I’d love to use this post to explain how my next training plan will utilize core/upper body, speedwork and tempo runs to perfectly balance my distance training, when paired with adequate rest days and good nutrition. I have a significant problem to…
My body is still on “vacation” and my mileage and speedwork have been severely curtailed, what a joy! For the first time since 2010 I’ve been able to appreciate a rest period. Granted, I have still been maintaining a decent mileage, but it has been quite…
‘Never again’ is the first thought that comes into mind when thinking of this race. My watch calculated a total elevation gain of 1700 feet over the entire course and while much of that was in the first half, the second half had its own share of hills,…
This post is brought to the internet from somewhere deep in the woods of northwest Montana. I’m currently enjoying my last night in Montana before driving back to Portland, OR for the flight east tomorrow night. Vacation started off with a drive from…
Returning From Injury - Stronger! (mentally and physically)
I’ve had a serious lack of inspiration in blogging lately and not due to lack of worthy content.…
Just did the math and I’m at about 3500 miles since I started running on 10/10/10. What a journey! Now in training for my sixth marathon, it’s fun to hearken back to the days when just the idea of running a 20-miler was daunting!
My planned workout for tomorrow is 6 miles easy followed by 5 miles with alternating 90 sec. @ 10k pace and 90 sec. easy pace (fartlek run) than a 2 mile easy run and finished with a 3 mile hard tempo (progression run) 16 Miles total and the weather is expected to be hot and humid. Is it a little daunting still? Sure. It’s exciting more than anything, though.
As I work off of a different training plan this cycle, my body is surely going to feel some different punishments. However, I’m confident that this new approach will yield greater gains and fewer injuries. Even if I don’t have enough time on the new regiment to see a big PR in the fall marathon, I’m sure that after sticking with it, next spring in Boston will be a big, big day. I can already feel myself feeding off the crowds now! What an honor it will be to run in that fabled race. One step at a time right now though, Smuttynose is officially on my horizon in October. I’ve registered for my second NH marathon, first one was in the mountains and this one is by the sea. The field is a decent size and the flat course promises some fast times, especially considering that it is on one of the statistically best weekends for weather in New England! My current marathon PR is 2:48:26; with the crowds energy, flat course and fall temps (crossing fingers) I’m training to knock another 8:27 off of that and go sub 2:40. I’ll be running one more half in my training and I am hoping I can run at marathon goal pace in that one, if not under it, that will give me some confidence that my goal is realistic for the full. I raced in a half the other day, but very hot temps got in the way of running at target pace so I started slow and picked it up the last half to get some more progressive racing experience with negative splits. It worked out at that race and even slow I was able to nab second place. First time getting a medal in half or full! Still haven’t broken the tape, but I feel it coming soon, now! Maybe only in some 5k fun run, but I know it will feel amazing!
I’ve spent a lot of this year watching track events and getting hooked on the sport at a professional level and itching to take part. Either with coaching or competing in a club. I might have to stop being a lone wolf next year. It was originally my goal for this year to join a club, but other plans got in the way. There is a club around here who uses a wolf as their logo matter of fact… I’m not even close the caliber of their group yet, but I’d love to join.
It might sound insane, but I am actually happy when I make mistakes. Well, to the extent that the learning from them is usually more valuable than the best peaks in training or racing. I seem to forget the things I learn when everything is buzzing along and going well. But those low times when the walls on both sides of the valley seem so tall, those are the memories I draw on to find power when I need it most. I have brought this mentality in to my running because it has helped me exponentially in the rest of my life over the past few years. As I find myself, once again in a low spot, I am trying to focus on all that I should be learning from this pit, while remaining thankful and positive. The word pit instantly conjures up images of Indiana Jones lying prone surrounded by snakes. (I’m already more thankful for my pit!) Also, as I’m writing this, it’s the second night in a row that we’ve had reprieve from nearly three straight weeks of mind-melting humidity. Another wonderfully positive point when you have no a/c in the house. Thinking of how nice it is outside makes me want to go for a run so badly! Of course that brings me back around to the reason I’m in a low spot, I’m currently on the DL, so to speak. Long story short, I have minor a herniation in a lower disk on the spine. Naturally, it has caused all sorts of other pains and unpleasantness, too. Most notably, some brutal sciatica down my left side. My usual MO is to continue training no matter what, but as I am actually trying to apply the things learned in previous training, I have been off for four days now. Going to see a sports chiropractor tomorrow and hoping to get the green light to start slowly working back in some running, but not counting on it. The mistakes this time around were easily identified and hopefully will not be repeated. Started out with too much track work and hard tempo runs and almost no core, upper body, or easy running. An obvious recipe for disaster when coming off some easy weeks and a light volume month, post marathon. Obvious to someone who is able to observe it, anyhow. I was too giddy about getting back on a track and nailing specific times on repeats and running 50+ miles a week again. All of my focus was on all of the wrong things, or at the very least, too much focus was on only some of the right things. It has been noted and written down and I’m ready to build up my base the right way after this injury. It is a good time to refresh and apply new knowledge. Still nearly 12 weeks before the next marathon, assuming I can start training again soon, that should be plenty of time with the solid base I currently have.
