Thursday, April 26, 2012


God let Mother Nature lose a relentless, blistering dose of summer heat on April 16, 2012, during the 116th running of the Boston Marathon.  At one point during the race the bank thermometer read 87 degrees.  Pavement temps soared to at least 96 degrees.  In denial of what I would encounter, I started the race with absolute blinders.  Blinders fell off fast. 

This story should have been written sooner after the race.  Time has now passed and I’ve already forgot much of the pain.  “Hello me, it’s me again (Sweating Bullets).”  The story will go just that way, as my head authors to myself.

Sunday, January 30th, 2011 – Miami Marathon
“I just ran 2:51:21!!!  31st overall runner!  25th male!  Yes, NYC Qualified!  18 minute PR!  In MIAMI??  WOW!  Denial.  How much faster can I get?”

Sometime in the summer of 2011 leading up to Wednesday September 14, 2011
“Boston 2012?  Entertain the Boston thought even before NYC 2011?  It’s all those damn runners.  Why do races fill so fast?  If I don’t do Boston 2012, I may not ever have a faster qualifier.  Eh, I can always sign up and not run it.  That thought is a pile of crap – you know you’ll run it.  But if I don’t sign up…?  May just miss my chance...?  AHH ok, sign up.”

Sunday, November 6, 2011 – NYC Marathon
“2:55:32 @ NYC.”  Not my best, but definitely a victory for the day.  “Yes!”

Winter 2011-2012 – Training Blues
“Be patient.  Understand the purpose of every workout.  Push through the pain.  Endure the workouts.  Man, this is a warm winter.  Why on earth am I doing Boston again?  Lift weights.  Eat healthy.  Run the workouts.  Run the easy days.  Run a lot of miles.  Lift weights.  A couple of 5k’s; Track work.  Long, hard workouts…!  Get on the bike.  Gwynns Falls Trail; NCR Trail; Columbia Club Challenge; race the races, work the workouts, rest the easy days.  A couple of good days followed by a couple of bad days – and so the story goes.  Lower back pain; right leg pain; it’s just painful most days.”

Saturday, March 10, 2012 – Chambersburg Half Marathon
“Drive to the Chambersburg half marathon and raced a solid PR – 1:22:10.  Finally, a solid cold weather race in 30-degree air temps and low 20’s with wind.  Definitely no overheating – and I have confidence!  Confidence; and I’m fit, in shape, and ready for a final push.”

Sunday, March 25, 2012 – OE Buttonwood to Waterville
“Oregon East Buttonwood to Waterville in 2:44:43 – that’s a 6:52/mile, and take out the last 2-miles at 8:15/mile pace, it’s a solid sub 3-hour marathon effort.  13.4 miles in 1:26:14, through terrain, at a solid and consistent marathon 6:25/mile pace.  That’s a sub 2:50.  I’ve got Confidence.  CONFIDENCE!”

Monday March 26 – Sunday April 15, 2012 – The Taper
“My right leg hurts.  It’s in pain.  I have nerve pain.  Isolated pain in my shin bone – pain.  I have to recover.  I made it all the way through training, in shape, uninjured, but I have to recover and taper; I have to keep cardio.  Bike; swim; run – no, scratch the run; bike; swim; yoga; eat healthy; stretch; rest.”

Monday, April 16, 2012 – The 116th Boston Marathon
“I’ve done everything right.  Trained, tapered, readied myself, and had a strategy.  I was relaxed before the start.  I’m not scared.  I have no idea how my leg will respond?  I can suck it up, if my leg hurts.   I’ve only run 1 time in 2 weeks prior to the race.  Only 50-miles since Buttonwood to Waterville – but I’ve kept my fitness.  I can still go sub 2:50.  This heat won’t affect ME!  I’m not going to wear a watch – I don’t need it.  I’m either going to feel good, or I won’t.  Denial?  No.  Right?”
"Stay Relaxed and Cool At The Players Village"

“First running steps in a week, from the players’ village to the starting line.  It’s hot out here.  I’m sweating pretty well, and the gun is about to go off.  I’m calm, and ready to drop it hard.  My leg doesn’t hurt.  It’s not feeling chipper.  But I can run.  I can race.  Confidence and race energy = excitement.”

10:00AM – Sound of the Gun

Mile 1 split:  6:47  “Slow – but no worries, it is warm, and I have to warm up”

Mile 2 split:  6:51 (13:38-ish)  “Ut-oh.  First water stop.  Get water.  The pace just slowed to a crawl.  Everyone is getting water; a mad dash.  My pace just plummeted.  No worries, get settled, and relax.”

5K Split:  21:19  “6:52 pace – not terrible.  Keep running smart.  Dang, it’s hot”

Mile 4:  “Missed the time – better that way – run off feel – starting to feel it.  Slug a gel; and slug more water.  Keep working the hills.  Run smart.  Where is the water?”

