The Cal International Marathon was the big race of the fall racing segment. The 12 week buildup went swimmingly, the weather was great. I crushed the final pre race workouts, I was 100%. My alarm clock went off on time, nobody handed me burning coffee with a mile to go (if you don’t know what I’m talking about watch this…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Khys7LfwT8c%5D). I ran 2:18:22. 4 minutes and 12 seconds faster than I’v ever run before, but still 23 seconds away from qualifying for the 2016 Olympic trials. Until I run under 2:18 (and likely well after) I will continue to spend my mornings and evenings out on the road, trail or track, in pursuit of turning my legs and lungs into something they are not…yet. Not because any of this matters, but because I want to.
As I write this my head still throbs, my thoughts are still a bit scrambled. Whenever I move my legs feel…something, something bad. As screeching microphone feedback is to ears, this feeling is to legs.
The beauty of the marathon is that it is a beast that (usually) lets its victims live. My body started shutting down at mile 24. My eyes stopped seeing, literally. The function of my legs was decreased by probably 20%. I crossed the finish line and was immediately on my knees. My eyes went black, I could hear the medical staff asking me questions, but I couldn’t answer. I could hear, but it was as if there was a thick glass wall between us. But I walked away, unlike Pheidippides, And that is the beauty of the running. You go to the brink, and get the opportunity to learn how to do it again next time. Better.
I’v been told not to let those 23 seconds haunt me. I tell myself not to dwell on the .84 seconds per mile. But I’m my own coach, I’m the captain, I decide what I’m going to do to get better, and not being my own harsh critic would be a waste. Of course I’m happy with the effort and going to relax a bit. But I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t already thought about and written about what I was going to do to improve next time.
A few weeks ago I had a pretty big revelation. I realized that the life I live now is basically the life I dreamed of and started working for 13 years ago. As far back as I can remember one of my life goals was to compete at the Olympic trials in the marathon. I didn’t expect fame, money, or women to come with my running endeavors, and to be clear these three…virtues…have been far from common. I’m 41st on a list nobody cares about. I haven’t asked a girl to dinner in 6 months. I share a 2 bedroom apartment with 5 guys for cheap rent (maybe this is the cause of the lack of women around??) I’v been on this road for 13 years. And haven’t achieved the goal I have set out for. No, I’m not going to say some cliché phrase or quote about the value of the journey and the destination and blah blah blahhhhhhh. I’m gonna argue that it’s a lot simpler. I’m just gonna say that the emotion of racing through crowd lined cities streets is…happiness. (Until mile 24. Then its pure hell). Win, Lose or draw, this whole running thing is a pretty special …and I’m stoked to be a part of it.
Thank you all for your love and support.