Sunday, April 24, 2011

Summing it all up

Saturday's column: Wo ell, I guess you could say the Boston Marathon got the better of me on Monday. Bob Sevene, my coach and a Boston Marathon veteran, had been saying for years that he was not sure if it was a good course for me given all the downhill, but I talked him into it. In hindsight I should have listened to his instincts and run a course that played to my strengths rather than my weaknesses.
We drove the course on the Thursday before the race, and I admit I was a little shocked at the really steep start and the downhill segments in the first 7 miles. We had a good plan of running conservative over that stretch. But as I came off these first miles I knew that my legs were not feeling right. I wasn't breathing hard, but I was having real difficulty picking up my feet. It was a feeling I have never experienced in the early stages of a marathon. Since my coach had said it was important to get to the hill section at mile 17 feeling good, I knew I was in trouble.
Deciding to drop out of a marathon you have worked so hard for is heartbreaking. There is no other way to put it. It sucks. The walk of shame by cheering fans to the medical tent at mile 12 was equally horrible. As I sat in the firestation waiting for a ride into town, I was thrilled to see Americans on the men’s and women’s side leading the races, but so disappointed that my opportunity was gone. It was a perfect day in Boston with cold temperatures and a tailwind that produced the fastest time for a marathon on the men’s side and some of the fastest times ever run by Americans.
Bad days happen. As an athlete you learn to wait a fews days before trying to assess what went wrong. My coach was comforting me after the race saying there is a a huge learning curve with the Boston Marathon. Even two-time Boston champion Bill Rogers, better know as “Billy Boston” dropped out twice before he won. Though I may not ever get a chance to race Boston again, I will keep going until I get it right. I have had my share of disappointments, but as Coach Sev always, “It’s the journey in the end.”

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