Speaking of the training though, I’ve had more time to put into my reading and studying and cannot say strongly enough how great this book from Brad Hudson is. I recently read “The Cool Impossible” by Eric Orton and thoroughly enjoyed his interesting approach and training recommendations. I’m not currently looking to start from square one on a totally new plan, but I might experiment with his methods in the future. “Run Faster” from Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald has given me quite a number of “aha!” moments, though. I look forward to bringing in so much of it when I start training again. It speaks directly to everything I’ve been working and thinking about in running lately. It also enthuses me even more to start looking for opportunities to learn more about coaching and training. The idea of coaching or training full time is seeming more and more like the road I will be taking in the future, so excited with that possibility. If God is leading me that way I know that doors will open to make it happen. The idea of going back to school seems so daunting at 26 and nearly 6 years out, but if that’s what I need to do, I know it will work out.
I am going to be seeking new opportunities even sooner if I don’t stop typing and go to bed, though. New post needs to happen soon, all of this time off has my brain in hyper-drive and I need to write all the thinking down before it becomes scrambled! I have some more theological musings to draft soon and some other general life events, also.
Stay tuned to this space for some non-running related content coming up soon.
I actually started training again three weeks ago, but I’ve been a lackadaisical sluggard on documenting this effort. Being too busy and/or tired from actual training is a good thing though. I would really like to keep a better record, but I have been taking detailed notes in the training log, at least.
High level view of the past three weeks goes something like this; multi-day hike, starting track work-outs, confident form over long runs and more than anything… hot hot hot! I started off the month with a cold and wet three day hike up in NH. It was exactly what I needed after a May that quite honestly did not end up like I had wanted or hoped it would. Second week of the month I started training in earnest again. Got back on the track for the first time since last December and was not happy at all with my current fitness. Finished the week with 50 miles on the book and one 16+ miler. Week three saw some better times with mile repeats on the track, averaged around 5:30 pace, still not where I want to be, but within a stones throw, now. Finished the week with negative splits over a 10 miler that saw me finishing at sub 6 pace. Ended up with 52 miles total. Now about to wrap up week 4 of June, my track work-out was just 400’s this week, they felt okay, finally feel like I’m getting some fast-twitch action again. Ran around 1:10 for the first half and then some 1:09’s and 1:08’s by the end. Did 300m hill sprints tonight to work on form and strength and was rewarded with instant satisfaction, a cyclist complemented me with a “yup, that’s perfect form” on my cool down run. What can I say, every once in awhile I don’t screw this running thing up! Looks like I will finish the week with around 45 miles run. Next week I’ve scheduled my first real long run, 20 miler. Should be back into the low 60’s for miles.
I was looking around at some local clubs again tonight. There are two good ones within a half hour, both have faster minimum team requirements than I can even put down right now. I feel like I’ve been getting much faster over this year, but this just inspires me to work even harder and rest/recover better and eat even better. I’m not content with doing okay and being a ‘fast’ runner. I still have a lot to prove, God has given me the ability and desire to run distance and I aim to do the very best I can. Laziness has no place in my life, in running or in work. I’ve also started the process of being involved in coaching, too. I’m still not quite sure what I should be doing and where I should be doing it, but the path seems to be less convoluted and the clearing is making me turn towards a future in running and helping/inspiring others to do the same. Trying to be receptive to whatever future God has planned for me.
