If you don't know my story by now, you can spend the rest of the week reading 152 previous posts, but for the rest of you, it should be fairly obvious how important this race is to me. Here's a little recap of my marathon journey to this point.
This will be my 6th full marathon and as always, could very well be my last. Not that I'm planning to retire, but you just never know when the body will proclaim it has had enough.
The first marathon in November 2010 was merely the "celebration" of my weight loss journey. It was the culminating event (or so I thought) to a year long effort of losing weight, running, and getting healthy. A 5:21 finish time at the Monumental Marathon was more than respectable for my first effort.
It was never in my mind to run a second marathon, but the thought of running the Chicago Marathon with friends in October 2011 seemed like a good idea, so a year later, I knocked out #2. Another 5:21 finish time was only seconds better than my first and left me hungry for more, and I was sure I could do better. And so...
Just 3 weeks later I turned around and ran marathon #3 - a repeat of the same Monumental course from last year, but feeling much more fit and knowing the course, I was determined to improve my time, and did exactly that dropping over 16 minutes to a new PR of 5:04
In 2012 I turned to triathlons and began mixing my training with swimming and cycling but once I committed to doing a full Ironman in 2013, I knew I need to get another marathon under my belt so I opted for marathon #4 to be a Spring marathon in April in Carmel - The exact date was April 20, 2013 (remember that) and I believed I could finally break that 5 hour mark. I gave all I had that day and found a new PR at 5:02:20, that I still carry with me today. Granted, my Garmin showed 26.5 total miles that day and I was under 4:59 at the 26.2 mark on my watch, but that doesn't show up on any results page outside of my own race notes.
My triathlon friends will debate with me that I did another marathon in 2013, but it came after a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike ride. Ironman Louisville remains my greatest athletic achievement, but I don't put the 6:07 marathon time in the same conversation as I do the others. We'll call that one marathon "4a"
For all intents and purposes that should have been the end of my endurance racing career. The doctor warned me to back off or my knees, ankles, and joints could suffer. The wife warned me to back off or my children, family and career could suffer, and I became comfortable to put 20 pounds back on while I backed off the training.
In 2014 I struggled early to get into a rhythm and discovered that I'm indeed goal driven and results oriented. I need an objective. I need a goal. I need a focus. And so I "stumbled" into another race. I tried a new training plan based on heart rate which ultimately resulted in me training fewer miles as a slower pace and thus lead my 5th marathon in Indianapolis to a 5:19 finish. I was satisfied with the time given the training I put in.
Again, I should have probably retired my running shoes, but as fate would have it, I was blessed with an undeniable opportunity. Having never been afraid to ask, I worked my way through numerous connections to be granted an entry into the Boston Marathon. The strict time requirement waived, and VIP access granted to arguably the greatest marathon on the planet.
And so, this Monday, April 20, 2015, I will toe the line for 119th running of this historic race. Remember the date of my previous PR in Carmel? Yep, 2 years to the day! I didn't train any harder this time, but I did train smarter. Even so, there's very little in the results of my training that would suggest I can break 5 hours, except for one thing...it's Boston!
Let's call it what it is. It's emotion. Raw emotion. I posted exactly two years ago today, the day of the bombings. It was just 5 days before the Carmel Marathon, and we all ran with a purpose that day. Many have asked about my concerns for safety coming into Boston, and I've joked back that it's my wife that should be worried, as she's the one with VIP access to the finish line area to await my finish. The reality for the bomber is a guilty verdict handed down just days ago, and now he awaits his sentencing. My reality is the thrill and honor of running in this great event as one of 30,000 runners, surrounded by half a million spectators, who make a unified statement. A statement of resilience and hope. A statement of freedom and sacrifice, on Patriot's Day no less. A statement that gives me a tremendous sense of pride and self accomplishment no matter what the time says on the clock when I cross that finish line. PR or not, it's going to be a fantastic day and I'm so grateful to those that have afforded me this opportunity as well as those that have helped me every step of the way. God has blessed me with the ability to run. I've done the work. I've logged the miles. I've read countless articles. I've watched the 2014 footage multiple times (and still get goosebumps every time Meb crosses the finish line for the win). Now it's time to go to work. Boston Strong!
If you're interested in following my progress on race day, you can text 27594 to 234567 - Keep in mind, I do not start until 11:15 a.m. Also, you can check out Universal Sports network most of the day Monday including the finish line camera - I'm sure I'll be "right behind" the Kenyans!
Major thanks to my sponsor, John Hancock for the opportunity!