It’s 4:45AM.

A similar spot. Boston morning. A dark hotel room.

The weekend had gone exactly how I wanted it to go.

Unlike the last two trips, I came into this weekend without any hiccups. Following a disappointing Boston outing in October, I was determined to give it my best shot for this third outing.

I left Boston last time, in short, disappointed. For over two and a half years Boston had been my sole motivation. The race that broke me. The race that made me walk for the first time since my first year of running back in 2006. The race that reignited my love for running through an event I swore I had no interest in ever running. I came back to Boston in October in the best shape of my life. Everything had gone to plan, until a snag in the final stretch of that block. Despite what I figured was just a minor setback, I came confident that I could still crack 2:30. I was two years stronger. But as it does for so many, Boston made me eat my words. I lost it over the last five miles. Every lingering issue that I’d been nursing came back to haunt me as the wheels came off. My hamstrings tightened up. I winced in pain with each stride as my thigh muscles stung. Then my hip started to go with two miles to go. It was almost cartoonish how everything started to go so quickly. A sub 2:30 and a hope to make it first to the Track House was gone as I hobbled home. 2:32. That stung. But I’d be back.

After taking some time to reflect on the race and what went wrong, I started planning for April. My focus would be on working out the issues that led to me faltering in those final miles. Since my muscles quickly backfired when it was time for the real racing to start, I incorporated some strength training to my routine. I was confident enough in my hill running ability already from my early years in Southern California. I reached out to my friend Ben Wach for a strength training routine and started adding it twice a week to my training schedule. I found huge success in a block that was as unorthodox as any marathon build that I’ve ever done. I ran three track races and a half marathon during this training block. No twenty mile long run. Heck, the longest run of this block was just a little over sixteen. Making up for that was consistency. No major setbacks. I ran personal bests in every distance and knocked out post race workouts that made me feel like I could take on the world.

This year, I made the decision to travel alone. I would make my usual trip to Portland Maine, enjoy visiting some of my favorite breweries and of course, eat all the lobster I could get my hands on. But unlike the last two trips, I made running a priority. I ran both days, made sure to get to bed at a reasonable time, and for once, didn’t enjoy too many Portland brews. Again, a little bit unorthodox but I’ve always found that an escape from the hustle and bustle of race weekend helps. I love Boston weekend, but for once I wanted to come in with the race is full focus. I can celebrate later. I’m only going to think about the race when I need to. I’ve spent all training block focusing on it. Now was not the time to overwhelm myself just days away from the thing.

I arrived in Boston early Saturday afternoon lugging around five bags with me filled with various cans and bottles of beers I picked up across Portland. Some things don’t change I guess. I definitely underestimated the amount of beer I had acquired over the previous day’s shenanigans and found myself moving all of my bags in trips. Walk a couple feet. Drop my bags. Walk back to the bags I left. Walk them a couple feet. Repeat. After what seemed like a full days work, I tossed my bags in my room, and set off for convention center to grab my bib before the expo closed.

Enough beer?

In my experience, the atmosphere of race day doesn’t really hit until you go to the expo. Thousands of people walk the streets in race gear. Runners everywhere you see, some snagging in afternoon miles, others proudly showing their Boston Jackets of years past excitedly waiting to add yet another jacket to their collection and a marathon to their streak. For some it’s the culmination of years of training. This is their weekend. This is the weekend they’ve dreamt about. There’s a beauty in that. Regardless of what time we’re hitting the start line we will all be making our journey to Boylston in less than 48 hours.

Packet pickup goes off without an issue as it tends to. Grab my bib, buy the jacket and patch, take the picture with my bib for the Instagram. The usual. I tour through the expo booths looking for familiar faces and brands, greeting some friends and getting some swag from my ambassadorship. Today, I told myself, would be the day where I’d do all of my walking, visit the places I really wanted to check out, and take in the craziness that is Boston weekend. I make my way through some of the shops I wanted to see and caught up with my fellow Ope teammate Blake for some Pizza and brews for dinner. An early night in for Saturday, the most important night of sleep before the race.

Bib Secured.

With Saturday being the day of adventure, Sunday was calm in comparison. I made my way just in time to catch the shakeout at Heartbreak Running Co with Keira D’Amato. It was the first time I’d been to these shakeout events at Boston. Excitement and nervousness was very apparent in the atmosphere of the group as we did our shakeout. To me, this run served one purpose, a slow jog to just shake the muscles out. Nothing fast, nothing crazy, just movement. I caught up with Keira and her husband for a quick second and tossed them some beers from back home. Another Ope teammate Gabby joined me as we stopped by Tracksmith to pick up some gear and then to catch the Bakline team for the end of their shakeout. Countless shakeout groups filled the area as it seemed like every brand had created their own event for it. It was truly a sight to see. After catching up with the Bakline team I was dropped off at my hotel. I caught a nice lunch with my buddy Scotty then and ventured off to have a beer and try to finally snag a Boston Marathon glass at Sam Adams. No dice. Can’t win them all I guess.

I made my way back to the hotel before four and relaxed in my room until dinner time. This being Boston Marathon weekend I figured the options for a great pasta dinner would either be booked for the evening or have a multiple hour wait. I decided to try my luck and thankfully, after striking out a couple times, I found an open seat at the bar at a nice Italian restaurant. No wait. The perks of traveling alone I guess.

I finalized my race plan for the following morning while I enjoyed spaghetti and a local lager. My original race plan was to go out in 5:40 for the first 10 miles and shift gears from there. Coach had other plans for me. 5:45-5:50 for the first 10 miles and then find a comfortable 5:40-5:45 pace over the next 10 before ripping the last 10K. I had already reached out to someone from Letsrun, Chris, who was running Boston for his first time about my original plan earlier that weekend. After some back and forth with coach we decided on sticking to his plan for the first 10 miles and dipping under 5:40 from there if things were going well.

I think A+ day tomorrow is 2:28:xx.
Boston eats alive the people who have bad race plans.

Point taken.

I relayed the plan to Chris and decided to make a last minute attempt to arrange a group. I had been beat up by this course enough and unlike the last sub 2:30 group I went out with last year, I wanted to lead this one. I was confident enough in my ability to stay calm in the early stages and figured a pack tearing it up over the final 10K would be a sight to see. Taking notes from the That’s Fine Track Club guys my first year here, I’ve learned there’s strength in numbers. So I posted my intentions on Instagram, Strava, and various Facebook groups. If they wanted to join, meet us at 6:15 outside the bag drop for the early 1000 bus.

