Thursday, 24 April 2014

#125 "When you try your best but you don't succeed"

"Stuck in reverse"

We stood in the crowded corral, mere metres from the start line. There was now less than a minute to go. The sun was already blazing overhead. Dave McGillivray had just said some words. We clapped, we cheered. We filled with nervous excitement. 

In the briefest moment of calm, I was able to reflect back. To the early Monday mornings, week after week, waking up at 5:00am and making my way down to the dingy condo gym to run the same ten miles on the treadmill. Living like a clock. 

I was ready. I had prepared. I knew what was coming...

"And high up above or down below"

At the half-way point, I still felt fantastic. I had simply let my body dictate the pace and I went through the half (21.1K) effortlessly in 1:17. I was being smart this time around. I was enjoying the lively, loud and supportive crowds. I had even given my fair share of high-fives and fist pumps. I was doing okay. I was floating.

But less than two miles later, and just as the 'real race' was set to begin starting with that massive downhill at mile 15.5, I asked myself: "Are you ready for this?" and the overwhelming response from my brain and my body was a sad but certain: "Absolutely NOT!"

“No one promised you there would be universal justice.” - John L. Parker, Jr.

Nearing the top of heartbreak Hill. Acknowledging my loyal fans (i.e. Hidds)

From that point on, I would lose a few more seconds over the course of each mile. I felt 'strong' through the Newton hills as I began to pass other runners, but knew my pace was not what it needed (nor wanted) it to be. 2:34 was slipping away one step and one second at a time and there was absolutely nothing I could do to claw it back.

"But if you never try you'll never know"

I won't pretend that I'm not disappointed. I am. I didn't accomplish my goal. In my mind, I didn't even come close. 

2:37:55. Not a PB. Not a BB (Boston Best). Hell, I didn't even beat my bib! 

It's easy for me to beat myself up over this. I will likely do so for some time. When you put in all the time and effort required for marathon training and you set what you feel is a reasonable and realistic goal, it's hard to accept when things don't go your way.

The marathon is tough. No one would argue with that. It's also entirely unpredictable. So much can go wrong over the course of 42.2K. 

One thing is for sure though, this edition of the Boston Marathon was probably the best ever! It was bigger and better than ever before. An estimated one million plus people came out in waves to show their support for the historic event and scream and cheer on 32,000+ random strangers during their unique and often emotional journey from Hopkinton to Copley Square. In 2014, more than ever before, the people of Boston were strong.

My race aside, the 2014 Boston Marathon weekend was incredible. Wonderful weather. Best friends. Beer. The support and strength of an entire community. It was the culmination and celebration of runners and running. 

"But to us, it's [training] almost the whole thing."

It might not mean much and it's certainly easy to say now, but running, to me, is about far more than just racing. The process of getting to the line, the journey if you will, is about so much more than results, time, or place.

I love to run. Perhaps more than I should. I love it for the pure joy of it. For the company. The community. For the challenge and the competition. For the opportunity to test myself. To push myself. To discover myself.

"Just what you're worth"

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