Tag Archives: running

Crossing One off the Racing ‘Bucket List’

Holy Cow! I now realize that it has already been three whole weeks since I ran the venerable Boston Marathon! I guess I’ve been putting off writing the blog post as I really don’t know where to start and where to end with this post. Usually, I’ll just go through the whole process of the lead-up, the race itself, then the post-race re-cap, but it just doesn’t seem like going through the normal motions would do justice to what this race represented for me. So instead, I’ll beg your indulgence as I wax a little philosophical about the entire ‘journey’, both my own as an individual, as well as my own as an athlete (of sorts). As I had already aluded to, there are some photos that you can browse at your leisure, as well as a custom map of the race from the day that I threw together. These sort of make up the ‘tangible’ of the race, but come far short of the actual story behind it. So, read on, dear friends, and maybe you’ll get a little more insight into the entity known as ActiveSteve 🙂

First, let’s get something straight here: There is no such thing as an easy marathon. Running a full 42.2km at the hardest pace you can muster is hard regardless of whether it is uphill, downhill, flat, or rolling. It takes a lot out of you. But you know what? You get out of it exactly what you put in. A local fellow I respect always expounds on his pupils that you need to “Plan your race, and race your plan”. For that very reason, my actual performance on race day was no more and no less than precisely what I intended it to be. I had trained for a 3:30 marathon, and cruised in comfortably at 3:26:32. Where did that put me? Well, officially, 6,074th out of 22,645 finishers. 5,139th out of 13,112 males, and 2,726th out of 4,656 in my age category. But who cares, right? I did it! I RAN BOSTON! This is a race I had to qualify for with a time no more than 3:10. I’ve proven myself as a worthy runner, and am 100% satisfied with my performance at the race.

The conditions were nearly perfect. The crowds were absolutely amazing. The boost of seeing my family at km 36 was immeasurable (well, perhaps measurable, based on the sprint I managed after stopping to say hi). The race itself was everything I had read it would be. The Newton Hills (including Heartbreak Hill) were barely registered as speedbumps in my quest for the finish. Wellesely College, and it’s throngs of kiss-hungry young females certainly cost me a few minutes, but again, totally worth it to have the ‘full experience’. Crossing the finish line, arms in the air, tears in the eyes, not replicable ever again if I were to re-do this marathon. Mingling with about 24,000 other runners at the race expo, all in top form, an absolutely crazy experience. Blitz weekend in Boston sharing experiences with my sister and her family, totally fun, even though it almost made me miss the race! In brief terms, my nephew was a bit upset the night before, I used earplugs, missed my alarm, was awoken with precisely 10 minutes to get out the door to catch a shuttle :-). You want more actual race details? Drop me a line at bostonmarathon -at- activesteve dawt com. To me, this single paragraph sums it up enough. The other details, I’ll keep to myself, locked away in my footlocker of amazing memories of my life to date.

So, where does that leave me? Well, it leaves me looking back at how I got here. The things I have done, the sacrifices I’ve made over the years, and yes, even the things I may have lost in my quest to…. ‘succeed’ at the things I do. As I get just a little older, I’ve definitely become much more self-aware. I’ve learned who I am, and what makes me tick. That alone took years to understand, but I’m okay with it. My friends seem okay with it, and have always been supportive, if not a touch making fun of me 🙂

Am I OCD? Yup, a bit. I like to know where to find things, and I like to find efficiency in the things I do. I think that’s why I love racing, training, and the outdoors in general. Outside of the walls that contain me on a daily basis, is a world that I have no control over. The rain may fall. A tree may block my path. I may get a flat tire or twist an ankle. I have to overcome those things, and push on through my own discomforts, mentally or physically, in order to reach the end goal. Training is a metaphor for life. After all, the only sure thing in life is death, and every day that I take a breath is a day that I’ve cheated death, and a day that is worth living to the fullest and enjoying. I intend to live with no regrets, and go through it all with that same shit-eating grin you’ve all seen me with, and with the energy of a thousand children. I don’t know any other way to go through this life! As Iggy Pop puts it best, I have a lust for life!