As I walked out of the restaurant I came across a group of three merry gentlemen in Boston Marathon expo gear. I wished them luck and asked where they were coming from and if they had travelled together. To my surprise, these men were complete strangers to each other before this weekend. Each had come from different countries, one from the UK, the other from India, and the final one from a country I cannot remember off the top of my head. They had just met at the hotel and decided to grab dinner together. It gave me fond memories of traveling with friend Sig from Mexico on my first journey here. The kindness of strangers during Boston Marathon weekend is truly understated. It’s a weekend where friends are made through the common journey that is this event. It’s a community that crosses all borders, all walks of life, and brings people together.

I made my way back to the hotel, packed my gear for the following day and while I struggled to get some shuteye at first, finally went to bed just after 10.

The journey to Boston Common by subway was thankfully made much easier due to the runners packing the trains so early in the morning. I figured we couldn’t all be going the wrong way and trusted that we’d all end up at the right place. Thankfully, that proved to be a good plan. I made my way to the first couple of buses for bag drop, then over to the early 1000 bus where I found Chris and my buddy Jamey from Columbus who had also agreed to join our group. Since the buses tended to be a bit of a crapshoot I figured it was best to find each other first then take the same busses to athletes village to prevent us getting split up.

We made our way to the busses and we were off to athletes village. As we entered the town I thought to myself that we were going a weird direction that I didn’t remember heading to in 2019. The busses dropped us off and I could hear a bit of commotion happening between the volunteers and the bus drivers. The bus drivers had dropped us off in the area a quarter mile from the start instead of Athletes Village. We were in a spot that could only be accessed after they opened up corrals almost an hour later. This meant easy access to portapottys and water and saved us about a half a mile of walking to the start. We sat on a curb and relaxed until it was time for us to warm up. While we waited, we added another member to the group, Liam, a fellow from Ohio that trained with a buddy of mine.

Here’s the kicker though, two of our four were in corral two. While we would all be starting technically at the same time, corral two would start hundreds of people behind the beginning of corral one. Knowing that corral one ranged between about 2:18 and 2:41 and that sub 2:30 would most likely finish in the top 100 I knew our best shot would be to try and sneak them into corral one with us. I knew these guys were fit enough to run under 2:30 and I would rather run with a group than take it solo. If all else failed I let them know I would make the decision to start at the back of corral one to make sure we didn’t lose each other. We had agreed on a plan and I was not about to leave people behind. As we moved through each corral my confidence in this plan increased. Up through corral 6, 5. *A quick stop to squat and pee a bit.* Corral 4. Corral 3. Corral 2.

Okay we’re basically there.

We jog through the center of two walls of volunteers checking numbers. I make my way into the corral and look back. Jamey’s made it through. But where is Chris and Liam.


Unfortunately they were stopped before they could make it through. The plan had failed. I stood there nervously pacing around in the large space between corral one and the rope that held corral two. Chris and Liam would have to shove their way up through hundreds of people to get to the front of that corral and we had less than five minutes until race time. I felt absolutely terrible. With time ticking down I kept hoping they’d managed to make their way up.

I take another look back and I am greeted with a yell from corral two. Chris and Liam had made their way to the front just as the volunteers holding the rope for corral two were moving our corrals together. Jamey, Chris, Liam, and I quickly agreed on a direction we felt would be easiest to try and pass people and waited for the gun to start.


Quickly the masses surrounding us start to move. One thing that I’ve come to learn about Boston is there really no Goldilocks zone over that first mile, people are either going out like it’s the opening stretch of a 10K or looking like they are trying to stop themselves from falling down a mountain. Knowing this, Jamey and I took the lead of our quartet to kick things off. We were all on high alert. We sought out gaps in the masses, asked for permission for some space and led our pack through. Quick callouts and check-ins were constant to make sure we didn’t lose each other. It brought back memories of running college cross country with the boys, making moves together and moving up, pack by pack. We continued to move forward through the corral one, finding openings, gesturing to people next to us to get room, and yelling for the rest of our group to follow. If that meant jumping out on sidewalks to get around, so be it. Anything that would keep us from stomping our feet in those opening miles.

Unlike past years this lateral movement of snaking through people didn’t hurt. That was a good sign. While snaking through these crowds was done with relative ease, a slow opening mile was expected. With 25.2 to go, a couple seconds slow was negligible. We’d make those antsy in the opening stretch pay eventually. The focus for now was being mindful of my pace. I was passing a ton of people but I should be. Starting just ahead of Corral Two meant I was starting with people that were seeded 10 minutes slower than I was planning to run. The key here was to not get overwhelmed by the masses. Pass, a couple quick steps, settle, pass, repeat.

First mile: 5:51. Eh not bad.

The reaction of a runner following the opening mile is a tell tale sign of their experience. The shock of a slow mile creates almost an instantaneous injection of pace as they attempt to get back on pace by making up the difference in the second mile. The net downhill over these first couple miles make it easy to jump from 5:50 to 5:30 as people try to settle themselves into a rhythm. I’m reminded of the last two outings as this mile goes by. Jamey and I are running side by side with Chris and Liam just ahead within sight.

Settle in, we’ll get there. Nothing happens in these opening miles. Everything is fine.

Everything’s not fine though.

What’s this?! I need to pee again. How?! I just went!

I keep telling myself I can hold it. We’ll hold on until mile eight. Far enough to get out from the masses in this corral, settle into a rhythm, and hopefully not have to go again. If I go now, I run the risk of having to go again and pulling over when the real racing was happening. But sometimes the body makes the decision. I needed to go now. I saw a break, no spectators and some trees for me to jump out to.

Jamey, I need to go to the bathroom bad. I’m going to surge up ahead and go. I’ll catch up to you guys. Go on without me.

No matter how many times this has happened to me in races, it sure doesn’t get any less nerve racking. As I jumped off the course to relieve myself I could feel precious time ticking as people passed me. Oh hate to be that guy, I heard as another group passed me. But we were back. At most this was about fifteen seconds. I jumped back on the course, tossed in a couple quick steps to get back into rhythm and scanned the crowds ahead to see how far they had gone. They were within eyesight but I could not gauge just how far they were ahead. I was moving quickly and my pace was dropping fast but I was not making up any ground. I started moving past people trying to make sure I made up some ground without completely throwing away my race plan. My watch buzzed for my second mile.

5:46. I guess that 5:30 effort did come after all.

It was at this point that I realized that my plan to have a pack to run with was gone. Even with a 5:46, I had not made any ground on my original pack so I made the decision to stick with my race plan and see where it went from there. This was a familiar position for me. I had to make this decision in October. To keep the pack within striking distance, or run my own race, alone. I chose the former last year and memories of those heartbreaking miles helped make my decision. It would be a lonely one but I was not going to deviate from the plan and start running 5:30’s like I did the year prior.

