Everyone Needs a BOSTON!

Long ago, I was a marathoner. I dreamed of running fast. Fast enough to be in the top 100 of the Boston Marathon. Fast enough to win the coveted BAA Boston Marathon Medal. (In the 70's and 80's only the top 100 at Boston received finishers medals) To me, the top 100 at Boston was my Olympic dream.

But no matter how hard I trained or how hard I raced, I fell short.
It never discouraged me. Heck, I ran just a little over 2 and a half hours for a marathon which is about as fast as my talent would allow. For over 20 years, through countless winters and nasty springs I trained, religiously logging my 20 milers on weekends, hitting the indoor track for speed and suffering though hard tempo runs. At some point, family and job obligations took over and I could not train as hard anymore, so my quest ended and I started running races "for fun". I tried hard in most races, but still it just was not the same.

Recently I had the urge to run some of the races I did as a youth. So I entered the New Bedford Half Marathon and the Mt. Washington hill climb - both races packed with serious runners, both races which still exemplify a serious competitive race. Since I had not "run" Mt. Washington for 28 years, I was unsure how I would do. Friends who completed it each year regaled me with sordid stories of pain and misery, yet I entered the lottery and "won" a spot in.

Just as predicted, it was tough, battling a sore back and a sore hip. I managed to "run" the first three miles at about 11-12 minute pace, then succumbed to the walk/jog-run a little scuffle that everyone else around me was doing. The miles dragged on and I entered a delirious state of exhaustion. By mile 7 - where even my power walking gave out - finally I hit "THE WALL".
Ok, you have heard about "the wall" in marathons, but seriously, the last 100 feet of Mt Washington is a 22% grade, steeper than most stairs! Gasping and swerving I barely made it to the top. Elated at simply finishing, in 1 hour and 43 minutes, I was pleasantly surprised at my effort and performance. I realized that I had found my "New Boston". Here was a race where your adversary is the hill - and where speed does not really matter. Here is a race which one can aim for year after year with no hope of conquering the hill, but always demand the ultimate of ones ability and fitness. There is no "running easy" on the Mountain.

In our own LOCO races we have found many individuals that have claimed our race as their "Boston". They have adopted our race as their own. A race that will help them stay focused through the year to run or walk to stay fit so they can do that one big race. To me that is what our races are all about.

Thanks for reading, stay fit, and write often.

Mike - AKA the LOCO guy
Running since 1969

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