For years, I found escape in music and partying. Then, less than 8 years ago, I turned a new leaf. I got interested in adventure racing, and discovered I was horribly unprepared for those rigours, so I backed up a step and spent a couple years running and building an endurance base. As those years progressed, I spent more and more time training, much of it alone, in the theater of the mind. You are never as open to your own thoughts as when you are training long and hard on the roads. My focus and energies gradually changed, and along with it, a lot of me also changed. I am not the same person as you may have known 8 years ago. Granted, I’m substantially the same person, but not completely. My life expectations and my outlook and my desires have certainly changed. You may recall my 4-month cycling tour of NZ. Well, that too was a bit of a mental trip as well.

As most of you are now aware, all of this has also ultimately led me to make some rather major life changes this year. The truth? For all to hear? I am 100% happy with the past 10 years of my life, but made a very difficult decision to depart from the comforts of what that life had, and now seek new paths for myself. There are no harsh feelings or catastrophic events resulting from those changes, simply a new page in the book of my life. I’m excited for the new chapters that are yet unwritten, and hope everyone understands that. Judge me if you will, but know that I am happy with my decision, and it was not an easy one to make.

So, back to Boston. A race. A marathon. A need to qualify to get there. A goal. A journey. As I ran the race in the midst of thousands of others, I felt free, and I felt happy. I would be naive to say that I got there alone. I have had the support of countless people, from mere well-wishers, to those that would come out and watch me race and cheer me on. Even more encouraging were words from friends who would confide in me that my actions were prompting them to be more active as well. Who would ever have thought that my own personal actions might actually get people outside riding a bike, or going for a run? It was very humbling, and in some ways, made me even more determined to maintain this lifestyle.

So, at the start of my 35th year on this planet, I am still looking for greater challenges, more amazing adventures, and making even more connections with the people around me. I plan to continue sharing my adventures with all of you, even though it may take me a few weeks to get around to writing up the posts 😉

Hmm, well, as I started typing this post, I had no idea where I’d go with it. In the past few weeks, I’d rehearsed in my head all the details I wanted to share about Boston, but my fingers just wouldn’t let me go there tonight. There are still a myriad of thoughts swirling around in my head at the moment about all of this, but re-reading what I’ve put above seems like a pretty good place to stop. I would like to once again thank you all for stopping by and reading my thoughts, and hope that you too are all happy, and able to find what you want in life. Good night to you all, and stay tuned for my race report on my first adventure race of the season, where I totally screwed up. Yup, it’ll be an entertaining one…. 🙂

Apologies for the Delay

Howdy folks. Just a quick little note to say I’m sorry that I’ve been tardy in posting my full race report from Boston! It’s hard to imagine, but it’s already been 2 weeks since I crossed that one off my athletic bucket list 🙂 Sadly, still no post for you. I’ve sort of been waiting to get all my ‘official’ race photos that I paid for before posting anything. In the meantime though, you can browse through the set of pictures that I took myself while running the race. You can also check out pictures from touring around Boston. As a final bonus, you can even check out the map that I made of my run using my GPS and the pictures I snapped on the course. Hopefully those will at least tide some of you over until I can properly put the experience into words :-). Till then, thanks for checking in!

Mad Trapper Finale: Showdown in the Snowshoes

Wow! I’ve been so excited and happy with my result in the last Mad Trapper snowshoe race of the season that I couldn’t find the time to blog about it! Can you believe that? Well, it’s partly true. I thought about writing up the story Saturday afternoon, but that seemed too ambitious. Then, life got in the way for a couple days, but here I am to fill you all in on my winter race-season closing race. As some of you may have already looked at the pictures and/or read Mike’s own race report, you’ve probably heard that I WON first place overall!! No joke! I’ve looked back on all my race results, and it turns out this is only the 2nd time I win 1st place overall in a race. Last time was in August of 2007! While some of the top guns were not present this time, it was still a hard-fought battle, and I invite you all to read on for the rest of my happy story.