As I settled into my race, the next couple miles were tough without anyone else to key off of. Running felt effortless but I had to consistently pull back and remind myself that it was supposed to feel like this. I wanted to take advantage of the downhill sections which were at odds with my plan of being conservative. I had some close calls in those early miles as I almost crept into the 5:30’s but thankfully I was able to settle down and get closer to the goal of 5:45’s. As I approached mile five, I finally settled into a groove.

Mile 5, take that first Gu. Okay now water. Good.

I’ve had fairly fond memories of the stretch between miles five to ten from past years. Posing for the camera, throwing my hands up to pump the crowd, giving out high fives. This section was always one that I enjoyed the most. As the group started to be more consistent I began to start keying in on those around me. By this point I knew that this would be the group I would be traveling with for the next couple miles before my next move at mile ten. I keyed in immediately on what I assumed was a coach and his athlete. The coach, wearing a Bowerman TC jersey was audibly giving tips to the guy he was running with, and encouraging the group as a whole.

This is the sub 2:30 group he said. I was in the right place.

These miles felt strange to me this time around. I was so used to getting really into the crowd, looking around at everyone and taking in the atmosphere. This felt different. The only two things I was focused on was my pace and the next group ahead of me. Memories of the feeling of racing cross country came as our pack began to move past those already having a tough time. With each passing person I began to get antsy. We were at mile eight and I was so close to the next stage of this race and as I was nearing the end of the downhill section I knew I was in good shape. The test would be over these next two miles.

How patient could I stay with the real race coming quickly? I wasn’t scared about banking time or losing time. I just wanted to start racing. I was comfortable enough after the last couple months of racing that I knew I could make moves and stick with them without too much of an issue. Now was not the time to get greedy. So the next game was to try and hit these next two miles right on the money. Right on 5:45 and then it was time to have some fun.

Mile 9: 5:44. Okay we’re closer. Just one more.

Mile 10: 5:45. Money. Time to take another GU and a drink.

It’s time for the real racing to start, I said aloud.

I pressed on the gas, slowly. I knew the energy of this next stage would make it easy to make the mistake of shifting into a gear that I wasn’t just quite ready for. I would start it at 5:40 and make sure that no miles would be under 5:35 at least until at least mile sixteen.

Mile 11: 5:40

Mile 12: 5:35

Everything was going right to plan as I approached my next challenge, The Wellesley Scream Tunnel.

Located just before the half way mark, ladies of Wellesley College’s all female student body line the streets cheering, high fiving, and kissing strangers as they run by. The scream tunnel is truly aptly named as you can hear the cheers from the crowd almost a half mile away. The energy of this stage of the course is contagious. I was guilty of it the last two times around. In both 2019 and 2021 I abandoned my race plan due to the hype from the crowd. The cheers. The high fives. The attention. It’s easy to get lost in it. The 5:33 mile in 2021 heading through this section of the course was the beginning of a very tough finish for me and the reminders of it kept me grounded.

I still made sure to toss out some high fives and despite the temptations once again no kisses. But this time there was no surging or shenanigans. It was not time to try to impress anyone by making a move during the tunnel because obviously the crowd can tell the difference between 5:40 and 5:30 right? My patience rewarded me as I passed the 13th miles. 5:40. A job well done.

Shortly after I arrived to the half marathon mark. 75:11. It was slower than I went out in October but I felt completely fresh. It was like the first 13 miles didn’t happen. In my head the we had just lined up for a new race after warming up for 13.1. Boston was now a half marathon and I had two more challenges to come.

While Boston is known for the first ten miles of gradual downhill, the aggressive drop at mile fifteen is the one that I had been mentally preparing myself for months. As I approached that mile, memories flowed back of years past. This section had sealed my fate on the last two attempts. If the ten miles of gradual downhill had not destroyed you, this little section would seal your fate. That 100+ foot drop destroyed my muscles and turned my dreams into nightmares not once, but twice.

Mile fifteen. Take another GU. Another sip of water.

This would be the crucial point for me. If there were any issues to come they would be exposed in this short section. If I felt any pain now I knew I was in for a rough finish. This mile would be fast just due to the drop and I just needed to maintain a comfortable form, not chop my stride, and we’d make it through this section safe and sound. As I cruised down the drop I was pleasantly surprised. No shocks. No aches. No pains. Nothing. I made it through this section. 10 miles out now and I felt great.

As I crossed sixteen miles I immediately remembered my Burks recounting his story about what Ben yelled at him on the day he ran his 2:16.


Less than an hour until I was done. It would be up to me just how much under that hour I would be. I was overcome with happiness knowing that this was the furthest I’ve already gone through this course without issues. Best of all I was still having a blast racing.

As I left Wellesley I knew over the next couple miles I would find out if this strategy would play in my favor. I bet on being conservative, confident that I was strong enough to run hard over the Newton Hills and eventually Heartbreak. And it was time to finally find out.

The way that people tend to talk about this stretch of the course would make you think we were climbing mountains. The hills on their own aren’t tough. It’s your typical gradual hills, nothing particularly special to them. Heartbreak is tough but it isn’t any harder than anything I had encountered growing up in Southern California. The killer here is the positioning of the hills. They just happen to be exactly where most tend to blow up in a typical marathon. From miles seventeen to twenty one you face multiple climbs on already tired legs. Toss in the culminating effect of ten miles of your legs pounding during those opening miles, it’s not surprising that these tend to be the toughest section for most.

This felt different. What had seemed like mountains in previous years felt like speed bumps on a typical weekend long run. I was comfortable and maintained form on the uphills and pressed slightly to keep moving on any downhills that came immediately after.

Pass with authority, I told myself. This was the moment I was waiting for. All the patience in those opening miles had now begun to pay off. I approached mile nineteen and recognized some singlets. Jamey and Liam were just ahead. I moved up, gave the boys some encouragement and kept moving. Regardless of how the race had turned out we had agreed that we would run our own races in the later miles. My race felt like it was just starting and I was in the zone. People were now coming back much quicker as I started running some of my faster miles in the race. I locked into the singlets I recognized and just kept striking. I didn’t slow. It was on to the next one. And so came my final challenge.

Heartbreak Hill.

