For those of you who know me, know Boston has been my goal for several years. As such, I wanted to take a little time before writing this recap to let it all soak in (pun intended). I have to say it has been strange to wake up every day since the Boston Marathon and not having a running goal in mind. It’s been my singular goal for over 6 years. And, as chronicled here between back injuries, expanding the family, etc. it took much longer than expected.
Had I written this recap within 48 hours of the race I would’ve lamented how awful my performance was. I would’ve told you I was embarrassed that I ran my slowest marathon ever IN Boston. I would’ve told you that I had to push way too hard just to keep from going over the 4:00 mark for the first time ever. I would’ve told you that I was reduced to walking up portions of the Newton hills and was mortified. I would’ve told you that the weather was brutal. I would’ve told you that after halfway I eyed every single medical tent and seriously contemplated dropping out just to get out of the weather. Alas, all of those things are true but now let me tell you my takeaways from the race.
I knew at 10k it was going to be a VERY long day for me. For reasons I’m still unclear on, my body was pushing back on me way too early in the race. I always tell people if you’re feeling any fatigue at all prior to mile 20 you’re in serious trouble. To know I was already getting there at 10k was mentally brutal. However, I didn’t put years of training, obstacles and envisioning a million times turning from Hereford onto Boylston St. and hearing that crowd to get here an quit. My body wanted to quit so bad, but my heart said no.
Why was that? Well, you see this hasn’t been a journey that I’ve been on for so many years by myself. I’ve had so much support along the way.
First off, my wife has allowed me to chase my dream for many years now. She’s the one who has to hold the fort down when I’m out on long runs for hours at a time. She’s the one who has been willing to adjust her schedule so many times to allow me to what I love. She’s the one who has to “do it all” when I travel to races. I’m forever grateful to Heather for being the rock of my support system! Also, I have five boys (14, 13, 4, 3, 3). The bigs have been along for the ride as well. They were there when I first qualified for Boston in Charleston. They were there for so many events along the way. My oldest even went on some training runs with me along the way and accompanied me on my shakeout run the day before the race.
The little three have all asked so many times to run with me and I do with them after runs on some days.
It’s awesome to share that with them to say the least. As my body started shutting down and I seriously began contemplating quitting, I thought of all of them. I thought of the other people in my family who had travelled there to support me and decided quitting wasn’t an option. I thought about the narrative from the boys perspective, “my dad qualified for Boston, then finally got to run it and he quit!” No way in hell was I going to allow that to be the story.
I had determined that I would run, walk or crawl but I would be crossing the finish line. It truly was a death march for far too many miles. But, one foot in front of the other was the only thing I could offer. I was shaking and frozen to the core. It was absolutely brutal, but as I set my eyes on the Citgo sign, I knew it was almost over. As I was coming up on the sign, I could start to hear the roar of the crowd at the finish. I turned right on Hereford for the short uphill and left onto Boylston and I picked up the pace.
I knew I’d be so close to 4:00 hours, but I used the crowd to propel me with the remaining strength I had to the finish line. As I looked up and saw the iconic finish line, I knew I was going to make it. I knew I was going to achieve my singular goal of so many years as a runner. I knew I was about to be a Boston Marathon finisher!
After the race as I laid in the medical tent, being treated for hypothermia I was overwhelmed by the day. In between doctors checking on me, giving me warm gatorade and hot bouilloun I was thankful. I knew this wouldn’t be my last race. I knew I’d live to fight another day. I was thankful that I still get to be a Nuun Ambassador and will have them by my side as I get into the HOT NC summer of training. I am thankful for Zimmerman Family Wellness and Phoenix Physical Therapy for getting me to the start line healthy. Also, I’ll be seeing ALL of you soon. 🙂
Even though the weather was awful, I didn’t come anywhere near where I wanted to for my time, I’m profoundly humbled to have trained for, qualified for and now finished the 122nd Boston Marathon! It was an amazing experience, and now I have to find my next goal, my next thing to drive me to get out the door everyday to train, to sweat, to hurt, but at the end, to achieve!