For starters, this race capped off a busy month, where I took part in four separate events. First was the 3rd Mad Trapper race, followed the next week by the Winterlude Triathlon. I had a week off from racing, then it was off to the 50km Gatineau Loppet last week, and finally capped off by this event. I made sure I recovered between events, and didn’t train too hard, but I was still pleased that I was still able to push myself so hard. Things are looking good for some of the longer races that I plan to do this summer. At any rate, it’ll be good to take March off in order to prepare for the Boston Marathon, which is my next major event in the calendar. But what about this race?

Well, weather was once again the wild card. Snow was still not plentiful or generous to us leading up to the race. A couple days, we got big dumps of snow, but the temperature would also spike, leading to a lot of slushy messes in the city. Luckily, at the race site, things fared better, with the snow staying longer, but being extremely heavy. We’d all learn soon just how heavy. I put together a hasty car-pool before the event, and four of us drove out to the race, in an attempt to be as zero-impact as we could, which is the spirit of these races as well. On arrival, we saw that the assembled racers were pretty much the same faces from all the events. There’s always a few new people, but it’s surprising how few people are willing to make the [easy] 40 minute drive to Ottawa for such a spectacular event. These run like clockwork and have so much to offer. What does Mike have to do to get people out there?!!?

At any rate, the big story is the race, right? Well, the sun was shining this morning and as a result, we had the luxury of dressing down for the first time this season. No jackets or hats this time, just tights and a long-sleeve tee. Gilles, another front-runner opted for an even simpler shorts and gaiters combo. Fashionable and functional 🙂 At the start line, it was clear right away that there was a chance I could pull something special out of my own ‘hurt locker’. The top 3 guys were not here this day (Andrew, James, or Alex), and I didn’t see any big wild card racers lining up at the front. As such, there were about 5 of us that I thought might be overall contenders and I vowed to myself to stay in touch with the lead longer than ever before. Might be hard with the snow, but here goes nothing…

Mike counted down the start, and I fired myself up for a strong start. We’d first be taking on the flat course, and finishing with the hilly course. In the 1st loop, that would mean breaking trail in deep, wet snow, but for the 2nd lap, we’d have a packed trail, as the 5k racer were doing only that trail. In my mind, I was pretty sure that would favour me, as my light frame and endurance capacity would fare well on the final steep hills. Or so was my plan. At the word ‘go’, I stepped right into the snow trail of John Ranson, who chose to take the early lead on Lap 1. Of course, there were 2-3 others right on my tail, and put me in a panic early, as I wasn’t sure I’d have the energy to keep it up the whole way. I just gritted my teeth and thought of the Olympic spirit, and pushed hard.

And hard it was! That snow was insane. Mike had pre-walked the course, so there was a track, but it was one single pair of footsteps using a short gait and pressed deep in the snow. For me, it felt like I was doing some sort of tire-running drill you see them do in football, as your feet went deep down, the top of the snowshoes piled up with snow, then you had to explode up, showering your neck and back with cold wet snow as you made your next stride. Luckily, it seemed everyone else had the same challenge, so I maintained my position for the entire first lap, exchanging only a few words with John in front and Gilles behind me, as we were racing too hard for any sustained chatting.

I felt great coming down the hill after Lap 1, flying fast and hard, and not willing to slow down for nutrition. I ditched my headband, and tried to grab my drink bottle, but missed. Luckily, James, who was watching, was nice enough to pass me his bottle, so I managed to grab a quick gulp before carrying on to lap 2. What a relief it was to start that lap, as we now had a nice flat track to follow and could go more on ‘cruise control’. I knew the real race was about to start, and felt that I’d kept enough in the tank to make a challenge. At one point in lap 1, John had made a little sprint getaway, which certainly put a fright in me, but I had tracked him back down. However, he didn’t seem to be fading like he had in the last race, and I speculated he was holding back to ensure I didn’t get ahead at the end.

