The 120th running of the Boston marathon is in the books for the Harkins. It was a tough day. The heat played a pretty major role in both of our races.
For me, I felt like I could have changed my goal to something closer to 2:40. It was hot in the starting area, and I knew that it would be a factor. But then, I did not come to Boston to run 2:40. I came to run 2:35.
The race unfolded as many do with the exception that there were like 600 guys at exactly my pace. It was really pretty amazing to see so many sub-2:40 marathoners in one place.
This year I was able to take in more of the early sights and enjoy some of the crowd support. It is the closest I will ever come to the feeling riders must have during the Tour de France. It truly is worth every minute of pain.
I physically made it through about 16–17 miles, but my brain was working overtime. Both quads cramped around mile 10, and I had to spend some significant time rubbing them out. I took a gel, two Endurolytes, and about 8 oz. of sports drink around mile 18. It was a luxurious, but necessary, layover. It had a high impact on my spirit as my goal started to slip away.
The latter stages served up more challenges as my quads continued to cramp through the hills. It was a pretty severe defeat during that particular battle. Boston had become the adversary even though she sounded like a friend. So many people cheered, “Come on Pawtland!” But they were sort of saying, “Don’t embarrass us!”
At mile 22, my mental mantra: “D-I-G-N-I-T-Y-one; D-I-G-N-I-T-Y-two,” and so on. I tried every trick.
I was essentially slogging through the final miles until I found some focus. I challenged another guy to a race. Sounds pretty strange since we were already racing, but we were both balled up in some kind of fetal-position, save-me-from-this-monster pose, so it was necessary.
For about 12 minutes, I replaced the pain and despair with courage and fortitude. My original goal was lost and forgotten. My new goal was to squeeze whatever I could out of the final miles.
I finished by out kicking one last guy. I grabbed my knees, closed my eyes, and listened to a man on a megaphone shout, “Welcome back to Boston!” My first thought was, “I should have never left….”
My next thought was a thankful appreciation for one the best athletic events in which I have ever had the privilege to take part.
I returned to the finish corral to collect my wonderful, tough-as-nails wife, Paula. I am so proud of her. She will always set our household standard for perseverance and grit. She had early challenges at the four-mile mark…I never would have made it back. Proud!
This 100 Days has produced a large volume of work, especially for a non-poster like myself. Thanks for the well-wishes and the support. And thanks for joining me on my journey.
The Boston Marathon 2016 is now history. I missed my mark by a bit, but it was certainly not from a lack of preparation or support. Thanks Paula Harkin, Scott Fauble, and the crew at Portland Running Company.
Final Time. 2:45:59. I guess every second does count.