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A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

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A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  jon c on Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:07 pm

 A study in catharsis:  Boston 2014 report

Pics added below.....

 
Warning:  Adult language alert:  Part 1 of this report deals with personal stuff.  If you just want a nice clean race report without all the drama, please skip down to Part 2.  I’m not looking for a pity party. I realize there are many people better than I who have had much more difficult life circumstances by far.  I did not die as some did last year, I did not lose limbs or have family hurt or killed in the bombings.  I mean no disrespect or to minimize any of their much more difficult circumstances than mine.  This is simply my attempt to be real.  Nothing more, nothing less.

PART ONE:  My personal ish*

I have been pretty much absent on this board for the past year.  Occasionally I have posted, but not very much.  Since I ran Boston last year and then Lincoln three weeks later, things started to unravel a bit.  During the last half of the Lincoln marathon, I literally limped in with a pretty major hamstring issue that hit within a minute of passing the half.  Probably in my zeal to at least finish the race, looking back it most likely caused the injury to take longer to heal than it might have otherwise.  I don’t know.  I don’t regret finishing the race since it was something that I thought would be another experience to have a more complete understanding of.  I have been blessed with not really having a lot of major injuries to deal with in the past nine years.  Running the rest of the spring and summer months was a struggle as I attempted to get healed up.  Another attending result of the injury was that a sciatica piriformis syndrome set in the other leg.  Guess my body had finally begun to hit the wall from the stress that I had put it under in the past years.  Well, another test of endurance and perserverance was about to begin.

So as I struggled to get my body right, my mental and emotional status was being tested as well.  It probably started a couple summers ago when my daughter Hannah (now 11) was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic.  This disease really changes your life.  Controlling blood sugar is something non diabetics take for granted as the body regulates it.  But type 1, being considered an auto immune disease, causes the body to produce little or no insulin on its own.  So that has been an adjustment, and a significant one.

 Then for the past year there has been major stress in my personal life regarding several situations where there were people we were close to that split up and how it was handled and the aftermath and subsequent events have affected my marriage, my work environment, and my social life.  I do not intend to be more specific than that other than to say that while I cannot control others, the only thing I can control is my response.  I have been described by people close to me as a rock, someone that you can rely on to be steady, consistent, and reliable.  If I am a rock, then I have been chiseled away at, then the people came in with the jackhammers and now I am in the position of being completely crushed, vulnerable and have had feelings of powerlessness and profound loss.  And those I have been close to in this situation I feel have betrayed me and have been fundamentally dishonest on multiple levels.  And I am talking about at least six people.  People I considered friends and who I basically trusted.  In short, it’s a major clusterf----.   It has caused me to question a number of ideals and basic tenets that I have held to for many years.  I find myself untrusting of almost anyone I come in contact with.

And all this ish* angers me immensely, as you might imagine.


  • Ish is a word you can look up in the urban dictionary if you’re not familiar with it, but I think you can figure it out…



That being said, I have a friend who says:  “If I take a run at you and knock you down, that’s on me.  If I come back a year later and you’re still on the ground, that’s on you.”  I believe those are wise words.  The challenge is that I continue to see most of these people, some on a daily basis.  But I have to remind myself that I DO have complete control of my reactions to any situation.  I have largely kept most of my feelings to myself in this situation, since a lot of my close friends were involved in the situation directly or indirectly.  And in small towns, gossip is a part of the gross national product.

These circumstances have affected my running in terms of desire, want to, and just my ability to handle the rigors of training.  I have found myself angry at all the training days where I had to run in strong winds, cold weather, just some real irrational things that used to not be that big of a deal.  I guess the anger and betrayal is the hardest thing to deal with, as I have a very long fuse and feel like I am generally pretty tolerant and patient.  But all that seems to have changed.