Quick Dawes name drop here, too. Saw them in a small concert the other night. Honestly, the best band I’ve ever seen live, absolutely stunning skills and talent.
I’ve been reading too many well written running blogs lately. They should inspire me, but alas, they only make me jealous. I’ve been especially enamored with the details and emotions displayed in post-race recap posts. I know that any attempt on my own part to make a readable story out of this will inevitably fall on its face, so I’m just going to detail my race in the hum-drum fashion that comes easiest. Sorry readers; but did you really think this was going to totally wow you? Read my earlier posts and let them dispel that notion in a hurry! (Humor intended)
It was a foggy and dense morning on May 19th. We awoke around 5AM, or rather, gave up the pretense of sleeping. After a delicious meal of mostly pasta the night before and the early hour, it took everything in me to force down a bagel and a half with a banana for breakfast. The bagel was topping-less and untoasted, as well. I couldn’t decide on the proper spread, so I opted for plain. I’m usually awake for an hour before ingesting food on the average morning, but with the race start less than two hours away it seemed best to get the food in straight away. Our hotel was less than a mile from the finish line, but the start line was 26.2 miles straight past the finish going up into the mountains. We gave ourselves an early enough departure so as to arrive at the start with forty-five minutes to loosen up and make final preparations re: pit-stops behind a tree. I probably ran a total of 1.5 miles loosening muscles up and shaking things out, all the while feeling quite antsy to get started. Not to antsy to not flash a smile for the pre-race picture with my friend/early race pacer, Austin:
After a couple of last minute just-to-be-sure bathroom breaks and one final kiss from the girlfriend, I was toeing the start line. Although I had planned to start at an easy pace with Austin, we figured there was no harm in taking off from the front of the pack as no one else seemed too eager to lead. There was a very short speech from a race director, a little pomp and then the gun went off and we were on our way. After a half mile the leaders broke out in front of us and started to build up speed and thin out. We started a little faster than intended, but it felt easy so we didn’t question it too hard. I stayed back for the planned 5kms of easier pace and then made my own moves. I opted to not use a watch and simply run as fast as felt best, so when I took off on my own I never actually sped up to the pace I had set as a goal. I know I could have run harder, but I don’t regret that decision either, had I run harder there is no knowing if I would have finished as strong. I look at every mile as a learning experience and every marathon as a complete game changer, this one was no exception. Next time I will wear a watch, but I will also keep in mind the benefits of running by feel and not by data. Anyhow, back to the recap; once I took off I started to focus a bit more on the course and count off the landmarks that we had spotted on our day before drive through. The challenging up-hills on the course were all between mile 5.5 and 10.5, with the toughest climbs from 8-10.5. The elevation at the race start was around 500’ above sea level with the peak elevation somewhere close to 1600’ around mile 10.5. I missed the mile marker at 7 and had a few minutes of serious confusion assuming that I had slowed down a great deal on the hills. My confusion turned into elation when I spied mile 8’s sign. I knew that the toughest hills were yet to come, but the majority of uphill distance was already behind me. I had a few sections where digging deep was required on the steepest climbs, yet nevertheless, mile 10 came and went and soon the steepest downhill of the race was in sight. I blitzed down the first steep dive and blew past the main entrance to Sugarloaf Ski Resort (the race’s namesake and host/organizers) the snow still covering the upper trails gave me motivation as I knew it was feeding the river I would be following from there until the finish line. The cool breeze from the river was a welcome relief by mile 13, at mile 11 after coming out of the clouds however, it was a bit of an arctic blast. Thankfully I had opted to keep my light gloves on, so with warm fingers my core temp did not drop too much. I would like to further expand on miles 13-20, but they really are the long slow trudge of any race for me and are full of mantra’s and boredom for the most part. Every 5 miles or so my girlfriend would be waiting with a wave and a kind word and I would attempt a smile and thanks in return, there was also a family of four who cheered me on for nearly every mile on a good portion of the second half of the course. I thanked them after the race and they told me that a son/brother of theirs was the next person behind me and they had fun cheering us both on. At mile 17 my girlfriend was nice enough to even snap a picture of me:
