Proper Perspective

Posted: April 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

I have heard from so many runners that were disappointed with their Boston Marathon experience.  Most of them felt the extreme heat deprived them of the opportunity to truly test themselves after 5 months of training.  I have run the Rockford, Illinois marathon 3 times on July 4th (2:45:27, 2:39:34 and 2:33:13) and the temperature was always in the 80’s and 90’s.  Running in extreme heat can quickly become more of a struggle to the finish line than achieving a time goal.  So I can appreciate their sentiment but it breaks my heart their Marathon Coalition experience may have been diminished on the most important day of their journey.

I realize just finishing or barely surviving a marathon isn’t nearly as gratifying as achieving a particular time goal.  And being obsessed with just making it to the next aid station or water hose can certainly deprive one of taking in the complete Boston experience, but keeping the proper perspective is extremely important.  Training for 5 months prepared the Marathon Coalition runners to make it to the finish line when others were dropping out as early as 2 miles into the marathon.

The marathon is far more than the trek from Hopkinton to Boston.  Runners had to spend considerable time in the athlete’s village and the starting corrals exposed to the sun.  The first mile at Boston is very different than the first mile of other marathons.  Add in the extreme downhills in the beginning combined with near record heat and you might as well be at mile 10 of another marathon.  I would argue that making it to the finish line of this year’s Boston Marathon is an astonishing achievement.

I am confident once the initial disappointment subsides along with the soreness from the legs, runners will begin to realize and appreciate the magnitude of their achievement.  Training for 5 months prepared them to withstand significant challenges that caused a record number of runners to drop out of the marathon.  The runners that finished the marathon will have bragging rights forever.

Monday should have been a confidence building experience.  If you can survive those conditions you should be able to handle anything else that you’ll experience in running and in life!  While I realize the script on Monday likely was quite different than most runners expected, anyone that finished the 2016 Boston Marathon should be extremely proud and satisfied!

Here is a wonderful response from Marathon Coalition runner Stacey Best:

Rick, you’re right the five months of training prepared us to more than survive the marathon. When I had the strength to finally look at my 5k splits, I noticed that they demonstrated that I was well trained. I ran negative the first half- I recall thinking that I had to be VERY conservative, but I did continue to run faster hoping that I would be able to open up and finally start really running. At the half, I realized with the congestion and starts and stops through the aid stations, it was just about conserving and finishing. My second half splits, though disappointing as stand alone statistics were consistent to the finish. The wheels did not fall off the wagon. That was largely because of our training.

Every athlete, but I think a runner even more so, wants to know what they are capable of in a perfect environment. The reality that we must face is that no such thing exists. There is always something that can and will impact our performance, as least as we recall it. That is, until we feel that magical moment of attaining a performance we could have barely imagined. Here, we all KNEW we would finish Boston no matter the circumstances. You trained us well and to believe that, so finishing was taken for granted. We toed the line because we understood that REAL runners face adversity and you made us REAL runners. But alas, we are human and so we can’t help but to wonder what if…

When I say to people that this was my “first Boston” it suggests that there may be others and maybe therein there is some comfort. But, the prospect of a one-and-done makes Monday tougher to take. I feel like a rock star because I toed the line rather than listen to the winds and waves of doubt, and I toed it with the realization that I would not likely see the race or time I believe possible for me. To me that’s courage. And no one can say I don’t have any. Thanks Rick for providing the support to get me there.”

Comments
  1. Coach Dion says:

    2016 is a long way off…

    Yes it’s not always easy to come of a cold winter and run a good marathon in the heat… I also think a number of runner also lost a lot of time to just being in the moment of Boston, after all the work to qualify and the training, then packing your bags and making the trip!!! All that could be just to much and a good race (that would have been run at home) is gone…

    So write it down to experiance and come back next year…

  2. Fred Grosso says:

    Rick,

    I agree with you that anyone who finished the 2012 Boston Marathon should be proud and satisfied. If not they should consider reassessing their priorities and values. Just watching Monday with Team In Training friends got the old fires burning. To do your best, to finish, to enjoy the experience and if possible to achieve a PR. The Boston Experience, if you do not appreciate it you do not deserve it.

    Fred Grosso

    • Hello Fred,

      So nice to see that you’re following my blog. I agree with your insight. I’m confident that each runner will ultimately realize the magnitude of their accomplishment and achieve a feeling of pride!