Heartbreak Hill comes at the crucial point of the race, right at mile twenty. Just when the sting of the miles have begun to take hold you start your half mile climb to the top. While not the toughest hill, it’s definitely got some sting to it no matter how good you are feeling. As I approached the bottom of Heartbreak I saw the final person of our pack, Chris, in high spirits and looking strong going up the hill. Seeing him gave me more confidence. I was excited to get up there to really rock it over the final miles after Heartbreak. I caught up, gave some encouragement and began to charge up the hill. I zoned in to the next key moment, and at this point nothing else. No one else mattered to me. This was the final challenge that I needed to cross before heading into no mans land and seeing just what I can put my body through. If I was to have company, fantastic, but at this point I was zoned into the true mark that broke my heart. Not Heartbreak, not even the crest of the hill. It was that damn mile after. That mile that broke me and caused me to walk in a race for the first time since 2006. I had made it past that mark in October but by that point I was already broken. This was my moment to finally slay the beast and come out stronger.

At 21 something clicked.

It’s 8K. You’ve done 8K. Let’s race.

I pressed on the gas again. Every person ahead of me was now a target I was determined to break. Mile after mile I had focused on staying calm and not letting my emotions overwhelm me but at this point I found it hard to do so. I was actualizing. This was happening. I was passing people and in each I found memories of my own self fighting to stay on. I was in control of my own race and for once my body was holding on. I approached mile twenty two with vivid memories that I had replayed in my head over the last couple years. Three years prior I had contemplated dropping out, and now…

Now I had broken through.

Instead of breaking, I found my fastest mile of the race, a 5:28. I was filled with excitement and emotion but I knew well enough you can never count your chickens before they hatch in a marathon, especially at Boston. While most think of the last couple miles of Boston as a straight downhill due to the elevation profile, it has a couple of bumps that will catch you off guard if you’re not ready. Anything can happen in the last four miles. Many have thrown races away because their confidence has led them to believe that it wouldn’t get any harder than this. It was time to ride the line. Twenty two was a great checkpoint to feel good but it meant nothing if I crashed at twenty four because I got too ahead of myself.

I stayed calm. Let’s stay consistent. A sub 27:30 would be a nice finish. Let’s be conservative here and aim for that and if you feel great let’s really rip that last mile.

I was not at a point in the course that I hadn’t prepared too much for. Unlike the other segments of the course, in past attempts I was more focused on survival rather than the course itself. I always remembered it to be a bit tricky, not the easy downhill that the elevation charts lead you to believe but I didn’t have enough confidence in this section to charge hard here, especially knowing that at this point I was now in a place I’d never been in.

Mile 23 came and went and I clicked off another mile under 5:30. This time a 5:29 and now the feeling of being on my feet for over two hours had now begun to take its effects. My breathing was comfortable. The pace itself wasn’t an issue here. My legs just felt a little tired, particularly my feet. The laces had now began to constrict my inflamed feet.

Just 3 miles to go. Let’s see a sub 16:30. That’s nothing. You can do it.

Every step felt like its own challenge of self preservation. At this point the only thing that would end this race for me was a misstep. All the strength training I had done in the early season had kept me strong through the race. Foot pain wasn’t expected but something I had experienced before. If I could handle it in a 50K race, I could take it for three more damn miles.

Mile 24: 5:31. No. We’re not doing this. We’re not slowing down now. We’ve committed. You made the decision to run this pace. Now you have to live with it. We’ve gone way too far to falter now.

That mile was just what I needed to get myself back into this mentally. I was going to run under 5:30’s, no ifs ands or buts. The self talk at this point was as loud as it had ever been. As I came through familiar streets again I kept pushing. We were so close. I had become emotional at this point. This time I was actualizing. All these years being haunted by this course. That chip on my shoulder. And we were still attacking. I wanted to cry. It was the only reaction I could muster at this point. I still had something.

Mile 25: 5:26. 2K to go. 2K to go! Time to hammer this out!

But first, a dip under an underpass and Wait. Another hill. Crap I forgot about this one.

I had completely forgot about this one. It was Boston’s last gut punch and it caught me off guard. For the first time all day I felt some cracks and I tried to not let it shake me. I crested the hill and tried to get back into rhythm, trying to pull any energy from the crowd or familiar signs to keep me strong. And I found one, that light at the end of the tunnel.

1 mile to go.

I pressed. And pressed. Right on Hereford. I threw my arms up to get the crowd going. This was uncharted waters for me. I wasn’t just trying to finish at this point. I was trying to see how much time I could chip off. Left on Boylston. Hit that damn tangent and go!

The finish was in sight. As was a familiar singlet. The reminder of rejection I needed at a crucial time. It lit that final fire I needed to charge down Boylston trying to pass as many people as I could over the final stretch. I could see the clock now, 2:28**. I lost it. I pumped my fist and yelled as I crossed the finish line.

2:28:23. A 2 minute PR, and almost a 2 minute negative split.

I quickly recollected myself after crossing the finish line. First to the Trackhouse is one of Tracksmith’s Boston Marathon traditions. The rules are simple, first male and female to finish the race and get to the Tracksmith bar wins. Last October I has abandoned my my attempt to be first after finishing over 2:30. I figured this time out I had a shot. So I saved my watch’s activity and made the decision to start it again and make the attempt. I started jogging but my legs had now decided to shut down a bit. I crashed into some poor soul who abruptly stopped walking in front of me. What the hell!? He yelled and after a quick sorry I jogged by to get my medal as people remarked He’s still running!

I made my way to the bag check area quickly, tossed on my Tracksmith fleece and hobbled my way over to Newbury, yelling over at volunteers to help me find the easiest way to get off of the barricaded area. Thankfully I was not blocked off by security and that jog down Newbury felt tougher than the marathon itself. I started running, then walking, then running again. This was much longer than I remembered it being. Or maybe it was the couple pounds of gear I was struggling to carry.

Streets passed and I kept run walking carrying my gear bag in both hands. I slowly moved past people until I finally saw a familiar building.

There it was. I finally made it. Did I do it!?

I saw a camera crew there. I was sure I did!

I make my way up the stairs and ask Lou

Was I first?

Second. He smiled.

And I just couldn’t help but laugh. Completely exhausted by the day. Better luck next time I thought.

I ended up being third to the Trackhouse. As I enjoyed my beer I had come to find out that I had just snuck into the top 100. 93rd overall. It was that final kick down Boylston that ended up sealing that up. Had that not happened there was no way I would’ve finished where I did.

The afternoon was filled with new friends and old, celebrating the day, regardless of the result. We shared stories of our own journeys from Hopkinton to Boylston, our successes, our failures, but all just happy to be there. Because regardless of how things went, this was the marathon community at its purest form.

