Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Heat and the Vapors

On a Patriots Day that featured temperatures in the neighborhood of eighty degrees (and even hotter in the Red Sox clubhouse except in front of Dustin Pedroia's locker - for that little dude is always cool), approximately 22,000 runners participated in the 2012 edition of the Boston Marathon. Race conditions were so tough that race organizers offered a field-wide deferral of one's entry. As a general rule, one must qualify to run in Boston. But because the conditions Monday were forecast to be at or near a level fairly described as "extreme" race organizers told all 26,000 runners slated to participate that if - due to the weather - a runner wanted to opt out of this year's race and run in next year's instead that he or she could do so. We are a (fool?) hardy bunch - runners that is. Only roughly 4,000 people who had signed up to run on Monday opted out and into 2013.

Runners from Kenya finished first through third in both the Mens' Division and the Womens' Division. The top two finishers among the women were separated by only two seconds. Two seconds. Incredible. To run 26.2 miles in approximately two and one half hours only to lose by two seconds is something that seems almost incomprehensible. Two seconds. It is the difference between a size 11 shoe and a size 8 shoe for crying out loud.

Reading that story in the paper took me back to last May and my own maiden voyage on the Sea of Marathoning, wherein I had an eerily similar experience. It took me about six weeks to get over the heartbreak of losing by two seconds - losing the chance to finish in 8,569th place. Hell, I really thought I could catch Petey "the Human Pogo Stick" Prudhomme in the final mile but that one-legged dude would not be denied. At age 83 he moved as if he could have hopped on his one leg all day. My #1 goal for this year's race is to finish ahead of him. I am not too proud to admit that I shall trip him if necessary to defeat him. "It is not enough merely to win; others must lose."

This year I am taking no chances. I cannot stand the thought of being bested by him yet again. I have - in addition to training hard - employed an 11-point strategy. Given the "out and back" nature of the NJM course, while I have not yet decided on which point to focus energy on race day, I am leaning heavily towards #4.

I had hoped to use #10 and #11 but after I mentioned it to Bill and Kel, both of my brothers stopped returning my text messages and started blocking my e-mails. Perhaps by next year they will have come around.

Or perhaps I shall just ask Bobby Valentine's assistance in preparing for race day. Rumor has it that he is a master motivator. Well, at least on one side of the Pacific.

Get the picture?

-AK

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