This blog is a special shout out my to my training partner for the Chicago Marathon, 4:05:58.
Unfortunately, on May 4, 2014 at the Pittsburgh Marathon, I missed my dates with a PR of 3:45, 3:50, 3:55, 4:00, and even 4:05. Physically I was trained to run 3:45 or better. Mentally I was not focused enough to run my race the way I wanted. As happened in Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Disney, my head got in the way. So for the last 20+ weeks, you and I have spent a lot of time together, 4:05:58.
I have you engraved on a medal I despise, that I look at everyday, out of disappointment.
My profile picture comes from the day we first met, and I hate looking at it everyday, but won't change it until we finally part ways.
I constantly think about the sinking feeling as the wheels fell off of that marathon, with downtown Pittsburgh straight ahead of me as I ran towards the city, my Garmin reminding of the time that kept slipping away. This wasn't the first time it happened. As mentioned above I experienced similar race train wrecks in Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Disney. I have never really talked about them, admitted what happened, or discussed it with anyone. I always thought it was because they were destination races, and travel and stress contributed to the issues I had. My times were always respectable enough for me to just shrug it off and act like everything was fine. Not this last one. Not you 4:05:58. I can't shake you. This happened at home. I knew the course, the hills, the bridges, the towns, the crowd. You snuck up on me out of nowhere. The feeling of heading towards the finish line was not one of excitement, it was a feeling of failure because of what could've been. And there you were waiting for me 4:05:58, the prom date I never wanted, the blind date that I would've run from if I had the chance.
In the last 20+ weeks you have motivated me in ways I have never thought possible. I have lost 45+ pounds in that time. Completely changed the way I train. I took on an advanced training plan I didn't even know if I could finish, because you convinced me I needed to do more if I wanted to be better. You have taught me to fuel, hydrate, pace myself, and approach each run with a strategy. I have done more speed-work in one week this training cycle then I had ever done in the past. I consistently run negative splits, and have even been able to finished long runs with sub 6:30 miles the last mile. This is not the pre 4:05:58 Mike. You have made me more focused then I ever thought possible. The times in my training when I would have previously pulled back or gotten overwhelmed, you have convinced me to push through, work harder for one more hill, one less second, one last mile. In some ways, 4-5 miles of falling apart may have been the best thing to ever happen to me, because if I had never met you, I may never have lit this fire inside myself on my own.
Just over 2 more weeks from now, and we get to dance on the streets of Chicago together. What will make this different then the other races? I will have something for 26.2 miles I never had before, I will have you. I will be talking to you a lot, reminding myself of how you have made me feel for 5+ months. You are the main ingredient to the glue that has kept my head together through this training cycle, 4:05:58, and I intend to use you for everything you are worth. I hope to never see you again, but I will say, you have been one hell of a motivator. I hope I find a replacement that can push me even harder.
There is no finish line.
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