One of the beautiful lies I tell myself every day is, “If you are on the starting line you have as good a chance as anybody to win”. On Sunday I got out of bed at 3 a.m. and did a shakeout in the quiet downtown streets of Sacramento. I ate toast, shot bloks and drank tea, and waited for 4 hours, until the 7 a.m. starter sent us off down Auburn Folsom Road, 26+ miles to the Capitol Building in Sacramento. The first few miles passed quickly, in relative silence, besides the pounding of racing flats on the asphalt. 8 miles in I was surprised at how flat my legs felt, with 18 miles left to run I wasn’t in the highest of spirits. For the past 10 weeks I had put all my effort into the preparation for this day, and for the past 14 years I’ve had this goal in the forefront of my mind. I had trained hard and tapered well, and now my legs felt bad… In a moment of inspiration I decided I just was not going to slow down. My legs may not be able to speed up, but I simply am not going to run any slower, as every mile ticked the pack of runners got a few hundred steps closer to the finish line, and the goal. At 20 miles when the group disintegrated I knew the small time buffer I had accumulated could easily be wiped out over the final mile, as it was last year. I kept telling myself, just don’t slow down. 5:13, 5:13, 5:13, 5:12, the crowds were growing, not slowing down was getting harder. 5:12, I could feel my legs losing the strength I had spent the last year building. The pack of 15 strong, confident machines had dissolved into a scattered string of stiff grimaces. I finally turned onto the Capitol Mall, people lining the final 400 meters I saw the clock reading 2:16:30, 200 meters to go.
Crossing the finish line was great, I’ll probably always enjoy that moment. But watching the other men and women gain Olympic trials qualifiers was unforgettable. The victorious moments, celebrations and emotional faces were inspiring. In the end that will probably be the most memorable part of the day. Congratulations to the 9 other men and 20 women who spent months and years in dedicated preparation for this race. Needless to say I didn’t win this years Cal International Marathon, But I did run 2:17:02, good enough for a ticket to the 2016 Olympic Trials which will be run in February of 2016. I now have 14 months to train hard, race harder and wait.
Thank you all so much for the thoughts, prayers, encouragement and advice. I greatly appreciate all that has been done for me over the years. Thank you to the California International Marathon for a great event, and for creating an environment of success for all runners.
14 months till LA.
Time to find a coach…there is work to be done.