In 2001, Scott ran his first Boston Marathon – but this would probably be the most memorable race in a bad way. At just about mile 26 in a time of roughly 3:09, his muscles cramped up. Maybe “locked up” is a better description, but either way, he went down and his trashed legs gave up. Did I mention he was at mile 26? Did I also mention he could see the finish line? The runners around him tried to scoop him up and help him, but the medical personnel reached him first and yanked him to the medical tent. 2 bags of saline and approximately 45 minutes later, Scott was finally released to complete the .2 miles to the finish. Scott’s come a long way since that race and he – and I – have learned a lot from what happened that day.
Running, like most things in life, takes practice. We start out slow and often get slower before we get faster. We experiment with nutrition, shoes, body glide, and GU. We celebrate shaving minutes off of our time. We jump for joy if we place in our age group (as long as we don’t pull a hamstring). Most importantly, we learn from our own and others’ mistakes. In my opinion, Scott didn’t necessarily make a mistake at Boston that year. I believe it was attributed more to his inexperience in taming the adrenaline of turning that corner and seeing the finish line (yikes, I get goosebumps writing that!). When I finally ran my first Boston in 2010, I rounded that final corner, caught sight of “Scott’s” medical tent, took a deep breath, and remembered to keep my adrenaline in check. Because of Scott.
Scott’s been a great role model – in more areas than just running! Sometimes it’s time to push; sometimes it’s time to back off and save it for another day. Scott’s first Boston taught us both how adrenaline and inexperience (it wasn’t his first marathon, but it was early on in his marathon repertoire) can be a bad combination. Several Boston Marathons later, Scott has had near perfect days where he BQ’d there, and he’s had days where the temperatures were just too high to go all out. He’s learned to adjust his race day expectations that day – regardless of how well prepared he is. The lesson here is listening to the body when it gives warning – and learning to adjust when the weather or the body has other plans.
Wise Grasshopper can be your husband, a coach, or the latest copy of Runner’s World. I learn from my Wise Grasshopper everyday and for me, so far so good. No IV’s hanging above …only finisher medals for this chick!