It seems I'm starting 2021 on a happy note. On 4/03 I ran the Carmel marathon and somehow pulled off a PR of 3:37:16... I was not expecting that at all, in fact shocked at the finish line by the results. Then what did I do? I went to Boston for a visit and an 8.52 mile run (pic below) before heading off to New Hampshire for The Cheap Marathon on 4/11. No joke, it was only $35, and I earning a nifty ribbon!
What was great about this was I was able to run a really consistent marathon, an even pace and non-stop. So now I set my sites on all things Utah and that marathon in September. I'm finally feeling like a BQ is possible and will happen there.
Last run of the year, just 6.07 miles and ended the year at 1251 miles. A new record yes, but short of my goal. I lost about 200 miles this year to injuries with my IT band and various nerves. If I ran in a straight line from my house per the map in any direction, I'd hit the edge of the circle.
All I/we can do is keep going, which I plan to do. 2021 is mapped out and I know the weather is a struggle this time of year. But in the struggle is where true art thrives. Like so many others out there, 2020 was just tough. I lost my job in September, and then in November I lost my father... he was 73.
But I'm optimistic about 2021, the other choice is to live in a state of depression, and I can't do that. Next marathon is in April in Nevada, and that's my next chance to BQ for 2022... all chips in on that.
Marathon 15 in 4 years is in the books, and it was brutal and weird. My first virtual and I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond a really drawn out solo long run. The time isn’t ‘great’ when you compare it to the 3:34:36 I ran in CA last December. But again this was just new territory for me.
The one thing about this run was since it was virtual there was that lack of enthusiasm you get from the crowd, and that encouragement you give to others. I’m EXTREMELY grateful to have done it, but I miss the crowds and the unspoken bond with the runner next to you. I know we’ll get back to that when the time is right. Until then let's all link figuratively links arms an help each other out. Then once COVID19 is taken care of we'll still be helping each other.
And lastly I ran this for our buddy Pirate Cat. He exemplified the bond we have with other creatures roaming this globe. For some reason I think I’ll still see him at the trail head on The Monon. But I always see him in my heart, you are very missed by all of us my friend.
Only 8.45 miles at a 7:30/mile pace, just winding down for the virtual Monumental Marathon next Saturday. Sadly I have the beginnings of shin splints, but I have lots of tape and an easy week in front of me with running. I ended October with 130.86 miles and still ahead of where I was last year at this time with total mileage... not sure how, but I'll take a win. Today I received my marathon kit in the mail too, so more info on that little gift soon.
Just excited to finally get in a 26.2 run next week, my first virtual and looking forward to the challenge. It'll be an odd one, not being in a coral with people you have never met, but share this love of running with. And that makes a bond that's hard to explain. I love other runners out there, pat yourselves on the back.
Well 2020 continues to be an relentless opponent. Before I even begin with the emotional 'down' I'm experiencing, I'm still grateful. On Monday I lost my job, a job that I dearly loved with a team that I dearly loved, yesterday they made the right call and cancelled the CIM in December. I was looking forward to running in California again, but under the circumstances they made the correct decision.
So here's why I'm grateful.... I have my health and I've survived much worse. I gave myself some time to mourn the loss, and it still finds me. But I must keep going. A persons character is tied to how they behave in the face of adversity and how they treat others. Here's that I challenge myself and others with, go out and lend a hand to those that are truly in a rough place. Even if it's an ear, that's something. With the mental trauma we've been going through with the COVID19 related deaths and unemployment we all know several people that have been affected. Unfortunately suicide rates are climbing and people are feeling closed off. Just be there in anyway, shape, or form. Be a sounding board for those in need. On my 'resources' page I have listed organizations that are here to help as well in case you or someone you know is heading in the wrong direction.
And I wanted to end on a positive. For those that keep up they know I had a slew of injuries in May that took all summer to correct. I'm very happy to report that I'm functioning on more of the level I was at the beginning of the year. My long runs are back and honestly very smooth. I am looking forward to the Virtual Monumental Marathon coming up on November 7th in Indianapolis, or wherever you may live. Stay strong out there and be there for each other.
It's been a while since I've posted, a very very long time. As we all know things have been heavy to say the least. COVID19, Boston Canceling, Aubrey Ahmad, 40 million unemployed, racial riots... I could go on. On top of that I'm injured, having an IT band issue for the first time in my life, but I'll heal with some rest and treatment. I always seem to comeback stronger.
