Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dear Boston, Thanks for the Pain and the Memories

Pictures can't describe the slow hot march of pain I dragged myself through this past Monday.  The road between Hopkinton and Boston is hilly.  Maybe you've heard about it?  Well I've run it before, once in cold temps, once in moderate temps.  So perhaps it is fitting that I had "the opportunity" to take part in a truly historic run, one that grinded me down to the slowest pace I'd ever run at any point during a marathon.

The people in Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, and Newton got us through the race. The cups and bottles of water(colder than what the aid stations offered), ice cubes, soaked sponges and paper towels, and orange slices, are what sustained us all through the race.  Let's not forget the fire fighters in Natick and Newton who set up a cooling tunnel with sprayers and some sort of canopy.  Thanks to those people, including the little kids; they stood there waiting to relieve us, waiting with outstretched fingers for a chance at touching speed and determination, aspiring to the bravery they were witnessing.  That those people care so much that we run through their town, made all the training and all the torture through the oppressive heat worth every moment.  After all, what good is joy and pleasure without pain to make it feel right?  Last night, the first night back in my own bed since Saturday, I slept well, and woke up, thankful to be alive.

Can I say I am disappointed with my time?  Yes, I can say that.  What I am really disappointed about is just how hard it can be to figure how much to adjust one's pace when facing high temperatures.  I wasn't staring into, the sun was staring into me.

So this was my slowest marathon, definitely very sobering in regards to one's mortality.  But knowing that people care, believe in you, love you, and are waiting for you at the finish gets you through.

To my Mom, Ilene-has always been proud of my accomplishments as a runner.
To my girlfriend, Trudy-Dropped me off at for a shuttle to the start, ventured solo in a city she'd never been to before, and waited for me for 3hrs in the heat, and endured my state of medical-misery for several hours after the race until we finally were able to get lunch.
To all of my teammates and Coaches in Garden State Track Club- We are all kindred in the spirit of competition.  Shawn D'Andrea, Alex Fowlie, Pat LeStrange, a group of tough distance runners who have all trained and raced with me, and we all learned a valuable lesson on Monday, that running 26.2miles  in extreme heat and finishing is a tough deal. I'm proud of you guys! Rob Decarlo for being a 2nd brain for my training plan leading up to this race, we got a damn good 20k out of it!  Chuck Schneekloth and Ken Goglas for checking up with me often while I struggled with a bad Achilles tendon, their encouragements and concern helped bring balance and sanity to a scary situation.
To Mike Dixon(aka the MD in MDMA)-We've been teammates for more than 10yrs, because no matter who we represent or who sponsors us, there is always "our team".  In the sea of runners, we made our way to the starting line together, I've run more miles and had more post race beers with him than any other person I know.  Without each other, I don't think either of us would ever had done as much, or been as great as we are at running.
To the Raritan Valley Road Runners who ran the 116th Boston Marathon and the club at large-Lesley Wassef, Laura Swift, Nova Roman, Lianne Price, Nick Birosik, Joanna Stevens, you all are incredible.  Resting out of the sun before heading to the start with you all was a nice way to spend some time and commiserate with the challenge we all were about to face.  For the rest of you, thanks being my friend in running.
To Saucony and its Representatives, Dan Suher, Jess Cohen, and Tom Hylan-the sponsorship as part of the Hurricanes program has set me up nicely with some great shoes and gear to train and race in.  Also, to all the Hurricanes I met before and during the race, who encouraged me to keep pushing as I was slowing down.
 The people along the course, the residents, volunteers, police and medical personnel-You kept us alive.

3:00:26.-not great.
514th male finisher-have done much better.
Red badge of courage-couldn't have earned one on any other day.
Memories for a lifetime-yes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The calm before the storm

The last week of the taper feels like watching a ticking clock, and sometimes the hands move in the wrong direction.  You get ansty, and become concerned that your feeling sluggish, haven't done a hard workout, haven't burned energy the way that makes you feel razor sharp, ready to kick ass and all that jazz.

I've been feeling a bit like this guy for the past 2 weeks

More than running, I feel like fighting.  Like a punching bag wouldn't be good enough, I want to fight something.  I have so much stored energy,  it's tough to harness that and keep in bottled up until race day.  I suppose this is why running suits me, as I can easily become restless.
and a little bit like this guy...Boston put up yer' dukes!
So, today being my last reasonably intelligent opportunity for a sample of race pace work, I hit the track. 2miles at MP (11:20, 5:40per mile), and 3x200 in 32secs.  Woke up the lungs and legs a bit.  The Achilles felt alright, and four advil later, I'm doing fine.  So, I'll just do my best to keep runs short and easy, and get my body feeling rested and ready.  Boston, I'm itching for a fight.