Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boston Marathon

It wasn’t my fastest or my slowest, but it was one of the most enjoyable and satisfying marathons I’ve ever run. I had high hopes of running a sub 3 hour time based on my training runs throughout the last 12 weeks. I did have that small blip of a calf problem 5 weeks out, but my calf held up fine throughout.

The walk from the high school to starting line was just enough to get out that last little bit of nervous energy. I made my way to corral 4 and settled in. It wasn’t long before we off and running, I had to make a short pit stop in the woods around mile 1, but was back in a rhythm in no time.. I took it out real conservative, 7:03 – 7:06’s through 10 miles, the plan was to drop it down to 6:50’s at this point, I’ve been running for long enough that I knew something was wrong and I could tell that it just wasn’t going to happen. Mile’s 11-14, my pace dropped to 7:11-7:23’s and was losing strength fast… I was already trying to figure out what went wrong.. I was very conservative with my pace, I was very meticulous in my nutrition strategy leading up to the race so I was sure that wasn’t the issue. So what was sapping my strength? I starting getting a sore throat on Thursday and got progressively worse leading up to the race, but I wasn’t going to let that alter my plans. It was a bit painful to swallow and eat, but I was getting in plenty of both. I was taking throat lozenges which helped a bit to minimize the discomfort. Back to the race…

By mile 15 I had slowed to 10:00 – 11:00 pace and just trying to keep one foot in front of the other. I was hurting; my 20 mile training runs were easier than this… I was frustrated and mad at the same time; there was a fleeting moment that I considered bailing and calling it a day. The thought quickly left my mind as I considered all that I would be leaving behind… the chance for my 3 sons to brag about there dad being a Boston Marathon finisher…the chance to go through the deafening wall of screaming girls through Wellesley… the chance to run up and over heartbreak hill… the chance to FINISH the Boston Marathon. I summoned all the strength I had to keep going… and I got to experience all of the above… the cheering in Wellesley could be heard over a half a mile away, and was music to my ears as I high fived my way through hundreds of screaming college women… up and over the Newton hills until reaching the bottom of Heartbreak. I made it point to run the entire length of it to get the full experience. I ticked off miles 22, 23, 24, 25… and leading up to that final left hand turn onto Boylston… as I made the turn, about six or seven hundred yards away you could see the finish line… I had a lump in my throat and had to swallow hard to keep from breaking down right there. It chokes me up now to even think about it. It was very powerful!!! The screams of the crowd 6 or 7 people deep for that final stretch was overwhelming and gave me a great push to the finish. I’m a little disappointed at my time, but very grateful for the strength to keep moving in the face of frustration.

This only serves as a big motivator to come back and give it another try. Not meeting your anticipated goal is a bitter pill to swallow, but one that can help me become a better runner, person and father. After all, your teaching your kids that no matter what kind of circumstances your up against, never give up, never give in, and always fight your way to the finish.

Tim has been a great motivator and coach through all of these last 24 weeks… We talked briefly that evening and he’s just as frustrated about this as I am. I feel worse for not performing for him than I do for myself! I know it’s cliché to say, but this is a learning experience that will only help me… It’s so easy for something like this to knock you off your horse and keep you grounded for awhile. That’s not going to happen, I feel more motivated than ever.. I’ll take off a couple of days and get right back on the horse. When I got home this afternoon, I got my confirmation book for the Indy Mini in the mail waiting for me… two weeks... BRING IT ON!!!

6 comments:

GZ said...

Ward - man, it hurt to watch your splits yesterday.

I know what you mean ... there are days where it is just not there. I don't know why ... there are too many variables to pin it down ...

but your attitude is INSPIRING. I love it!

Dave said...

Good for you! If there's one thing I've learned in my ever-so-short endurance sport experience, it's been to push the positive and block the negative! That's great that you're so motivated immediately after the race!

FatDad said...

Ward,
You have a great attitude and I'm sure that you can find a victory in any situation. I understand the 'cliche' about letting down your coach. I felt the same way after Vegas.
God bless your effort and your ability to keep the race in perspective. You've done your boys proud.

Ward said...

GZ - thanks for the kinds word brother.. keep that achillies healthy.

Dave - I don't really want to block out the negative, but instead, keep it lodged in the back of my head and use it as a kick in the ass when I need one from time to time.

Ward - I'm already looking for a fall marathon (not Chicago) to get qualified again. My victory was when I got home and Adam, (middle son) ran up to me a gave me a big hug, and asked me, "how was your race daddy?" I absolutley lost it...

Paul said...

So glad that you are able to take something positive from what had to be a disappointing time. I know you really wanted to have a good performance. Just take what the big man upstairs gives you and make the best of it is the best attitude for sure right now. You are a Boston Marathon Finisher! Good luck at Indy.

Ward said...

Thanks Paul... good luck at Glass City!