She was waiting for Austin to run past before driving up ahead, hence the odd mile stops, as he was about 8 minutes behind me. From mile 20 on I began to count down the kilometers remaining in earnest. At mile 23 I struggled with my only bout of wanting to quit or at least slow down, it took a focused hearkening back to a brutal 31 mile training run for me to snap out of it. I was fairly tired over the last 5k but I kept forging ahead, attempting to finish with negative mile splits. The negative splits did not quite happening, but I did manage a consistent pace over the entire course, on the hilliest marathon I’ve ever run. I sped up a small amount for a dash down the final .2 and finished in a time of 2:48:26 in sixth place. It was not the dream time I had conjured up but I was under my realistic goal of 2:50. Thoroughly content with the race overall and even a first place age group award, I believe this picture shows that joy nicely:
All in all, Sugarloaf marathon was a blast. I’m not sure I would run it again, even though the course does boast fast times, with that last 16 miles of mostly downhill. The utter loneliness and boredom of large portions of the race was a huge challenge. There were a few houses scattered about, and cars of friends and family at regular intervals, but those sections in between, often miles long, they were a lonesome quest. I’m sure it would be a fun race to run with friends, or even to compete in closer quarters, but to be alone for such a long and hard effort, it took quite a mental push. I’ve been making some hard decisions and reworking my training platform to focus on some areas I found weak after the race, but I am now ready to begin training again next week. I’m looking forward to building up and trying to hit the elusive goal in the next race and the old adage about the climb being more enjoyed then the view from the top has never rung truer in my ears. There is certainly a sense of accomplishment found in achieving goals, but there is a natural conclusion to a cycle then, that leaves a large hole in ones thoughts. That hole is easily filled with the training beginning anew and new goals and mountains to climb envisioned. The pesky couple weeks of recovery necessary after a marathon, those are the darkest and hardest parts of training. Taking time off is not my strong suit, but much like actually running slower on my easier days, it is a very important part of eventually getting faster. One last picture to lend some photo proof to my nearly 13 minute PR:
I sit here with my feet in pain and a sore back and neck and nearly everything else. I ran my fastest marathon to date four days ago and finished in sixth place overall. I had set some lofty goals for the race and nearly achieved them, still finishing under the time I had expected to, though. I am thoroughly happy with my performance and with the effort I put in. I capped off the fun race weekend with a few days off from work with my girlfriend in which we spent time on the rocky coast of Maine, in the quiet lake town of my youth in New Hampshire and socializing with my parents and some close friends. We capped off the fun by seeing a matinee showing of classic book, made into a movie.
However; as the time away from work went on and the planned happenings commenced, I felt myself feeling less and less satisfied with it all. I’ve heard the stories about putting too much expectation into something to the extent that it ends up being a letdown, even when it all goes well. But this was not that story, no, my tale had just the right amount expected from it and delivered on that expectation handily. This feeling is one of deep dissatisfaction, the feeling a leaf rake gets when it’s used to move snow, the feeling a hammer obtains when used to smear paint. This is the feeling a man has deep inside of him when he is not being used for the task he was designed for. Yes, you see, I believe that we are all designed with a purpose, a holy calling an eternal mission, if you will. Somewhere along this path my plans became my own, my relationship with this lovely girl became my own to manage, my athletic pursuits became my own to succeed at. I don’t mean to say that I entirely departed from the task I was made to perform, mind you; only that subtle seeds of self-reliance crept in and influenced me in ways greater than I could have anticipated. Most obviously, they robbed me of satisfaction. Humans are meant to be filled with satisfaction, they are meant to enjoy the earth and they are supposed to be full of joy! Yet, here I sit, having just come through a time of fulfilling and fun experiences, with grief and sorrow a better description of my countenance.
