Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Motivation: Where are youuu??? (Post Marathon Blues)

My son has this thing that he does. He jumps on me and crushes my baby makers EVERY SINGLE TIME. When he is looking for me he’ll yell out “Dada, where arrrreeee youuuuuu????”  Of course, 9x out of 10 I’m in the bathroom so I’ll yell back “BUSY! Watch more Cars!” to which he ignores and comes barging in.

After my last race, (trying not to be one of THOSE people who runs Boston and then talks about it for months after.  Did I mention that I ran the Boston Marathon?) I’m finding myself with a severe lack of motivation to get back out there.  The excuses that I’ve used so far are:

  • Work has been crazy. I want to do well, so I’m focusing a lot of my energy at it
  • My worthless body requires 6 hours of this thing called “sleep”. You just LAY there and do NOTHING!!!  On top of that, it requires it EVERY DAY!? Ugh, so much upkeep for this stupid meat sack
  • I have ZERO races officially on the calendar. Like, none
  • I’m still trying to get back into the groove w/ running with no pain post stress fracture
  • Because of time with my son, varying schedules with work/running/family, and booze filled passed out stints, I’m having a really hard time finding consistency. Consistency is KEY

The reality is, of course, that all of those excuses are bullshit. I just need to cowgirl up and get my ass in gear. Fast.

Marathon blues, the void that a major race ran leaves behind, is a tough one to shake. I feel like people assume that someone who is my speed or that because I am a coach I should be impervious to post race blahs.  The reality is that unless I have a very clear goal in front of me right after a race I slack off a bit until I find one.  Never mind the fact that I slacked off most of the spring because of my stress fracture, I’m just finding it hard to get up the motivation.

There are lots of things that I could do to get back on track.  Quit my job and start running 120 miles a week for one.  While that would be fun, my useless body not only requires 6+ hours of sleep to function, it also requires FOOD – and that costs money.  So, the job stays.

The reality is that posting this on here is a big step. Holds me somewhat accountable to do the other things that I’m going to call out.  Other than that, first I’m going to find a race and sign up for it. By this weekend, I will be signed up for one marathon within 4 months from now. Second, I’m going to make the necessary changes to my life (read: less wine so I’m less sleepy *sigh*) so that I can get back on my regular schedule.  I’m also going to continue biking 2-3x a week.  As much as it hurts my ass (oh my god like so much) it is allowing me to get some added cardio time which is needed.  But finally, I’m going to set a goal. I need some sort of time or mileage based goal (because I’m a big dumb alpha male) to push me in the right direction.  2:59 marathon? 100 miles in a week? 300 mile month?  Who knows.

Soooo anyway.  That is that – back on track starts NOW.  I feel like I’ve been to confessional.  Does that mean I can drink more wine? I’d better have some wine to be sure.  Mmmmm, confession.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Funny Foto Friday: Bike Trainer Crash

First things first, thanks for your feedback on Matt's guest post (well, and for that matter my Boston race report).  I agree with many of the comments - Matt DOES need a blog! Essentially I've appointed myself the blog propagator of the internet - everyone has a story that is certainly not as boring as mine.

Next, I have GREAT news to report.  After a rough few weeks of running, I had one of my first post stress fracture pain free runs yesterday!!  I'm very excited.  It's been a very long road, but I think I might have found the trick: I foam rolled BEFORE the run to loosen up my calves. I've had some pretty bad shin splints as I've gotten back to running and that seems to help.  Normally, I don't advise doing that on cold muscles, but I do a few active warm ups before.  Works!

The other part of my "solution" is biking. So, Thursday night I hopped on the bike trainer in my house, flipped on Real Housewives of Orange County Netflix, and started assaulting my genitals pedaling.  I felt something a bit "off" like the bike had a bit too much side to side movement.  Well, I stood up on the pedals to throw in a bit of a sprint and... well... the bike came loose while my feet were clipped in and I went FLYING. Turns out, the bolt that holds the back tire in had been unscrewed a few turns by my son and I didn't notice it until it was too late.  OYY!

100% real. 100% painful

Random picture of me at 4:30am
Does this mug make my PR look big?

