this beautiful, historic course.  

As the gun fired and I stopped and started and stopped and started my way across the first chip mat I was reminded of why I love to run marathons and why I especially love to run Boston.  It washed over me and consumed me through the early miles.  

I slapped the hands of the kids, engaged the willing crowd, chatted up my fellow runners and thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this magnificent event.  

The plan was to get to the halfway point in a position to post a respectable time and hope that I had the guts in the second half to pull out a good race.  As frequently happens at Boston (or virtually any marathon for that matter), the race didn't go exactly as planned.

I did get to the half at a respectable time (1:33 - which incidentally is the fastest half-marathon I've run in the past two years!) but then little by little fell apart more and more over the second half... and it was great.  I loved every minute of it.  

It was painful.  I was passed by a guy in a boy scout uniform, a fairy (a statement on his costume not sexual preference) in a pink singlet, pink running shoes and a pink too-too carrying a magic wand as well as a dude wearing a complete Paul Pierce Celtics uniform complete with high-tops and an afro wig. (Though I did catch and pass him on Boylston -- and that's the "Truth" (Paul Pierce's nickname for those of you that don't follow the Celts) baby.) That was part of the experience.  

The rolling and unrelenting hills on the course are honest.  They are always there and they are always the same.  Same goes for the crowd support.  My success or lack of it on this course has depended solely on what version of myself I've brought to the start line in each of my 5 Bostons.

I've run Chicago well on relatively poor training... same for Vegas and RNRAZ.  Not this one.  It punishes slackers... and though I took my lumps on Monday, I loved it.  

Congrats to Ed and Chris on their well-earned PRs.  Impressive and inspiring work.

Thanks for your encouragement as I've struggled to get to the start line over the past couple years.  Monday was a great reunion. I'm glad to be back.


Ed said...

Hats off to you man. Chicago will be an even better comeback for you!

Chris said...

Glad to have you back. I too have wondered if you would make it. Congrats. Let's go get Chicago.

Rick said...

Great job. Makes me want to be a runner.