It has been several weeks since my last entry. As a re-cap I’d like to mention that I started documenting my training for the 2009 NYC Marathon with the hope of attracting runners and non-runners from all walks of life to follow me in my marathon pursuit. Ultimately I completed the marathon after what appeared to be a roller coaster of emotions full of physical setbacks. In the weeks leading up to the marathon I found myself once again on the injured list. However, despite the setbacks I was able to return to the pavement and crank out a 2:58 marathon. Thanks to a bit of stubbornness and a great thing called motivation. Throughout my previous entries one will catch a glimpse of my personal life and how much of it is influenced by running. In the beginning it was just a sport that held very little interest to me. As I matured and learned how to dig deep to achieve results it eventually became a way of life. Over the years I have raced distances from the 100 meters as a track athlete to the ½ Marathon as a post-collegiate cross country runner. On November 1, 2009 I added the Marathon to my repertoire.
Now the question is: where do I go from here? What lies beyond the Marathon? An ultra-marathon? Or perhaps a revisit to my former distances with the aspiration of setting new PRs. For the most part, 2010 will hold new challenges and maybe new distances. With the new found passion to race again I believe that the New Year will produce great results and an even more jammed pack racing schedule. The first major stop will be the Boson Marathon on April 19th.
Following the NYC Marathon I embraced the marathon high for several weeks. It had become the biggest accomplishment in my life. I continued to heal from the previous injury and returned to my home town in northeastern Arizona. During this down time, I enjoyed the serene landscapes that immediately engulfed my wild spirit. I attempted several runs and revisited the old trails that commenced this 11 year running career, however running at 6000 ft. was no easy task. I found myself jogging slower than I could ever recall jogging and yet the time and space provided was rewarding. To witness the everlasting landscapes and vistas only found in the southwest were rewarding. My first run took me through the valleys and along the dirt roads that have long been abandoned by automobiles. The only evidence of life were the tracks of cattle and wild mustangs. The eventual yelps of hungry coyotes were also in abundance and spots of ravens dotted the endless skies and an occasional hare darting from dried out sage brushes. I always cherished my time alone on these trails; I could run for hours with no disturbance from anything or anyone. It truly is a runner’s paradise, the high elevation, an undisturbed land and breathtaking vistas and for a few hours a week, a few minutes a day it becomes all mine.
(The view of thousands of acres of the family ranch at sunset)
Upon returning to Philadelphia I was a bit hesitant to start training for the Boston Marathon. Despite many weeks of rejuvenation I evidently was more stressed about making ends meet and making the decision to remain in Philadelphia or return back west. As is in most stressful situations I went out for a run. With the shorter days and chilly temperatures the abundance of runners was minimal. I ran along the Schuylkill River and for the first time in a long time witnessed the overwhelming image of the slowly flowing river. Perhaps it was the reflection of the light bouncing of the water, the cars zipping along the boulevard or just the subtle hush that enveloped the image of Philadelphia at dusk. Without realizing I had completed a 10 mile run and finished with a new found determination in my decisions. I chose to remain in Philadelphia for the time being. At least until my quest for Boston has been fulfilled. Regardless of the outcome this journey will definitely make its mark in the memory book. As I am now inching closer and closer to the start of a new training program I reflect back on my previous training, my first and only marathon performance and acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses. Ideally I know I am capable of running much faster than a 2:58. To achieve that time straight out of injury and a lack of fitness I am confident that my next big race will hold many new expectations. The pressure is on and will only intensify as I inch closer and closer to race day. The Road to Boston has commenced!