On April 21, I will be running my 8th Boston Marathon and my 17th marathon overall. I started in 2007, the year of the nor’easter that had the press asking if it could possibly be canceled due to the heavy wind and rain. I recall standing at the Boston Common with Matt and Laura in full Coleman camping suits protecting us from the weather and carrying an extra pair of sneakers.
I had never seen such torrential rain and wind in my life. On the bus to Hopkinton, one of the runners asked me about my time goal. I told him it was my first marathon and my goal was 4 hours. He said to me very politely, “you may want to consider a different strategy with this rain and wind”. He then suggested forgetting my time goal and to focus on enjoying the day. He said “high five every kid, every student at Wellesley College and BC, and take in as much energy from the crowd as possible”. I followed his advice and had a wonderful first marathon. I even forgot to turn on my stop watch at the start so I had no time reference (no Garmin back then). In the end, I finished within a few mins of my 4 hour goal and had a very memorable first marathon.
This year, having run Boston 6 more times; all of which being associated with the greater rare disease community and with close patient partnerships for the last 4, I have decided to follow the same advice for the 2014 Boston Marathon as I received back in 2007 regardless of what Mother Nature brings.
The truth is for me, this year, the only thing that matters is the memory and I see no time based goal delivering a more memorable experience. So when the marathon is all over and you see my time, don’t assume that a time 30-45 mins slower than what you would expect from me is the result of a bad day; it may just be a Personal Best