Today was the perfect example of my summer. Another hot day, another day way overdressed. The run this afternoon was in temperatures over 90F and I had on long running winter pants, cotton t-shirt with cotton sweatshirt and a rain jacket over-top. The Centaurus High School warriors were running a workout around Waneka Lake in Lafayette and I was running in the opposite direction to encourage and help when needed. The kids ran the best they could despite the heat…and were generally shocked I ran in the clothes. This was my training since June…extra clothes every day.
Tomorrow morning I’m waking up and heading out the door for my last run in full sweats. By evening, I’ll be checking into a condo on the beautiful island of Kauai. After easy runs on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I’ll be toeing the line Sunday morning for my first marathon since the Iwaki City Sunshine Marathon. The Kauai Marathon has a very special place in my life. Last year I came there on a mission to win and break the course record. At the end of the morning that day I had the biggest running high of my life. I didn’t come down from that race for months. When training was tough, I imagined giving the shaka sign to the crowd on Poipu Road. This probably led to over-training and potentially causing(?) a hypothyroid issue. It’s been a struggle at times over the past year with more downs than ups. Finally, things have been clicking in the last month. Sleeping better, more energy, and running faster.
On Sunday I’m going to have a wind behind me pushing me forward. It’s not going to be a sea breeze or any meteorological driven wind. It’s the incredible support from friends and family. I was debating this concept on a long run the other day, maybe due to dehydration and becoming delusional. The Question: Why do people say “thank you to their support system?” The Answer: because there’s something special in encouraging someone (or a team) to reach his or her goals. That collective mojo is rare and treasured. I love the sport of running because it allows anyone to try something special and achieve a goal they set, whether that’s becoming a healthier person, trying to break a 4 minute mile, or running up Pikes Peak. Something special that’s going on right now is a group of ten guys running from the U of Minnesota to Penn State in an attempt to break the 1,000 mile world record and raise money for the Kevin Dare Foundation. The collective momentum that the group is gaining is encouraging for anyone with a relation to Penn State. They have already raised over $11,000 towards their $20,000 goal.
I’d like to take this paragraph and “thank my support system.” There’s no possible way I could have better friends, family, sponsors, and a positive running community. The Centaurus High School XC team shows the sport at it’s purest and most simple form – working hard to achieve a goal. Thank you boys & girls for being inspirational to me. Thanks to Benji Durden, a real mentor to me (and whose birthday is today, happy birthday Benji!!!!) who heat-training in Atlanta, Georgia during his career. Thank you to every guy and girl I’ve run with in the past year. It’s been fun sharing the miles of trials, trials of miles with you all. Thanks to my friends who kept me sane during time off in May/June. Spending two weeks camping, fly-fishing, and passing around the bottle of whiskey next to the fire was exactly what I needed. Thank you to my Mom & Dad. I can’t put into words how special they are to me. The most special part of the trip this year is that my parents are coming too! This is the first time they’ll see me run a marathon and I couldn’t be happier to do the best I can in front of them. Lastly, a really special thanks to the Kauai Marathon organizers who wanted me back this year. I met some special people and learned first hand at the aloha spirit – Jeff, Bob, Robin, JT, Bart, and many more I’m looking forward to seeing you all again.
I’ve been asked several times, “So do you think you can break last year’s time?” … “Do you think you can win?”
What I know is that on Sunday morning starting at 6AM I’m going to celebrate the hard work by doing my absolute best for 26.2 miles in paradise.