Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Boston Experience

        I would have to describe my Boston experience as bitter sweet. I missed my goal by a huge margin didn't even set a PR. The race is like no other I have run when I line up at a race in the Midwest I am at the front of the pack not five thousand people in front of me. The support from the surrounding communities was amazing days leading up to and race day. The race lived up to everything I read and heard including the part it's not a race to run your fastest. I can say I was there when the fastest world and American times were run on one of the toughest courses I've run.
       Race day started at forty degrees Fahrenheit with a west wind (wind at the runners back) I stuck to plan and kept the first ten kilometers easy, this was somewhat forced by the crowd of runners in front of me. I picked up the pace and hit the half way mark on perfect pace to finish sub three hours. I used a little different hydration plan I normal do Gatorade the whole race but went with honey stingers gels every four mile and water at the stops. I started to feel the fatigue at mile sixteen and by the time I ran through Newton Falls hills I was walking every mile or so. I started to take Gatorade but sixty degrees and sun beating down on me took its toll. I was walking every half mile the last ten kilometers. I pushed thru and finished running to the finish line in three hours eighteen minutes eighteen seconds. I was making my way through the finish area and got water and my plastic blanket and started to become light headed.
       I headed back to the nearest medical attendant and collapsed into her wheel chair this began my medical tent experience at Boston. The experience even including the indignity of having my temperature taken rectally was better than I could have ever imagined. I had several doctors, a nurse, a sport medicine specialist and other people attending to me. They started with Gatorade to rehydrate and beef bouillon for sodium for the leg cramps. When I couldn't hold that down I got blood work and inter venous fluids started, the sports doctor was there to stretch out the cramps every time I got them. They had me back on my feet in a couple hours like the whole Boston experience it was unbelievable.
      Finally a huge thank you to my wife who made the trip to Boston to support me and my nephew who escorted her around Boston. They were at they half at Wellesley then made it back to wait for me at the family meeting area. Overall this was a great experience the reception by the community and all the congratulations I got from total strangers, this is not just another race. The drive to do the world majors is just getting that much stronger and I will come back to Boston. To finish in the top five thousand and top five hundred in my age group was short of my goal but very respectable when I saw the caliber of runners that make it to Boston.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Road to Boston

           The controversy will probably go on until the start of the 2013 Boston marathon with faster qualifying times. I know it will be an elite field of athletes not to take anything away from the field this year. I know there were many deserving runners who got shut out and BAA came up with a fair solution.
           I know that qualifying for Boston is an accomplishment but for me it is a great honor to line up with elite athletes. I took the perspective that if I was going to run with elite athletes I was going to train like an elite athlete. I knew that stepping up to level 3 training was not going to be easy and I had not done the mental math of ten plus hours a week running for twenty weeks. I learned many lessons along the way the first being what a great family I have. My wife and kids have been very supportive and understanding I do my running early morning so other than Dad banging around the house at five AM (especially on Moms day off) my training goes unnoticed. My Sunday long runs sometimes requires help getting my daughter to Sunday school but the kids really enjoy that I stop at Panera Bread for bagels. The second is I have great friends and runners make great friends, I have received a lot of support and encouragement. The goal is high the work is hard and the rewards are many. I have received answers to my purpose and come to realized God's blessings.
         The Boston marathon started out as it has for many, something I had put on my bucket list. The training and the preparation I have realized my potential exceeds my expectations. I have decided that Boston is going to be the beginning not the end. I have set my sights on competing in the World Marathon Majors following Boston with New York this fall, London and Chicago next year, Berlin 2013 and possibly repeat Boston in 2013. I may never compete with Ryan Hall but I will be lining up in the same starting wave at the Boston marathon. Monday April 18th will be the compilation of one thousand four hundred eighty five miles of training. One race, three hours on a Monday morning in Boston will be the proof of the dedication of time and energy. I want to say thank you to everyone that has supported me, ran with me and will be cheering me on Monday. I don't know what door God will open next but this experience has prepared me to be strong and accept the challenge.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Why I run

       I am sure many people who run are asked many times over (why do you run?) especially when you get to the level of marathons. My simple answer is because I can, but as I did my early morning long run a couple weeks ago I realized it is much more.
       I run because God gave me the gift and I am obligated to share that gift with others. I may inspire someone to run to become healthy, someone to run farther or faster than they believed they could. I have been blessed to be strong and healthy but have been in the position of the support person many times. I believe it comes to my name (Peter the rock) I am not always strong but seem to find the strength when I need it the most. The times that are closest to my heart are directly related to cancer, the first was in 1991 when I was engaged to my wife and my future Mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer. I worked very close to their house and working in agriculture had a somewhat flexible schedule. I would stop by to check on her and help with administering her injections and taking her to her treatments. We developed a very strong relationship that has helped my wife and I in our years of marriage ( always good to have your mother-in-law on your side). Cancer reared its ugly head again in 2005 when my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time her youngest sister got the news she had pancreatic cancer. This tested my strength and faith as I stood by my wife's side through a mastectomy and radiation treatment to receive the gift of my wife by my side to see our children grow to beautiful people. My sister-in-law fought a courageous battle and touched many lives. I was there to hold her hand as she passed onto be with the Lord and delivered the eulogy to celebrate her life.
       I run because it is my gift, I run marathons because it is a challenge. I strive to be my best because the better I am the bigger stage I will be on and I will touch more lives. I prepare for the Boston marathon as the first step to run the World Marathon Majors. My goals are Boston and New York 2011, London and Chicago 2012 and Berlin 2013. The man who dreams big will accomplish great things!