Well the Greatest Farming Season of my life is finally coming to an end. I may never see another one like this year with Great weather from April through October. Some runners are hampered by injuries, with me it has always been the farm. Bad growing years are good for my running, good years like this and it is hard to find the time. It is one of the biggest reasons for me taking 10 years off. So after averaging 18.5 miles a week since May, I decided to go ahead and run the Baystate Marathon. Most people I know (including my wife) thought it was a pretty foolish thing to do. I set a goal for myself when I turned 40 to start running again and do one marathon a year for the rest of my life. Even without running much I still work pretty hard every day and my general fitness is still very good.
Finishing the marathon to me did not seem a big problem. Getting a qualifying time for Boston would be a bit more difficult. I traveled up in the morning with my friend Bob and we met up at the starting line with our other two training partners Mike and Brian. The Plan was to run together until at least 20 miles on 3:15 pace to get a qualifying time for our friend Brian. The first 5 miles really felt pretty easy and I had to really hold back. At 13 my left Achilles was extremely painful and I was really considering dropping out. I wore racing flats and was really regretting the decision because they already had a couple marathons on them. By 15 the pain was still there but not any worse so I continued on and started to pick up the pace a bit to see if it would help. Brian had moved on ahead of us 30 seconds or so and Bob who is 54 started to drift back. By 16 Mike drifted off the pace and I started focusing on catching Brian. I caught up to him at 19 and we were on 3:13 pace and he decided to cut back on the pace a bit, leaving me alone the rest of the way. At 21 my legs were starting to feel the effects of limited training miles and were starting to tighten up. By 22 I was still hitting 7:20 pace, but I was starting to get nauseous as I typically do. I had only taken 2 gu's and a salt tab, but I have an extremely weak stomach and this was even too much.
After 23.5 I was reduced to a crawl and hurting bad. At 24 Mike came by me trying to Cheer me on but I was done. I hit 25 with an 11:15 split for the mile, and had really given up when a few minutes later my friend Bob came by with a 3:20 pace group. I latched on and hobbled along with them for a few minutes until I started feeling better and as we approached the stadium I realized I could still get the 3:20. As we entered the stadium I heard DD Cheer me on and I started to sprint through the stadium and hit the line in 3:20:47 giving me the time needed for Boston. All in all I am happy with the result. It is not what I envisioned last March but I raced and finished and still had fun. Now on to normal training and running a ton of miles this winter, because time is running out on my PR quest.