Finally a picture of my son.  I ran a 4.2 mile race last weekend (report coming soon - probably) and I rode the light rail to the starting/finish line because he LOVES trains.  Well, while he likes riding on my shoulders, he also thinks that it is HILARIOUS to smack the top of my head as hard as he can.  Honestly? I can't say that I blame him - I would probably do the same thing. Happy Friday!  Errrr, Saturday!

This is how men go bald I think

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Guest Post: Matt's story on Boston

This will probably be my last post on the Boston tragedy.  A runner buddy of mine, Matt, was also there and had put together his thoughts on the day.  Like me, he didn't have a perfect race, but that seems to be overshadowed by the events of the day.  But, he doesn't have a blog and stuffing the below 140 chars at a time on twitter might be a bit hard, so here are HIS words.

Monday morning, I ran the Boston Marathon for the first time. This edition, the 117th running of the world's oldest marathon, seemed to be going off without a hitch. The starter's gun went off promptly at 10:00 am under mostly sunny skies and seasonably cool temperatures. Along the way, the crowds cheered and waved and hoisted inappropriate signs about "stamina" and how good my butt looked. (Aww, thanks!) Everything seemed to be going on it always had. Like the 116 before it, the 2013 edition was full of triumphant moments, happiness, and enthusiasm. The worst case was blisters and sunburn, maybe a couple cases of dehydration, but nothing more.

Personally, the race wasn't a great day for me. The "check engine" light had come on in the first 10 minutes, and by then it was flashing incessantly. I knew a meltdown was imminent. I walked more than I'd care to admit in the infamous Newton Hills, and even the downhills in Brookline and Boston didn't revive me much. I did manage to run, even run hard, as the course made the two most famous turns in all of marathoning: Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston. Thousands of cheering, spectators flanked each side of the course, as they have for decades, to cheer on the runners.

About an hour after I finished, I was sitting in the Prudential Center food court, about to dig into a burrito that I was sharing with my 9-month old daughter. My wife sat next to me, along with my two teenage siblings and my dad. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, the "Pru" is located on Boylston Street, set back from the road about 100 yards, and 2 blocks from the finish line.

We noticed a muffled bang. We all looked at each other, but dismissed it as perhaps a heavy metal door being slammed shut. A few seconds later, there was a flood of people, running and screaming through the food court, headed away from the finish line. My immediate thought was that a gunman was approaching, so I fumbled at the straps that were holding my daughter in her stroller, got her out, and told everyone to follow me as we made our way to the exit in the direction people were running. Some people were beginning to talk about hearing or even seeing an explosion near the finish line. When we got outside, in sight of Boylston St, it was clear that organizers had shut down the race.

Instead of joyful runners approaching the finish line, it was a near-continuous line of emergency vehicles. Instead of cheering spectators craning their eyes for a loved one finishing the race, it was horrified spectators hiding their eyes from carnage. Instead of handing out water and Gatorade and medals, brave volunteers like Carlos Arredondo turned to identifying the wounded and improvising tourniquets.

I really couldn't see all of this from our vantage point on the second floor of the Pru. But I didn't head to the finish line to see what had happened, or what I could do. To be honest, I didn't even think about doing that. All I wanted was to get the hell out of there. I lead my family back through the Pru, out the rear entrance on Huntington Ave, and towards the nearest T station.

Outside again, the sirens were ear piercing. Emergency vehicles of every shape and size imaginable rushed toward the scene of the disaster exactly as I was fleeing it. They didn't know if there were more explosions to come, or if any other gruesome type of attack was imminent. News of what had happened slowly trickled in through word of mouth and Twitter.

Dozens injured, they said. Some kind of homemade bomb, maybe. It wasn't an accident. Bloody wounds. Limbs missing. Blood covering the glorious blue-and-gold finish line on Boylston St. Maybe even some deaths. Yes, two confirmed dead. The
injuries might reach 100. Maybe more.

We finally made it to a T station where the train was working, and before long we were safely in the suburb of Winthrop where our rental house was.

For the rest of my life, I think, I'll remember that decision to leave. I don't know if I should have handled things differently. I can rationalize by saying I had a wife and young daughter to take care of. I can say that I'm not trained in emergency medicine and I might not have been able to do anything to help anyway.
But the thing that scares me the most, I think, is that I didn't even consider going down to help. I was concerned with nothing but getting out of the area.

