The mystique of running in the Boston Marathon is only something that I can imagine to this point. I have not experienced it; I have only heard about it. The Boston Marathon cannot be run by just anyone who signs up for it. A runner cannot sign up until they have earned the right to do so. It is a challenge.
CIM has pace teams, and it was my plan to run with the pace team. At the race expo I met the 3:50 pace group leader. His name was Bill. He was just a normal guy but he knew how to run the race well. He started out explaining how his plan was to run at an even effort. The average pace would be 8:47 minutes/mile. After Bill answered our questions, he began asking us questions. He wanted to know how many marathons had we each run. He asked who was trying to qualify for Boston. I raised my hand.
Bill began talking describing the Boston Marathon to us. He said that the hard work is in getting there, but recommended that once you were at the Boston marathon to just enjoy it. “It’s a big party,” he explained. He talked about the streets lined with people cheering, and how by the all girls’ school the cheering was quite a few octaves higher. He explained that the towns plan everything around the event. The example that Bill gave was how the game lets out at Fenway Park and the game goers come out just in time to see the marathon going past. He described the finish line had bleachers five stories high with a huge screen in front you as you approach the finish. You can see yourself as you finish and your friends and family get a great view too. Just listening to Bill speak was so inspiring to me. I could only imagine what it would be like to spend just short of 4 hours running with him. I was caught in the porta-potty when the starting gun when off. I was two minutes late to the start. I started out fast, passing people along the way, but I never hooked up with Bill and the 3:50 pace team.
I think there are many who would have given up on the goal for Boston Qualification by now. I continue to train and try again. Each marathon is a test and there is always something to learn from the experience.
A week ago I began training for my tenth marathon. Each marathon that I train for and run is an achievement in itself. Running marathons is something that I do and also something that very few understand why. When I try to explain, to a non-running person, that I would like to like to run in the Boston Marathon I get a puzzled look in return. Non-runners don’t quite get it no matter how you explain it. At lunch I rarely eat with my colleagues. I use this time to train. My colleagues see me out there in the rain, or scorching heat, running my heart out. In their eyes I am crazy.
Today the schedule calls for cross training. I arrived at the fitness center at my work ready to do some time on the stationary cycle. I could not believe my eyes; we now have two spin cycles in the center. I quickly started adjusting the cycle to my short torso settings and away I went. The program calls for “relative rest” today. I think I cheated a bit. I spent half the time doing standing climbs and kept things moving at a pretty brisk pace the entire time. I don’t know how far I would have rode, but I rode for 30 minutes and dripped sweat all over the bike.