Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Making Right a Wrong

It is crazy for me to think that on Monday morning, I'll get off the bus at Hopkinton, seven years after I first went to run Boston. At the time, I was coming off a lot of success as a runner. Six months earlier, I ran a 3:02 in Chicago, taking about 20 minutes off my PR. That winter, I got eighth place in a 50k held in Central Park. My thought was under three hours. It didn't happen. Instead, I suffered mightily. This week, I went back and found an email I sent to my friend about the race. Here's what I wrote:
I would have done well -- if I was in the visually impaired category. It was a very, very tough day. I'm not really all that sure what exactly went wrong, but something went wrong. First, it was hot as the dickens, 70 at the start. After running in the cold all winter, I felt like I was in the Sahara. I even grabbed a sponge from some kid on the roadside, only to find it was one of those pre-soaped sponges, so I had toxic materials running down my face and into my mouth. Then, I peeled off to pee in what I thought was a semi-secluded spot at mile 6. I didn't expect a man with a bullhorn to accost me, "PUT THAT THING AWAY!" Basically, the race went smashingly until mile 8, when I started getting leg cramps. I was cruising along at a 6:40 pace at that point. Over the next 18.2 miles, the world came crashing down. Women, the infirm, men in llama costumes all streamed by me. My first half was at 1:32; my second: 2:01. Ouch. It wasn't fun. My only solace is I didn't stop, like the man I saw puking on Heartbreak Hill or the other that was curled up in the fetal position screaming. The finish area did a brisk business in giving out wheelchair rides.
You get the picture. I don't have all the splits from the race. These two tell the story: first 5k: 20:54; last 5k: 30:28. I'm not going to let that happen again. I remember finishing the race and for the only time in running being truly upset. Sitting on a curb, sunburned, incredibly sore and filled with disappointment, I felt sorry for myself. I quickly vowed I'd get my revenge. That day in Boston has remained my greatest regret in running, even more than the trips to the hospital. It's crazy that I get my shot at making it right seven years later.

So I'm ready. I want to find that balance between running smart and not leaving anything in the tank. My main worry is going out too fast. As Bill Rogers said, "You lose your mind in Boston (on the early downhills)." Follow my progress on the Boston Marathon site. My bib is 5081.


The Laminator said...

You can only control what you can control. I know you have revenge on your mind. Try to keep your cool out out there. The weather should be perfect for race day. Good luck to you! I'll be sure to track your progress. Rock Boston!

runner-grrl said...

Best wishes out there! Can't wait to read the race report. May your revenge be sweet! --Alex