I guess if there's a few lessons to take from this, it might be these. First, life is short. We don't know how much longer we have left, so don't get hung up on the small things in life. We all have it so very good. That guy cut you off in traffic? Your kids won't eat their dinner again? Probably not worth getting too upset about. In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter that much?

Second, live your life for others. I'd like to think that if I'm even in that situation again, I'll run toward the disaster instead of away. I don't know if I could have helped. I don't know if I could have saved a life or comforted someone. Was it better for me to stay with my family and make sure they made it to safety? I don't know. I can't go back and do it again, of course, so I have to live with how things played out.

And one last thing--there's nothing better than the running community. I wore my canary yellow race shirt all over Cambridge on Tuesday and caught eyes with dozens of others in race gear. A bond we all shared over triumph marred by tragedy.

We will not be defeated by the evil people who did this. We will come out stronger and better and more united. The good people in this world far outnumber the evil. I saw that on Monday in a way that I'll never forget.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

THE 2013 Boston Marathon Race Report

This race report is a bit later than I had originally planned it to be published. I honestly wasn't in the right headspace to write a fun, irreverent race report until now and I felt like people had a bit of Boston overload - maybe still do.  I didn't need to add my snark to the mix.  For that matter, I was so busy that I barely had time to sleep let alone have fun.

That said, this race report IS fun and irreverent. If you want a post that speaks to my heartfelt thoughts on the tragedy, go to this one posted last week. But, if you're ready to look at pictures of me with no pants on the toliet and hear stories about drinking beer at 9:30am..... you're in the right place!

Time: 3:33:18 (Beat my horribly easy C goal!)
Pace: 8:09/mile
Place: 9,333 / ~23,000 (both official and unofficial)
AG Place: ?? Not sure on how many were in my AG because they're still sorting out official finishers.

If you look on my sidebar (while not on your phone), you'll see that I haven't ran many races on the east coast.  Truth is, I don't know the proper pronunciation of Worcester, I **gasp** prefer starbucks to dunken donuts, and to me the "Jersey Shore" is a pink fruity drink at this sushi place I go to (Delicious!) - not where I go to get my fake tan on and do crunches to work on my "situation".

So, not only was my Boston Marathon trip going to be for the race, I wanted to make it a vacation too. So, I tried to take in as many sights as I could while still protecting my fragile post-stress fracture legs.

The view from my hotel.  It looked very....Boston
The finish line was just past the buildings to the right

Like any good vacation, activities centered mostly around embarrassing people around me because "hey, I'm not going to see these people again" food.  The food in Boston is amazing.  Nothing particularly stands out, all that I know is that I did plenty of "carb loading" the form of Boston Creme pies and wine. Also beer. Also, I drank a few port wines. Also, I think my liver hurts.

Other than more Irish pubs than I would like to admit (God bless the Irish Catholic influence), the place that sticks out the most is The Friendly Toast. It was on some show on the food network, so of course you know the food is going to be strange and "fancy" good.  It was a fun eclectic restaurant on the MIT campus that had more hipsters and skinny jeans than a fixie bike convention.

Wanted to get a picture of the eclectic restaurant and dude behind me totally got in a photo bomb
We locked eyes and shared a moment.... CALL ME!!

Bananas Foster waffle. LET ME REPEAT: Bananas foster for breakfast.
It could have only been better if I were drinking mimosas and doing something that was french
Maybe like smoking and being rude?

After eating what I can only imagine to be about 3000 calories, Lesley and I walked from MIT over the the expo across some a bridge over some water. I'm sure both were famous. You can look them up. On the way there, I saw one of the iconic sites along the Boston marathon course.  The Citgo sign!

This sign is at mile 25.2 of the course, signifying that you have 1 mile left.  It's a fun landmark because you can see the sign from about mile 22 on.  Staring at you. Reminding you that you have MORE than a mile left. I freaking hate that sign.

Only can the Boston Marathon make a old gas station sign famous

Once I thought that I had soaked in as many calories as Boston had to offer, it was off to the Expo.  Now, I've ran other big city races.... Chicago, San Diego both have 35,000 or so runners.  Even the Phoenix race has more than a few.  But, I have to be honest that I completely underestimated the spectacle that was the Boston Marathon expo.