Mile 5: “just crossed in about 34:30-ish.  This is not going as planned.  It’s hot.  Slug more water, more Gatorade.  Pour it over my head.  Rolling out of the small road we open up.  There is little shade.  My wheels are falling off.  I’m off pace.  Fail.  Am I really thinking fail?  Yes, Fail.  I have 21-miles to go.   Fail.  Shut up head.  Fail.  DAMN IT.  Hot.  Not fun.  Only mile 5 – okay, hang on, pull it together.  2:50 is out of the question today.  I can go sub 3, though, and I may start to feel better?  Really?  Hot.”

10K Split:  43:13 (last 5k in 21:54) (Last 5k pace 7:04/mile) (Overall pace 6:58/mile) “Still sub 7-pace.  Sun is blistering.  It’s just hot.  Drink more fluid.  Eat an orange.  Ugh, my stomach doesn’t feel good.  Roll through Mile 7 is somewhere around 50-minutes and change.  My wheels are falling off.  I have no pickup.  I have no energy.  Need to eat & keep energy, take a Gel.  My legs are turning, but my system is rejecting this.  Why am I doing this?  This is not fun.  I’m thirsty – get more water.  Conserve energy.  Ugh, am I going to quit?  Am I going to drop?  I know I can drop at mile 16.  I don’t quit.  What am I going to say to people?  Fail?  Did I fail today?  I am not having fun.  Pain.  Hot.  I feel like puking.  I have to puke.  Oh, that sprinkler and water hose feels good. ”

15K Split:  1:07:07 (last 5k in 23:54) (Last 5k pace 7:42/mile) (Overall pace 7:13/mile) “I’m stopping.  I have to puke.  My stomach is rejecting this.  Blahhhhh!  Fun!  So much fun!  I’ve now stopped.  Stopped at mile 9.3!!  What the heck am I doing?  Okay, it’s not a problem, just take the next 5k easy, and roll from 20k onward.  I can negative split, still, right?  I mean, if I sleaze it easy until 20k, then I can just drop it down for a respectable finish.  Terrible thoughts – get moving.  Quit wasting time.  Start running.  My stomach hurts.  It’s hot.  I’m thirsty.  I’m hot.  This is miserable.  Water!  Gatorade!!  Gel!  Bathroom pit stop; just disgusting.  HOT” 

20K Split:  1:37:49 (last 5k in 30:42) (Last 5k pace 9:54/mile) (Overall pace 7:53/mile)  “I don’t even know how to read this split, but I know it’s slow.  Time doesn’t matter.  Get to Welsley – use the crowd energy.  It helped.  Except, my stomach is in knots – have to ‘go’ again.  Stop.  Water!  Another water sprinkler.  Throw up.  Terrible.  Just terrible.  Hot.  Sun.   My left leg is starting to cramp up, in the upper quad.  It’s mile 12. Pain!”

Half Split:  1:43:26 (Overall Pace 7:53/mile) (Projected finish 3:26:52) “Not good.  This is not good.  Fail.  Shut up head.  Succeed.  No, fail.  Drop out.  No, don’t quit.  You can still negative split.  Pull it together.  Get motivated.  I’m drenched from pouring water on my face and head.  I have a hat on.  I need to get this wet shirt off.  It’s hot.  Ahh, that feels nice – I feel lighter – just tuck the shirt on your head and use it as a Lawrence of Arabia hat.  Bathroom.  Ugh, I’m so slow.  I am crawling.  I’m starting to cramp.  Wait, I am cramped.  My body hates this.  My mind is shot.  Not fun.  Hot.  Thirsty.  Take a drink.  Bathroom, again?!!!  Now I’m just freaking depressed.”

25K Split:  2:10:29 (last 5k in 32:40) (Last 5k pace 10:32) (Overall pace 8:25/mile) “No way I negative split.  I’m cramping.  My stomach will not let up.  Haa, there is Remus…  Remus is walking and complaining about his blisters because he took his socks off.  Idiot.  Back to my own pain – it’s hot.  I cannot stop using the bathroom.  Pit stop, again.  Time to puke, again.  I think I’m around mile 18.  I’ll just stop right here and puke.  Thank you Mr. Medic, I’m okay, I’m just a stubborn runner who won’t quit.  I’m not quitting.  I have a flight to catch.  I have to just puke all over your tree and keep running.  My legs hurt.  There is a runner laying on the sidewalk with an IV needle in his arm getting medical attention.  My system is hot.  It’s hot.  Where is the wind, today?   Another sprinkler system.  Anohter water hose.  HEAT!  SUN!  HOT!  Bathroom, where is there a porto pot?  Death March.  This is the Boston Death March.  I see mile 18 and know I’ve been at mile 24 before.  Fail.  Hot.  Thirst.  Is it over?  Are we there yet?”

