"Even though time keeps a changing, I'm a bring it all back home" ~ Chuck D.
In the turn with about 150 yards to go, I opened it up to full throttle. I knew the two guys behind me had really good kicks and it would be all it took to beat them. The slow building sprint that I had started was all out now. Every step in my life had led to this moment. This was the culmination. I held on as Hector and I each opened on Chucky and the previous 10 minutes of lead were not wasted as I just out ran Hector the whole way. Immediately the Herald reporter was asking me questions and I was handed a first place medal (and a fifth place medal for the shotput)...
That was of course the last time I was on this track: 20 years ago at the Boston City High School Championships. Instead this was the BAA Half Marathon in October. My club was in charge of handing out finisher medals. So as I came across the line, Urvi emerged from the pack. She gave me my finisher medal and a kiss. And there I got to unite another place with another shared memory with her.
"We came a long way baby, you know its amazing." ~ Chuck D
As 2012 began I had my biggest hope for a season since 1992. A good Mill Cities in 2011, really created the feeling of victory after 20 years of sloughing through and not making my running a big deal.
I didn't have long to wait for 2012 as the Hangover Classic was January 1st. An eight minute PR in the 10K and jump into the ocean through me into what was going to be a great year.
But, this had only been the training for my big goal - Providence Marathon. January and February saw four races with two Personal Records (and two distances I'd never run.) With a 18:45 at the Super 5k and a 1:29:30 at the Hyannis Half Marathon, I felt for the first time I was racing near the caliber I had been in 1992. March was a fast 5k, fast half marathon and a victory in the Black Cat Relay ("Take that Salem Fire," ~ St. Anthony of Jersey).
Leading up to Providence, I prepped with yet another PR in the Half Marathon in a return to Great Bay. Then hurt my chances at reaching my goals with an hour of trampoline dodgeball one week before. Yet, Providence was still a 31 minute PR in the Marathon and put me at the verge of qualifying for Boston.
"Consciousness went from platinum and shrunk down to gold." ~ Chuck D.
Indeed, in 1992, I had been ready to continue my athletic career. But, of course, took the easy way out with club Rugby, rejecting the work of Varsity Football or track. It wasn't until 2004 that I even tried to run a race again. And it still took 5 years of spits and starts to even make that. The 2009 Maine Half Marathon will be the race I remember as the watershed. From there on there was no returning to the old days. Providence, however, will be the culmination of that. 2 and a half years of work finally placed me back in the ranks of "athlete."
I kept using my rank as athlete to over-race May and June. While July and August were preparation for the too-soon but still rewarding Climb to the Clouds bike Century and Reykjavik Marathon.
"Twenty years, it's been a long and whining road." ~ Chuck D.
So, while the rest of the year was witness to a slow down in training and at a level slightly below the first half of the year with the smattering of challenges - e.g., Halftoberfest - it still was at a level of achievement higher than I had since that fateful year of 1992. And, I'm ready to never again: take time for granted.
"Tomorrow's a long time... and still we rock on." ~ Chuck D.
Obligatory list of highlights below (feel free to ignore):
Personal Records (and time faster than pre-2012):
Adult 1 mile - Mass Ave Mile, 5:33 - 1 second PR
3 Mile - Paddy's Road Race, 18:43 - 4:34 PR
5k - Super 5K, 18:46 - 2:33 PR
4 Mile - Gobble^3, 25:56 - 5:28 PR
Casey's - 25:44 - 2:08 PR
Khoury's - 28:13 - 35 second PR
7k - Run the Goose, 29:37 - 3:39 PR
5 Mile - Doyle's, 31:19 - 6:06 PR
10K - Hangover Classic, 39:29 - 8:17 PR
15K - Boilermaker, 1:06:07 - 7:05 PR
10 Mile - Yankee Homecoming, 1:08:38 - 17:36 PR
Half Marathon - Great Bay Half Marathon, 1:27:21 - 10:21 PR
Marathon - Providence Marathon - 3:14:09 - 31:33 PR
High Category Finishes:
Super 5k (Feb) - 2nd, Linebackers
Martha's Vineyard 20 Miler (Feb) - 1st, Clydesdales
Hyannis Half Marathon (Feb) - 1st, Clydesdales
Casey's (Mar) - 1st overall - first overall win since high school
Black Cat (Mar) - 1st Relay
Great Bay (Apr) - 5th, Age Group
Playworks 5k (May) - 1st, Age Group
Casey's (May) - 1st, Overall
Jim Kane 5k (Jul) - 3rd, Heavyweights
Reykjavik Marathon (Aug) - 1st, Team Competition
Run the Goose 7k (Sep) - 3rd, Age Group
Applefest Half Marathon (Oct) - 3rd, Clydesdales AND 3rd, Age Group
Jingle Bell Run (Dec) - 2nd, Clydesdales