Archive for October 14, 2010

So here we are, Thursday before race day.  20 Weeks ago at the start of summer I placed a training plan on the “magic refrigerator”, 96 runs and a little over 750 miles later we’re here.  IBM.

You may remember me telling you about the magic powers that our LG side-by-side, bottom freezer has.

Just by placing a piece of paper with days, weeks, months and miles to run on the door can make my body, mind and spirit do some pretty incredible things.  It was this very same “magic fridge” that got this very average guy with average abilities to the finish line of two major marathons just 13 days apart this spring.

A big part of me knows that it was Dom and his incredible will to take his cancer battle the full fifteen rounds that kept me going.  His courage and bravery throughout the last year is something that I am still in awe of now two months since his passing on August 15th.

But I also know that there is something powerful about that refrigerator.  Something that pushes me out the door in all kinds of weather to take on tempo runs, hill repeats, long runs and in all fairness some easy runs, all while nobody is looking.  I did it these last 20 weeks missing just a single planned training run two days after Landry was born. 

Quite fitting as I realize that some day before I know it I will have to find another location for my training plan as Landry’s art-work will take its place, giving me an even more powerful reminder of what it means to inspire someone.

Perhaps in some small way, years from now, Landry will feel that her Mom and I provide her with motivation and inspiration to try to do something that isn’t a slam dunk.  Something that she has to work hard for and will “test her”, to be the very best that she can be.  Letting that be her measurement for success, not how she compares to her friends or peers, but how she stacks up against her own talents and expectations.  That she is in fact the best “Landry” she could ever be.

Getting just the smallest sip from that cup is incredibly intoxicating. 

I watch Landry discover new things every day, get stronger, hold her head up a bit longer, tighten her grasp on my finger a little tighter and I think about all of the amazing things she will do in the coming months and years.

You're going to run how fast Dad?

As I grow weaker, she will grow stronger.  As I run slower, she will run faster.  She will eventually pass me by, as it should be.  But not right now, not this weekend.

This week while I was traveling back and forth to New York I had a lot of time alone to reflect on things.  On what it is about Sunday’s race that has me sitting here with pre-race butterflies more than two days before the event.

Upon reflection, it has something to do with racing for the first time since losing Dom with something at stake.  With something to lose, where by making my time or not making my time there are repercussions.  In every summer race to this point I could explain away a bad race due to the fact I was racing while training or had a bad day or just didn’t “feel it”.  I celebrated the good efforts and tried my best to forget the bad ones, because at the end of the day, the only race that truly mattered was this one.

I want to run well for a lot of reasons on Sunday, but above all else I want to honor the man whose name is on my race shoes.  I’m running for me on Sunday, but I’m carrying Dom with me and it just won’t be good enough to not run to my capabilities.  Not this Sunday.  Not at this race.

The sponsors at IBM are calling it a 10K fun run.

Good for them, no doubt there will be a lot of fun to be had on Sunday.  We’ve raced 11 times so far this year, and with the exception of the final miles at Boston, we’ve had a lot of fun at each and every event.

But Sunday isn’t about racing for the “fun of it” for me.  This is a “Goal Race” which makes it much more serious to me than all but 2 of the 11 races that preceded it this year.  I don’t know of too many things that I have circled on a calendar 20 weeks in advance and worked my butt off to get in a position to be successful only to come up “small”.

So here we are, just an easy 2-mile shakeout run is left on Saturday morning, just like I run before a marathon.  Nothing strenuous, just a quick workout to get the legs moving and burn off a little nervous energy, and then it will be race day.

Boom goes the dynamite on Sunday. 

And you know what?  It IS going to be “fun”.