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The Boston Marathon I'm ...

Posted Jun 13 2009 12:00am
The Boston Marathon

I'm kind of glad I'm a slow runner and not one of those unfortunate souls running the Boston Marathon during the worst weather of its 111 year history. I sit here comfortably at the keyboard, watching the trees bend near horizontally from the mean Nor'easter that's gripping the country. I know how I felt on my cold, wet, run yesterday. It was supremely miserable. Now add 40 mile hour winds, gusts up to 60 miles an hour, and 3-5 inches of hard driving rain coming at your face as you run this historic course with 22,000 other supremely miserable people. I'm glad I'm still slow and unable to qualify for Boston. These are the kind of conditions that can produce hypothermia quite quickly; the combination of cool 30-40 degrees combined with wind and rain are the perfect recipe.

I know three individuals running this today. I tried looking up the results for all three, but was able to pull up only the results of one; a highly competitive and talented runner--he finished in an astonishing 3:20, but this is a half hour slower than his projected time. I'm not sure about the other two--maybe they decided not to run or I'm typing their names wrong like a moron and can't pull up their results. I'll have to wait and see about them. I can't wait to hear the live accounts of what it was like running the Boston Marathon during a Nor'easter. I heard early mutterings that the race might be canceled, but knowing what I know of runners, and the soul of the running community, in general, I didn't think they'd do that. Sure enough...the race must go on. Runners like to think they're pretty special people...and dammit they are. Running a marathon is a bitch under perfect conditions, let alone during a practical hurricane, pounding pavement for 26.2 miles of hilly asphalt.

In order for me to qualify for the Boston Marathon, I would have to run the whole 26.2 mile enchilada at an 8:45 pace. At my current level of fitness, I can run a half marathon at a 9 minute pace, but the best I'd done for a the marathon distance is a finish time of 4:30. My goal is to slowly extend my 9 minute pace over longer and longer distances. I've only been running 3.5 years, so I figure I haven't really reached my ultimate peak. If I worked my ass off, did my speed work dutifully every week, I just might be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon sometime in the next 3 years. Speed work currently consists of a once a month 5k and maybe cranking up the treadmill once in awhile till the sweat meanders it's way from the thick red masses onto my forehead, and then I turn it down, cause I don't want to mess up my makeup too much. If I wanted to and I had the competitive drive, I'd have to make it the singular focus of my life, and like I'm always talking about...there are too many other plates I'm trying to keep in the air. I'm more of the social kind of runner, anyway, that finds themselves attending running club functions and holding board positions, so I can meet more runners. I befriend them and then I torture them by making them read my blog posts. If I find out they're not reading, I decide I don't like them anymore. LOL!

So, I run my boring circuit of favored races and continue to wonder what it's like to run Boston. I've run 4 marathons, but only the Akron and Cleveland ones. I've yet to travel for a marathon, afraid of adding layers of complexity, like figuring out how to get there, where to stay, how to wrench the money out of a tight budget, and justify to my family why I want to leave them to run in distant locales. It took me forever to get them to the point of accepting that I'm going to be spending a good part of either Saturday or Sunday...running. They don't question or complain. I fear I'd run like crap too, cause I couldn't get to sleep because the room smelled funny or I'd have to eat crappy food and have diarrhea through the race. I think you have to be a flexible innate adventurer to really do the traveling marathon thing. One of the guys I know running today is one of those types; he combines his love of travel with his love of marathon running and has run a marathon in every state (twice) and every continent of the planet.

I listen to peoples' accounts of the Boston Marathon with rapt fascination, but I've discerned a pattern to their stories...yes, it's the experience of a lifetime--the actual running the course, crossing the finish line, but also a ticking off of a long series of pain-in-the-ass moments before culminating in the actual "experiential" moment of participating in the Boston Marathon. I wouldn't mind running it if I had a "scheduler" to handle all the hassle planning aspects of attending. Congrats to all who pulled this one off. Maybe someday...
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