Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Post Boston Perspectives

We runners often define success in terms of the good races we have or the absence of bad races.  We learn over time, however, that success is not always black or white.

In my early running years, it was simple.  There were bad races and they were decimating.  A bad race equaled failure.

Over some period of years, bad races were all I expected.  Those were the years I was convinced I would never be as fast as when I was younger and lighter.  A bad race then was resigning to defeat.

As of April 21, 2014, a bad race does not exist.  Failure does not exist.

There are only learning opportunities.  

There are only experiences to draw from.

I run with many Boston veterans.  All of them said "do not go out too fast."  All of them said the downhills early are tricky.  I listened, but I had to run 26.2 miles on that course to learn.  

To learn that Boston is a really tough course to PR on as a first-timer.  

To learn that Boston is an experience to live in and harness and embrace for what it is, and not try to turn it into everything at once - the fastest marathon ever, the most cathartic running experience, the last marathon, the "epic finale" (all as I had built it up to be in my mind).

Learning from Others

The individual whose race taught me the most in Boston was a man we all know by now.  But I never saw him once on the course.  It was a man I never had a chance to speak with after the race.  It was a man who quite honestly I forgot was even there.

It was Meb.

Meb has run some incredible races when it has counted the most, but compared to the other favorites in the field, he had some of the slowest PRs.  

At 38, he was of an age we typically consider "past the prime years" for winning major marathons.

He proved everyone wrong.  

He proved that my age is another beginning for me, not an end.  That improvement is a continuous never-ending process. had a great story about teamwork which you may have read by now (but if you haven't I really encourage it).  Running much of the time is solitary pursuit, but we can only achieve so much on our own.  Having the support and camaraderie of others enriches our experiences much further.  I enjoyed spending the weekend with others, some of whom I was just meeting for the first time - meeting for drinks and dinner, or having a few other runners as sounding boards for after the race.

Say goodbye to bad races

The two words "bad race" are banned from my lexicon.  "Failure" is banned.  There are only the building blocks for future success.

And this is what success looks like.

Meb Keflezighi
first American winner since 1983

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