My memory of running Boston in 1997 is all positive. I REALLY wanted to go three or less and in failing by 18 minutes, decided that a silly thing like time should't detract from the experience. It was great fun, every minute, every mile. I remember the Wellesley girls lined up a dozen deep screaming non-stop for the two minutes it took me to pass their beautiful campus. I remember finally hitting downtown and seeing the crowds watching and waving, as if I was a parade Grand Marshall, sometimes waving back, sometimes managing a smile, always surging forward. I remember thinking that Heartbreak Hill wasn't so bad, until a mile past it when my legs turned to yoghurt. I remember the final 100 yards on the blue carpet and I remember the finish, the final steps and then the stop. The refresh, the recovery. Ten deep breaths and some leg stretches. Then it was over. Water, a bagel, a banana. Looking for Dad. 3:18.
They are doing it again in Beantown today, for the 116th time. I want to go back again one day and try again, even though now I would be trying to break four hours instead of three. The marathon hurts. Yesterday's half hurt. Ironman hurts. I accept this as part of the price one must pay. I guess it keeps ya honest. At about the half way point yesterday, my right hip flexor was sending neuro-texts indicating extreme tightness, this as my calves and ankles signaled advanced fatigue. My heart and lungs had already surrendered to the grind yet mind was strangely calm. You might say I hurt all over. It was the flow of go.
I remember hurting all over in Boston and thinking that it was one of the greatest feelings one could have. Fatigue. Exhaustion. Effort. Output. The physical price you have to pay. It is unlike anything else, that feeling of success, of completion of accomplishment, of non-quit. You can almost see your soul smiling. It is as alive as you can get.
I still think that to be true and I can't wait for the next run.
Congratulations to everyone who qualified for Boston and ran today. I'm proud of ya!