This is a position that I have not found myself in ever in my life and I often feel ill-equipped to deal with the ramifications.  And in case you were wondering, yes I have spoken to professionals regarding this situation.  Unfortunately as of yet, it has not been helpful.  Perhaps it will be eventually.  But there is always hope.  Well enough of that…

 

PART TWO:  The race

So I managed to slug out some training as my injuries slowly healed and by late January I had begun a 12 week buildup to Boston.  While I didn’t run as many miles, and took more days off than I had in the past, I had confidence that I could do this again after my 22 mile training run two weeks before the race.

I had decided not to make any future race plans as of yet after Boston so as to not put more self-imposed pressure on myself.  So if this was to be my last Boston, at least for awhile, I thought it would be wise to take a different approach.  So my plan was to enjoy the day, the race, pay respect to those who perished, those who were injured that have risen above it and come back Boston strong.  Slow down the pace, not feel pressured to finish with a particular time, enjoy the crowd, the moment, forget about all my garbage at least for awhile.

So I got dropped off in Hopkinton, got searched by security and we were bused to the Athlete’s village to basically stand in potty lines.  Obviously there were more people in the race so there were more of those as well.  Anyway…

I was in the third wave corral two.  Before the race started, I made the decision to not start my watch, just simply check the clock time as I passed the start line.  That way I wouldn’t be as likely to obsess over pace.  I wanted to just run by feel and enjoy this very special day and race experience.  That turned out to be a good decision.

After running a few miles I actually found someone I knew….Lorena from Austin.  She and I had met up mid race at the Cowtown in Ft. Worth several years ago and ended up running together for most of the 50K.  At around mile 25 she said she was going to take off and away she went.  Wow.  At the time she was using the race as training for the Comrades Marathon in South Africa.  So I was glad to run with her a few miles this day.  Lorena is a machine, a very powerful runner who has done 50 and 100 mile ultras as well as tris at a near Olympic level.  You might say she is Austin Strong.  The reason she was back with the likes of me was that she had been dealing with an Achilles issue.  Ugh.  She planned on running slow, but after a few miles I could tell she was feeling it… and away she went.  She told me after the race she was quite sore and I encouraged her to get that Achilles healed up completely before it shut her down long term.

So after she moved on ahead, I was relieved to relax back into my comfortable pace.  I enjoyed a lot more scenery, more interaction with the crowd with my Boston Strong shirt, watching the runners around me.  It seemed that taking this approach was working well.  I enjoyed some of the sentiments expressed.  Shirts like F U Terrorists, the sign in the early miles on the side of the house quoting big Papi, “this is our effing city”, the “new” shortcut sign, the crowds seemed boisterous as usual and that only ramped up toward the end.  I noticed that it was warmer than I had anticipated it being and since we have not had many warm days to train (but plenty of wind), it was a little tough until I settled into my pace.  I checked my watch occasionally and was noticing that I was around a nine minute pace which seemed comfortable.  Really don’t remember my split times along the way, just knew at the half I was running a bit under a four hour pace.  As the Newton hills approached, I decided to not push, but to enjoy those as well.  And I did fade a bit on the pace.  My right calf felt poised to cramp from about mile 18 on, but I held it at bay somehow.  I did take fluids in at about every station due to the warm temps, I think perhaps a lot of those who ended up cramping toward the end regretted if they did not do so.

For the final miles past Heartbreak, I was just hot and tired like usual, but I seemed to have a bit of serenity that had been sorely missing in my life, at least for that point in time.  As we approached downtown and entered Boston, it seemed like the crowds energy ramped up yet again.  At the one mile to go mark around Kenmore, I glanced at my watch.  I was almost exactly ten minutes short of four hours.  So then I decided that since there was that opportunity that old self- imposed competitiveness kicked in and I thought it would fun to break four again.  But with a bit of a twist, I decided that I’d pull my phone out, stop and take a picture of Boylston Street as we turned into the final stretch.  So I got the picture taken, moved on and finished in 3:58 something.

