Boston, inspiration, marathon, people with true grit, running

115th Boston Marathon—a day of days.

The 115th running of the Boston Marathon proved to be a stellar event, both for professional international and American runners and Dallas runners, many who I know, if only by way of social media and running-community chatter.

At the world-class level, Geoffrey Mutai ran the fastest-ever marathon in an unfathomable 2 hours, 3 minutes, 2 seconds.American Ryan Hall busted the American record, but as we’ve all heard by now, both may be ineligible for certain official records, because the Boston course is so easy and all. Yeah. And that tailwind just pushed their 110-pound frames along effortlessly. Sure.

Kenyan Caroline Kilel won the female division followed closely by gutsy American newcomer Desiree Davila.

OK—enough about the machines who do this for a living.

On to the real heroes, in no particular order: There’s Nick Polito from Lake Highlands—this guy makes me feel utterly inadequate with his frequent Facebook-friendly running logs, but he is a fine example of what fierce determination and discipline—and a tad of neurosis—can accomplish.

The 40-something Polito has been trying for a couple seasons to break 3 hours in the marathon, but a couple of hot marathons have kept him from it, if only by seconds. But the marathon gods were with him as he brought it in at 2:58 this 4/18/2011.

He’s got a whole posse of fast friends that keep him company — Steve Pfiffner 2:53; Steve Henderson 3:15; Shaheen Sattar 3:09; Tami Darlington 3:31 — those are the ones on my Facebook radar, but there are just too many good runners from our area to name. By example, they inspire others to push the limits.

Sabine Norris, a friend from Dallas ran her first Boston Marathon in an impressive 3:27 and Julia Mungioli, who I sat and yammered with endlessly at the airport last night, knocked out a 3:37 in her first shot at the revered race—watch her break 3:30 in NYC this year, no doubt.

I too ran yesterday’s marathon. My time of 3:42 was not close to my best—even in the heat of San Diego last June I did more than 10 minutes better—but I am particularly proud of my 3:42.

Explain: Ever since the New York City Marathon last November, I’ve been battling a nasty case of plantar fasciitis. Following a tough 3M half-marathon in January, it was so bad that I decided Boston was out of the question.Then I stopped running for a whole month. I knew I wasn’t going to do Boston, even during my first run back when my longtime pace leader Chris Stratton and another running friend, Brent Yost, told me I just had to do Boston—if I could walk at all, they insisted, I must go.

Naw, I thought. I don’t want to go and “make a fool of myself”.

Sometimes I can be so shallow.

A month ago, a friend of mine from high school was killed in a freak accident. A couple weeks later, a running friend, Trey Sanchez, was badly injured in a motorcycle accident. Those two events got me thinking: who knows if there will be a next year? Is there a guarantee that my body will be able to do this next or another year? How stupid/egotistical must I be to back out just because I am not in peak condition and in a moderate amount of pain. Come on—it’s Boston. So, run, walk or crawl, I decided, I’m going.

I stayed conditioned, to an extent, through hot yoga and pool workouts. On my one long run, I limp/walked the last three miles, so I was terrified of what might transpire around the Heartbreak Hill point. Stratton accompanied me on some tough hill workouts and the Dallas Running Club 3:20-marathon pace group pushed me through a few last-minute progression and tempo runs.

My cousin Dan Devlen and his beautiful wife Kymm gave me a place to sleep and got me to Hopkinton in one piece. Then I dragged my arse the 26.2 miles to Boston, in the steps of so many admirable souls.

It was bittersweet, I’ll admit.Ego and self pity took hold of me in moments following the race—why couldn’t I have had a winning experience at Boston? I would have loved nothing more than to PR—break 3:20— on that glorious day. In a perfect world with perfect preparation, it would have happened. But things are seldom perfect for any of us, especially those passionate runners with an insatiable hunger for improvement.It’s the toughest days, the most brutal races, that turn us into those gritty types I so admire. It’s those challenges and miles of misery that make the successes feel so incredible. With that in mind, I can return to a state of gratitude for my experience.

That's me, very happy to be finished. And no, I haven't purchased the ridiculously expensive photo.

If anyone has pics to share, send them to me at chughes@advocatemag.com, (and, if people from the hood are included, maybe they will make it into the Advocate magazine too).

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6 thoughts on “115th Boston Marathon—a day of days.

  1. Christina, I don’t know what I admire more: The fact that you were grounded enough to check your ego at the start line, or the fact that you were strong enough to finish the race-which I know was no small feat, especially given your condition. If they could bottle whatever drives you, I’d buy it..often, and in large quantities.

  2. Thank you so much for the kind words Christina. I am just a guy that likes to run and all the challenges it presents me. I am so inspired by your will to run even though you knew the fitness was not your best. I can’t wait to see you back out on the streets soon. Take care my good friends. It appears I owe you big time. My 15 min is officially over.

    1. Nick— I see most of your posts and training emails and race reports, so I know without a doubt that your success was hard won, and that’s fun to watch. In fact, about three hours in to my marathon, I thought to myself, “I wonder if Polito broke 3…”!

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