Monday, September 23, 2013

My Marathon Journey: #2 Boston 2005 - 4:00:08

After the qualifying success of my first marathon, I quickly made the decision to experience the grandaddy of all marathons, the Boston Marathon. Qualifying on my first attempt was exciting and encouraging to me and I knew I could do much better. I figured what better place to race better than Boston. I signed up right away and began my training shortly after my recovery from Twin Cities had concluded.

Being a marathon runner in college was very strange because I was surrounded by my friends running cross country and track at UW-River Falls. The challenge of the marathon was just so significant for me that it overshadowed my desire to race at these shorter distances. A year after running Boston, I would change my mind and take advantage of my opportunity to run at the collegiate level, but I was still glad I took the winter and early spring of 2005 to go after the Boston Marathon.

The training was tough. I had never trained for a marathon in adverse weather conditions before, and the winter training was tough. I hate treadmills. I hate indoor tracks. Given the choice, I will run outside every time. I would rather run when it's -10 degrees and a -20 wind chill outside than be stuck inside staring at the same walls for an hour or more on a treadmill or going in circles in an enclosed space.

When the Boston Marathon weekend finally came, I felt as ready as I could be. It was a great weekend even though the race didn't go according to plan. My dad flew out with me and it was a guys weekend. One of the best parts about the Boston Marathon is how the city truly welcomes all of the runners into their city. You are treated like royalty that weekend. My dad watched the entire race from the finish line and the local fans took great care of him and showed (as so many of us have now seen in light of the 2013 marathon bombings) how amazing Bostonians truly are.

One thing I now wish I would have done differently was to get more rest prior to the race. We did a lot of walking around the city the day before the marathon...DON'T DO THIS!!! Granted, it's a great city to walk and see, but not the day before the biggest race of your life.

The race finally came, and it was a hot day. I don't react well to heat, and it affected me very early on. I entered this race thinking it would go just like Twin Cities had gone 6 months earlier...get out to good start and roll through my pace. If I hit a rhythm my body could keep going. That was not the case on this day. Blisters developed 10 miles in and progressively got worse. Diarhhea came at mile 18. The finish line arrived 4 hours after the start, and I was so glad to be done.

As I look back on it now, I was entering this race with a certain level of expectation that because it went well in my first marathon, that all of my marathons would go this way. I firmly believe that God allowed this to happen to allow me to see that I can't just take things like this for granted. As our pastor at Eagle Brook Church, Bob Merritt has said, "Promises are no substitute for preparation." I felt I was prepared for this race because of my prior experience. I was not prepared in the way I needed to be and I was humbled by the Boston Marathon course, as so many before me have. I knew right away I would get back to Boston again, but I was going to do it differently the next time around.

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