      Rick

  3. Mags says:

    This experience has showed me that it truly is the journey— not the destination! The finish line was great and everything— but it was the finish line at the Westin that brought me to tears, because that’s the finish line that reminded me of my journey. I felt like a Rock Star going up the escalator, I heard “Maggie” so many times- from people on our team that I didn’t know they knew my name, and I unfortunately didn’t know theirs (i’ve figured it out since and now we are FB friends lol) ! Although i was “mad at the marathon” for being hot—- I finished feeling like I was glad that the tremendously difficult day was behind me and happy that the next chapter was right around the corner. Which is— speed up my 5k and 10ks— translate it to a half and then train for another marathon. Not sure if I’m ambitious enough to think it will be this year, but I’ll take it 1 run at a time! The marathon was a confidence boost, the Marathon Coalition 2012 team can do anything!

  4. Stacey Best says:

    Rick, you’re right the five months of training prepared us to more than survive the marathon. When I had the strength to finally look at my 5k splits, I noticed that they demonstrated that I was well trained. I ran negative the first half- I recall thinking that I had to be VERY conservative, but I did continue to run faster hoping that I would be able to open up and finally start really running. At the half, I realized with the congestion and starts and stops through the aid stations, it was just about conserving and finishing. My second half splits, though disappointing as stand alone statistics were consistent to the finish. The wheels did not fall off the wagon. That was largely because of our training.

    Every athlete, but I think a runner even more so, wants to know what they are capable of in a perfect environment. The reality that we must face is that no such thing exists. There is always something that can and will impact our performance, as least as we recall it. That is, until we feel that magical moment of attaining a performance we could have barely imagined. Here, we all KNEW we would finish Boston no matter the circumstances. You trained us well and to believe that, so finishing was taken for granted. We toed the line because we understood that REAL runners face adversity and you made us REAL runners. But alas, we are human and so we can’t help but to wonder what if…

    When I say to people that this was my “first Boston” it suggests that there may be others and maybe therein there is some comfort. But, the prospect of a one-and-done makes Monday tougher to take. I feel like a rock star because I toed the line rather than listen to the winds and waves of doubt, and I toed it with the realization that I would not likely see the race or time I believe possible for me. To me that’s courage. And no one can say I don’t have any. Thanks Rick for providing the support to get me there.

    • Mags says:

      The wheels did not fall off the wagon. —- Amen Stacey!!!

    • Hello Stacey,

      You should take over my running blog…you clearly captured the proper perspective far better than I. So I’ve added your response to my main post. Thank you so much for taking it to another level…with today’s post but, more importantly, on Monday!

      I’m so proud of you and have thoroughly enjoyed coaching you. I will always cherish the run where you kept pushing the pace when I was approaching from behind. That is the spirit that allowed you to finish on Monday and have such a positive attitude.

      It’s ironic that your last name is Best…because your are…the Best!

      Coach Rick

  5. Ryan says:

    Training for this marathon was a long arduous journey is many ways for me. It is the first time I put forth the effort to actually train instead of just going out and running one. Training for the marathon was harder than running any of the ones in the past. It was the journey that meant the most to me, and running this hellish race on April 16th was pure poetry. It was a concentrated version of all the physical and emotional strife I went through the 5 months prior. Race day was not the end of the journey but a summation of it all. It taught me so much, but one of the things it taught was acceptance. April 16th 2012 wasn’t my day to run the time I wanted. It was the day to show me all that I went through in the previous 5 months were not wasted because I not only finished, I sprinted down Boylston Street like everyone was cheering for me. Running races isn’t about pass or fail but about what lessons you take into your future experiences.

  6. fullhousefullhandsfullhearts says:

    I love your post Coach Rick and I love the responses from your runners. They all had such amazing determination and confidence even in extremely challenging conditions, and I know that much of that came from the incredible coaching they got from you leading up to the Boston Marathon. Being at the Westin and cheering for each of your runners as they came in was a wonderful, touching and special experience I will never forget. Even though I had just met your runners that weekend, they felt like old friends and I was so grateful to be a part of it and to celebrate them.

    I think all of us that ran on Monday learned a great deal about ourselves and came away as better and stronger runners and people. Despite the challenges this year, I am in love with Boston and the Boston Marathon and can’t wait for next year!

    • Hello Erin,

      Thank you so much for offering your perspective. We loved having you share the day with the Marathon Coalition. Thank you for staying with us so long after the marathon to welcome everyone back to the Westin.

      We look forward to you and Josh becoming part of this annual tradition.

      Coach Rick

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s