Hi Roger. Just a friendly reminder that we will be publishing your first article “Race Review” on February 2nd.
It was 5:45 AM and I was just heading out for a very cold run with friends when I read the above email. Race Review? I took off, trying to remember WHICH “race review” she meant. The shock of 9 degree temperature shocked me awake and remembered what I had promised Teresa a few months earlier. The “race” was a marathon I ran from Germany to Austria to Switzerland in October.
But things change.
For those that don’t know me, here’s a brief background: I was morbidly obese my entire life, I loathed exercise, especially running, and ate worse than you. So at the age of 47 and ~300 lbs, I made the illogical decision to run the 2009 Boston Marathon. In 10 months I embraced exercise and nutrition, lost 113 lbs, and 26.2 miles later, crossed the fabled finishline on Boylston St.
I thought about stopping there and cross it off my bucketlist. But thanks to a video I made chronicling my transformation that went viral, I couldn’t stop. In my mind, friends and strangers were watching me. And so, in an attempt to set a good example for others and keep the weight off, I kept on running.
Fast forward to November 2016. I’m standing on Staten Island, NY with 55,000 other runners who also thought it would be fun to run 26.2 miles to Central Park.
For some, like me 7 years earlier, it was their first marathon. For me, it was 50th.
Beyond realizing that an important part of life is helping others, I discovered that life is about living. Races have taken me places, literally around the world, that I never would have seen. And running 26.2 miles is a small price to pay for admission to a new adventure.
During races, I have seen people at their highs when they cross the finish line, and at their lows, when they realize that they won’t cross it. Optimism and pessimism, smiles and tears, happiness and anger, and a million other emotions are present at every race.
And I had all of them that day in New York.
I hoped to run around 4:15 (and like most marathons, secretly optimistic that I could possibly break 4:00 again…) but using every excuse that I could muster (it’s crowded, windy, I stopped to talk to friends, injuries, etc) I finished with a disappointing 4:27.
And while I was disappointed, just like most races where I thought I could have done better, I have always found that the relief, pride and elation one experiences as they step over the finish line of a race eclipses any regret. I had a running tour of a city that few can experience and the entire weekend was yet another adventure.
When it comes down to it I suppose, that’s a “race review” for any race.