Sure, they had all of the crap that you are used to from any random Rock and Roll expo... The Lara bar people were there, Nuun had a booth, CEP Compression was there, Brooks shoes had a massive setup, and there were enough fanny pack / SPI belt manufacturers to store more iPods and running tampons than anyone would ever need.  But, most interestingly, there were lots of DIFFERENT booths that I had never seen before...  There was more than one coaching booth (McMillian had one), there were about 5 compression sock booths of various brands, etc etc.  It was quite simply the most fun I've had an expo thus far.

Did I mention I spent like 3.5 hours there?

Ok, so maybe being on my feet that long wasn't THAT good of an idea, but I tried to make the most out of my time.


The iconic Boston Marathon Jacket. ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! 
Thing better make my junk look bigger I need all the help I can get

Took all my will power to not buy Boston Marathon Booty Shorts. Heyyyy
Probably WOULD have bought them had they not been $50
Whatever, I would have wore the shit out of my Boston Booty Shorts

One of my most favorite things to do at Expos is rub elbows with fast runners. I'm honestly not sure WHY I like to do it. Most times I have conversations that go something like "oh, you like running? Cool. I like running too. You're faster than me. Cool. I have a blog. Can we take a picture?" Eloquent for sure. But, either way, on the Saturday before the race I bounced around to booth after booth meeting up with famous people.

Andrew Lemoncello - Olympic steeplechaser. 
Would have made the Brit Marathon team if not for injury

Ok, so here is the deal with this next picture.... While I was waiting in line to meet Shalane and Kara, another runner flagged me down and told me that she reads my blog!! That honestly NEVER happens (you know, because...it's just a blog) so I was super surprised. Of course, I told her that we HAD to take a picture and I asked that she send it and tweet me. That was BEFORE the bombs.... and now twitter won't go back far enough so I can find her name. :(  soooo I basically feel like a huge jerk right now.

Update: Mystery solved!!!  It was Kaprian!

Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan - waited in line for 90 min :-\
Probably the two fastest USA female marathoners right now
Trust me, they think I'm hilarious - totally not for "show"

A very pregnant Lauren Fleshman and I. (mostly a 5000m runner)
She was SUPER nice and has her own energy bar line - Picky Bars

Adam Goucher and I.  He has a hot wife.
Also, I've heard he is/was a pretty good 5000m runner in his day

I met lots of other good runners too.  Meb Keflezighi was there as well as Kathrine Switzer the first female to run the Boston Marathon.

At some point before the race we went over to the finish line to see the freshly painted banner on Boylston street.  I still get somewhat emotional thinking about this.  In fact, from this first picture, I'm standing very near where the 1st bomb went off.  ANYWAY, I had a bit of a "moment" with the finish line and told her that I'd see her in a few hours.

Screw terrorists, the finish line is AWESOME

You didn't think that I was going to KISS it, did you? Gross (That's what she said)
Besides, I don't kiss on the first date.

After my day bee-bopping at the expo (do the kids still say bee-bopping? Is that still hip?), my legs were fried.  They were soooooo sore and tired.  Other than compression socks and ice, the only thing that I could think to do was drink away the pain.  So, that is what I did... with little fancy Port Wine glasses.

Little glasses make me feel HUGE!

They also make me feel slightly feminine
Well, I mean more than normal

On day two of the expo (yes, day TWO) I mostly just wanted to meet up with twitter buddy Matt. Which, I did!  It is always awesome to meet people face to face that I interact with online.  Of course, the downside to that is that they find out that I really AM as boring as I promise I am. Sucks for you!

The three of us went to a Boston Marathon Legends seminar hosted by Runner's World. The seminar was just OK, but I got to meet the Editor in Chief of Runner's World: David Willey!  As you can tell from the picture below, Dave sort of looks like Captain America. Let's just say that he dipped into the deep end of the "good looks gene pool".

Dave and I.  He even smelled good. 
Smelled like a mixture of sawdust, tender touches, and oh my god I miss him so much

So, I'm not sure if you heard, but the Boston Marathon isn't just a kick ass expo in a fun city.  Turns out, you actually have to run. UGH.

It is a point to point course starting in a sleepy town 26 miles west of Boston.  The course zigs and zags and honestly is not all that flat.  The first 5 miles are downhill and miles 18-21 are uphill (the dreaded Newton hills...the third of which is Heartbreak Hill).

