Monday, March 12, 2012

Taking A Knee

Testing compression wear on 0.5 mi run
 "Men, today we die a little."

 - Emil Zatopek at the start of the 1956 Olympic Marathon.


Here, five weeks before the Boston Marathon, I have had one of my harder running decisions to make. Having only starting back to running after my arthroscopic meniscectomy surgery, I can do one of two things: show up and struggle through the race, or take a knee, start over and plan on 2013. My first post-op run was half a mile on the treadmill on Saturday, causing only a few twinges in the outer incision area. I jogged a mile on Sunday with a couple of breaks.


All along it was my intention and goal to run Boston to the best of my ability. After the test that was the Charleston Marathon, I know I can finish the race off minimal training and feel I have nothing to prove on that count. Boston, however, is a different beast. It is one of the planet's greatest marathons; I respect its traditions and value the work it takes to toe the starting line.

I had considered earlier that I would go the distance even if I could not perform my best, best being relative to what my body could offer on race day. I have come to realize that would neither honor the race nor my ability. Giving a second best effort is simply not in my constitution, nor is asking for a special exception. 

So I feel I must run Boston by giving it my respect, and that respect requires me to train to run it the best I can on Patriot's Day. There can be no excuses and no quarter asked or given.

Therefore I will train to requalify for the race before the September registration, likely the Santa Rosa Marathon in August. I certainly know through all of this that there are no guarantees I will qualify again or make it to Hopkinton on April 15, 2013. But I do know if I am there I will be ready and can accept whatever the day brings.


I do regret I won't be able to bring more recognition to the IFOPA at Boston this year. We have raised over $300 more for a total of $2356 with the addition of the Charleston Marathon efforts. Ashley, you inspire so many with your courage, kindness, and joy. Wind beneath wings. Yes.


We all have different goals in life. This is a good thing; it makes each one unique and keeps us alive. But we have to live with ourselves and the choices we make; as a runner there is no one to come off the bench to give us a breather. If we sit on the bench we do not run. Life is indeed what we make it.

I think of all the days I woke up at 4 am to run before work, the miles and sweat and planning and dreaming of how it would feel to stand on that starting line on Hopkinton. For me none of the journey is wasted, for it is the act of running that I love. Am I disappointed I will not be there with Jennifer and my friends Kelly, Shariff, Scott, and Mike this April? Not to see Ashley at the finish line? Yes. It hurts. It will hurt more on April 14. I will be wishing them the best, knowing they would feel the same in my shoe, and hope perhaps the thought of a friend not there will help them strive to keep.  moving.    forward.


I know this: on April 15, 2013, the impossible can happen. The Boston Marathon will mean even more to me and I will honor it the best way I know how.

I will fly.   And remember.   It all.


My face is set to a grim and determined expression. I speak in all modesty as I say this, but I discovered at that moment that I have a fierce will to live. It's not something evident, in my experience. Some of us give up on life with only a resigned sigh. Others fight a little, then lose hope. Still others - and I am one of those - never give up. We fight and we fight and we fight. We fight no matter what the cost of battle, the losses we take, the improbability of success. We fight until the very end. It's not a question of courage. It's something constitutional, an inability to let go.

- Pi, from "The Life of Pi" (Yann Martel)

1 comment:

  1. Sorry you had to make this decision. It will make it that much sweeter when you DO get to that starting line.