Meanwhile, behind me, Gilles and one other person were also being very persistent. Our order had gone pretty much unchanged for the past half hour, and I was getting nervous. What exactly was going to happen? A few times during the first half of lap 2, John would get a little ahead of me, but I’d catch back up on the hairy descents. Talk about pressure and tension! Finally, I decided to do a gut check and make a decision about whether I wanted this race or not. This was as good a chance as I’d ever have to put my stamp on a snowshoe race. I waited till about 2/3rds through the lap, when we got to the last 2 really steep hills. This was where I’d make my stand. When John slowed to a shuffle on the bottom of a steep hill, I said ‘passing left, I’m gonna try to make a move here’, to which he replied ‘go for it’. After all, I wouldn’t be content sneaking a victory on the final sprint, I really wanted to come out on top.

Once past John, I focused on just pushing hard and RUNNING up the steep hills, hoping my lungs and heart would hold out till the finish, which was still about a kilometer and a half or more away. My other concern was that Gilles would take this chance to attack both John and I. I did my standard mental game of “he’s right on your tail” to keep moving fast. I hazarded a glance back a few times, and to my surprise, I saw only daylight! On the final big hill, I kept pushing hard just to make sure, but it was soon obvious there was no threat of losing now. Before I knew it, I was barreling down the final downhill chute to the finish and throwing my arms in the air. Much to my surprise (and others at the finish too!), nothing else happened for a full 1 minute and 15 seconds. Yup, I had a very comfortable margin of victory to my credit! I was elated. After all the tough stuff I’ve been dealing with and working through, this was a bit of vindication for me. John and Gilles finished close together, with Gilles actually doing a nice faceplant when trying to pull out a finishing sprint. Too funny. We the congratulated each other at the finish and had a couple pictures taken. Perfect end to a perfect race with great friends and competitors!

I won’t keep you all much more than this, as the rest of the story should be well known by now. Of course, I’m talking about the post-race social, which is as legendary or more so than the race itself. It always feels like we’re just sitting in a living room with friends at the end. A living room with a full spread of food, prizes, and lots of great stories. Everyone who had taken part had a great time, and this being the last race of the season, the series champions were crowned. Most weren’t on site, but Tanya Hanham managed to dominate the women’s 10k series and as a result got an awesome pair of Atlas Race snowshoes. Not bad for a first season racer who normally only rides bikes! The 5k champs were also crowned, receiving bottles of wine for their accomplishments. Alex was the overall 10k winner, which had already been determined prior to this race. The other exciting news for me? My victory today had actually propelled me into 3rd place overall for the 2009-10 series in points! Awesome. That matches my prior standing from another series.

I didn’t get any prizes for winning 1st in this race or 3rd in the series, but I still managed to get some nice recognition by Mike. He called me up for a prize in light of my ongoing support of the race and my attempts to get more people to come out, as well as blogging all about it. So once again, I implore you one and all to sign up for one or all of these races next winter. I PROMISE you’ll have a good time and will at least walk away with a smile on your face and a belly full of food. Plus, you’d get to hang out with ActiveSteve 🙂 So endeth my chilly tale. Hope you’ve liked it, and that you’ll come back again and read more of my race stories. Till then, rest up, train hard, and see you on the race course!

The Long Lonely Road to Boston

Wow! I can’t believe I’m finally writing this blog post. In truth, this one has been quite a while in the making. In fact, I’d say that it’s been in the works since I first started running many years back. So what am I talking about here? How about a Boston-qualifying marathon time of 3 hours and 10 minutes? Although this post is mainly about my race, don’t think for a moment that a marathon is limited to the 42.2km that you need to run. In truth, a marathon is a journey that starts long before the starting pistol is fired, and requires sacrifice, perseverance, and dedication. In the spirit of that, I’m going to have to ask your indulgence in my post as I’ll probably wax a little poetic at times about how I got to this point. As my title implies, I had to complete this journey over the weekend on my own. That unfortunately meant that my usual race photographer wasn’t with me 🙂 However, I did manage to take a few pictures on my own, but nothing from the race. I also had my GPS with me, so I put together a nice little map of the day that you can check out. Afterwards, wander on back and read the rest of my story.

