Week 13: Beau 2 Boston

Anything Cool?

The Red Sox lose the first three games of the 2004 ALCS to the New York Yankees—they win four in a row and go on to win the World Series…

Oracle Team USA trailed 8-1 to Emirates Team New Zealand (sailing) before rattling off 8 consecutive wins to the 2013 America’s Cup: WAVES of emotion!!!

Sean White crashed during his final run of the 2014 Olympics, missing a medal and finishing fourth. In 2017, trying to regain form, he crashes again, violently, and requires extensive medical work and surgery. He wins gold in 2018, bringing favor to redheads around the world…

Tiger Woods cheats on his wife, with thousands of women, falling from the graces of the game. He then injures/breaks his back (a couple times I think) and is out of serious contention/consideration for near a decade… Wins the 2019 Masters at August National; the golf community still celebrates…

And the Jamaican Men’s Bobsleigh Team (Captain Derice Bannock, Sanka Coffie, Junior Bevil, Yul, Coach Irv), in perhaps the most captivating, redemptive glory, walk across the iced finish line—after a chilling crash—with their bobsleigh held aloft: honor, pride, resiliency etched on their faces…

Beau Didier, in his pursuit of the 2022 Boston Marathon, runs the 2021 Olympic Park Discovery Marathon. He has been training, losing weight, trying new things, following a lot of guys on Instagram (endurance athletes), and blogging about his efforts. His family and serious girlfriend are at the race. They show support and they bring encouraging signs (Nancy throws shade at Bob on one: see “summary” section of blog). Beau is flying for 17 miles, running a sub 7:30 pace. On mile 19, both of his calves cramp. His family, and serious girlfriend, see it. By mile 21 his toes, quads, ribs, and forearms seize up. His pace is shattered and he’s close to an emotional break. But… he keeps moving. He keeps running (a heavy, straight legged hobble-walk) and he never stops. He crosses the finish line, with a smile, and starts thinking about ways to get better*.

*Hug family, mini-shart, dry heave, crush Gatorade—in no particular order—all happen before any thoughts of the future.

Takeaways:

1. Habits take time to form. They must be drilled into our thinking so they can influence our doing.* For the past three years, I have worked daily to change how I see the world, to process everything through a lens of appreciation. In doing so, I have found it easy to realize all events in my life as opportunities. Examples: a) test positive for Covid-19, become sick, realize I’m not optimizing my health, read about nasal breathing, learn how to nasal breath, return to health and stay in health. b) Sunnie says we should just be friends, lean into my inner resolve, creatively continue to blow her up, now approaching one-year anniversary. c) full body cramps on the 20th mile of a marathon, contemplate walking the remaining six, consider all low-hanging excuses, instead see the pain and event as an opportunity to develop grit/experience for future races: maintain a Kasier Sose gait/pace to the finish, never stopping.

As hardship and adversity are absolutes in our lives, so too is our ability to process and respond. When we choose to appreciate all events, welcoming the good and bad as opportunity, the response can be amazing.

*You’re welcome

2. Hills. Apparently, there are hills in Washington. I left the state in 2008 and have only returned once or twice a year since that departure, typically returning in Winter months when daylight is scarce. I forgot to look for hills. Moving forward, I will train in more versatile, athletic form, preparing necessary muscle synergies for elevation change. Obviously this is an excuse. I think before June ends I’ll be in a better position to take responsibility for my performance.

3. When multiple people in your respective sport/field/hobby suggest the same thing as a means for improvement, as something they themselves use, you should listen. I didn’t. Alison Musgrove, someone who has qualified and ran Boston before, and Jenni Peters—Olympic runner, badass—and her staff at Varsity Running both suggested the use of a Maurten drink mix and/or gel pack. For whatever reason, most likely culprit being my competitive relationship with aforementioned Alison and the resistance to doing what she says, I stayed with a more natural, chia based gel pack. I also fueled less and ate less, both the evening before and morning of this race. These are extraneous details to most, but I’ve realized to make Boston, to churn along for 26.2 at a sub 7 pace, aside from just losing more weight, I need to approach fueling with a scientific cap on. I left the race knowing I need to run a couple 20-plus milers in coming weeks, before my next marathon in October, and fine-tune my fueling. I will. I will listen to Alison Musgrove.