The thing that makes Boston unique is that the marathon start isn't until 10am - and it is on a Monday!  I have to assume that the late start is mostly to accommodate the crazy long bus ride to the starting line from downtown Boston.  Seriously, I'll bet it took nearly an hour to get there.  The bad news is that I got really sweaty on the school bus.  The worse news is that, like every other race, I didn't wear deodorant.  BUT, the good news is that the time on the bus allowed the coffee to kick in.  And, well....  here you go.

Taking care of business.  Yes, with these kinds of picture taking skills, I WILL take your wedding photos

Since I was in the first waive of runners, I had a bit of time to kill at the "athletes village" (Boston likes to make you feel important so they give things special names) so I took a few pictures and met up with some other runners.  It was a bit humbling to be sitting chatting with a few sub 2:40 marathoners as well as a few other sub 3:00 guys. Oh well, one of them stole brought a sheet from their hotel that we sat on and kept warm.

Yay! I can take panoramas with my iPhone

The first half

Note: I paid for all of these, but they weren't "ready" yet... annoying
Will replace when they are!

I bought these, will replace when avil
Miles 1-6 - Downhill!! Boston!! Running!! YAY!!

The last month of running has been rough.  Probably more rough than I have said on my blog. There was stress fracture pain, shin splints, and leg cramping that lasted days after I finished running. I hadn’t ran more than 13 miles in over 3 months. So, just getting to the starting line of the race was a victory in itself.  That said, I knew that I could run the first half at my old long run pace, so that is what I had planned to do.  7:30 pace for the first 13 miles.

Like I said before, the first 5 miles were all downhill.  You basically lose 250 or so feet, which for a road guy like me is not insignificant. All of the books that you read have big bold letters saying “Don’t go out too fast or else you will stop in your tracks at mile 20 and get trampled”.  So, I tried REALLY hard to stick to my pace and not go too fast.  Since I started out in my normal 3:04 qualifying corral, this meant that I was passed.  Weee doggies was I passed. I was running 7:30s, but was being treated a bit like one of those people walking at mile 10 of a marathon.  “Keep it up buddy, looking good!”  This essentially happened for 11 miles.  BUT, I felt good and was running my race.

Miles 6-13 - Yay!  More running! Well hello Wellesley College girls with "kiss me" signs....

These miles flattened out a bit which was a nice change.  This is about the point that I expected my shin splints to start showing, but they didn’t!!  I’m not sure if it was the runner gods shining down on me or the fact that the race was later in the day, but honestly? I didn’t care.  I was too busy chugging along sweating.  You see, for some reason I thought that it would be a good idea to wear long sleeves.  Look, I’m from Phoenix.  If it gets lower than 50 degrees, I’m considering wearing gloves.  So, the upper 40s at the start were grounds for a full on hat/gloves/long sleeves assault. The more I ran, the more I noticed that I was the ONLY person with long sleeves.  Oops.

One of the more “fun” things of the race was the Wellesley College girls. I have no idea why a few hundred 18-21 year olds with “kisses for PRs” signs at one point decided to cheer along the course and scream at the top of their lungs, but I wasn’t complaining.  Sadly, I didn’t set a PR, so there were no kisses for me, right? ;-)

All in all I hit the half right at 1:40 which is where I wanted to be. 

The sad times

This was UP one of the hills. Blarg
Miles 14-21 - Things are going good... Oh crap a hill... GAH... ANOTHER hill... #^$)*#$!+%

The strategy for the second half of the race was always to not poop your pants have as much fun as possible.  Walk the aid stations whenever you had to, but essentially make the most of the situation without hating life afterwards.  After the boost of screaming 18 year olds (wait, is that creepy?  That might be creepy.) I ran the next few miles letting myself really enjoy the fact that I was running the race of my dreams.  It was by this point that people FINALLY stopped passing me and I was able to find a good groove amongst my 3:25ish pace brothern.  That is – 45 year old men and females.

Oh, but miles 18-21.  There were hills.  Yes, there were hills...  They weren’t big hills. They weren’t even all that long hills. But it sure would have been a lot nicer to hop on a moped and drive to the top of them.  Where is THAT marathon?