I found myself searching for understanding over the past day, praying that God would accomplish great things in the lives of those around me who I love so dearly, while wondering why my own life seems like such a struggle, even when it’s going well by the worlds standards. The answer, which I’m still only beginning to acknowledge, is a lack of full worship of God. Part of my heart still worships other things. This worship of anything other than God is called sin and more specifically, it has been named idolatry. Part of me knew what sins I had been engaged in and enjoyed it all none the less, but part of me I pushed deep down and forced to watch the fun transpire because it knew the difference between worldly fun and heavenly pursuits and was asked not to interfere. This knowledge has risen back to the surface now and caused a host of discontent as only the Spirit of God indwelled in us can cause against sins. For, as with any “big” or “small” sins the bright lights eventually fade away and the lust of it all dies after time. Now, there is no real size or scale in the level of sin, this sin can be anything from a subtle departure of a whole-hearted seeking after God, to a full-fledged rebellion against him. The end result is still the same, a sickening and palpable sense of dissatisfaction. When one has let their work, or schooling become an idol and they seek all of their glory in it they will eventually find themselves in great distress over it, either from a lack of joy in the success or the misery of repeated failures. When human relationships are the location of one’s fulfillment they will meet the same result at some point, a lack of satisfaction. People will let you down, they will abuse you, they will mistreat you and they will ignore you. In athletics or sports the same sad story can be told; a failure to reach a goal, an injury that sidelines or any other number of setbacks can feel like the total robbery of joy in life. Before I continue, I should give some words of hope. This is not an angry diatribe against work, school, friends or athletics; this is merely a breakdown of the other areas in which I most commonly see people attribute the worship and satisfaction designed to be given to God. Those are things are all wonderful and fulfilling on their own account, when the heart has not placed them as number one in priority.
Continuing on, I will attempt to elaborate on a solution to this lack of satisfaction and the grief it causes. I have heard it said that the writing of thoughts can provide some form of cathartic reprieve to those in stress. I think that there is indeed some truth in that, but I would take it a few steps further. The writing process will help the author solidify their own specific stresses, sure, but unless those issues are brought before someone who can help assuage the doubts, pains and stresses, it will at some point turn back to a lack of hope. These additional steps are really prequels and sequels to the inscription of problems and not simply postscripts.
· Firstly, prayer; it is the step I turn to when stress first rears its ugly head and I continue in it for the duration, prayer for understanding, prayer for peace and prayer for grace and mercy. Philippians 4:6-7 English Standard Version (ESV) do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
· Second, the Holy Scripture of God; the Bible contains the words of God and insists upon itself. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 King James Version (KJV) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Lastly, a departure from sin and renewed worship of God is paramount to overcoming grief and gaining satisfaction. Romans 6:6-14 (ESV) What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self[a] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free[b] from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. And further encouragement can be found in this passage: Romans 4:7-9 (ESV) “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. How can I exist in this world that so idolizes wealth and reviles the very idea of truth? I am feeling sick right now after watching The Great Gatsby. I need a renewed hope and reinvigorated love, God. I have tasted of all this world has to offer, I have been of and not in this world and like Solomon I can truly say that all is vanity. I pray earnestly that all of those I know would come to know You God as I do and bow to You as Lord; I’m broken entirely in spirit and heart with the thought of those perishing around me. Oh God, let me be used by You in a powerful way. Please reveal Your Spirit and stir up a love for Yourself in those I love on earth, Lord Jesus. I long to share fully in these human relationships, I crave that common bond. Keep me free from sin and able to give you glory, Lord God. I know that James 5:16-20 is true and I pray it with my whole heart, God.
Thank You Lord Jesus, for the instant peace You provide upon my very utterance of requests in Your holy name. Amen.
It seems the closer I get to a race the less I can actually type about my training. It’s not that I have less time; I’m actually in mid-taper and have plenty of time. The problem is I’m so freakin excited that I can barely even verbalize it, while dancing around like a loon. I really have slacked though; a month off from blogging has pushed my motivation to slower than a standstill. I’ll make this update brief in the hope that I can make a better one before the race on Sunday.
My training has had a few setbacks with some calf cramping and mild strain, but a shoe switch and some skipped workouts cleared it up both times it happened. I missed seven workouts total in April, over two separate weeks. That was it for bad news though; I’ve had so many breakthrough workouts in this build-up that I am actually feeling the possibility of finishing very close to my lofty goal time.
