Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Remembrance, regrets and shame...

My 2011 Boston Marathon...a year later...I have done very little to think about the race or my performance at last year's Boston Marathon. So little in fact, that the shirt I got for entering, finisher's certificate, pictures of me during the race, the gear I used, my number..practically everything but the medal have yet to see the light of day in a year. But with this year's edition about to kick off, running the BAA 5k the day before and seeing this dreaded street intersection (pictured below).

I did not have the Boston Marathon performance I wanted. Hell, I'm sure NO ONE would want my "performance" of a year ago. I would argue it wasn't a performance at all, rather a feeble attempt of controlled chaos. You can read my recap of the race here.

I, like everyone other runner, have always wanted to run Boston. It is the crown jewel in anyone's marathon resume and my getting in would make Boston my 14th. That being said, even with the 17 year lag since my last marathon (wow, that sounds really bad when you see it in print) I thought it was nothing I couldn't handle. I was wrong.

I put pressure on myself for every race, as do all of us I'm sure (I mean come on...Its NOT just me is it?!). Sometimes however I think I could win a gold medal for the amount of effort I put into self induced pressure. I got into Boston on a charity number, adding the pressure of needing to raise the money required. Of course by trying to raise said money, I made EVERYONE I know (and plenty I don't) aware of my upcoming running. Which in turn led to their constant asking of how was my training coming and was I ready to "win it"? Funny sure, but still sets the bar high for doing well. I had a coach for the first time since I was a young cyclist and we didn't see eye to eye on my training/racing plan. I got monster sick 3 weeks before race day (I was bed ridden for a week), and then there's the pressure I put on myself for a sub 3:30 finish. Throw in that I think you can explain/talk through a marathon to anyone...EXCEPT Boston. It is its own animal (athletes village, the wait to start, the number of people in the race, the spectators, the fanfare and last but NOT least...the COURSE). I was stressed out going into the race and that stress only increased DURING the race. If you read the race recap, you can see that all those things led to my having the worst race of my life.

My joy of crossing the finish line and finally getting one of those cherished BAA Boston Marathon medals was tempered by my anger at myself and personal shame of a terrible performance. So much so that within 20 minutes of finishing and getting some Gatorade and a banana in me, I told J that I didn't want to be there anymore and just wanted to go home.

I was running on vapor the last 10 miles of the marathon and had no clue what  the finish or surrounding area looked like until I ran the BAA 5k this year and saw it all. Walking around after the 5k and seeing people take pictures of the finish and the finish area made me realize that my finishing the race, given what happened, was not only an accomplishment but something to be happy about and proud of. I have always said "there's only two ways to finish a either crossing the finish line or being carried of in a stretcher".

Now that the 2012 edition is over I am once again, plotting out ways to either BQ or get a number for the 2013 edition. I do not want that terrible performance to define me so I have to make it my own mind at least.

Seriously..what is wrong with me?



  1. really... what is wrong with you? :P

    we'll be your cheerleaders again next time you run it! :)

  2. LOL. I just need to have the race I want...

    That would be awesome, thank you!!!