Thursday, October 3, 2013
My Marathon Journey: #12 Boston 2011 - 3:22:23
I made my return to the Boston Marathon in 2011, six years after my first attempt at the legendary race. The road that led me to this were challenging, but I was on a mission to prove I could take on the Boston course and have success.
After Twin Cities 2010, I took some time off to let my body get completely healthy before making the decision to run Boston. I registered for Boston the day that registration opened and got in a mere 15 minutes before the race filled on the same day! This is what ultimately led to them changing the registration and qualifying process. Originally, about 8-10 of us from UWRF were going to go out to Boston together, but only 3 of us got in as a result of the craziness in registering.
In mid-December, I began my official training for Boston. It proved to be a difficult winter for training in Minnesota. It was very snowy and frequently very cold, much more than it had been in recent years. Getting motivated to step out the door and run when it's regularly -10 degrees and there is 3+ feet of snow around everywhere is a challenge itself. I found myself taking days off too often and I never surpassed 60 miles in a week throughout the entire winter. Entering Boston, I knew I was not in the best shape of my life, so I was realistic about my expectations. The first thing I knew was that I was much smarter than I had been 6 years earlier and approached the trip to Boston very differently.
My wife and I flew out on Friday night and took Saturday to go to the expo and do a little sightseeing, and then law low and relax for the day on Sunday so my legs would be rested and ready to go for the race on Monday morning. While at the expo I had the great opportunity to meet up with Dick Beardsley and Greg Meyer (1983 Boston champ) and hang with them. Dick is a Wayzata graduate and holds the Grandma's course record still today.
Monday finally came and I was ready. I knew there was no way I wouldn't blow my 2005 Boston performance out of the water, and I felt confident in my ability to get back under 3:10 with the ideal conditions we had been provided. I ran the first 5 miles with my buddy, Kyle, before he took off ahead of me. I maintained a solid pace all the way through the halfway point before I started to hurt. The Newton hills of miles 17-21 took everything I had out of me and it was a struggle to the finish from there. As I had said before, I knew I was not in the best shape I could have been in entering this race, so I wasn't completely surprised by my body's response at that stage of the race. So much of the success of a marathon performance is contingent on the preparation of months prior to the race. I knew that by marathon #12 and I accepted that.
Coming home to the finish line on Boylston Street was still a great feeling. The picture of me nearing the finish with my arms raised up pointing to the sky was my moment of saying thank you to God for guiding me this far and running with me stride for stride on that day. I was beginning to understand more of what it meant to worship God with everything. God blessed me with a joy and passion for running (and some talent) and I wanted to be sure I used it for His glory and not my own.
Ephesians 1:4-5 puts it in a great way: "Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure." God takes great joy and pleasure in us, those who He calls his sons and daughters. God has chosen us and when we choose to live our lives for Him in everything we do, God smiles!
Since Boston 2011 I have only run one other marathon, the 2012 Chicago Marathon. I went 18 months without racing a marathon because of my most serious injury I've ever had to deal with. In June 2011 I fell while climbing down a mountain in Colorado and messed up my left ankle really badly. I had to hike/climb 5 hours just to get out of the remote area we were in. I was unable to walk for 3 weeks and spent additional time in a walking boot after that. The rehab was a long, slow process, but I was motivated to get back healthy and just run again. All of this I would soon learn was preparing me and my family for something even more significant than any injury or race could do...