When I was a teenager back in the 80’s I had a subscription to Sports Illustrated. Every week I read that thing cover to cover. One week there was an article on The Boston Marathon. I wasn’t any sort of distance runner at the time, but I thought that it must be a cool thing to run The Boston Marathon. I couldn’t believe that humans were capable of running 26.2 miles at 5:00 per mile pace. The World record in the mile was around 3:45 at the time. So just over a minute more per mile people were running 26 of those bad boys.
A few years later, my hometown of Iowa City, Ia had a marathon and I went out to watch. Seeing the pain on the runner’s faces made me think that this was an accomplishment that couldn’t be taken lightly. If I was going to go for it I would have to be in the best shape of my life. During my college years my conditioning was not anywhere near what I needed it to be.
After college I started playing Rugby. My overall fitness was improving greatly. My sprint speed was at it’s best ever. In high school I had topped out at 4.8 sec for the 40 yard dash. During my Rugby days I got my 40 down to 4.5. To put that in perspective Division I football running backs are in the 4.45-4.6 range and wide receivers are in the 4.3-4.4 range. I was fast for a club Rugby team. Our coach had us run 2 miles before practice as a warm up and we probably ran another 6 miles during practice and games. I was getting a taste of the endurance factor for those kind of miles. I liked how it made me feel.
Then it was all over. I was playing basketball in a winter league with my Rugby teammates and I injured my knee that required surgery. After rehab, I reinjured my knee and I just have never had the stability necessary for quick burst and the side to side cutting that Rugby and basketball require.
Depression set in. My whole life I have had a strong desire to compete. To have the sport that I loved taken away from me left me devastated. I started to run. My original hope was to have the opportunity to come back and play Rugby. That hope soon faded, however I developed a fondness for running.
Running gave me the chance to become healthy again both physically and mentally. I was afforded peace and great thought on long runs. Working through life’s trials are a breaze out there on the road. To those who think running is boring, they haven’t opened up their minds and let the experience take them away to places beyond mere transportational means.
I have heard the bashers say that they do not need to run a marathon to prove anything as they have accomplished plenty in their lives. I agree that I don’t have to run a marathon to prove anything. I run because I feel good about the experience and the goal of running a marathon just gets me out the door on rainy days as well as the nice ones.
I don’t HAVE to run Boston. I would just like the opportunity if my body lets me.