While on the final stretch, I came upon four runners literally lifting a runner off the ground who could not stand without assistance, beginning to carry him in the last block or two.  I turned to them, asked if they needed more help, realized they were so focused they didn’t hear me, thought that this was their moment and then kept on running.  What a powerful display of the running community in that moment.  Apparently the guy eventually got his bearings and did walk across the finish under his own power.

Another powerful moment for me was standing in line at Marathon Sports near the finish line the day before the marathon, reading the tribute in the store window, and realizing this was the exact point where the first bomb went off.  I wasn’t there when the bombs went off and I was certainly not as affected as some in this group were who were actually on Boylston when it happened.  However, I was surprised by the depth my emotional reaction to standing in that spot the day before the race.  In addition after I met my family, we walked back and more or less retraced our steps from last years race aftermath, stopping to eat at Qdoba at Kenmore where we saw firsthand what was being reported after the bombings.  The atmosphere there couldn’t have been any more different this year.  And for that I am profoundly thankful.

 

So what about the future?  Because of all the uncertainty in my life, I have not scheduled any races at least for awhile until I can begin to get my head on straight.  So we’ll see how that goes.  I have a group of runners that I know that are getting together to run the Las Vegas half in November, so I am planning to be there, running or not.  I am not giving up running by any means, but simply need some time and  clarity to set in.  I may try to find some beginning or intermediate runners to be a mentor to and possibly coach.  I think that as much joy and satisfaction that running has brought me over the years, that it may be time to give back a bit more.

It has been said that training for distance running is the process, running the race should be the reward for that training process.  That concept of the race being the reward was never a reality to me even after over 30 full marathons.  Boston 2014 was the first time I can say that I now have experienced that reality.

I posted this on Facebook, perhaps some of you saw it, maybe some didn’t.  I am posting it here because I truly feel it expresses the depth of the appreciation I have for all of you, my running community.

I'd like to take the opportunity to thank all of you my friends, family, especially those in the running community that understand truly what kind of dedication and commitment it takes to sustain distance training and all that comes with it. Balancing that with family and work responsibilities is no small endeavor. When I started this journey nine years ago, my goal was to qualify for Boston. That took three years to accomplish. Six years later and six Boston marathons later I can honestly say I never dreamed that any of this was possible when I began.  I also know that I couldn’t have done it without all of YOU who have been encouraging and supportive through it all.  I want you to know that I appreciate all of this.  What the future holds, I don’t know, but I know I have made some friendships for life and that alone makes the journey worthwhile.  Rock on…..

Thank you for hanging in there with me through this long report.  I am hoping that this continues to be a cathartic experience for us all.  And I am sorry that we weren’t able to connect with any of you all this past weekend.



Pre race

At the expo.....

Dropped off in Hopkinton

Ten minutes before race start

The sign with all the portopotties.....

What all who run Boston long to see.....Boylston!!


Last edited by jon c on Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:07 am; edited 3 times in total
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  ounce on Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:37 pm

Once the steel heats, then cools, the tempering begins.

Good luck on the tempering.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  Michael Enright on Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:43 pm

Thanks for bringing us up to date. Tough stuff. Nice race. Hang in there.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  mountandog on Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:23 pm

Great stick-to-itiveness.  Congrats.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:53 pm

First, Congrats on the race, Jon.  Second, well done and well said.  I'm sorry that we missed you on sSaturday as it would have been great to see you.  Peace to you my friend.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  Mark B on Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:07 pm

Congrats on a wisely-run race, Jon, and good job on the sub-4 finish. 

(You may need to ignore your watch for the ish*, as well. Time can be your friend, if you don't rush it.)
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  Julie on Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:50 pm

One of my dearest friends is dealing with T1D in her 9 yr old son. It really rocked their family without having any other big life issues, it made for the hardest year of her life so I can only imagine. I hope Hannah's sugars are able to be managed well, I know kids grow and it makes it quite a challenge.

