I hope you’ve all had a restful and energizing weekend. It was my 24th birthday on Saturday and I had a wonderful day, spent with the people that mean the most to me. It was a great weekend 🙂
Today I want to pick up on Matt’s Road to Boston and share Part 2 with you all. Where we last left off, Matt had completed his very first marathon (bloody feet, new socks and all) and had set the aggressive goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon, essentially shaving 50 minutes off of his current time.
How’s that for a BHAG?
As the world tuned in to the Lance Armstrong/Oprah interview this past week, there is really no better time to tell the second part of this story. It was the summer of 2004 and Lance Armstrong was going after his record breaking 6th Tour de France win. He was seemingly “unbeatable”, the ultimate competitor and the face of victory. Matt was given Lance’s first book “Its not about the Bike” and was amazed by his incredible journey back to life, health and competition. As Matt tuned in to watch the Tour de France for the first time ever, he set the goal to complete the Toronto Scotia WaterFront Marathon for his very first Boston Qualifying attempt.
The Tour de France played a huge role in Matt’s training. In Lance Armstrong’s book “It’s Not About the Bike”, he speaks about his training philosophy. According to Lance, the very best time to go out and train hard is when the weather is terrible, when things aren’t convenient, when your competitors aren’t willing to go out. Champions are built on days when everyone else is at home with their feet up. Matt took this philosophy and ran with it, literally. Every rainy day he was out, soaking wet. Every blistering hot day, he was out pouring sweat. Twice that very summer, on 2 different training runs he had people pull over on the highway and ask if he wanted a ride home because the rain was so blinding and so thick. He said no and ran harder the rest of the way home.
Lance Armstrong was Matt’s hero. His incredible story of determination and competition made Matt a better person and runner, and for that, he will always be grateful. In light of the information that has come out over the past couple of weeks, it’s become evident that Lance has really taken a chunk out of a lot of people’s lives to preserve his own reputation. Matt and I are both of the opinion that he needs to make it right with all of these people, and then do his part to clean up the cycling industry. Doping doesn’t make Lance Armstrong evil. In the greater scheme of things, he was just another straw in the haystack when it comes to that. But the deception and the malicious intent of some of his actions is what he needs to work on setting right. At least in our humble opinion 🙂 🙂
Enough about Lance, time to get back to the Toronto Water front Marathon. Matt flew to Toronto alone and stayed with his uncle. He was feeling good, had trained hard and was ready to get his first attempt to qualify under way. The race started out terrific, and by the 10km he was on pace to qualify and feeling great. By 21.1km, he was still on pace and looking good. Just after the half way mark of the race, he saw his uncle who had come to watch his race. Seeing his uncle gave him energy, and he knew that he was still on pace to qualify. Things were going exactly according to plan.
Shortly after the half way mark, Matt fell victim to a demon that goes by the name of dehydration. There’s really no use in me describing suffering from dehydration to you unless you’ve felt it yourself. It was like he had been shot. He felt incredibly sick and disoriented and knew that something was going seriously wrong.
By the time he had made it to the 25km marker, there was a green area just off to the side of the course, where there was a tree and some tall grass. He was sick. And I mean…both ways that a person can be sick.
I have Matt’s approval to post all of this – don’t you worry 😉
As poor Matt was puking his guts out on the side of the road, some wise cracking runner ran by and yelled out “Let it all out buddy!!”. And that he did.
He started running again but he was very dehydrated, disoriented and confused. He didn’t know what was happening to his body, this was all brand new to him. It wasn’t long before, for the second marathon in a row he began to walk. With his head down in shame made it to 32km and then somewhere after that, the first aid staff strongly suggested he get in their car and he did. The pain of the dehydration was nothing compared to the pain of the DNF. Poor Matt was devastated, but being the type of person he is, he grit his teeth, picked himself up, and set the goal for the next qualifying attempt. Walking and quitting weren’t an option. Period.
Its been said that something is only a mistake if you do not learn from it. Dehydration was a new beast to learn about and he needed to find a way to conquer the demon. After playing water stops over and over in his head he realized he wasn’t very good at drinking from a cup while running. He went out and set up paper cups on his car trunk and ran loops and after every loop try and grab a cup and try a new to drink from it at speed. He learned a pinch technique that to this day he uses.
It had now been a full year since his first marathon back in Manitoba. He knew that his second attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon would be in Manitoba 2005. He was prepared, trained better and had some fight in him. He even had a Mohawk.
He he he.
Would Matt’s second Boston qualifying attempt be the one? Or would dehydration get the best of him again? What other demons lay out on the 42.2km stretch of road that he had not yet even encountered?
You’ll have to tune in for The Road to Boston Part 3 to find out!! 🙂
Before you go – did you have a “hero” growing up? What are your thoughts on Lance Armstrong and the state of the cycling industry?
Have a terrific week everyone!!