Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Boston and out

Twice over the last couple of weeks I tried to sign up for the New York City Marathon, which is to be run on Nov 1. [Some of you may know that I have a guaranteed entry due to my half marathon time in San Antonio last November.] Twice the application/registration process stalled out; something wrong with my computer or their server, who knows. Maybe just as well. Over the weekend, during and after a long 18-mile training run in the hills of New Ulm, I started wondering whether I really wanted to run New York. Or more correctly, if I really had it in me to tackle another marathon training cycle. By Monday, I had made up my mind. Boston will be my last attempt at the full 26. 2 mile distance.

Sure it would be fun to run New York with 30,000 other people and no doubt it would be a fantastic experience. I am just not compelled to train for it. My marathon string has come to an end. The enthusiasm is still there for running, but not for running quite that far. Too much wear and tear on the body, too many hours on the road, just too too much. I will still be doing some half marathons and I am looking forward to becoming more involved with the Houston Striders, do some volunteering, maybe some photography and definitely more short races such as the local spring and fall HARRA series.

Running marathons have been and still are one of the most amazing things I have ever done. I don't think I will ever forget the exhilaration of finishing the first one, running one with Kathleen and finishing together, or going all out and qualifying for Boston. Along the way, I met and befriended many interesting and fascinating people, saw some great sights, conquered a few hills, stumbled and fell a few times, hit the wall, sweated, sweltered, froze, lost a few pounds and gained some too. I gave advice, but not as much as I received. I talked and listened, laughed and joked, swore at a few bikers and worried about some dogs. I subscribed to the magazine, read all the books, checked out the websites, pored over training programs, tracked mileage, measured heart rates, and calculated training paces. In the beginning I thought I could run through injuries. Wrong. I thought if I ran hard every time out, every day of the week I would get fast. Wrong again. All I got was seriously over-trained.

But of course all is not over yet. There is still Boston! Training is still going well. I ended last week with a total of almost 50 miles, including a long and very tough 18-miler with a few Katy Fit runners in New Ulm. We will be going out there again next Saturday. I am told that the hills around New Ulm are easily the equal of the Newton hills and Heartbreak hill in particular. That remains to be seen. Saturday's long run was followed by 6 more on Sunday, and more than 10 on Monday. The result? Fatigued legs and and no energy by Tuesday morning. I took the day off. Starting to act like a former marathon runner already!


Billy Burger said...

I know what you mean Bert. The wear n tear can be brutal. But man...NYC is tough to pass up. I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision for ya however.

Continued good health and training leading up to Boston. If you're running one final marathon - what can be better?

Minken said...

I know many of those same emotions (especially in the thick of training). Call me a cynic but something tells me that I may see you at another marathon start line in the future, but perhaps with a different motivation or perspective.

I agree with Billy though - if you are going to hibernate for the winter from these things, Boston is the place to do it! (I am super jealous - I sure would love to run it someday!)

johnking said...

I like your point of view. NYC doesn't appeal to me. After battling a year of injuries and ups and downs, there are often times I question if it is worth it. Do all these sacrifices really make up for crossing the finish line. I'll never know. Looking forward to Boston, I'm heading out there this weekend, I'll let you know how the course is.

Alexandra said...

I like your honesty and that you share it with us! I have been questioning my entry and training for the Calgary Marathon. I really want it bad but I want to hike and snowshoe on the weekends and now that the weather is getting nice, I want to bike too! My marathon training is getting in the way!