Congrats on the race and  I wish you well on this period afterwards. I hope calmness comes soon. I would insert some personal stuff about my life but I want to keep this on your race topic. Thank you for sharing your report.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  jon c on Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:40 am

@ounce wrote:Once the steel heats, then cools, the tempering begins.

Good luck on the tempering.


Appreciate your thoughts.  Thank you.

@Michael Enright wrote:Thanks for bringing us up to date. Tough stuff. Nice race. Hang in there.


Thanks for your words of encouragement.

@mountandog wrote:Great stick-to-itiveness.  Congrats.


Thanks Michael.  Glad you had a great race!

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:First, Congrats on the race, Jon.  Second, well done and well said.  I'm sorry that we missed you on sSaturday as it would have been great to see you.  Peace to you my friend.


Thanks, Michele!  Peace can't come soon enough.... sometimes life deals you some things you're not prepared for.

@Mark B wrote:Congrats on a wisely-run race, Jon, and good job on the sub-4 finish. 

(You may need to ignore your watch for the ish*, as well. Time can be your friend, if you don't rush it.)


I believe those are wise words, Mark.  Wise, but challenging....  Thanks for that.

@Julie wrote:One of my dearest friends is dealing with T1D in her 9 yr old son. It really rocked their family without having any other big life issues, it made for the hardest year of her life so I can only imagine. I hope Hannah's sugars are able to be managed well, I know kids grow and it makes it quite a challenge.

Congrats on the race and  I wish you well on this period afterwards. I hope calmness comes soon. I would insert some personal stuff about my life but I want to keep this on your race topic. Thank you for sharing your report.


Thank you, Julie.  You are one of the most supportive people on the board.  Know that it is appreciated.  You will not offend me if you insert some of your personal stuff.

It is a challenge indeed with how much Hannah has grown in the past 12-18 months, hit puberty, is a tweener and all that comes with it.  Her blood sugars are all over the place, which I understand is typical for the growth spurt and all the hormonal changes she has gone through recently.  She handles it remarkably well IMO.  Not without moments of frustration, but she does better that what I would have done I'm sure.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  Alex Kubacki on Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:17 am

Jon, congrats on getting this race done. You went through a lot to get to the starting line and that alone is success. Recover well.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  Seth Harrison on Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:03 am

Jon, first of all, I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to see each other in Boston. I would have loved that. How your experience at this year's Boston fits in to everything else that's been going on in your life, i have no idea, but I trust that you can find meaning in it. You obviously had a meaningful experience on Monday, as I know we all did. It came across beautifully in your report. Good luck with everything, and thanks for being so open. Congratulations on a terrific marathon.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  jon c on Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:46 am

@Alex Kubacki wrote:Jon, congrats on getting this race done. You went through a lot to get to the starting line and that alone is success. Recover well.

@Seth Harrison wrote:Jon, first of all, I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to see each other in Boston. I would have loved that. How your experience at this year's Boston fits in to everything else that's been going on in your life, i have no idea, but I trust that you can find meaning in it. You obviously had a meaningful experience on Monday, as I know we all did. It came across beautifully in your report. Good luck with everything, and thanks for being so open. Congratulations on a terrific marathon.


Thanks Alex and Seth!  I'm not sure how it all fits in the big picture either, but given what happened last year, I knew one thing:  I had to be there in 2014.  Made the cut by six seconds, so there was a bit of luck involved, but I believe it was meant to be.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  Jerry on Sat Apr 26, 2014 8:12 am

Jon, great race. You are a better person than me. I will remember to choose the right response myself. Best luck to Hannah.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  jon c on Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:49 pm

@Jerry wrote:Jon, great race. You are a better person than me. I will remember to choose the right response myself. Best luck to Hannah.


Thanks for the thoughts for Hannah and my race, Jerry. 

