Archive for April 13, 2011

Boston Week

Posted: April 13, 2011 in Training

Monday morning the small New England town of Hopkinton, MA will be teeming with marathoners from all over the world.

More than 25,000 of them will be packed on to school busses and driven out to the start of the race, 26.2 miles from Copley Square in Boston.

They will enter into the Athletes Village, relax on the grass fields at the local high school, eat bagels and bananas, drink water and Gatorade and prepare for one of the largest spectacles in road racing.  The 115th running of the Boston Marathon.

One year ago I was there among the masses, getting ready for my maiden voyage along the storied course.  Scene of so many tremendous races and so much history.  Simply put, there is nothing like Boston.

This will be the final Boston Marathon under the “old” qualifying standards as people are describing them.  Of course the Boston marathon once was simply a local race open to anyone who was brave enough and crazy enough to race the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston.

Anyone of course as long as you were not a woman.

The Boston Athletic Association did not allow women to register for the race until 1972.  I was 5 years old at the time.

Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb is recognized as the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon (in 1966).  In 1967, Kathrine Switzer, who had registered as “K. V. Switzer”, was the first woman to run with a race number.  She finished, despite a celebrated incident in which race official Jock Semple tried to rip off her numbers and eject her from the race.  I would be born in July of that year.

I knew as soon as I crossed the line at the Pittsburgh Marathon in May of last spring and placed my finisher’s medal around Dom’s neck that I would not be returning to Boston in 2012.

I had missed my qualifying time by a little more than 90 seconds during the 2010 Boston Marathon and then ran my second marathon just 13 days later in Pittsburgh.  That would be my last marathon of the year as I needed to recover from the Run for Dom “double” – I would spend the rest of the year building toward the Austin Marathon in February of 2011.

I thought that I would be disappointed this week as many of my friends from around the country are making their way to Boston this weekend for the race.  Oddly I am very much at peace sitting this year’s Boston Marathon out.

Perhaps it is that 2012 Boston time that I have sitting in my pocket, just waiting for the Registration to open in September for next year’s race.  My daughter will be 18 months old at that point, toddling along, maybe even learning to cheer a bit for her Daddy.

The last time I was on that course, Landry was in her mom’s belly, still 4 months away from being born.

It may be the fact that my return to running from my knee injury is still very fresh in my mind.  I hate having to be patient when I am nursing an injury, taking time away from running.  But each and every time it seems to come when I need it the most.  When I feel like I am close to achieving my goals and I am singularly focused on one thing and one thing only.

Getting faster.

When I return to running however I rediscover what it really is all about for me.

I love to run.

This morning, on a near-perfect Austin morning at 5:30 a.m. I logged 9 miles at 7:27 pace.  It was my longest run since shutting things down for 5 weeks and my knee felt absolutely perfect.

The run which was :01 per mile slower than I ran the entire Austin Marathon back on February 20th was certainly nothing to write home about from a speed standpoint.  But it was the run itself that was the reward, not the time on my wrist.

I got so see a half-dozen deer gaze out from the trail at me, their eyes illuminated by my headlamp.

I ran with airplane arms at my sides down the hill from the top of the dam, shaking out my muscles after 7 miles.

I decided to “tack on” an extra mile at the end of my run, just because I could. 

Shame on me for ever taking any of this for granted.

So to the 25,000+ who will be running Boston on Monday – I wish all of you great weather, full health and a great race.  I hope each and every one of you reaches your goals and earns your Finisher’s Medal.

Mostly I hope that all of you enjoy yourself as much as I did this morning.  Afterall, it doesn’t matter where you run or how fast you run, only that you get out there and get it done. 

Austin or Boston it doesn’t much matter.  I’ll be out there on Monday doing my thing.

See you next year Boston.  I’m coming back out there to kick you squarely in the ass.