I think I need to paint a picture for you, first, so this whole “Beau 2 Boston” thing can make sense. Let me try:
Its 2019 and I’m in Dallas, Texas. I’m about to run a marathon, my second, and I’m pretty optimistic I will run a good time. I haven’t done much in terms of diet—sleep, stress-response, and recovery aren’t really things that would fall under the label of “priority”—but I’ve been logging a lot of miles and I think I can make a fast run happen.
I approach the starting point of the race, tense, and a little fat (225lbs). I begin to run. I play my music, too, pretty loud, hoping the pounding of my ears will distract me from the pounding of my feet, and I run. I bare down, and I run.
Three hours later, and roughly 18 miles, my body shuts down.
Like, shuts down.
Physically, it’s full body cramps—resisting the urge to vomit—and mentally its dark, dark thoughts. When runners pass by, offering the pale, prone runner (me) friendly encouragement I assume mockery and I send heavy sprained ankle vibes their way. I growl, too. And then I go back to trying not to throw up.
That’s my life for the next 70 minutes: hobble walking like Kaiser Sose (Kevin Spacey, Usual Suspects) until I meet the finish line—pale, exhausted, dejected, and four hours and thirty-four minutes after I began.
Fast forward 14 months, for the second piece of this dynamic picture I’m painting, and we visit Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Again, it is an early morning, and this time I am in front of the state capital; The Louisiana Marathon is about to begin.
I hug my friend and running-partner, Alison Musgrove, and we part our ways as she heads to group A, because she is a pro, and I saunter towards starting pod C, with the grinders.
In my starting pod, I send a final text to my girlfriend Sunnie, letting her know how much I appreciate her support and how much I look forward to seeing her at the finish line; I use a winking emoji to make it dirty.
Just minutes before the race I take a quick moment to wish all the runners near me well, in between some limbering movements, and I breath into my heart center. I set the intention of loving-kindness and I send it to those around me.
I feel great, despite the early morning start time, because I’ve integrated sound dietary/sleeping patterns into my life.
Present, thankful for my health and fitness, I move to the start.
I send Sunnie a quick, final message—something about covering her in loving-kindness—and I start to run…
Mile 6: I see my friends who came to support me. We have a passing conversation—politics, weather, emerging money markets, etc—as I dart by. I’m so appreciative and feeling great.
Mile 11: mindful experience. I’m nasal breathing like the Dhalai Lama and I’m moving in a fluid, relaxed state. I read an article, written by Varsity Running, that mentioned the benefits of smiling, during duress, for endurance athletes. I love smiling—“smiling is my favorite”—and I respected the science so I’m straight up buddy the elf at every mile marker.
Mile 18: I see my people. This was where I hit the wall during my last marathon, but that negative recollection doesn’t even register. Moving sprightly, I flip my cap backwards and put my hand to my ear, beckoning my cheering friends. Sunnie didn’t flash me, like I had asked, so I run over towards the side of the road where she is standing and cheering and I hit her with a spin move, putting her on skates. I feel good about myself.
Mile 19: stomach begins to hurt, scaring me a bit.
Mile 20: Just a little gas.
Mile 25: The realization strikes me that I never hit a wall, I never really hurt. I was present for each step and each breath. No music, no distraction, just a journey of endurance with myself and my friends.
I cross the finish line in 3:48, after 26.2 miles.
And that’s the dual imagery; the disparity between the two being what I hope stood out. It’s why I’m beginning this blog and it’s why I’m excited, and eager, to attempt to qualify for the 2022 Boston Marathon.
If you are unsure as to why you are reading any of this, why it might be of benefit or pleasure, please read the two bullets to follow. One bullet outlines what the Boston Marathon is, why it is such a lofty goal of athleticism and wellness—something you would mention to girls, tattooed yoga instructors and such, if you were single—and the second tries to capture the essence of my journey, both in where I began, what I’ve done along the way, and what I’m doing now to meet this goal; why a lot of it is/are things you can do, too.
- The Boston Marathon is arguably the most prestigious endurance event in the world. It is synonymous with the word “marathon” itself, and it is what people think about when they imagine the best long distance runners in the world hanging out, in short shorts, talking about complex carbohydrates. Like all other marathons, it is a 26.2 mile race. Unlike other marathons, you can’t just sign up and run it. You have to qualify. And, as you’d expect, everyone wants to qualify. The Boston Marathon has been steadily lowering entry times to handle such high demand/interest the past 30 years. Basically, without listing all of the appropriate age and gender qualifications, you have to be fast. Fast AF*. For my group (male, 18—34), you must log a 3:00 marathon (6:52/mile pace) in a Boston Qualifying event prior to gaining entry. You don’t have to be a mathematician, or a kinesiologist, or a Kenyan, to realize that a 6:52 pace, for 26 miles, is a hard thing to do. Most people can’t. I’m going to try.
- I’m going to go to the “mini-bullet” here to encapsulate a previous approach to happiness and health that I didn’t think would every change:
- “I work out pretty hard so I can I can eat and drink what I want and not put on a ton of weight. I could never give up food, or drinks (10+) on the weekend, they make me happy!”
When you are unaware of the holism to health and happiness, you shut yourself off to so much. I thought I was happy—like, really happy—when I was fist pumping on the weekends and mildly exercising, but I was never really improving myself. I was never tapping into the amazing resources within me, what we all have and possess. I was soft-bodied, susceptible to cold and illness (on the reg), and a big status-quo guy. Which is all ok. All of that is considered normal, now (subject matter for a post down the road), and all of that is probably relatable to you in some way. Which is why I’m writing this and why I’m so excited about the changes I’ve made, the goal of Boston precipitating more… Aside from some plus bone-structure/jaw-line, I’m a regular dude; normal in physicality and intellect. But I’ve lost thirty pounds, in a healthy, sustainable way, and I’ve implemented efficient movement and quality thinking that make fast marathons realistic. And, in a much more important note, I’ve done things to integrate health and happiness, emboldening both, ergo the maturation as a human-being (athlete, business-owner, realtor, boyfriend, friend, son, Hogwarts alumni, cornhole champion, etc) I’m proud of. The Boston Marathon, and the pursuit of it, is a catalyst for real health and real happiness. As I chase it, I hope you will derive some benefit, maybe taking something I’ve done and applying it to your life. That, aside from a 6:52/mile pace, for 26.2 miles, is the ultimate aim, what really motivates me… If you’ve rolled your eyes on a double-digit count since beginning this post, maybe mixing in a dry-heave, because you’ve known or met me within the 2006—2019 timeframe, I get it. And that’s fair reaction. But all of that—my/our past—is fodder for the change. You can’t run a 6:52 mile pace, for 26 miles, when you are a big turd. You just can’t.
*As f*ck. AF is a hip colloquialism amongst our youth today, the type of kids that use Tik Tok. I abbreviated it because I’m 31 years old now and both my mom and girlfriend have asked me not to curse. I’m trying. For Nancy and for Sunnie.