30K Split:  2:47:40 (last 5k in 37:11) (Last 5k pace 11:59/mile) (Overall pace 9:00/mile) “It’s 30K, the infamous the ‘race begins’ point.  I’ve been here, before, in just over 2 hours.  This is death.   I put my shirt back on.  I’m hot.  The cold shirt helps for about 2 minutes.  I certainly can still run under 4-hours.  Right?  I have a flight to catch.  The Newton Hills don’t even matter right now.  It’s painful.  My system has shut down.  I’m cramping.  I need a bathroom.  I just can’t recover.  At least my shin doesn’t hurt that bad.   Mile 20:  3:00:XX.  My last 2 marathons didn’t see 3-hours.  I’m on the third hill.  Look at that runner puking.  Another runner is lying on a medical stretcher.  Carnage!  Now I’m on Heartbreak Hill.  Heartbreak doesn’t matter – I already broke 15+ miles ago.  My wheels long ago fell off.”  To another runner I look and say, “Well, this is Heartbreak Hill”.  They respond, simply, “really?”  I continue my thoughts “As if it matters.”  I see another runner, and we both realize “we’ve stopped sweating.”  “It’s carnage along this Death March.”

35K Split:  3:21:56 (last 5k in 34:16) (Last 5k pace 11:03/mile) (Overall pace 9:58/mile) “I have 7-Kilometers to go.  I’m cramped.  I’ve puked 3 times.  I’ve gone to 5 porto-pots.  I can barely run.  My legs hurt.  My system is shutting down.  I’m getting emotional.  My chest is grasping.  It’s gripping tight.”  I look over at a Boston College Student holding a sign that reads ‘Pain Now, Beer Later’.  That should really read “Beer Now, Pain Later”, I think.  “More thoughts of quitting – don’t do it.  Just struggle and deal.  It’s atrophy – attrition.  There is carnage along this course.  Runners are walking everywhere.  Everywhere.  Carnage.  More runners laying along the sidewalk with intravenous needles from medics.” 
"Pain of Disappointment"

Mile 23:  “Pain!  It’s over.  Just Walk it in team.  It’s certainly over.  I just can’t run any more.  I’m seriously no more than dead weight.  I’m a dried shell.  My heart hurts, chest, and I’m not a statistic today.  It’s not worth it.  I gave it a good go.  Just walk.  Try to pick up into a run.  Nope.  I can’t breath.  Hot.  So Hot!  Water!  Gatorade!  Hate this race.  Holy crap, finally, it’s the Citgo Sign.  I forgot to even look for it.  Disappointment!”

"It's Over.  Just Walk It In"

40K Split:  4:09:07 (last 5k in 47:11) (Last 5k pace 15:13) (Overall pace 10:02/mile) “Almost done.  Look for Meg McNew.  Maybe I’ll see her around mile 25.5.  Maybe not.  It’s about all that I have to look forward to.  That - and not missing my flight.  I have a 5:45pm flight.  It’s already after 2pm.  My hotel is 2-miles from the finish.  This just sucks.  I need a bathroom.  My body hurts.  It’s hot.  This is a death march.  No Meg McNew.  She probably had a flight too.  No worries, get through the tunnel, and onto the final 600 meters stretch.  Last road.  I can see the finish.  I walk.  I am walking.  I’m holding a water bottle, carrying my last of life.  It’s not fun.  I’m crying.  Crying, because I’m discouraged; broken; shattered.  Crying because I’ve trained so hard.  Crying because I’m upset, sad, lonely, and frankly feel cheated.  Running is a terrible God.  I’m crying across the finish line. 

Official Finish:  4:33:09 (Official Pace 10:26/mile) (Overall 14638, Gender 9126, Division 3416) “I’ll just stop right here, and wallow for a minute.  I’ll cry to myself, stretch my calves.  Quads are shot.  Stomach is a disaster.  I look into the med tent and see eerily reminiscent signs of Vietnam MASH.  Carnage.  This race left us all shattered, Carnage.  The B(os)ton Death March Continues.  I need to get back to my hotel and get my crap, and get to my flight.  It’s another 2 mile walk.  The death march continues.  My stomach is swirling.  The flight home was nausea. 

The Hotel, Airport, and Shuffle of Final Energy Home
I made my flight, and I got home in 1 piece.  The day took its toll.  I’ve completed 10 marathons, and 4 other Ultra distances/trail marathons.  This was the worst.  I’ve never been so demoralized.  I write this, now 10-days later and still haven’t run.  I’m taking time off.  My right shin hurts, and I fear I have a stress fracture.  Time will tell.  But, for now, I can say I finished the 116th Boston Marathon, and also the 111th in the Noreaster, and the 112th in normal weather.  

Fight Another Day

Marathon History
3:44:xx – Harrisburg 2002
3:59:03 – Pittsburgh 2003
3:09:39 – Frederick 2006
3:09:59 – Boston 2007
3:20:xx – (DNF) Marine Corp 2007
3:23:54 – Boston 2008
3:08:47 – Baltimore 2008
6:30:xx – Megatransect (24.9 Miles) 2009
6:24:xx – Catoctin Mountain 50K (35 miles) 2010
14:11:57 – GEER 100k (63 miles) 2010
3:23:xx – TusseyMountainBack 50-mile relay (28 miles) 2010
2:51:21 – Miami 2011
2:55:32 – NYC 2011

4:33:09 – Boston 2012