Long run heaven! I ran my first 50k, attempted to run only 29 miles, but ended up with nearly 31 miles total. Was trying to run at an easy pace the entire distance but ended up running 28.7 miles @6:35/mile all thanks for the quick pace to my mate Austin from run group. He will be in the same race on Sunday and is pushing for a Boston Qualifying time, I feel confident that he will nail it. I should expound some more on this long run in particular because it was such a memorable run, but I will save that for the next post. I have a few other workouts that are worth at least a mention here, my last couple speedwork sessions have been 6-8 miles of Fartlek and they have been at a cruising fast pace in the on sections; feeling very solid, on hilly routes too. Even more noteworthy was my last set of repeats a couple weeks back; ran 10 repeats all at 5:00/mile pace. Last workout to give a shout-out to was my final weekend tune-up run, ran 10 miles total yesterday and 8 of them in my race shoes, to get some more miles on them. It felt quick, like close to goal pace, it turns out I was running at a 5:51 pace for the duration, 15 secs a mile under goal pace… oops.
That’s it for now. On Saturday I head up to Maine for packet pickup and a quick drive of the course. Sunday is the race and Sunday night will be spent back over on the ocean in Maine; continuing on to NH on Monday and then cruising around my childhood hometown on Tuesday with my amazing girlfriend, Sara. Sara is coming up for the race as well and will be assisting with physical and morale support of both Austin and myself. Though, I have it on good authority I will be valuing the support a good deal more than he. Just to have someone cheering for you personally, can provide a huge boost, to have someone you love supporting and cheering for you increases that positive input by a great margin.
Marathon Monday and Hillsborough Anniversary – Apr 15th 2013
As I sit here with my post-run euphoria the task of enumerating the events and emotions of Monday from my own perspective seems just a bit more manageable. I know that no words I say can bring back loved ones lost or reverse great tragedy, but I can speak those words to God and ask for His peace and try to show the love that I have through His Son.
For many across the Atlantic in England and even here in North America Monday was already a day on which to remember great tragedy, as the 24th anniversary of the Hillsborough Stadium disaster. The campaign to bring out the truth of Hillsborough has made great strides over the past few years and this year the closure for the victim’s families was to be celebrated on Monday, instead those of us in Boston were left with a shocking new horror and tragedy to cope with. I have listened to the Hillsborough Tribute release of He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother numerous times tonight and it just seems so fitting a song to sing to the victims and survivors on both sides of the ocean now. I hope that these words can bring as much meaning to you as they do me:
I’d like to extend my own invitation at this time to anyone who needs someone to carry them right now, I may not have a large back, but I can run and I will finish the race set before me. I draw my strength from the words of Christ in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatian church in Galatians 6:9 also give me direction and hope; “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” I do plan to run the Boston Marathon next year and though my plans were to simply run and compete for myself, I now see that this race will be one that is run for everyone. I will still try as hard as I can and my goals and efforts will still be as big as they were a week ago, but this race has taken on new meaning for me and there is no escaping that. I feel that I must at least try and thank all of those friends and loved ones who contacted me on Monday. I cannot possibly tell you how uplifting it was to hear from so many of you and know that we were on your minds. I’m sure that I speak for everyone in the Boston area and at the race when I say this, but the outpouring of love and support was more than stunning. The marathon community has been hit hard, but I know of no stronger a group of individuals, there is no getting back up because we never went down. We did take a hit on Monday and feelings of shock, sadness and loss certainly linger, but they are not alone, they are joined by; love, strength, integrity and more and more resolution by the moment. We will be back stronger than ever next year, for Boston, for Hillsborough, for those who can no longer run everywhere, we do remember and we will remember.
I seem to have done something awkward to one of my lower calf muscles. Yet another chance for me to learn some new lessons, albeit potentially painful ones. It seems that pain is the only thing that does teach me a lesson, praying I learn the right ones from this. It doesn’t seem to be anything serious, maybe a slight tear at worst; going to rest it for a few days and ice and stretch regularly. I’ve decided to not run in the North Face 50km next month and save all of my efforts for the next marathon, which is five weeks from today. So thankful that the decision was already made pre-injury, as it would have made this even worse knowing that it was three weeks away.
In other news, I’m trying to sort out what to do with my life. I’m never content with just existing and plodding along. I need to have big goals, beyond the running, beyond this year or the next. I honestly believe that God has a specific plan for my life, I’m just trying to understand what that is. I should also take this moment to publicly profess the thanks and love I have for all of my good friends, I’ve been relying very heavily on their wise counsel these past months and it has been to my benefit.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
― C.S. Lewis
“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting—any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I could go on quoting C.S. Lewis all day, but I’m going to go read some more of his words instead.