The toe, the shrew & the silver lining.

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On October 13, 2012 I ran the Dempsey Challenge 10K. It was my first race in years. It brought me right back to that place. And I haven’t stopped since. For over a year, I have been training for something. Having three half marathons in 2013, all spanned over a relatively long distance, meant I was always running high mileage (the plans I chose called for at least 27-38 miles per week). After my last half marathon, I signed up for this Individual Marathon in January and decided I was just going to let the streak continue. From there, I would head right in Boston Marathon training. I decided after Boston, I would take a break but then I decided to do Boston’s Run to Remember in May. Do you see the pattern here? In the beginning days of December, I started not feeling so well. I felt weak, my body felt strange, I had a cold that was unyielding and wouldn’t go away and I just felt faint all the time, Obviously, my heart is always my first thought but after extensive reading I decided, over training might be the issue. So two weeks ago when I stubbed and broke my toe badly, I have to think, it may have been the universe telling me to take a bit of a break. The doctor at urgent care told me that a minimum of 2-3 weeks off was necessary to ensure I wouldn’t further injure my foot. Bummer. Real bummer. It was hard for me to actually listen to his advice, the itch is strong to hit the pavement and run through the pain. But I’m at week two and so far, I have managed to come to the understanding that a) I need to do this right to ensure I can run Boston healthy b) I need to do this to let my body just catch up and c) this will make training for Boston enjoyable, even if it sets me back a bit. As runners, we always want to avoid that wall. That thing that makes us stop. But pausing is a part of the process too. And we need to do it from time to time so that we can remember why we love this sport. Otherwise, the fun starts to drain. At first, my fear was that I would lose all that hard work I have put in. A year of diligence: gone. But realistically, I’m absolutely not going to lose my fitness in 2-3 weeks. Will it be slow coming back? Sure. I’m not going to be able to blast right back but over a span of time, it will all work out. I could back out of this race in a couple of weeks but I don’t want to. I would rather run slower than molasses than not complete something I signed up for. Plus, I’m looking forward to the time away with my running partner, who I haven’t seen much of since my injury/month of being sick.

Initially, I decided upon Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 plan but due to my recent injury, I am down scaling my training to Novice 2. My only care is finishing Boston strong. I need this process to be healthy and enjoyable. So as I slowly come back, I think Novice 2 is better with an option to incorporate Intermediate 1 as I get stronger. Right now, with all this time off, I have had a lot of time to settle in to my thoughts. Running is usually my distraction and as I have not had that, there’s been a lot more time in my head. So I wanted to address a few things to the general public (well, one person specifically but I’m not calling out names)

Running the Boston Marathon is no joke. And I get that. It’s a privilege and an honor. There are really only two ways to get in: qualify or run for charity. I bypassed both of those with an essay that I wrote. I am gathering that perhaps some take issue with that. Well, you know what: tough shit. The folks at Maine Track Club are experienced, talented runners and more importantly, intelligent people who know how to make an informed decision. My essay was real. I spoke of real people who have actually profoundly effected my life. I spoke of the dedication and the miles that I have shared this year with people who inspire me. And I spoke of my ability to be strong, put in the work and relish the moment when it comes. Have I ever run a marathon before? No. But don’t be upset because this gets to be my first or that God forbid, my time be better than yours. Don’t be upset because while you talk down to everyone, they are all surpassing you, running better times and enjoying that finish line with friends who support them. You stand foolishly alone because you won’t allow anyone to join or support you and when they try, you pass them off as novices. Every runner, EVERY runner, is doing something great out there. Every. Single. One. The large ones. The small ones. The ones that are small, who think they’re large. The tall ones. The short ones. Who cares? And you don’t get to make fun of everyone when you are at the back of the pack. Let’s just be honest. That’s the way it is. If you have some cards to throw down, sure maybe, put them down but otherwise: shut up and do better work. Spend more time running and less time being a snarky dickhead. I was humbled this year and I’m lucky for it. These people I run with, taught me things you can’t read in a book and you can’t buy with money. The only currency they take is compassion and dedication. They won’t accept anything else. You’re not as lucky as I am, no, you’re not. And you never will be because you wouldn’t let people this good into your life even if the chance came along. But here’s the thing: I’m better than you because I value the bones of this sport. The spirituality. The gains and the losses. The people who I cheer for and will cheer for me. I value that moment when your running partner beats you and you get to tell them: “Dude, you did great.” I love running. I fucking love it. And it consumes me, yes, but in a way that’s not easy to explain that is 100% positive. I suggest you take a look at the reasons why you do this if you don’t feel the same way. Runners who love the sport don’t use it as a bragging tool. No one is looking up to you when you pull moves like that.

I deserve Boston just as much as the next guy. I do. I’m sorry. I may not be fast but I’ve got the heart of a champ. And I won’t stop. EVER. Even if it’s just to prove your ass wrong.

 

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