The only thing that made the hills bearable was the mopeds crowd support.  Not only at the hills of Newton, but literally along the ENTIRE course.  With the exception of a few miles at the start, people lined the ENTIRE course. Starting at about mile 18, there were people 1 and 2 deep the entire way.  It was amazing. The support that the city provides the race is completely outstanding.  That said, the hills freaking sucked and I walked like 2/3 of them. :)

Miles 21-Finish! - SO.MANY.SPECTATORS.

As you can tell by my splits in the picture above, the last 5 miles were a bit of a slog.  The lack of training because of my stress fracture was REALLY showing. When your “slow” goal is 7:30 and you run a 10:00 mile, you’re starting to drop some significant time.  This is really when the crowds are a bit annoying. I just want to take a bit of a breather and no fewer than 30 people are telling me how awesome I am!  Honestly I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Speaking of, at some point along the course (I think along these miles) we ran by Boston College.  They were honestly much louder than the Wellesley girls.  I’m not sure if it was because they had 2 hours more beer in them or what, but it was nice to do know that there were more 18-21 year old girls cheering people who were having some fun watching the marathon.

Just so you don't all of my pictures were good, they weren't

Like, at all

I’m really trying to remember more about these miles.  I know that there was screaming, lots of sweating, pain (on the bottoms of my feet - I think because of lack of miles), I was exhausted.... so, basically it was like any normal Saturday night in my bedroom! Heyooooo  

I can tell you that, in spite of my oxygen depleted memory haze, I will never forget making the left turn onto Boylston Street. The crowds were deafening, I got chills, the pain in my feet went away. I was finishing the Boston Marathon.
I really shouldn't look this fresh at the finish line

Me at the finish line ~2 min after I finished!

I'll admit it, I LOVE this picture. I look proud

Tuesday after the race the city was still in a state of shock about the bombs.  But, I was determined not to be afraid, so I continued seeing the city. (In hindsight, since the jackasses that did it were still roaming the streets, probably not the best idea.)  Anyway, Tuesday had one thing and one thing on the agenda: start drinking beer at 9:30am.  By that, I of course mean the Sam Adams brewery tour!

They were doing something to the brewery so I didn't get to see that part
Blah blah, free beer!

One of the coolest things that the brewery has done the last few years is brew a "26.2 Boston Brew". Of course, it was delicious.  PLUS, because I brought my marathon bib, I also got a free pint glass! Score!

Mmmmm, running.. I mean beer.

Marathon swag and beer swag in a display case
This is basically a wet dream for me right now

In all honesty, I did do a few touristy things while out and about the day after the race.  It was somewhat scary because there were AK-47 swat dudes on a lot of the corners, but I suppose that just means that we were extra safe.  Either way, I didn't let that spoil walking the freedom trail for what seemed like 20 miles and snapping a few pictures of buildings that were older than I can comprehend.

As if finishing the race wasn't victory enough

Two days after the race (Wednesday), everyone that I had met up with had gone home so I was left to wonder the city.  So, when left to my own devices, I had to options: Go back to Sam Adams and drink more beer.... or catch up on work.  So I played hipster for a bit and hung out in a coffee shop.  There wasn't any poetry or smoking, but I did "snap" when people said anything I felt was cool.

All I needed was thick rimmed glasses and a Mac

that day I did a lot of wondering around downtown near the bomb site.  I got as close as I could and paid my respects of sorts and did a lot of inward thinking.  Happy to be safe, sad for those who were not, but thankful that I had so many fond memories to squish out the bad.

Commonwealth Ave in Boston.  The trees were in full bloom

So, after that VERY long report (longest post ever?) I wanted to leave you with this.  When I went to see the finish line on Wednesday after the race, I was interviewed by a local NY TV station. I can admit that I was near tears the entire time - but I meant what I said.  I would run the Boston Marathon every year if I could. So, I guess I best get going on re-qualifying! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombs - My Thoughts

Normally my blog is a pretty irreverent view at...everything. Tomorrow that will continue. But today, I want to touch on the explosions at the Boston Marathon.

I posted on twitter that “The #Boston2013 marathon finish line doesn't belong to terrorists - it belongs to me, and to EVERYONE who considers themselves a runner.” A friend Jamoosh added that it also belongs to spectators – and I agree. I finished the race with 3:33 on the clock. Not my fastest race by any stretch. In fact, it was one of my slowest in recent memory. However, it is scary to think that if I were to run just 30 min slower I would have been right in the thick of the explosion that happened at 4:09 (2:50ish pm local time).

