A First Win and the Postponement of Boston

date March 14, 2020 location Columbia, SC

To say that this week has been a crazy one would be the understatement of the century. It has been a dream of mine to run the Boston Marathon since I crossed the finish line of my first marathon 17 years ago in 2003. I finished the marathon in 4:33 for an average race pace of 10:33/mi and I was damn proud. An on-off relationship with running would follow the years after, until about three years ago when a fitness tracker sucked me back into the sport, adding with it a newfound appreciation, respect, and most importantly patience for this pastime. I slowly added on miles, reading books and blogs about proper nutrition, preventative exercise routines, and the history of the sport. I quickly went from amateur to weekend warrior, finally qualifying for the 2020 Boston Marathon with a qualifying time of 2:51:12 for an average race pace of 6:32/mi. This past weekend, week 12 of my 18 week Boston training plan, I ran the Run Hard Columbia Half Marathon as a tune-up race for Boston, crossing the finish line in first place and capturing the first ever win of my running career. Just six days after this race, it was announced that for the first time in the 124 year history of the race, the Boston Marathon would be postponed due to the coronavirus.

As it has been for everyone, this past week has been a rollercoaster. The indirect consequences of this pandemic, including: the cancellation of anticipated events, an inundation of corona e-mails from companies you haven’t transacted with in years, or the forced conversion from toilet paper to a bidet, pale in comparison to those facing major financial setbacks or health-related consequences due to COVID-19. These unprecedented times of isolation force to the top of mind our favorite hobbies that are no longer possible. In one way, I am lucky that my hobby doesn’t require a large gathering or some now unobtainable supplies in order to perform. For me, the last few days have had me consider why I actually run. Is all the hype of the Boston Marathon really because the event itself is so wonderful, or purely the artificial desirability generated by a strict qualifying standard? Is the Boston Marathon that much better than my local marathon, or any of the 1000s of marathons taking place every year? Are any of these races even better than a 26.2 mile run by myself, with no bib, official race t-shirt, or medal at the end? And is that 26.2 mile run (an arbitrary number if you ask me), any better than any other Sunday long run? The answers to these questions aren’t simple. While on one hand, I would love to romanticize my sport, pretending like the zen of just going out and moving is all that matters. But the truth is that if it wasn't for racing - the anxiety building up just before the starting gun goes off, followed by the satisfaction of crossing the finish line with a new PR - I wouldn’t be as passionate about the sport and I wouldn’t be running as much. So the ultimate question for me and I suppose everyone else is: What now? I managed to run every single day outside from November through February in Chicago’s frigid winter but I think I may take tomorrow off from running. I’m still sore from last Saturday’s race and the worst running mistake I could make now is getting injured. Maybe in April I’ll start a new training plan targeting a goal race on the newly planned mid-September date of the Boston marathon, or some other race, perhaps an ultra? Guess i’ll just take it day by day.

Crossing the finish line in first place at the Run Hard Columbia Half MarathonView Exif Information

Crossing the finish line in first place at the Run Hard Columbia Half Marathon