I was having my usual Monday lunch with Dave, a running friend of many decades, and the subject naturally turned to today's marathon. It was pouring out, and cold, and windy from the east (meaning headwinds), and the conditions in Boston were similar.
It's been more than two years since I last did any running. I miss the experiences and the adventures. I miss the discipline of the watch, the knowing from it just what you are made of. I don't miss some of the training, nor all of the aches and pains.
And it's been three years, on this the third Monday in April, since I last ran a serious event. The weather that day from Hopkinton to Boston was much like today, cold and wet and miserable. And I was on the starting line, woefully undertrained, not knowing what was in store for me.
I had run Boston 3 times, 3:01, 3:02, and 2:57, the latter at age 50. I somehow got the idea that I should run it one more time at age 70. So I qualified in Burlington (VT) the previous May (3:47, needed was 4:25). And then spent the next 10+ months dealing with one ailment or another. The result being, as I said, that I was woefully unprepared to run 26 miles.
But a week earlier I had done what in retrospect was just brilliant -- hatching the idea of making my "run" (expected to be a run/walk, with a lot of the latter) a fundraiser for the junior O' team. I dreamed up a good pledge for myself, a combination of how many miles I would manage and, if I did finish, what my time would be. And after a good bit of thought to convince myself to do so, I went public and asked anyone who reads this page to consider joining me, making a similar pledge for whatever amount they wished.
The response was remarkable over the next few days, and so it was that on that Monday three years ago I stood at the start with wonderful motivation, and also terrible anxiety. What an opportunity to do some good for the juniors. But also what if my body craps out in a few miles....
It was, just as today, cold and wet and miserable, or as I like to think in such circumstances where positive thinking helps, let's just call it refreshing.
The motivation and the determination lasted the whole 26.2 miles. The anxiety only lasted for about 26. I remember coming around the last corner onto Boylston Street, seeing the finish ahead, finally realizing I was actually going to make it. The watch does not lie -- the time, 4:05, sucked. But when the numbers were all in a week or so later, the total amount raised, I think about $21,000, well, that was really cool.
Dave is ailing now. My running is done, his is winding down quickly. But we sit there, not just telling stories but also talking about things guys usually avoid, the thoughts and feelings and emotions of something that was a part of both of our lives.
I miss it. But life moves on. And when I do look back, it is really nice to have lots of really good memories, with Boston 2015 among the best.
And also to have almost no regrets.