Ultimately my choice will need to be forgiveness for those who have let me down.  And it will be in my own best interest to do so, as long term anger can damage a person for life.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  Dave P on Sat Apr 26, 2014 3:25 pm

Hey Jon, glad you enjoyed this Boston. Jesus is my comfort through the good times & bad. I'll be praying for you & your family.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  jon c on Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:51 am

@Dave P wrote:Hey Jon, glad you enjoyed this Boston. Jesus is my comfort through the good times & bad. I'll be praying for you & your family.


Thanks, Dave!  Prayer is always a good thing and is appreciated.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  KBFitz on Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:55 am

Thanks for your report Jon. I love the images from throughout the weekend. Best of luck to Hannah and to you as you move forward. No advice. Just recognition. Some losses never heal. We just learn to deal with them over time. Somewhat like conquering the marathon distance. It's a long haul. Patience and fortitude...
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  dot520 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:32 pm

I'm so glad that you were able to enjoy your race so fully, sometimes it works out the best when we drop some of our own competitiveness and live the race experience.

  On your personal stuff....sheesh....nothing is more draining to a person's soul than having to resort to self protection by mistrusting everyone and everything.  As my father always says...'this too shall pass.'  It's a healing and rebuilding process.  You're doing it and it'll get done. Like any great loss in life, it takes time to put it behind you.  Thanks for sharing.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  nkrichards on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:23 pm

Good to hear that you were able to relax and enjoy Boston.  Sorry to hear about the rest...hope that you're able to make running the constant in your life that you can count on and enjoy when you need a break from the "real world".
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  jon c on Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:50 am

@KBFitz wrote:Thanks for your report Jon. I love the images from throughout the weekend. Best of luck to Hannah and to you as you move forward. No advice. Just recognition. Some losses never heal. We just learn to deal with them over time. Somewhat like conquering the marathon distance. It's a long haul. Patience and fortitude...

@dot520 wrote:I'm so glad that you were able to enjoy your race so fully, sometimes it works out the best when we drop some of our own competitiveness and live the race experience.

  On your personal stuff....sheesh....nothing is more draining to a person's soul than having to resort to self protection by mistrusting everyone and everything.  As my father always says...'this too shall pass.'  It's a healing and rebuilding process.  You're doing it and it'll get done. Like any great loss in life, it takes time to put it behind you.  Thanks for sharing.

@nkrichards wrote:Good to hear that you were able to relax and enjoy Boston.  Sorry to hear about the rest...hope that you're able to make running the constant in your life that you can count on and enjoy when you need a break from the "real world".

Thanks for all of your comments and encouragement.  It is interesting that dealing with life issues parallels that of marathon training or distance training in general.  Usually there are no quick fixes, just hard work, perserverance, and time to deal with.  And in our microwave society, many are reticent to actually deal with them in a healthy way.  So I think that therein lies my challenge.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  fostever on Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:48 am

Congrats on anther successful Boston. I was one of those that did not hydrate enough and paid dearly even though I finished. I too regret not getting to meet up with everyone. Hope you can be strong for your family, hang in there.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  jon c on Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:17 am

@fostever wrote:Congrats on anther successful Boston. I was one of those that did not hydrate enough and paid dearly even though I finished. I too regret not getting to meet up with everyone. Hope you can be strong for your family, hang in there.


Thanks, Steve!  Glad you were able to finish OK.  It was a little tougher out there with the heat and not having training days ahead of time to begin to acclimate.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  Dave-O on Fri May 02, 2014 12:34 pm

Jon, thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience.  I hope that running - in whatever training or racing you see fit - offers some form of stress relief in your life.
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Re: A study in catharsis: Boston 2014 report

Post  jon c on Tue May 06, 2014 9:04 am

@Dave-O wrote:Jon, thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience.  I hope that running - in whatever training or racing you see fit - offers some form of stress relief in your life.

Thanks, Dave!  Running has proven invaluable in that regard.
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