Q&A with A Boston Marathon runner | PostIndependent.com

Q&A with A Boston Marathon runner

Post IndependentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Incredible. It definitely lived up to the lore and legend of the granddaddy of all marathons. On top of that, it is so professionally organized, and the people of Boston treat all the runners with such kindness. Somewhat unique to marathons, and especially so in Boston: There are hundreds of thousands of spectators. They line the street and cheer, not just for the elite runners, but for complete strangers from Glenwood Springs, Colo. Some highlights include: Being able to hang out at the start staging area with my friend and hockey teammate, Larry Thrun. I think the familiarity helped both of us ease pre-race jitters. Five minutes before the start gun they played the national anthem, and then two fighter jets buzzed from start to finish. I was lucky enough to be in the start corral right behind the elite runners, who await the start in a church next to Grove Street. They came out in single file right next to our corral, and all the runners erupted to pump up Ryan Hall, the 26-year-old American hopeful. As he walked by, I could see the adrenaline in his eyes, combined with an appreciation for the encouragement. The famous screaming of the girls of Wellesley College (about mile 12.5) could be heard from a mile away on the approach. I noticed the pack I was in upped that tempo by at least 20 seconds past Wellesley. Lastly, seeing my son, Erich, and wife, Michele, at the finish was a joyful and tearful reunion. I also got choked up from all the texts and voicemails from friends and family.

It was more of an afterthought. I ran in the Twin Cities to check a marathon off my bucket list. When I qualified for Boston, I thought that is really something I should do. Watching the 2008 Boston on TV was the clincher. At its conclusion, I immediately got dressed and went out for a run.

This was my first Boston, and second marathon overall. I qualified at the 2007 Twin Cities Marathon.

I grew up in small-town Wisconsin. The local Jaycees hosted a grade-school track meet with the longest distance being 400 meters (or the 440-yard dash as I knew it). I ran track from junior high through high school. I enjoyed distance running, but ended up pole vaulting, since two of my classmates were state milers that filled both varsity spots. Ive always come back to running as an option for exercise, especially in the shoulder seasons, and I run local races when time permits.Were you surprised by your time (is it a PR)? My goal was to set a PR, but was absolutely surprised by my time. I just wanted to do better than 2:55. As in my first marathon, I underestimated the power of the event and running at close to sea level. My strategy is to roll with how I feel, for the most part. Because of a sporadic head wind, I decided to wear my GPS device for the race. About 8 to 10 miles into the race, my average mile splits were more than 20 seconds faster than what I had planned at 6 minutes, 11 seconds but I felt good. At that point I started to think that 2:45 might be within reach, but distance and the Newton Hills caused my splits to dwindle to 6:20. Consistent with the whole feel thing, I am motivated by knowing that the longer Im out on course the longer Ill suffer. Thats what gets me from about mile 16 to the finish.

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The opportunity they provide to witness human character and resolve at its best. Whether it be locally as in the case of Paul Driskills dedication to running and his Turkey Trot comeback, or Team Hoyt, the father pushing his son in a wheelchair through marathons and iron man comps; there are hundreds of examples. I like the feeling of camaraderie that stems from pursuing a common objective side by side, while at the same time pushing each other. I like the fact that you can draw inspiration from local talent, especially where we live. I cant count on all my fingers and toes the amount of athletes I try to just come close to in local competitions. This, to me, is so much more tangible than a mainstream sports superstar.

I began a 14-week training program the third week of January with a solid aerobic base. The plan I followed combined short-, medium- and long-distance days, as well as speed work and interval training. I like to incorporate some cross training, but skiing fell by the wayside a bit this year because I didnt want to be tired for my long runs (generally falling on weekends). I did continue with hockey, rationalizing that it would be good for anaerobic and speed training. I am fairly good about nutrition, but admit to not sacrificing much regarding what I eat.

Out my door to either the River Trail or into Glenwood Canyon. Grizzly Creek is my favorite trail run.

Tele skiing, hockey, mountain/road biking and kayaking.

The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, Memorial Day weekend in Durango. Running wise, Im not certain yet. In August, my former high school is having a school-wide reunion, regardless of graduation year. One of the weekend events is a 5K that I will surely run in. Ill be gunning for Joe Laux and Paul Auer the previously mentioned state milers.

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