Processing Boston, and Other Disappointments

I want to be philosophical about what went down during those 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Copley Square on Patriots Day last week.  Instead, I’m just kind of depressed.

These are the ugly details: It started to go south on a short incline in the 4th mile, when I crested what the rest of the field probably barely thought of as a hill. I was completely out of breath. It was my first clue that this was going to be a very long day.  There was no air to breathe. The humidity was setting in. The temperature was rising. The sun would soon break through the clouds and scorch my shoulders.

I dialed back some and re-set expectations. Go out in 1:39 for the first half instead of sub-1:37, the pace I had trained at all winter. My hopes rose briefly passing through Wellesley in mile 13. That tunnel of sound the college girls created definitely helped. But I was slogging and hot and miserable by Newton Lower Falls, and things went from bad to worse from there. I dragged up Heartbreak, slogged through Brookline and limped over the finish line in 3:54, my worst marathon in three years, and 30 minutes slower than in last year’s frozen deluge in Boston.

Everyone tells me I should be proud of finishing. I suppose I am, but I feel like Boston finished me. I like to run marathons, not survive them. This one is going to hurt, for a while.

I feel like an ass saying that. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who cares about how fast or slow I go. The frustration, I think, comes down to the idea that I spent the better part of the past four months working toward something -- having a fast day in Boston -- and then it all went away in the blink of a bad-luck forecast. Training in cold and racing in heat just doesn’t work for me.

Now each day brings more of the warmth of the northeast spring, and by the time my legs are back there will likely be no worthwhile opening to give 26.2 another go until the fall.  And all the while, the memory of it all coming apart in Boston will be the last thing I remember about a long-distance endeavor. Kind of a drag.

So what to I do with this? The truth is, I have no idea. I think I’m just going to stew on it for a while. I woke up this morning for the first time since Monday wanting to go for a run. We’ll see how that goes.