Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Beantown Beatdown

Don't let the happy face fool you. After waving to my entourage, I started looking for a wheelchair or something soft to land on. (photo: cole)

So I didn’t exactly "rock" Boston. In fact, it fairly kicked my @$$. I arrived at the starting line extremely fit (and still am) and my 3:06:43 finish, though substantially off my sub-3 goal, was a very respectable debut. So I’m proud but sore. Motivated to do better.

I ran a very solid 35K, right on target. But the marathon is 42K and those last four miles were extremely painful. I was blacking out on my feet and swaying toward the sidelines and about a half mile short of the finish line, the infamous Boston leg cramps set in, a consequence of Boston’s famous down hills in which quads and hamstrings seize up extremely painfully. I managed to walk them off and rally for a proud jog to the finish line.

I made some costly tactical errors that can be corrected so I’m fully confident that I will get under that 3-hour mark at a future race. I’m actually excited about the prospect. I never experienced that "never again" moment and I wanted another shot at the distance right after finishing, despite the suffering—and I’m still sore nearly a week later. The most important lesson I learned was humility. The marathon is serious business and no amount of toughness trumps preparation and smart execution.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. My body needs to heal, then we’ll think about the next attempt. I ran best when I focused on one step at a time and that’s how I’ll go forward: methodically, patiently, and for now, VERY slowly.

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