I was in Vancouver over the holidays this winter. Whilst I was there I met up with a guy named Darren for a run. I had never met Darren but we had mutual friends so we hit the trails along the waterfront for a nice little run. As we were running we got to talking about running and such. It was immediately obvious that Darren was one of those guys who is just positive as hell and a friendly as a sonofabitch. I liked him right away.
We got to talking about running, our goals and aspirations and whatnot. I was talking about Rotterdam and my Olympic dreams. He mentioned that he had a big goal of qualifying for the Fukuoka marathon one day. The qualifying time was 2:42:00. It was an ambitious goal for Darren at the time, but his excitement and positiveness got to me, so without thinking I immediately offered to pace him to his 2:42:00 whenever he needed it done.
Well fast forward 5months. Yesterday Darren and I lined up at the start of the Toronto Marathon, the time had come, 2:41:59 or bust. Darren had put in a tonne of hard work over the past 5months and he was ready to give 2:42 a shot.
We were joined by Dan and Mike, two of Darren’s teammates, they had also been rolling and were ready for some solid runs of their own.
The dudes had agreed that due to the nature of the course they would go out kinda fast and then settle in as things got going. The gun goes off and we get on our merry way. Oh yeah, So Bill Rodgers was there at the race, he shot the gun off. I was tempted to try to win the race so that I could impress Bill and get to talk to him, that man is a badass!
Back to race. So we get going, early on we were just cruising, we were right on pace and the dudes were chill and relaxed. It was cool. The guys were working together very well. I was just kinda running off to the side letting them do their thing. Every so often I would just chime in with some encouraging words.
At around 20km Dan figured that he had caught a flyer and he was ready to roll, he took off. He was looking good, the rest of us wished him well and he was off to break new ground. Just Mike, Dan and myself cruising through the streets of Toronto at this point. The Dudes rolled through the half at 1:18:01, a solid minute ahead of their goal. I was proud, they were going for the good ole’ FFTF strategy, nice.
At around 28km Mike also decided that he was on for a good one, so he took off. He was moving well, we wished him the best. Now it was just Darren and I, the weather was getting warm and the legs were getting heavy.
Usually I am a pretty calm and collected guy. I don’t get to excited and worked up very often, but when I do, I become very loud and very obnoxious. I also have pretty dirty mouth, this fact is exasperated as I become more and more excited, eff this and eff that all damn day!
At around 30km Darren was still moving pretty well, we were still on target for sub 2:42 but we were starting to lose a few seconds each km. By 32km is was obvious that Darren was starting to hurt pretty good, it was also obvious that we were going to be cutting it close!
I knew how much Darren wanted this time and I knew how much work he had put in to get to this point. I had also just run 32km with the guy. So needless to say I was emotionally invested to his cause, I was starting to get a little worked up. By 34km I had upped the level of verbal support and encouragement. Darren was digging, he was holding it together but he was not having much fun at all.
By 37km Darren had gone dark and I was no longer encouraging him, I had just started to straight up berate him, I was like a gosh darn drill sergeant out there. I’m so sorry to anyone we ran by in that last 5km and had to witness/hear me yelling at my poor, suffering friend. I was a friggen maniac.
So that last 5km was pretty rad, Darren was all balls man. He was brilliant and he dug very, very deep. We rolled around the last bend and homeboy brought it in in a solid 2:41:53. Bam, mission accomplished! Great stuff!
I was pumped after, so happy that Darren performed so well and crushed his goal…by 6 seconds! Darren, well Darren was pretty much a zombie for the next hour or so, it was brilliant. Marathons are hilarious. It was a great day all around for the Longboat crew. Dan rolled a huge PB with a 2:36:59 and Mike came through in 2:40:51 despite going off course for a good 800m (I know it’s hard to put on such a big event, but there were certainly some problems with the course at points). My boy Anthony also rolled a 2:45. We celebrated with many beers and cookies after.
I had a lot of fun running that marathon yesterday. I love the road racing scene man, so many positive vibes. It was so cool to see the joy and exhilaration on all the finishers faces. There is so much pain and so much suffering, but after all is said and done the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction makes all that hard work worth it.
That it something that I absolutely love about running. No matter how fast you run, and no matter your goals. When you get in a race, especially a marathon there is going to be a point where you are gonna have to dig deep, you are really going to have to go dark at times. All of us runners experience this sensation. It is at these times when it is all on you, it is a very personal and unique experience, you learn a lot about yourself. Sometimes you hit your goals, and sometimes you don’t. But it is a great feeling walking (or hobbling) away knowing you gave it your all and you fought a good, honest fight.
When Darren was just holding on and suffering yesterday he didn’t let the pain and the suffering win. He fought back and he gave it all he had, and ultimately he hit his goal. I learned a lot yesterday, it was really an awesome and inspiring experience.
Alright, so two more weeks in southern Ontario folks. Then I’m off to Colorado to run the Boulder Bolder, then some training in Colorado/Flagstaff before I settle down in the Vancouver. Exciting stuff, but sadly I had to sell my car yesterday.
I loved that car so much, it was an oldy but a goody. That car and I have been all over North America together. Sure the passenger door is damn near impossible to open, the front fog light was destroyed by flying ice and the sound system consisted of a tape deck and some blown speakers. That car had character man, gonna miss my Dieter…cue Green Day’s “Good Riddance”
Alright, well I’m back to serious training again. Gonna go blast my core. Have a great week folks!