Monday, 19 October 2009


I will be honest. I have not been looking forward to this Sunday's Dean Karnazes Silicon Valley Marathon.

Physically, I feel great, now that I've had a couple of days to rest up from Hell Week last week at work. Mentally, I'm thinking I'm kind of in control of most of those faculties, despite a slight increase in what some have called "senior moments". It's not even that I'm tiring of running marathons, because I am not, even though the SVM will be #30 overall and the 11th since last December. Trouble is, this weekend's event is in San Jose. California. Not, sadly, Costa Rica.

With apologies to friends and others with whom I am acquainted who happily call the Bay Area's largest city "home"...I'm just not fond of the place. I've lived in California for long enough (since 1967) that I remember when San Jose was pretty much a bigger version of Fresno...or Phoenix, Junior. Since taking part in marathons in such inspiringly beautiful places as Budapest, Barcelona, Seattle and Salt Lake City, I've become somewhat of an eye-candy addict. Consider next year's schedule, so far. Trieste, Prague, and Athens.

The reason I signed up for SVM, honestly, was because it fit in my 12 in 12 did another marathon, in the aforementioned Fresno. Fresno's farther away, and my travel budget has been, shall we say, "challenged" a bit, of late. So, San Jose, got the reluctant nod.
Having copped to all's probably no surprise that I have been in serious need of inspiration. With just a handful of days to go til I line up on the starting line again, I will concede, I have found it.

Last weekend, like most October weekends, was chock-full of marathon opportunities. Denver, Toronto, Duke City (ABQ), Kansas City, the Baystate, Amsterdam...and right here in the Bay Area, with the Nike Women's Marathon, San Francisco, there was no shortage of choices. However, I had to work. Fortunately, as I follow/friend/tweet/Facebook/Flork/DailyMile /Just Finish hundreds of other runners online, there were dozens of people I "know" who were free to run. It was to them I turned for "spark" for my upcoming endevour.

Upon getting home Sunday evening I immediately began searching for post-race information. Found out that a few had posted new PR's...while a few others had narrowly missed out on their's. Read amazing stories about half marathoners who travelled far, not sure they were going to cut the mustard, who proudly pulled it out in the end. Also read of fellow running club members kicking butt (as they always seem to do!) and posting times I will not even allow my mind to entertain as remote possibilities. Read of people stunning themselves with unexpected BQ's. Also found written evidence of people "blowing up" at mile 20, but pressing on, crossing the finish line in tears...of pain...and joy. Understandably, inspirational.

I also found a few reports of runners who came up short, I hasten to say, THIS TIME, who did not finish, or achieve their lofty goals. To those who DNFed...believe me...I feel your pain. I did that, after travelling thousands of miles to run Budapest. It remains a painful thorn in my side today. I will, however, go back, and tame that course, one day. Instead of beating myself up with that "failure", I now relish the chance to return and set the record straight. To those with goals you did not meet, believe me, there are simply days when, like "sh#t happens", "marathons happen"...and they get to win. I've run in 29 of these things, never knowing until about mile 22-24 whether or not I was going to finish. There's always another marathon to run, if you're game.

I am ready now to lace up my Brooks Beasts this Sunday, spurred on by those of you who got out there and did it, regardless of the outcome, last weekend. Cheers.

San Jose, here I come. Just hope I know the way!

Gotta run!


Laura said...

I remember your last marathon - (kinda first-hand) - and remember the gearing-up you had to do in order to 'find that happy place' that allowed you to block out the inevitable miles 21 - 26 and JUST RUN THE DAMN THING. I like to say that the experience of that marathon and this one are entirely different. I know that even 5 weeks ago, you were dreading this weekend's marathon. You should feel empowered by the fact that you are an inspiration to so many people. Maybe your eye candy should be found in your mind's eye this time. Perhaps, with marathon 30, you should create your own scenery of where you have been and what you have seen through the past 29 marathons - reflect on that. Surely, that should be able to fill up a large majority of the 5 hours it will take you to get to mile 24.... just my little bit of encouragement. AND - not to be 'that person' BUT - as much as we marathoners don't always look forward to a race, never forget that we have chosen to do this (and, there are many people out there who are not able to have that choice.)

To quote Judster - One foot in front of the other, my friend!

Show San Jose who is boss!

Michael B said...

thanks, laura. that was just the kind of response i needed. i will shut the hell up now and just go do it. AND...i'm gonna start it with a good attitude. (thx, judi!)

Ted said...

Good Luck at the SVM ! Let me know how you like the course.

JR said...

Good luck. Maybe just close your eyes and think you're somewhere else. I've done that, oh..but not running.