Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Did It!!!

The Boston Marathon goes down as one of the most amazing things in my life following closely behind marriage and the birth of my kids.

The unfortunate weather made the race a completely different endeavor than what I had trained for. The heat was unbearable, stifling. For example, during my 16 weeks of training I walked a total of two times, once during my first long run and the other when I ran when I had a fever. On Marathon Monday I walked twice within the first five miles! On top of that, I walked every mile after that too. The marathon turned out to be a test of will and perseverance instead of a test of endurance and strength.

My final long training run was 20 miles which I ran in 3:30 so my goal was to finish the marathon somewhere in the 4:40 range. By mile 5 I knew that would never happen and mentally I was in a bad place for a few miles. It was not until mile 8 where I finally hit a groove and got comfortable. My plan for hydration and fuel was to drink every two miles and have a PowerGel every 4 miles. This changed pretty much immediately after the race started. I drank at every stop, a Gatorade and a water.

Generally I am the kind of guy that avoids people that spray water on the runners. I do not like it when my feet get wet. I can say with some certainty that if it were not for some fire hydrants that were opened up I may not have finished the race. The cold water showers were key in cooling down my body. Twice during the race I doubted whether or not I could keep going. Shortly after the first time was a water stop and the waters were poured over my head and down my back. The second was at mile 20 and thankfully this is where there was an open fire hydrant, the water was cool and it was a nice thick spray that coated my entire body, this helped get me over heartbreak hill.

My family was amazing as they were actually able to see me at four different times during the race, miles 7, 13, 18 and 26. To me, this was almost as impressive as running the marathon. I have no idea how they were able to pull that off.

Wellesley College was just what I expected and more. College girls lined up for about a quarter mile with "kiss me" signs. I considered finding the hottest girl and giving it a shot as this might be the only time I could kiss another girl and get away with it, but I decided against it and just used their enthusiasm to fuel my running.

5 hours, 30 minutes and 58 seconds. This was my final time. A good 45 minutes longer than what I was expecting and hoping for. As the last couple days have gone by I have continually gotten more proud of the accomplishment. My training had worked, muscularly and cardiovascular-wise I ran the race fine and I was prepared. There was no way to prepare for the heat. I think about my buddy Glenn who was on track for his personal best time of 3:45 and he finished in 5:45. I also think about last years Boston marathon winners, both of them did not even finish the race this year. Thousands of people dropped out of the race before it even started, and another couple thousand started but did not finish. I saw multiple people have to stop and puke and even more people get carted away on stretchers. I think about all of this and then know that I finished and that was my ultimate goal. Worrying about time would have to come some other time, some other race.

As of right now, I am tentatively planning on running the Cape Cod Marathon in the Fall. Originally the thought was that if I did this race it would be to improve upon (or even worry about) my time. Now, hopefully, this will be the race that I actually prove to myself that I can run a marathon and run it the way that I trained for it without having to deal with severe heat.

I would like to thank all of my family, friends and coworkers that helped, inspired and donated during my training. This was all a part of the experience that I will never forget.


Andrew Garcia said...

Bravo, Tom. I am sure this was truly a life changing event and it serves as a metaphor that you can do anything you put your mind (and body) to.

Bob said...

I am so proud of both your finish and your time. I can only imagine the heat factor. Good luck in the Cape Cod Marathon.

Susan Garcia said...

Hey Tom, Sue here.... I am beyond impressed, we kept checking in all day to see postings and were thinking of you every mile of the way. Incredible a true inspiration. The Cape Cod race is going to be a walk in the park after this. In the Josh the saying is "To finish is to Win." You won all the way. Cheers to you...

Principal's Page said...

Wow!! That sounds like quite an experience, almost spiritual. I believe that our thoughts have more power than we give credit. Mental tenacity builds character and character is everything. Congratulations!