Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Long road ahead

The comeback trail is long, winding, with plenty of hurt -- but it is not necessarily a lonely one. 

I was out there tonight, hammering in an eight-mile run with some striders. Two things about the run made it an indicator that I was working harder than usual. It was longer than a usual five mile weekday run, and I was putting in some quality work.

About 40 minutes into the run, on a trail on the eastern waterfront, I saw a familiar face, a friend. As we neared, him striding toward me, I waved and we both stopped. Sweat pouring down our faces, we started chatting.

Me: "How's it going? Looks like we're both working hard."
Him: "Getting the miles up, but the tempos are tough, trying to get them sub 5."
Me: "I know we're you're at, I'm working at a comeback. More miles, eating better, dropping some pounds, getting back to where I know I can be."

My friend has been an inspiration -- he's a marathoning veteran, a multiple Boston finisher who has a substantially fast PB, and who aspires to get back to Boston with a sub 3:40. A few years ago, we traded talk about how he'd pull of such faster times.

We don't take the past for granted. As we stood there, trading war stories of being on the path toward better marathoning, we knew what it took but, as he said as he is now in the 55-59 age group, "I don't take that for granted." More miles (55 miles for each one of us last week), more training, more running, taking better care of ourselves.

Many of us want to run Boston again, a simple fact. The bombings have something to do with it, but in that race we saw the self that we aspire to regain. The disciplined runner, the strong athlete, the person who ate miles for breakfast then munched on a double run for after-dinner snack. Sweat, oxygen-sucking runs and fast splits were the building blocks of that excellence. Some of us forgot how much hard work it was, and part of the reason why we cherished the times that were needed to qualify was that it was -- for most of us -- damned hard to get there.

(I, by the way, have no illusions -- I'm not getting back to BQ pace at least this year. My goal is to get back into marathon race shape I think I can be, run a decent race in the 3:20s and see where it takes me.)

My eight miler became more than nine, but I wasn't rushing to finish the run. By the end of the hour and 10 minutes on the road, I was striding hard, marvelling where my conditioning has gotten me so far this year, pushing harder than I've pushed in a long time. The road ahead is tough -- I remember now the difference between training to race a marathon versus training to prepare for multiple completions.

I'm so glad I'm not the only one back on the path to a better self. You know what they say about misery, company included.


Run Now wristband giveaway

My buddy Lee came back from NYC about a month ago and gave me a Run Now Boston wristband. The funds go to The One Fund benefiting the victims of the Boston bombings. I've worn it since and it's helped kept me focused during this training cycle, and has a small part in inspiring me to train harder, run more, eat better.

I wanted to donate more to the fund (luckily my work has a Boston office and I was able to donate through a matching program), so I picked up an additional few bands.

I obviously don't need five, so I'm giving one to a friend, keeping another and giving away the other three. 

So here's the deal. I'll send to anywhere in Canada (i'll throw it in the post) so all you'll have to do is indicate in the comments that you're interested -- tell me why, plain and simple. No retweeting, no following me on Twitter (though you're welcome to) or such nonsense. If I do by chance get more responses than bands, I'll throw it in a random number generator.

UPDATE: Thanks so much for your comments. Good news is I've come across another batch of them so I'm giving away EIGHT. I'll send out the first four this week. Email me your mailing address at yumkerun@gmail.com



Ririnette said...

I'd love to get a wristband! I never ran Boston but it is a long term goal of mine and getting it from you who has been such an inspiration for me it would mean a lot. I got affected by the bombings in Boston more that I thought I would and the wristband will remind me every single time how precious life is, and doing what I love most is the way to keep moving forward.

Alice said...

I would love a wristband as I am currently training for my first ever full marathon. I enjoyed reading your post tonight as I am just trying to train properly and injury free. Maybe one day, I'll be able to make my way to Boston.

Dana said...

Hello Kenny, a friend of mine introduced me to your blog after I ran Around The Bay and she heard about issues with a train (glad I missed that) then your experiences with SL10k (again missed that but my friend's didn't). You became my go to for TO race info. Boston is a goal (pipe dream) for me to run a marathon, but my goal is that I don't want to run a marathon unless I can qualify for Boston. The Boston bombings make me want to train harder to get there. I am as of today on day 271 of a run streak (inspiration from @beerrunner). I don't care if I don't get a BQ on my first try. I will try again. I don't care if I don't get a bracelet, but I really want you to know that your summer push has inspired my summer push & your blog is an inspiration. I don't run with a running group, i have a friend who will join me on long runs when they match her schedule. I say that to you so you know there are peeps who read your blog that you don't know you inspire. Please keep posting & I'd like to see more 'and I felt like crap' runs just to know you get them too! ;)

Robin said...

Your marathon training is going great! I've BQ'd this year with a time that should get me in and it was a strong motivator when the race in May. I'd love to have a wristband, as it symbolizes so much for runners and non-runners alike. I wasn't going to go back to Boston for 2014 but it's my friend that wants to go back (the non-runner), who was with me when I ran in 2012....she said we have to go back...so back we will go.

Laura said...

I'd love a band...I feel like I need a little something right now. My running is going well but the long runs are just not fun. I have had a ton of cruddy personal stuff going on, been sick and busy at work. My running is my therapy and joy so having to deal with the "UGH...a long run" is not fun right now.

Marlene said...

This post rings so true for me. As you know, I'm on the (slow) come-back trail and starting to feel like my former self, little by little. I miss the hard work and the commitment that I had to training a couple of years ago. The desire is back, I'm ready to work hard and I just have to try to be patient right now since I obviously can't jump into 100K weeks and the paces I used to see... as much as I would like to.

The wrist band sounds like a great reminder to stay focused and chip away at my stepping stone goals - to keep the faith that I can get there again!

Mari said...

Looks like many of us would like that band. I tried to qualify at Toronto this year -- I actually came up to you just before the start of the race -- and used you and the 3:55 as my rabbits. I didn't get my BQ, but I did have a 20 min PB so I should be (and am) happy with that result. Truth be told, though, I trained like crazy for it through that awful winter/spring and now I just feel a little deflated. I'm trying for it again in September, but the way my training has been going lately, I'm not sure I got it in me. This post helped put things into perspective. Thanks!

macnic said...

Awesome post, Kenny. I wanted to train to attempt a BQ at a fall marathon this year, but alas, it was not meant to be. Instead, I'm training super hard anyway, to ensure a PB in the half. I see this as the first step to my BQ training plan which will start in December. BQ attempt #1 will take place next May. Reminding myself that it takes work, hard work to get there keeps me going. Thanks for the reminder that it takes work for everyone - even the veterans

ableafs67 said...

Hi Kenny, Enjoyed the post. Big fan of your blog. Loyal reader for 2+ years. Your posts convinced me to run ATB this year and maybe you can help get me to Boston!! PS I'd love wristband.

erma said...

Running Boston is not a running goal. I know where I stand in the pack at the start line. I run because I love it. Nothing ruins a race like keep looking down at your watch. Keep your head up. Look at all the people. Feel the air in your lungs. This is why you run. This is why we all started to run. Keep it simple. Never lose the love of it. And never eat up yourself over a race time. And besides, I dig bracelets.

-erma r

yumke said...

UPDATE: Thanks so much for your comments. Good news is I've come across another batch of them so I'm giving away EIGHT. I'll send out the first four this week. Email me your mailing address at yumkerun@gmail.com