I thought out loud something like: "Well, if the running gods did not want me to run this year because of the heat, they could have chosen some other method than taking a bat to my knee." After a laugh I thought about it some more, I wondered what worse things could have happened and decided the present detour may have been the best. None of my past marathons with the exception of Myrtle Beach were run in hot weather, and the MB race was more warm and humid than hot. If I was at Boston and caught up in the excitement would I be smart enough to take the newly offered deferment option and run next year? I doubt it. Seriously doubt it.
As I write this the forecast is 59/87. This could put many runners into the broiler of heatstroke; and being among the toughest marathoners on this planet most will not think of not running. No doubt the book "Duel in the Sun" will be on some minds when Salazar and Beardsley slugged it out in high temperatures. This video is just truly awesome:
One thing I can say with a high degree of certainty is that I should not have run Boston this year. Even if I had been able to do enough pool running or perhaps had access to an Alter-G treadmill to be fit enough, I do not believe it would have been a wise move on my part to run a marathon on my surgically reshaped knee joint after 10 weeks.
We runners are a driven lot, and some will simply not back off when it is imperative to do so. I've done my share of those knuckleheaded decisions; fortunately I don't recall making any terrible mistakes like trying to run on a stress fracture or pushing through the pain of a sprained ankle...although I did do the latter when playing some hoops in my youth. The only thing worse is encouraging others to push through such injuries, to me that is a crime against the spirit of this great sport.
I have three friends running Boston on Monday. Many times I thought of how it would feel to stand on the starting line with them, wearing bib number 21661, in a surreal world exceeding any dreams I ever had of running.
These friends are Kelly Luckett, Shariff Abdullah, and Scott Rigsby. They did the work to get themselves to the starting line. This will be Kelly's eighth Boston Marathon, a tremendous achievement for any runner, but on a prosthesis I can attest this is far beyond the norm. This diminutive runner is nothing but the will to persevere; her husband Brian is a talented ultrarunner as well and we are richer for knowing them.
Shariff, aka the Singapore Blade Runner (SBR), will be the first person from his country running in the MI classification. I met SBR through Facebook, and I so wanted to greet him in person at Boston. Today I awoke to this post of his:
At RPC on Friday evening and collected the number bib 21663; Race Date: Monday 16 April 2012 at 9am in USA Boston (9pm Singapore) I, Kelly Luckett and Scott Rigsby will be running the MI category and we will start the first wave to inspire the World.
We will dedicate this run to bro Richard Blalock. Wish you are here. — in Boston, MA.
Later I heard from Scott:
Very excited about heading to Boston. Wishing my good buddy and fellow amputee runner Richard Blalock was going. He will be there next year!
These are the friends I have. Friends I would not have known had my life not taken this different road.
This is it.
Today is my ampiversary.
And whereas I miss one part of me, it in return gave me my life.
And that has made all the difference.