I went out for my first long run on Sunday to start the being of my marathon training. It gave me some time to reflect on last year and what I can do better for 2012. A marathoner’s goal each year is to improve upon last year’s results. It’s easy to just look at 2010’s finishing time, 3:51:39 and compare it to 2011’s of 3:48:37. Anyone can see it’s was 3 minutes and 2 seconds faster. I could stop there, but does running faster make you a better runner?
I revisited my training regimen. I definitely trained harder, had more miles and better constancy. I ran 5 – 6 days a week but in the end, I injured my leg and pretty much had limited or no training for the 4 weeks leading up to the marathon. The run was confusing, mismanaging my pace and underestimating my leg pain that I faulted at mile 23. There is room for improvement here with a goal of an injury free season.
As I continued my run, I tried to figure out why last year seemed to be my best season. I was so focused on the marathon and the running, I forgot about the biggest influence of all, Brendan and the DFMC team. Very quickly, Brendan put a face to the Dana-Farber story. He gave me a look into the life of a child with cancer. I started to see the impact it causes to Brendan and his family. That was what changed me and my running forever.
Marathon running is a selfish sport. There is a lot of alone time. It’s difficult to share unless you know another runner planning on the same marathon who has same pace with a similar training schedule. For a brief moment, I thought of not running Boston this year. I’ve run it 3 years in a row, and there are other marathons I’d like to experience. I’ve yet to qualify, so that meant another year of fund raising. Not training in the winter months is appealing too.
I will run because Boston was no longer about me anymore. It was about Brendan, It was about Dana-Farber. It was about doing my little part of kicking cancer’s ass down the streets of Hopkinton, past Wellesley College, up Heart Break Hill, by Kenmore square until I reach the finish line on Boylston.
I finished up Sunday’s run renewed and looking forward to the coming months. Bring on the cold, the snow, the dark early morning runs, the letter writing, and the fundraising. I want it all. I’m ready.