Fortunately, I was long gone by the time the bombs went off. The 4:09 was actually the 2nd or 3rd waive time – and the bombs were somewhere between 30 - 90 min after I had crossed the finish line. But, when it comes to bombs, 3 deaths, and ~175 injuries, minutes or hours doesn’t really seem to matter. What matters is that I was close. Too close for comfort.

There are better images, but most are more graphic

Seconds after the blast - the runner in Orange was 2nd in his Age group - 75-79

The Boston marathon wasn't just a race for me. It was THE race.  The culmination of literally years worth of work and sacrifice. I gave up nights out with friends, countless hours of sleep, strained relationships with family members, and ultimately, I broke my own legs (via stress fracture) to get to the starting line.  To think that someone tried to not only take that away from me - but harm the people who supported us runners makes me more angry than I can put to words.

As such, I'm very torn about my Boston Marathon experience.  On the one hand, I put in the work and I got to run the race.  It wasn't my best race, but it was fun and everything I hoped it would be. In spite of everything, the Boston Marathon was amazing. However, the race will forever be associated with bombs.  No one will remember the gorgeous weather.  No one will remember the screaming crowds.  No one will remember the running.  They will remember the bombs.

But, I got to finish. Sadly, there were 4700 who were stopped in their tracks.  Many had no phones, no money, no hotel keys.  Nothing.  They were left to scramble to find their loved ones, to pull their lives back together.

Runners stopped at approx mile 25.5 on Commonwealth Ave
Most had no idea what was going on.....
And many had no way of communicating with THEIR spectators

On Wednesday morning, I decided to go visit the finish line.  It was honestly something that I would have done either way.  Had it been a "normal" race, I would have likely stopped traffic trying to get a picture of the finish line, maybe went for a quick jog up and down the sidewalk trying to relive some of the marathon finishing jubilation.

I refused to be afraid.  I wouldn't let anyone take the finish away from me.  The Boston marathon belongs to runners, belongs to spectators, belongs to everyone.

Of course, today was very different.  There were police on every corner.  There were satellite trucks beaming both stories of heroics and horror to every corner of the globe. As I was walking around thinking of the people still battling their own marathon of healing, I wore my marathon shirt and marathon jacket. So, as one of the few runners who were out and about at a pretty early hour, I was interviewed by a half dozen or so news outlets. Of course, they wanted to know what I was thinking (sad for the victims), if I was wearing my jacket as a sign of solidarity (I was), and if I would ever run the race again.  My answer?  I would run the race every single year if I was able.  

What the last 4 days have taught me is that in spite of great tragedy, the race is quite simply the best that I have ran thus far.   

The makeshift memorial two blocks past the finish line on Wednesday
I had walked past this exact place just 2 days before

Runners are amazing people. Many people have quipped that no one should mess with a group of people who get up early in the morning and run 26 miles for "fun". That kind of drive and resolve just doesn't exist on the road, it exists in the runners. Who, after finishing the marathon, literally didn't stop and ran an additional 2 miles to donate blood.  It extends to the runners who helped pull burning and mangled bodies out of rubble.  But most importantly, it exists in the selfless act of leaving what is a runner's most prized possession  their finishers medal.

Someone left their finisher medal as a token of respect

The eerie silence of Boylston St on what would be a bustling business day

FBI agents doing a sweep of Boylston St

In what I feel has turned out to be a rather disjointed post (fitting for the disjointed day), I wanted to make a comment about spectators.  The only difference between a run and a race is spectators.  Runs have a starting line, a finishing line, and a overall time.  But races have spectators.  It is with spectators that our sport becomes a sport and not a hobby.  There were ZERO 2013 Boston Marathon runners killed.  There were, however 3 spectators who lost their lives.  One of which was an 8 year old boy who was cheering for his dad who was running.

That Boston Marathon runner not only has to deal with the loss of his son, but has a daughter who lost a leg and a wife with massive head injuries. I quite literally am not sure that I would be able to go on with life if I knew that as a result of cheering for me people were harmed.  If I take away anything from this tragedy it will be that....  That I will appreciate other runners, yes.  But, I will appreciate ALL spectators for turning my hobby that I would do with no one watching into something that brings great pleasure and joy to all who watch it..... Something I'm certain the terrorist would not have wanted.