One of the things I like about running and racing is that it is so concrete. The numbers never lie. Sometimes, the numbers tell you that you are in way better shape and have lots more determination and strength than you realized. Other times, the numbers humble you and show you your frailty. But the numbers always tell you the truth.
The numbers from Boston tell a tale of heat, wind, and more hills than I remembered. Of training that was good, but not great. Of overly hopeful prognostication. Of over 100 ounces of fluid barely putting a dent in serious dehydration. Of a three-tiered list of goals that was finally thrown away at mile 22. (It is hard running through no-man’s-land with no other mantra than “just don’t walk”.)
Yet I’m satisfied with the race, and with my efforts there. I had a great time in the city, and was able to soak up the sights and sounds along the whole course. The biker bar blasting “Highway to Hell” at mile 1. Thousands of cheering people. Hundreds of kids giving out water, oranges, and high-fives. The tear-inducing, deafening roar of Wellesley. Seeing my training partners on the course, and watching them run on to do better than me. Facing Hospital Hill without fear. My wife running with me at mile 17, giving me a gatorade and telling me the kind lie, “you’re just a little behind your goal. You’ll make it up.” Complete consciousness of my completion of Heartbreak Hill. The miracle of spotting a friend behind the fence at 23. Finally turning the corner onto Boylston. Finishing in slow motion.
It is is an amazing race, but Boston doesn’t cotton to liars. Boston tells the truth.