Sunday, April 8, 2012

Race preview: Boston Marathon


Monday, Apr. 16

Boston Marathon

A few months back, I worked for a fellow runner who was very excited to learn that I had been accepted for Boston. We were standing around chatting with a few other co-workers and one of them asked what the big deal was. Some of us shared a laugh at the seeming ridiculousness of the question, but it was a reminder to me that no matter how important you think something is, it's not everyone's cup of tea.

But yes, it is important. The thing is, I am not an athlete. I'm doughy, I can't do more than about 3 real push-ups at a time, and quite frankly, I probably wouldn't run more than about a dozen miles a week if I thought I could get away with it. I hated running as a kid and never really got on a treadmill until I was 32. I've never been properly fitted for running shoes.

But somewhere along the way, I pieced together enough disappointing races and botched training plans and dehydration and IT band pain to learn some lessons and get better. Getting to this point is not all genetics; my kid ran cross country a couple years back and was the slowest one on the team, by a lot. And it's not all skill; I've never seen myself on video but I can tell you my form is atrocious. Mostly, it's about having a goal and having the drive and plan to reach that goal.

I've seen a lot of self-congratulatory blog posts from folks who never thought they'd make it to Boston, and I guess this is one of them. But I hope this message can be inspirational to the next person who is trying to reach that peak. I put everything I had into training for Tucson in 2010, picking a downhill course especially favored by those trying to qualify -- and I missed by almost 5 minutes. Four weeks later, at First Light, I missed by 31 seconds. If you're going to set goals, you sure as hell aren't going to get that close and then quit. And to the newbie running 5Ks who scoffs at the idea of running marathons: Hey, I know quite a few folks who regularly run marathons and ultras that never thought they'd go longer than a much, much shorter distance. I was one of them. You'll come around.

Greg will be there, having sufficiently healed himself. Erin will be there as well, though with her latest injury I might not be seeing her in my corral, which sucks. And oh, some 26,000-plus other folks will line up, along with half a million spectators or so. It'll be a party.

It's too early to tell, but the best guess seems to be that it could be better, could be worse. At this point it's looking like cloudy, not windy, maybe some drizzle, with temperatures going from the mid-50s to around 60. But 50 or 70 would not surprise me.


I have goals, but ultimately we win by having a good time. I might not be back for a few years, if ever, so I want to be sure I enjoy this and see and hear all I can. Who wouldn't look forward to the scream tunnel or Heartbreak Hill or the finish in front of the Boston Public Library? However long it takes me to get there, I'll be just fine with. And if I happen to go under 3:10 (if the temps stay down), that would be spectacular.


  1. >>"I have goals, but ultimately we win by having a good time." Well said. I'm trying to keep that in mind as I hope to toe the line with the reality that it could take me close to 3:45 minutes to run this thing. Good luck!! Hope to see you there, whether it be on the roads or on the sidelines cheering :)

    1. Thanks Erin... really hope you are well enough to lace up.

  2. I love this post, Brian! I can relate in many ways about not being a "natural" runner--but making a goal & working hard to get there. I can't wait to hear about your adventures in Boston! Make the most of every second!

    1. Thanks! You keep bagging those AG wins and who knows where it will take you!

  3. 70 wouldn't suprise you. How about 89?

    1. Ha ha, yeah, I was a little off with that one! I remember tweeting that clearly the forecaster at the Weather Channel was just trolling when he said it would be 80 a few days out while Weather Underground & Accuweather were still saying 50s or such. ONLY 80 would've been great!