So for starters, you may be wondering where I ran this race. Well, it was in the fine city of Hamilton, at the Road2Hope Marathon, which raises a lot of money for charity. But why Hamilton? Let’s start answering that question by clearing one thing up. There is NO such thing as an easy marathon. Running 42.2km hurts no matter where you do it. That being said, there were a few basic reasons I chose Hamilton; proximity, timing, and reputation. Hamilton is just over 5 hours away. It took place late enough in the season that I had time to prepare for it properly, and allowing me to run in cooler temperatures. As for reputation? Well, it has recently been rated the number one Boston qualifier in Canada, due to it’s terrain. The marathon starts at the top of the escarpment, and makes its way to the waterfront, which is significantly lower in altitude.

However, I’d like to point out something that I pieced together after the race. Although there was a nice stretch of almost 7km of significant descent, the rest of the course was your typical ‘rolling terrain’. In fact, according to my GPS, I still managed to ascend over 740m in altitude over the entire course. Although that works out to probably 20% or so less climbing than the Ottawa marathon, is still requires some work to push hard over the whole course. Overall, the course basically had 3 sections in my mind. The first 22km or so were rolling terrain. Then we hit about 7km of downhill running which took place on a highway of all things! Wrapping up the misery train was a final 13km or so of rolling terrain near the water. More on how that all worked out for me in a few paragraphs.

In the final few weeks leading up to the big event, I was increasingly paranoid about getting sick, and got into a fairly normal routine of hand-washing and using purell at every opportunity. It all paid off, as in the final few days, I was still healthy and felt relatively well-rested. It’s not unusual to get a little sick in the final week, but I avoided that this time. Great start to the attempt. This was to be my first standalone marathon since 2006! Granted, I’d kept training, and ran an Iron-distance triathlon in 2007 which concludes with a marathon, but I ended up taking all of 2008 off due to nagging knee issues. However, I was back in racing form, and plan to tackle a Rudy Award in 2010 (in honour of my turning 35). As part of that award, you need to complete a marathon, and I decided that what better marathon to race than Boston? In order to do that, I needed a qualifying marathon beforehand, and my time was running out, since Boston is run in April.

As I counted the days down, a few things got in the way of Jody being able to join me for my adventure, so that meant I’d have to make the drive down and back on my own, especially since it was Halloween, and most of my friends had already made other plans for that weekend. Instead of making the trip in one shot, I opted to stop at the halfway point, in Belleville , to get a good nights sleep, and not have to spend 6 hours in a car on the day before the race. Both hotels I stayed in had hot tubs, so in a way, this was a pretty good option, as I had no distractions whatsoever, and could focus purely on resting and soaking my weary body in hot water 🙂 I also managed to find a nice Italian place within walking distance of my hotel in Hamilton, and had a great pasta feast for mycarbo loading.

The arrival to Hamilton itself on Saturday was the cause for some concern, as the electric signs before the skyway (big bridge) were warning of high winds and that we should be cautious of. How high? Well, how about gusts of 55+km/h! Can you imagine how that could impact the race if the winds were that high the next day? It wouldn’t be pretty, I assure you. At the race expo, which was located outside in tents, it was a wild site. Merchandise was literally blowing away as I wandered around racks of clothes. I ended up helping to pick up some of the things that were tumbling away. On the plus side, it was clear there would be lots of room at the end of the race to cool down and for parking as well.