Boston. I don’t know what else to say. I’ve said multiple times that once I finally conquered you I’d move on. But here I am already setting plans for next year. You made me fall in love with running again. And here I am ready to challenge you again.

We’ll see you next April.



Adaptation is the name of the game. 

In order to succeed in this sport you must have the ability to adapt. While we all wish we could just toss our shoes on and instantly run our goal paces on a daily basis, that’s not reality. Nothing about this sport is consistent. You can have the best run of your life one day and struggle the next. It’s the cruelty of the sport.

We adapt by attempting to make everything feel almost second nature. We repeat seemingly endless miles, intervals and drills to prepare ourselves for anything that may happen in a race. In college we would segment courses and utilize race simulation workouts to ensure that on race day we were ready for anything that was thrown at us. The repetition provides you with the confidence necessary to chase that next goal, to push you when things get tough. In a perfect world this would lead to success.

All the simulations in the world can’t control for every variable. Years of racing have taught me that. We’ve all had days where we’ve felt everything was set up to go right; workouts have been going incredible and a goal seemed like an afterthought. Then it happens; things begin to fall apart and you’re forced to make a quick decision, adapt or be left behind. Sometimes you’re lucky and catch that crucial moment of decision, other times you’re caught and left wondering, what the hell happened?

The 2020 Boston Marathon has been my motivation to train for almost the past 12 months. It convinced me to chase the marathon but also broke me. As I stood at mile 22 panting, drinking as much water as I could, I thought to myself, I’ll be back there. Since I crossed that line, that has all I had been thinking about. When runs were rough I was reminded of that moment. When I was sidelined before Columbus I kept Boston in my mind for motivation to stay healthy.

Over the past 3 months I had been working hard to stack up the miles and stay healthy for Boston. I was running some of the strongest workouts of my life and was quickly approaching the end of my buildup; the first time I would have completed one without an extended break due to injury. Pace work was coming across nicely. I was recovering well and I felt like I was ready to redeem myself. As April 20th came closer I was more and more confident. I was ready for whatever Boston could throw at me.

I wasn’t ready for it to be cancelled.

All the training in the world doesn’t prepare you for that. How do you motivate yourself to run the next day when the race you’ve been training for is no longer happening?

The only blessing that a running career full of injuries provides is the understanding that often those goal races won’t happen. I believe that you should level out those peaks and valleys from running as often as you can so that you’re not shaken by anything that could happen. There needs to be something more. A new goal ready to fire as soon as anything happens, good or bad.  Whether it’s in training or in the middle of a race, you have to be able to create something for yourself to keep you going. Motivation is much easier to maintain when you’ve become accustomed to having to constantly create your own why.

While many others have completely shut it down following their race cancellations I’ve continued to keep training as though Boston was still scheduled. Instead of training for a peak race coach and I decided to use this as a chance to simulate a full buildup to see what works and if we need to make any adjustments for the next one. A Spring Marathon is not happening but that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to work so that we’re prepared for whatever the next one throws at us. As the goals change, we create new ones, and celebrate what we’ve accomplished along the way.

Boston may not be happening but today I finished my first full buildup and I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been. I’m celebrating that and I strongly encourage you to celebrate your own accomplishments in this time. Yes we may not be racing but we just came off weeks or months of training in some tough conditions. Celebrate your commitment. Maybe you ran your longest run during this block, heck maybe you’ve decided to start back up again after a long hiatus, celebrate that! Use that as a stepping stone to your next running endeavor.

We can either let this break us or we can use this to make us stronger. All of our races are cancelled, yes, but we’re all in this together. No matter what level we are at, we’re all in the same boat right now. Use this time to go back to your why or even just to create your why. Look long term at what you want to get out of this for yourself so that when you finish your next race you’re not wondering what’s next or feeling that post race comedown that many of us feel after a big accomplishment. Take advantage of the online community of runners and talk to each other. Eventually we’ll be all back on the start line. Until then, let’s adapt and move forward.




Prologue: My original plan was to have two separate posts for this. I was going to do a pre-marathon post reflecting on my build-up and then a recap. Below is an excerpt of what I wrote on the plane to Boston on Friday morning: 

If you were to tell me a year ago I would be running my first Boston Marathon I’d probably laugh at you. The thought of running a marathon or even two for that matter was outrageous. I never considered myself a marathoner nor did I have any desire to join that group. Yet here I am, on a flight to Boston looking to PR in a distance that is still uncharted territory. With three days until Boston it’s as good time as ever to reflect on this build up.

The road here has been both some of the best and worst experiences of my running career. I spent the majority of this training block grinding through aches and pains in an obsession to reach 100 miles healthy. That 7 week block of training was the most consistent I’ve ever been with my running and showed me just what I can do when I put my mind to it. Chasing those miles brought me back to enjoying running for the first time since my last season at Tiffin.  I was 3 days out before my Achilles let me know it was time to take a break. I spent the next month aggressively rehabbing in an attempt to hopefully make it to the line pain free. At some points during that time I was terrified that I may have damaged it  to the point where I’d have to spend significant time off, no Boston, no running. The last month has been a roller coaster of emotions, from wondering if I was going to be able to even finish to now creating a race plan for a big PR with at least some confidence to go after my original goal: 2:29.59. Somehow with 3 weeks out, through consistent rehab and the help from the staff at Fit For Life I’ve been able to turn things around. I’m healthy and it’s such a relief to be able to type that out. The weather may not be looking great at this point but I’m still going to fight. I just have to remember, I came here to race, not to just finish.


Soon after I wrote that sentence we had to prepare for landing and I had to put my laptop away. I would get to it later that weekend (as you can see that didn’t happen).


I had a very different Boston weekend than most. Instead of touring the city and exploring the various marathon weekend festivities, I, in typical Cris fashion, took a 7 hour excursion through Vermont and Maine visiting indulging in seafood and bucket list breweries. This meant that I ended up not running on both Friday and Saturday, the first due to the road trip and the second because I ended up sleeping in after a wild night out in Portland. Not really the most responsible thing to do before a big race but I’ve found that these trips take the nerves off of me. I’m already fit, the last thing I need is to be nervous. I was already nervous for Boston, mostly due to the last 7 weeks of almost no down mileage and rehab to get to the line healthy. The last thing I needed was to have my whole weekend be me thinking about it. The beer trip served as a much needed vacation before it was time to get to business.

Let’s just say, I bought a couple beers.


