Archive for July 23, 2010

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”. 

Funny how although the United States Postal Service does not have an “official” creed or motto – those words (which are actually inscribed on the James Farley Post Office in New York City) when read or heard bring immediate thoughts of our postal carriers faithfully delivering our mail in all kinds of conditions. 

When I was a small boy I actually knew our postal carrier.  He was the same man who came to the house each day delivering bills, letters and far fewer catalogs than today’s carriers do.  

The Sears Catalog was “big doins'” back then, now it seems that either Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Harley Davidson, Crate and Barrel or Runners World show up in our box almost on a daily basis. 

Now however, we have a cluster of mailboxes in our neighborhood where the carrier just slides our daily bundle into #14 and we retrieve it at our leisure.  Much easier for the mail carrier than traveling door to door – but the personal touch has definitely been lost. 

It is unfortunate as I would have liked to have thanked our carrier this week as amidst the volume of catalogs, bills and direct marketing materials we received this week, I got something very valuable. 


I received two packages just a day or so apart this week.  One was from our good friends Ralph and Michelle who traveled to the Boston Marathon this year from Philadelphia to watch me compete.  The second was from the Boston Athletic Association itself. 

Ralph was trying out an amazing new camera at the race in April and I knew that he took some incredible shots.  I had been looking forward to seeing them for quite some time.  

For those of you who have been reading along since the spring, you know that Boston was a very special race for me.  It represented a significant accomplishment in achieving a “Boston time” the year before – which at the time I had thought would mark the pinnacle of what I would accomplish as a Marathoner. 

That all changed when Dom got sick and cancer was introduced to our lives.  “Boston” stopped being front and center in my running life.  

All of a sudden priorities changed and “Running Boston” became running “Boston and Pittsburgh” just 13 days apart to raise money and awareness in honor of Dom’s battle to defeat cancer. 

Knowing that I had a second marathon less than two weeks after Boston, I realized that I would have to adjust my goals for that race a bit.  The most important thing was to complete Boston and exit that race healthy enough to run a second marathon 310 hours later. 

But knowing me like many of you do, I did hold on to one personal goal for Boston.  I wanted to re-qualify for the 2011 Boston Marathon at Boston.  An average of less than 33% of all Boston Finishers actually run another “Boston time” on that course.  I wanted to be part of that 1/3. 

Well, many things conspired that day which kept me from achieving my goal.  My winter training injury, the difficulty of the course, the later race start and simply the fact that I did not “have it” that day led to a time of 3:22:46.  107 seconds away from my goal time of 3:20:59. 

For a recap of Boston click here: 

Simply put, I didn’t get it done. 

As I opened the CD of pictures that Ralph sent along and downloaded them on to my computer I clicked a random file and opened it.  The picture below jumped to the screen. 

So close

Out of all the shots (more than 50) that Ralph took that day, this one candid of Dawn and I in the family reunion area sprang to life as if it were fate.  I closed the files and did not look at another photo until the following evening.  There were photos of me on the course, photos of me, Dawn, Ralph, Michelle our friends in Boston smiling and enjoying the day. 

But the one shot that told the story of how I felt after completing the marathon was all I really needed to see.  Having my wife tell me how proud she was of me as I told her how disappointed I was in my performance kept nagging at me. 

Until Wednesday.  

When the USPS delivered my official finisher’s certificate from the Boston Athletic Association and the official results book. 

There it was again in black and white: 

As I left the house this morning on my Thursday training run I thought about the next 12 weeks.  What I need to accomplish leading up to the IBM Uptown Classic on October 17th – where we hope to post a sub 40:00 minute 10K time. 

173 Feet in elevation change (17 stories)

The following day, Monday October 18th, training for the 20th Running of the Austin Marathon held on February 20, 2011 begins.  

That is the race where we will chase down our sub 3:20:00 marathon time and achieve another “Boston Time”.  I have a very different post-race photo in mind when we return to Boston – but I’ll have to re-qualify to get a second chance at that course. 

So Thursdays from here on out will be grueling.  The third straight run day each week after Tempo work on Tuesday’s and a “Naked” pace run on Wednesdays. 

Each Thursday will be dedicated to hill work.  6 miles of “ups and downs” :20 seconds per mile faster than Marathon pace. 

The speed work this summer in the Texas heat has really been done with one goal in mind.  Getting faster.  I have been pushing myself, racing almost every week to improve my leg turnover and build speed. 

When October 18th rolls around whether we make our sub 40:00 minute goal at the IBM Uptown Classic or not we will be in a great position to enter our Marathon training faster than we have ever been before.  

The 18-weeks to follow leading up to the Austin Marathon will focus on strength, stamina and mental toughness – all the while enjoying the gains made this summer dropping our average mile time by close to :10 seconds. 

Over the course of 26.2 miles that :10 second per mile gain equates to more than 4 minutes on the race clock.  Something that will be nice to have “in the bank” the next time we take on Lady Marathon.  She can be a cruel, cruel race. 

So if you haven’t yet, get out there and check your mail – you never know what you may find there.