After my pasta meal, and a final soak, it was time to settle in for sleep. I set a couple alarms just in case, because I was unsure how the time change would affect my blackberry or iPod . In the end, it was a good thing I set 2 alarms, as the one I expected to wake me up didn’t go off at the right time! Whew. I had a quick bowl of oatmeal at 5:30am, and then made my way to the finish line to grab a bus to the start line with other racers. We were the first bus to arrive, and got to congregate in a high school gymnasium as the darkness slowly melted into light, and the temperature starting rising a bit higher than zero! Eventually, the gym was packed with half- and full- marathoners waiting to get their races underway. As a special guest, Simon Whitfield (Olympic Gold medalist in Triathlon) was on hand to give us some words of wisdom. However, it humourously backfired, as when he was asked repeatedly for advice, he kept saying he probably wasn’t the best person to get advice from in this event, as he’d never run a half, or full marathon in his racing career 🙂 He just said to do what you normally do. Sounds about right to me.

Time for the starting line! This wasn’t a tiny marathon, but it also wasn’t anywhere near the same scale as the Ottawa marathon. At the starting line, there was supposed to be about 1000 marathoners starting the course. I seeded myself a little ways back, but in conversation with others in the area, it looked as though I should have just started pretty much at the front. When I said I was shooting for 3:10, most others around me were 3:20 or 3:30. There were no pace bunnies at my pace, so I really wasn’t sure what to do. I opted to follow some sage racing advice I’d heard around Ottawa. “Plan your race, and race your plan”. Basically, stick to your pace, and don’t worry about what is happening around you.

When the race started, I basically fell into what I was sure was a comfortable pace. I soon realized I was starting a touch too hard, as my pace was that of a sub-3 hour marathon. Oops. Typical problem at the start of the race. You feel so good, and are so rested, and with all the people around you, it just happens. I called out for other 3:10 hopefuls, but again, a lot of the people claimed they were shooting for 3:20 or more. Boy, were they going too fast or what? I did a mental check of my choices for clothes and nutrition, and decided that I’d made all the right choices. It was all going to be up to me at this point to pull it off. Time for the hard work to begin.

After ticking off the first 5 or so kilometers, I felt like I’d definitely found my race legs and had the right pace. I was tracking to about a 3:08 marathon, which meant I should be able to bank at least a minute or two by the time I got to the wall at the 32+km mark, which is when things always seem to go wonky for runners. I made a few friends around me, and we just turned over km after km in relative comfort. I knew all to well that things would change later in the race, but for now, all was good. I had chosen not to wear headphones or carry music, so I was really just listening to everything around me. Every 3km or so, we’d have mini cheering groups, as that is where the water / eload stations were. I made sure to grab at least a half cup of electrolyte replacement at every one of these, as that is how I’m used to training.

At about 21.5km, we finally turned off the secondary country roads, and found ourselves running on a major highway. Really. They had a 7km stretch of the highway closed for us. It was really smooth, wide pavement, and this is where the gradient went very much downhill. Now, you might think this would be the chance to turn on the jets and speed up, but I opted to just maintain my pace. Some people clearly tried this strategy, and a few cocky people went flying by. Believe me though, 6km of intense downhill is a sure-fire way to burn your quads. Sure enough, one of those lads ended up walking on the side of the road, and I cheerfully ran by at my steady pace. Check another good idea by me in this race. The end of the highway was at about the 29km mark.

At this point, the race truly felt like it had changed. My running partners were nowhere around me anymore. We had all been spread apart. Also, I was now really starting to feel the pain and the enormity of the task ahead of me. I still had 12km to go, and I had to start digging deep already. I really buckled down and tried to regain my focus, but things were definitely getting tougher. You might be tempted to think that I ‘hit the wall’, but I’d that wasn’t quite the case. You see, in order to meet my goal, I couldn’t afford to think about that or get sucked in by ‘the wall’. Instead, I’d like to say that I ‘ran through the wall’. More poetic, isn’t it? We were now running closer to the water, but there still weren’t many fans on the course. It was a very lonely feeling. Suffering badly, with nothing to push me on except for my own stubbornness.