I also had the opportunity to meet an awesome fellow from Mexico, Sigfrido. Through my Boston posts on Instagram we ended up following each other. He shot me a message the week leading up asking me what my plans were for packet pickup and that he was looking for some help navigating through the city as it was his first time at Boston. By some chance we were in the same hotel and I let him know I’d be happy to take him along with us to get our packets together and get to the race. I’ve had so many people help me out in my travels throughout the country; I felt like this was a great way to finally pay it forward. Plus, any time I get to practice my Spanish is always a plus!

Sig and I at packet pickup


I started my Sunday with a short shakeout from the hotel. Despite getting to bed early, I felt incredibly groggy and tight. My last mile was 6:40 and it didn’t feel all that great. I kept thinking to myself, I want to run almost a minute faster than this tomorrow? I brushed it off, I’ve had rough shakeouts before and on the bright side my Achilles was completely healed. The last couple weeks of rehab and easy running had proved to be just what I needed to get to Boston healthy.

While physically it was not a great day, mentally Sunday was a cathartic experience. I toured the city with my family and Sig, picking up our packets and checking out the finish area. The energy surrounding the finish area made me excited to be there. This was a much bigger deal than I thought it to be. Everywhere I looked I saw people in Boston jackets. The city was filled with runners from across the world all here to toe the line and try and conquer Boston. The atmosphere was so positive and welcoming, we all made it here one way or another, and it was as though we all were in this together. Sunday made me proud of the work I did to get here despite the setbacks. I made it here and there was nothing I could do to make me any better. One foot in front of the other for 26.2 and if I was meant to run fast I would. At this point I had done everything I could do given the circumstances. I went from almost reaching 100 miles a week to spending the last 7 weeks averaging less than 30 miles per week.

#677, how close to that would I finish?

I had no race plan besides just focusing on effort. My buddy Zach had called me Friday night with tips on how to tackle Boston: Hold back for 10 miles and not get too excited with the downhill. Once the route levels out, move, maintain up Newton, then crush the finish. He warned me multiple times, go out too fast and the last half will break you. The excitement of the crowds will make you want to go, be patient. He had negative split this before and run low 2:20s. It was possible to run fast here if you didn’t do anything stupid.

Monday I awoke still not feeling great. I had trouble sleeping and wasn’t feeling my bouncy self. In all honesty, this was probably the worst I’ve felt before a big race. It was a complete 180 from Erie where I felt I was ready to kill. I tried turning on my I-Pod Shuffle to get me focused. Dead. Looks like I wasn’t going to need that during my race. My intention was to have it ready for the second half, put the headphones on and block out the pain and focus. I was a bit thrown off; this was really how my day was going to go.

Getting to the start line felt like a mission in itself. Rain smacked us as we made our way to the bag check and on our way out to Hopkinton. As we came closer and closer to race time, the rain seemed to not let up. It seemed like we were in for another 2018 but with warmer temps. The forecast called for the rain to clear just before race time and I crossed my fingers it would hold true. I came prepared for the rain and mud in the athlete village. I wore some old sweats over my racing kit and kept my racing shoes in a plastic bag to avoid them from getting wet or muddy. I would keep all of this on for as long as I could and once we got away from the mud pit I would ditch the old clothes and head to the start line dry and ready to go.

With about 45 minutes to go the rain finally cleared. What was left was a light breeze. We all moved our way to our corrals trying our best to get some type of semblance of a warm-up routine. It was a bit of chaos getting to the line with people trying to get some jogging in, some trying to find a way to sneak a last bathroom spot out of sight to avoid the long lines, and others just taking their time walking, looking as though the rest of us were crazy. Rookies, they probably thought.

After somehow making time for two more bathroom breaks, I finally arrived at my corral, Wave 1, Corral 1. We would let the elites go out first and two minutes later it would be our time to tackle Boston. Two minutes out, bang, the elites are now off. The next 120 seconds felt like time slowed to a standstill. We all stood there, antsy, just waiting for those seconds to click off and we can finally make our journey toward Boylston.

I can’t say I remember much about the start of this race. I just remember running, trying to force myself to slow down. The downhill was a bit of a shock to my system to start, definitely did not expect it to start like this. And oh, an uphill? I really should have done my homework a bit more, I thought to myself. My first mile was a bit slower than I wanted it to be but I didn’t let myself be too bothered by it. I’ll take a 6:07 first mile now if it meant I didn’t crash and burn in the second half. I was ahead of pace from my marathon PR already so there was worse things that could happen. As runners around me began to settle into their pace I began to get into rhythm, moving by groups rather quickly. My pace dropped pretty significantly to a 5:47 and it felt easy. I made a decision then that I would not focus too much on my pace. I would monitor my breathing and my effort and take a glance at each mile just to see where I was at. I settled in, sticking with packs and moving forward, the beep of my watch my guide as I moved forward. The crowd was incredible, people lining both sides of the streets loud as could be, cheering on strangers as they passed. It was easy to get caught up in the hype, but I remained controlled, focusing more on my position. The goal now was not to lose position, just gradually move forward. The goal was now to try and negative split.

Real early, moving up.

Going through Wellesley I got a little too excited. Unlike in Erie when I was just focused on blocking out the race, I got into the crowd and started having fun with it. I would raise my hands and encourage people to cheer, give high fives to people on the sides, and look for people I knew. After seeing my family right before the Wellesley Scream Tunnel, the pace started to drop into the 5:30s. Luckily I caught it before I went too long here, while the downhill was over, we still had the hard part to go.

Wellesley Scream Tunnel, rockin’ and rollin’

And this is when the wheels started to fall off.

I maintained steady through 16. I had crossed the half at 5:47 pace and was going to work on the hills and try and average 5:30’s for the miles following heartbreak. As I came down the final steep downhill at 15 I began to start feeling something off. My hamstring had started to tighten up, most likely due to the first couple miles adjusting my stride for the downhill sections. As I saw the Newton sign the race had changed and it seemed like the crowd atmosphere had too. Whereas the first 10 miles seemed to be a celebration of the accomplishment of being there, the second half of this race were more people trying to motivate runners as they tried to survive the second half. The runner’s faces of joy had become grimaces, the discomfort of the beating downhill section now starting to settle in. With the crosswind now gone, the reality of the warmer temperatures had also now begun to take their toll. The crosswind masked the heat, leading me to not hydrate as much as I should have in the early miles. Now making my climb up the Newton Hills, signs of thirst became apparent. I took small drinks through to try and satisfy that feeling and kept moving. The pace had slowed but I expected that with these hills. I would make sure to keep it under 6:00 and then as soon as I crested Heartbreak the dash for home would begin.

