What is the best strategy for finishing a race that you aren’t really prepared for? Start slow, then ease off (motto for the Greater New Orleans Runners Association circa 1984).
It was a perfect day for running and my experience with the Boston Marathon significantly lowered the pre-race anxiety levels. The day started a little before 5:00am in order to make it to MGH and the bus to Hopkinton by 6:05 and the starting gun at 10:30. Amy Flynn and company at MGH really go to a lot of trouble to make the pre-race ordeal less Spartan than the independent race experience. We had a nice bus, a warm tent, plenty to eat and drink and some entertainment to round out the hours. The Boston Athletic Association deserves a shout out as well, in my experience, everyone and everything BAA is well planned, cheerful and helpful.
If you have read prior installments of this blog, you probably know that knee problems essentially benched me for most of the winter and I wasn’t really prepared this time around, at least not as prepared as I like to be. This may actually be the first time I started a race wondering if I was up to finishing it. It wasn’t easy but I crossed the finish line after 4h53m32s. That’s not as fast as I fantasized about but about where I expected to finish this year. I am satisfied; besides, it will make achieving my sub 4 hour marathon goal seem more dramatic. I also want to express my gratitude to the experts that helped eliminate my left knee from the list of barriers to success; Dr. Bradley at High Performance Sports Medicine and Jill and Sara at Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation.
It was great to see the Wicked Running Club at mile 17. Apparently, the Wicked Gel Stop has become a motivational milestone for me. From the start, I kept thinking “if I can just make it to the Wicked Stop”. Once I passed the halfway mark and started ticking off the back side miles, my confidence grew as did my longing for some Wicked Gel. I spotted Colin and Rachel first, then the long Wicked line including Beth O’Grady, Doug Bollen, I think I saw Shari Hewson and Adam Fitch; you know I was moving so fast, it was just all a blur 😉 . The Wicked Stop definitely helped catapult me up that series of hills on Comm. Ave. that in years prior did not seem to me to be that big of a deal; I suspect the gel was helpful too. Thanks for saving me some chocolate.
GO MECHE FAMILY SUPPORT
Kristin, Atticus and Alexander were great and this was the first year I actually spotted them near the finish line. I lack the skill to capture in words just how powerful that moment felt; it was better than the finish line just a few hundred feet away. Thank you Allison Brooks, Paul Durand and Sarah Nelson (listed alphabetically—I lack the courage to try and rank their contributions). Needless to say, without your support, tolerance, nagging, etc. our outreach would not be so effective or so darn interesting ;-).
After a quick shower at Fitcorp we went to MGH to get my car and took a brief detour into the lobby to see the poster that MGH put up. Next was the post race dinner; we seem to have developed a tradition as this is the third year in a row at Finz in Salem. I want to give them a particular shout out for the extra hospitality (thanks Joe, Jen, Kate and of course Geo).
SUPPORTERS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY
I get more credit than I deserve for the running part of this enterprise; the truth is I find running to be a selfish and enjoyable act (usually). The people who are making the most difference are those of you supporting this Cancer Care for Children program by writing a check or pressing that www.FirstGiving.com/Meche_Marathon_Team button. Thank you for all you do and give. I promise to keep running if you keep giving.