4. When a sniper hits you in the calf (left and right), the quad (just the right), the ribcage (body shot), forearm and neck, on the 19.4 mile marker, and you realize you still have over 6 full miles to go, you can go in three different directions: 1) Shut it down, f*ck this, running is stupid, yell at your beautiful girlfriend to get in the car, you’re done… 2) Slow to a walk, grab a water bottle and chilled Gatorade at next aid station and meander to the finish line, nursing your body with a controlled 16-18 minute pace and vow to do better next time. Or, 3) find a stride that offers the least resistance, the least amount of pain, also minimizing where and how severely you will cramp, and then lean into your breath. Block all other noise, pain, discomfort (still acknowledging the signs of support your Mom and Sister made) and take refuge in the breath… I chose door # 3.

Without painting myself to be some hero or mental warrior—if I just ran and prepped more effectively none of this would have been necessary—the breath enabled me to finish a difficult race with strength and perspective. As my mind sat on the ledge of chaos, where pain and distraction were ever-present and accessible, I singularly grasped onto the breath. For 6.5 miles, plodding along, I counted the inhale for two and the exhale for one (normally, in optimal running condition, breathing is a 3-2, just like bathroom visits on high fiber days). If in a state like this—absolute pain and discomfort—I am able maintain mindful composure, I can do it anytime, in any environment. The breath is how.

5. In the acclaimed classic film, “Van Wilder”, Ryan Reynolds drops a nugget that is especially poignant to me now: “you can’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out alive.”

Essentially, I’ve realized that despite the underwhelming race time (still a PR) and the painful bodily collapse, this race was fun. Like, very fun. I enjoyed the battle and I loved having my family there to support me. And, the course was beautiful, culminating with four miles right on the ocean.

Moving forward, it is important for me to always consider how lucky I am to run these type of races and to spend time with family that cares for me; to always error away from the serious, negative pitfalls of lofty goal setting. As getting to Boston—sub 3:00 marathon—is that North star goal, the journey and process is what is important, and it is always something to enjoy!

(No, that’s not Northwest “everyone-gets-a-trophy-talk.” I’ll still maintain my competitive spirit, aggressive trash talk, and commitment to free markets)

Training:

  • 05/31:
    • F45 “Empire” workout
      • Cardio based, dynamic movements
    • The “Murph” Challenge
      • 1 mile (barefoot, outside, on hot pavement: my friends think I’m an absolute loose cannon)
      • 100 pullups/200 pushups/300 body weight squats
      • 1 mile (still barefoot, outside, and assumed an “earthy communist”)
  • 06/01:
    • F45 “Romans” workout
      • Strength based movements
    • “Fartlek”
      • 1 mile warmup: 7:50 pace
        • Three minutes: 6:20 pace
        • Three minutes: 8:30 pace
        • Repeat 6 times: (insert barf emoji here)
      • 1 mile cooldown: 7:30 pace
  • 06/02:
    • Evening yoga
      • Hips, feet, calves on deck
  • 06/03:
    • F45 “Panthers” workout
      • Strength based movements
      • I have a branded “panthers” tank, so I feel good about myself in the gym when this workout shows up
    • Perkins Rowe (where I live) uphill sprint to pace run
      • 100 yard uphill sprint: times three
      • .7 mile run after third sprint: 6:40 pace
      • Repeat 3 times
  • 06/04:
    • Travel day to Seattle
      • Overhead carry-on baggage lifts, because I’m with Sunnie and chivalry is thriving!
      • Tourist activities in Seattle
        • Original Starbucks
          • Just took a gander, line was longer than previously mentioned 100 yard sprint, gtfo
          • Pike Place Market
          • Nancy makes reference to several buildings in the Greater Seattle area
            • “Oh, I used to party there”
  • 06/05:
    • Morning walk with Sunnie
      • Sightseeing, hand-holding, observation of local real estate, etc
  • 06/06:
    • 26.2 miles
      • See “Anything Cool” section

Summary:

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