The hilly section of the course wasn’t all that terrible. The hills themselves were gradual and your legs definitely felt it but it wasn’t anything close to the mountains back in California. What made this tough was that my legs were already beat by the downhill. My hamstring tightness had now begun to impede my running form a bit, my muscles now shooting small sharp pains as each foot hit the ground, but I pushed forward and finally made it to heartbreak. After seeing the top of the hill for what felt like forever, I finally crested it. I had skipped GU at 20 thinking that I was close enough where I wouldn’t need it. I tried dropping the pace after cresting heartbreak but I couldn’t move. I felt stuck, tight, and lightheaded. I kept trying to fight the negative feelings and block out the pain and I got myself back under 6:00 for the next mile.

As I inched closer and closer to mile 22 my form broke down and I began to crash. As I passed the water stop at 22 I made a decision, I had to stop. At the last table I came to a complete stop and asked the volunteer for water. I drank as much water as I could and took my last GU. Overwhelming emotion came over me, I felt like I was quitting, but almost instantly as that thought came into my head I took my last cup of water and got back out there. I didn’t travel this far out for my race to go to crap in the last 4 miles. Mile 23 with that stop was a 6:42.


The last 4.2 miles of that race were some of the hardest running moments of my life. My feet had begun to start burning and my muscles were aching but I kept fighting to try to get my pace close to where it was before I crashed. I began to count down the time in my head, 25 minutes, 19, minutes, etc… After all that work I had put in the winter I could survive another couple minutes of discomfort. As I arrived into the craziness of the city I made one last effort to finish strong. With one mile to go I pushed hard, I could see the clock, 2:33:00. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t lose all that much time and if there was a chance I could get under 2:35. I sprinted, I sprinted as hard as these legs could take me and I crossed the line, 2:34:46, 193rd overall and the top finisher from Ohio. My body hated me and I could barely walk but I finished my second marathon with a big PR.

Rounding those last couple turns.



Officially a Boston Marathon Finisher.

These guys helped me move through those hills.

With a month and a half since Boston, I’ve had a chance to really think about my performance. I’m not completely satisfied with being a 2:34 marathoner but considering what my buildup was I’m proud that I was able to run that. I really shouldn’t have been able to run like I did with those last 8 weeks of training. This race humbled me a ton and changed me as a runner. The support I received during and after the race was overwhelming. So many people reached out to me and congratulated me for the performance and it’s now become one of the most proud moments I’ve had as a runner. This journey introduced me to a new community of runners and helped me get more involved in the Columbus running community. Big shout out to Fleet Feet/Front Runner, Columbus Track Club, Hoof Hearted, Zach, and Fit for Life Physical Therapy. Without the help and support of them I wouldn’t have gotten this far. Also shout out to my mom and brother for coming out short notice to surprise me. Seriously guys, that made this trip even more memorable.

My awesome family.


Whittier and ULV reppin’ at Boston

My co-workers were live streaming at work and made me this when I came back. Thanks RevLocal!

I’ve always thought of myself as a cross country and steeplechase guy but I guess it’s time for something new, it’s time to take this marathon thing seriously.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, watch out, I’m coming for you.

Next time it’ll be me racing these streets.


The Build-Up: Boston Marathon 2019.

Prior to running Erie, I wasn’t sure if I would actually sign up for Boston. Qualifying for it wouldn’t be an issue, I figured I’d qualify pretty easily my first shot out, but I just didn’t find myself to be all that excited about it. I didn’t consider myself a marathoner. I was essentially running Erie because I was tired of people asking me if I’d run a marathon. I was still finding trouble finding that motivation to race again and figured I’d call it quits for the marathon after one try. This wasn’t like I was trying to qualify for NCAA’s; there was no motivation to train hard for anything at this point.

I can’t say that much changed after Erie. I signed up for Boston and just said Well I qualified, why not just run it? and just figured I would just enjoy the trip. Following Club Nationals in December my mentality changed entirely. I had just come off one of the best races I’ve had in years and I was ready to take this into the new year.

I told myself, Well I qualified , why not run fast?

So I spent the last couple months training hard for my second crack at the marathon. My training began back in California over break where I took advantage of the fantastic weather and ran some of the best times over the training routes I’d been running since high school. I think I went a bit overboard back there (closing a 9 mile run in 5:06 is a bit much) but I was having fun with it. I would be backing down the pace as I ramped up my training.

The plan for this buildup would be, 70, 70, 80, 80, 90, 90, 100 with the last month and a half to tune up and add workouts.

This build up has tested my will more than I ever would have imagined. Unlike college, I didn’t have much free time to fit running into my schedule. A 45 minute commute and an 8-5 meant I had to try and fit miles in any free time that I could. This means my lunch breaks would be filled with me working out, trying to squeeze in as many miles as possible during an hour lunch break. Run during lunch, run after work, and do it all again the next day. Winter decided it wanted to make up for the nice weather we had in November and December and brought freezing temps and lots of snow that made it hard to run without slipping. I had achilles aches throughout this buildup which made running almost unbearable at times.  Even when my car broke down I still managed 5 miles waiting for my tow truck to come. I literally ran quarter mile segments from my car to get my miles in for the day and tacked on 16 miles the day before a 5K to catch up for my weekly goal. None of that stopped me. Nothing was going to stop me from my goal of reaching 100.

Three days away from 100, I decided to hit the track. The plan was for 12x1K with 200 meter jog recovery. I went through my first two pretty easy. I was clicking off 5:20 pace without much effort. As I came into the second lap of the third repeat I felt a burning in my achilles. That burning changed into a stabbing pain that dismantled my stride immediately. I finished the repeat and decided to cut the workout. Walking afterwards felt fine.  I changed shoes and went for a long cool down to stay on pace for my mileage goal. Shortly after starting the stabbing pain came back and I knew it was time to shut it down completely. 3 day away from and one workout takes that away. Running can be a cruel mistress.

For the last couple weeks I’ve been rehabbing my achilles and incorporating some running while I can. I had a bad flare up last week and went to see a PT who essentially told me that I had been doing all the right things and it’s not bad enough to stop running. We will continue to stay on routine while also adding some ultrasound and graston. I’m less than 30 days from Boston and my goal is to rehab and try and maintain the fitness I’ve built through this base phase of my build-up. There is a definite possibility that I could be coming into Boston with no workouts in this build-up but if that means that I’ll be able to run it healthy, it’ll be all worth it.

Thinking about it now it’s amazing how much of a 180 I’ve made. 6 months ago I wasn’t all that excited for this race and while I may be injured right now, I just came off the best 6 week stretch of my running career. More than that it’s also shown me how much I’ve grown through this sport. Had this happened in undergrad I would have been horribly depressed. I’m still frustrated but it hasn’t shaken me. I’ve come to understand that injuries come with the sport and there’s still opportunities to come out of them stronger.

