Pre-Boston Ramblings

Howdy everyone, Coach Dom here.

This post has been edited from 6 months ago when I first started to write this after a conversation, I had with TJ to finishing it sitting here in my hotel a few days before Boston!

 **Warning** long post ahead with lots of rambling, so continue reading at your own risk:
I’ve been meaning to write about my recent experiences with running, and with the 2019 Boston Marathon - which I will be running - less than six months away, now seems apropos. So, here goes...

As most of you know I’ve battled my weight my whole life. Some years I’ve won, some decades (yes, decades!) I’ve lost, and I’ve even had my ups and downs within a year.  After experiencing “Boston” through Coach Helen I vowed that I too would qualify and earn the right to run there. Only one major obstacle - my fastest marathon was a 3hr 55min, for an average pace per mile of 8:59, and the Minimal requirements for my age group called for a 3hr 25min Marathon - for a seemingly unreachable 7:38 per mile pace! Yep, that’s almost a minute and a half faster per mile...for 26.2 freaking miles!  Doesn’t sound reasonable, does it?  

Well, I wanted it.

I needed it.

So, I set my mind to it.

I began to train relentlessly, and simultaneously began dropping time AND weight.  I had so many doubts.  I was too slow, too heavy, didn’t have the endurance, excuse after excuse. But I kept at it, training and pushing, willing my body to cooperate. I was getting faster but not fast enough, still doubting, questioning Coach Helen over and over, “How am I going to run a 7:38 for a marathon? I struggle to run that for 5 miles!”

Then something happened. The training started to click.  I was able to hit my targets and a small kernel of hope began to grow. The doubts were still there, but the goal suddenly became attainable. My paces were within range, and by race day I had lost a grand total of 21 lbs. (175=110lbs lost from my heaviest) since that fall day when I decided to commit to a Stupid, Stupid goal.

Race Day #1, Feb 11th:

I was as physically and mentally prepared for The Donna Marathon in Jacksonville as I could be but no, I didn’t hit my goal.  As it turned out, my nutrition wasn’t right. Gastrointestinal issues derailed me at mile 19. I fought back and still managed a 30-minute PR (yes!!) but no BQ (no...).


Race Day #2, Mar 2nd:  Against my (and Coach Helen’s) better judgment, I reset my goal and registered for the Snickers Marathon less than 3 weeks later. I researched daily, sought and received valuable advice from numerous friends and colleagues, and reworked my nutrition plan. And then - I Nailed It!  That was quite possibly my best race. Ever. I did it in 3:18:23 for a 7:34 pace! (needed a 3:25 to qualify, however realistically needed a 3:20 with the number of entrants)

And then...

Fast forward a year, and Boston is quickly approaching. I’m back up to 195lbs and I have “failed” miserably at more than a few training runs.

Yesterday (6 months ago), I had planned to run 4 plus miles at what was supposed to average out to an 8:12 pace. Nope. I managed a 10:37 and had to walk home over a mile which I didn’t include in that average.

The reason for this very lengthy post is that we can’t be at the top of our game in every aspect. This spring I was a damn fast BQ runner, this summer I became a damn good mountain biker with a PR at Leadville. Now that we’re in “Fall” {edit: winter and spring} I’m struggling to run 8-minute miles where before I ran 7:34s for a marathon. It’s like we’re a razors edge. Sharp as hell when you’re on point but it can dull quickly!

So, for all our athletes, friends, family, etc. Cut yourself a break. If you want something bad enough you can focus on it and do it but don’t beat yourself up when you stop training and it’s gone. It’s not realistic to be at the top of your game in everything!

If this old, fat dog can do it so can you! Reach for the impossible goals/strive for more out of yourself/don’t settle for ordinary.

And now today, here I sit, in my hotel in Boston, 2 days before the race.  The weather is going to be MISERABLE, my training has been sketchy, I’ve enjoyed a Mike’s cannoli (or maybe 3) And…I’m excited as hell!  I can’t wait!  I’ve got garbage bags, ponchos, gloves, hats…you name the cold weather rainy gear, I’ve got it!  I’m going to kiss the girls, I’m going to take selfies, and I’m going to enjoy!  Because it’s NOT always about the PR’s, and it’s NOT always about moving forward.  Sometimes it must be about living in the moment, and doing it BECAUSE I CAN.


(I’ll update after Monday – Patriot’s Day, here I come!)