At the 35km mark, we made a sharp turn, and I knew that the final 7km was basically the finishing leg. We were running on a paved path along Lake Ontario, and i just had to drop the hammer the rest of the way. I focused on a few faster runners ahead, and kept telling myself not to let them drop me. The problem was that others around me were dropping off now. Suddenly, my pacers were slowing, and I absolutely knew that I couldn’t give in with them, as I was too close to my goal. I didn’t work this hard and come this far to lose out on my goal. Granted, anything under a 3:15 would mean I could run Boston in 2011, I really wanted to do it in 2010, and be able to say I ran a 3:10. Push push push, Meyer! I kept chanting things over and over in my head. I had complete tunnel vision, and found another reserve to draw on. At the 36km mark, I grabbed a final chug from my gel flash, then decided to just throw it away, along with the gloves I’d been wearing. Every gram seemed to matter now. My hands were now free, and I could feel the nice cool air as I worked harder than ever before.

Okay people, here we are, the dramatic concluding kilometers. I’m within 3.5km of my destination, and it was clearly going to be a tight finish. My legs were definitely feeling like lead, and I wasn’t sure how I could pull this off. Every fiber of my being was screaming, ‘just take a little break, and walk for a minute’. The problem is that if I did that, I would have to kiss 3:10 goodbye. I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, give in to it. 39km mark. Looking at my watch, I have over 15 minutes left. Okay, so even at 5 minutes per km, I’d make it. No problem right? After all, my race pace was 4:29 per kilometer. Remember the pain though? Yeah, that pace was a big much for me now. 40km mark. Ok , 2 more to go. Time check. 10 minutes to go! Shoot, I now had to run sub-5 min/km to finish on time, and my last km was slow. Push hard Meyer!

Kilometer 41. Is it a mirage? Only a kilometer to go now!!? Time check. I barely have 5 minutes to do it. And guess what? A marathon is not 42km. It’s 42.2km. Exactly. What does that mean? Well, how about an extra 1/5th of a kilometer. Or put another way, a minute! The clock was already at 3:05. At my current pace, it would take 6 minutes, or put another way, just a touch over 3:11!!! Shit! Now, you might think that when you’re that close, adrenalin would kick in and you could easily do it. Well, not quite. Basically, adrenalin ran out a LONG time ago. I don’t know exactly what chemical process was going on in my mind and body, but it was something different. I seriously turned on the jets one last time. I was passing people again now, and each person I passed, I let them know that they would have to pick up the pace to get a 3:10 time. Amazingly though, no one seemed able to respond. In a way, I felt sorry for them, since I knew they’d be disappointed at the end to see how close they were.

I made the final turn, and came into the final 100m finishing chute. I could only partially see the official race clock, and the numbers I saw were 3:10:xx. The seconds were obscured, but it meant I was dangerously close to missing the goal. When I finally crossed the line. Time for me stopped at 3:10:41. In terms of the Boston qualifying rules, that meant I had qualified with a mere 18 seconds to spare. You see, you are given the :59 seconds of the minute. I suspect it’s because of those final cursed 200m that get you every time 🙂 At any rate, I had done it! I had conquered the course, and came out victorious. I was overcome with emotion at the finish, but had no one to share it with right away. I made my way to my bag check, and grabbed my Blackberry to Twitter the result as soon as I could, and let the world know that I’d done it!

And so ends the race story for all my dear readers. Yup, it was a long tale, but one I wanted to make sure I captured so that I could look back on this day years from now and fondly remember what I went through on that day in Hamilton. The rest of the day is somewhat boring. Basically, I had a quick snack, then got behind the wheel to undertake the next event, my 5.5+hour drive back home so that I could be at work the next morning 🙁 No rest for the wicked. I stopped only once on the way back for food and gas. Once home, I chilled out a bit, and had a nice shower. 24 hours after that, I was online, registering myself for the 114th Boston Marathon, which I will run in April. And now, one week later, I feel fully recovered, and ready to get back into training. I was really surprised how quickly I recovered. By Wednesday, I was going a bit of jogging already with the dog, and up and down stairs at work. Sweet, that’ll come in handy when I race my next race in a month! Yup, that’s right, no real rest for ActiveSteve , although I will take much of November off. Till then, take care folks, and never give up on your dreams and goals, whatever they may be.