I don’t know what is going to happen at Boston but I haven’t given up. I may not be able to run the 2:29.59 goal I set for myself but a PR is not off the table. I’ll absolutely take that if I can take this fitness into a great summer training block and not get sidelined like I did at Erie. We’ll get there, I’m sure.




My first marathon was easy, the recovery? Not so much.

Have you run a marathon?

If I had a dollar every time I heard this I’m sure I’d be able to afford a couple pairs of Vaporfly 4%’s.

For over 12 years that question followed me throughout the entirety of my competitive running career. I heard this from friends and family that didn’t understand running. If I was running so much a day how was I not trying to do a marathon? The concept of finishing a race being the accomplishment had never been motivation. That’s not a knock on others, just for me personally, I did this because I loved racing, I loved feeling fast.

I began to hear the topic of the marathon come up more often as I joined local running clubs in the area.The majority of the people in these clubs were training for a half or a full marathon, looking to try and top an old personal best. Every so often I’d get the question asked again and at that point I had just answered with, “I don’t want to run a marathon.”The years of hearing that question had completely turned me off of it.

To me the idea of running a marathon or even running one was not anything I was interested in. When you actually have to pay for races, you begin to think about things a little differently. With the prices of marathons being significantly higher than some dinky 5K, if there wasn’t a chance to get something out of it, either through a fast time or some prize money, there just wasn’t a reason for me to run it.

Eventually that ended up changing. With a couple craft beers in me I finally decided to sign up for one. I told myself I had 3 months to get in shape for this. I was finally healed up from a bad foot injury in the winter and now I had something to motivate me to get back in shape. I set two goals for myself in this training block, I would have one 80 mile week off singles and one 20 mile long run. I was going to try to stick around 60s for the majority of the summer and focus on quality mileage.

My progression of mileage went like this:

Week of:
May 28: 19.3 miles (4 days of running)
June 4th: 19.1 miles (4 days of running)
June 11th: 21.5 miles (4 days of running)
June 18th: 9.1 miles (2 days of running)
June 25th: 15.4 miles (4 days of running)
July 2nd: 30.2 miles (5 days of running)
July 9th: 23.6 miles (5 days of running)
July 16th: 63.5 miles (7 days of running, 15.4 mile long run)
July 23rd: 18.3  miles (4 days of running)
July 30th: 70.7 miles (7 days of running, 18 mile long run)
August 6th: 27.3 miles (5 days of running, 14 mile long run)
August 13th: 80.1 miles (7 days of running, 20 mile long run)
August 20th: 23.8 miles (5 days of running)
August 27th: 31.5 miles (5 days of running, 10.1 mile long run)
September 3rd: 37.2 miles (4 days of running, marathon)

So much for quality mileage…

I struggled to get any sort of consistency in my mileage throughout this block. For the first couple of weeks I was very slow to start as I was hesitant coming back from injury. After a sub 16 3 mile effort later in June, that went away but I began to struggle putting together consistent back to back weeks of mileage. I was fine up until I hit those long runs and had a horrible time recovering. I almost passed out at the end of my 18 mile long run and followed that week running less total miles than I had in that one run. My  20 miles ended up being the best long of my life but I spent the next three weeks struggling to feel good. I had 11 miles in my legs the week leading into my first marathon. I took two days off before out of desperation. 20 miler or no 20 miler, I wasn’t ready for this.

The Race

I was extremely conservative with my first 10 miles due to my trouble the previous three weeks. I figured I’d stay around 6:30’s for 10 and then make a decision from there. Whether it was to move or to stay at that pace, once I made a decision I would have to commit to it. My race plan changed before we even got to 3. I was able to latch myself onto 6:20 pace without working hard. Aside from a quick pit stop at mile 8 for a tinkle, I was pretty much right on or under 6:20s. My legs wanted to move faster but I didn’t let myself go under 6:15. The time to commit would come. Mile 10 was soon approaching.

I pulled my headphones out of my back pocket and got ready. I had made my decision.. I had been chomping at the bit for a couple of miles already.  The pace change was almost instantaneous. I was tapping on the gas a bit, just enough to satisfy that craving for a little of the fast stuff. I wanted to really let loose but a lot could happen in the last 16.2 and the last thing I wanted was to implode after 20.

Miles 10-13.1 were very much like my first three miles. I spent most of my time making sure I was right on 6:00. I would reevaluate over the next 10 miles what I wanted to do. If i felt good longer into the race I would push a little. From 16-20 the pace began to come down. Mile 17 came, 5:46. Mile 20, 5:50. This was going much easier than I thought it was going to be.

The next 4 miles weren’t too hard but just like that last 1/3rd of a 5k, I was starting to feel it. At mile 24 the real struggle began. The run for home reminded me of that last kilometer of a Steeplechase, trying to survive across each barrier with each subsequent one looking 10 feet tall. These last two miles felt like I was running through peanut butter. I could have sworn I had imploded here. There was absolutely no way I was running under 7 minutes per mile. Turns out I didn’t falter too much, I dropped back to 6:09 and 6:07 for my final two miles.

I crossed the finish line in 2:41:07. I ran a four minute negative split over my first half.

Finally done.

8th overall and third in my age group.

The Aftermath

The moment I stopped running it was as though I had someone stabbing every inch of my legs. My muscles were spasming and it was the worst pain I’ve felt after a race. I could barely move my body, with the only movement coming from every muscle in my lower body twitching in pain. I struggled to walk over the next couple of days. In my 12 years of running I had never felt so awful after a race.

The pain eventually subsided and I attempted to return back to running after a little over a week off. About 3 miles back in I felt horrible popping in the tendons behind my knee. The marathon effects continued to make running almost impossible without a pain in the same spot. Even months later the pain from that marathon still lingers. While it’s not as bad as it was then it still continues to hamper my training.

My first marathon was relatively easy. I ran well considering the little amount of training I had going into it but the key point here is my body wasn’t ready for it. A large part of being in shape is the ability to recover. The ability to recover from a run, a workout, a race, and get back on schedule without too much of problem. Consistency is what I lacked in this training block and it led to some of the hardest months of running following the marathon. almost 3 months later and I’m finally starting to run steady without any issues. Our bodies can work through much of what we put it through. There’s a limit to these things though. Consistency in training and a reasonable progression in workload allows our bodies to be ready for how taxing a race can be. A stable training block doesn’t just allow for optimal performance, it allows for our muscles to be ready for the demands that come with it.

Next time I’ll be ready.

Boston will be that next time.