With the cancellation of Boston I can honestly say that 90% of the running community has been totally understanding and feel the BAA made the right call. For the first time in my life I'm seeing sports as a way to relax from everyday life. In the past I've kept running and sports separate and I know we can debate all day about one being an activity and the others not. Let's call it a pleasant distraction of physical display. At work ESPN is constantly running in the background and it seems they've run out of material to show. But I digress, a return to 'sports' would be nice for our collective psyche. And yes I know that sounds selfish to an extend, and yes bigger fish are to be fried and large wounds need to be healed. Entire systems of how we do things need to be dismantled and rebuilt the correct way.
This may seem out of focus and I'm shooting from the hip as I type, and if you're still reading then I thank you. One thing running does is that it erases color, gender, sexual orientation, class, and so on. When I'm shoulder to shoulder with another runner then I'm next to my brother or sister. I have their back and they have mine. The marathons are a triumph, and so are the Saturday long runs when I look another runner in the eyes and we get it. There is a humanity to this thing we do, wanting to be better than we were, or to come to a spiritual understanding. As we move forward and sporting events can become a thing, and we can run marathons. we need to strive for better than what we were before all of this. To quote the song 'These shall not be forgotten years'. And in the meantime I intend to heal up, embrace my brothers and sisters, and keep going. I have a Boston to get to, we have better people to be.
Got in a shorter 'long run' of 11.43 at a 7:52/mile average yesterday. I was on the running roll lately and this past week has been a bit rough, but I'll get through it. Right now I'm supposed to be in a car coming home from the Ann Arbor marathon with my good friend, and we aren't... and that's okay. These events have been cancelled for the greater good. The heartbreak is brief and temporary, and easily outdone by the grace of a long run and the ability to do it.
Pittsburgh on May 3rd has also been cancelled, which leaves the next one on the schedule Mt. Hood on June 27. That also puts a lot more pressure on me to qualify for the 2021 Boston field. But I'll get through all of this, we will get through all of this. With the marathon and event cancellations going on I understand what must be done. And I become more grateful for what I am still able to do. The mission will of course continue.
I know I've been working at this for several years and what I've learned is sometimes I/we reach new levels of being a runner. I'm on a new level recently and it just feels a bit more 'odd'. As in 'What is the heck is that about?' Let me explain. Lately my milage has been inching up and I'm trending ahead of where I was in January and February of 2017, 2018, and 2019. Pretty happy with those results, but the mind blowing part is the speed of my average mile pace. I'm 15-25 seconds faster per mile than I was a year or two ago, and that's also scary.
I've been at the same level for so long I'm having trouble accepting these results. This can't be, but yet here they are run after run. The other issue in the back of my head is when will the injuries happen. I hate to be negative, but the injuries seem to find me, like any other runner out there. It was what brought such awful results durning the Mt. Hood marathon when I was positive that would be my Boston qualifier.
The only rational thing I can do is to keep on keepin' on as the saying goes. To be careful, to stretch and run smart. When I feel a full or something strange, to stop and address the issue. And most of all just be grateful that I'm out here doing this not only at a new level, but just doing this period. I've got Ann Arbor in 14 days and I'm using that run to face down my past and to get my medal. Then I set my sites on Pittsburgh, and after that Mt. Hood in June.
I've always been told I'm way too hard on myself. From childhood to being an adult people have expressed to me that I need to simply breathe and lighten up on my own self-critiques, and they are correct. As much running as I've done, with the many marathons completed, I still sometimes have trouble calling myself a legitimate runner because I have not done Boston. It's silly to the point of stupid, and I also understand this.
I get up early, or head out before sunset in all types of weather for the goal of meditation and personal greatness. And the meditation I can say is spot on most of the time, I comeback with a much clearer head and heart than when I started my run. The true conundrum comes from my own ability, or lack there of, and the greatness I see in others. Don't think for a second that they didn't work for that ability as I've had many discussions with respected friends about being gifted over busting your ass to get something accomplished. I understand putting in the miles running, or spending hours on a piano bench, or in front of a canvas to pursue your love. To earn that title you long for.
Being a very average or below average individual in nearly every aspect of my life has in a sense made me the proverbial underdog. I see the major marathons as being the pinnacle of greatness in my attempt to call myself a 'runner', and I have a lot or work yet to do. I'm sure most of you just like me have wondered why I haven't completed that most cherished of goals yet.
Next month I'm looking at marathon 15 in a little over 3 years and they only comfort I can take is what a runner in Erie PA said to me shortly after that run in September of 2018. She was wearing a Boston finishers jacket and I let her know Erie was my 8th marathon and Boston was my goal. "It took me 13 marathons to get there, and my friend needed 20. Your Boston is waiting your you" she said, "Just keep at it." So in the grey of February after an 18.5 mile weekend I'll still keep at it to get my unicorn medal and the right to one day call myself a real runner.
Ryan (That's me)
Runner, writer, and a survivor. It's all about living the life you want and helping each other along the way.