Windshield and Rear View Mirror: Seeking Boston Marathon 2017 Year in Review
I started 2017 with my orthopedic surgeon suggesting I switch to cycling as I had degenerative arthritis and a little "bone-on-bone" action in my right swollen knee. I promptly suggested he try his hand at being a dentist. (an old joke but a good one.) I literally had thoughts of quitting the sport of running in January. Not defeatist, but a somewhat realistic view at least from my medical team.
|Running through the streets of Italy|
I did try and rationalize if I could compete in races or ever get back to the Boston Marathon. After a while of feeling sorry for myself, I did what most distance runners do after a setback. If I was a heavyweight (or more aptly a lightweight) fighter, I may have been on the mat spitting up blood, and spitting out a couple Chiklets, but runners always find a way to get to one knee then two feet.
To draw another marathon analogy, a bad race, injury, or DNF, we all tend to find a way to hit the reset button to start anew. Thank God for January 1.
Given that, my glass "IS" half full and 2017 did deliver some great things (including a vacation and runs in Italy) and my biggest fan and love (my wife) is still waving the Seeking Boston Marathon banner. Insert hashtag (#ilovemywife) With that, the 2017 year in review.
I've written with increased frequency about my run buddy Liam who I met two and a half years ago through I Run 4 Michael. When times are tough, I try and reflect on what this brave young man and his family have endured and I metaphorically tell myself to "snap out of it." Liam is now 19, but wears a size four "youth" shoe as he has never walked so his feet never fully developed. Confined to a wheelchair for life, he was born with Cerebral Palsy, Hydrocephalus, and Scoliosis. His parents (Joan and Fabian) are amazing retired military parents with average means to tend to his (over 150) surgeries and related medical bills. Tough given the current political and legislative environment (don't be a hater...it's fact...on the poly front.)
|Ty and Liam at RnR Denver|
I was fortunate to have raced THREE times this year with "Master Liam" starting with the Carlsbad 5000 last Spring. Liam, Mom, and Dad were hooked. We'd borrowed a "Team Hoyt" running chair for that race from his good buddy Cormac who made the cover of Competitor Magazine this year. With runner's adrenaline pumping through Joan's veins, we decided to create a fund raise to get Liam his own "ride." An angel on earth, Maggie Seymour from Run Free Run had incidentally met us both at the Rock n' Roll Carlsbad 5000. Our tandem must have made an impression as she fully funded the "blade" with the start of her San Diego to Virginia Beach fund raise (yes, you read that right. California to Virginia. #respect.)
This Fall, Liam and I notched his second and third race together in one weekend. (I'd never done that before although it's pretty common with Disney races and other festivals such as the Runner's World Half and Festival.) We ran a 5k on Saturday in Fort Collins, Colorado at my alma mater's homecoming 5k then "like a moth to a flame" I realized there was a Rock n' Roll Half in Denver the next morning in Denver. Logistics were not trivial loading up the blade, luggage and medical gear early, early in "Fort Fun" to get to Denver for the half. Tears flowed freely at the finish line (real men can cry) as we came in first in the wheelchair division. I came in second which I emailed the RnR folks to explain this was in error. (see post on my confusion on this topic.)
All in all, it's been highly rewarding as I've moved from seeking the Boston Marathon every year to (unofficially) moving my focus to half marathons (and shorter distances) and triathlons this year given my knee issues. IR4 is ALWAYS short of runners to match with special needs individuals so I'd highly encourage you to check it out. (HERE.)
I don't know how this happened, but my bling didn't entirely drop off in 2017 despite moving to a program I've never seen before (Furman's FIRST is the closest I've seen.) I'm only running typically two days a week and cross-training another 2-3 days a week. Bizarre.
Perhaps this will be my third un-written book. Out of ten competitive races, I age group podium'ed in six of them. Two of those were overall podium wins (3rd in both.) Another I came in fifth (at Carlsbad) but was "pushing" Liam that day. Another was within seconds of a podium. I did have two "fun" runs this year including an Ugly Sweater 5k with my daughter this last month (our FIRST together!)
|My first 10K EVER turned into an overall Podium|
For the first year since I've been running, I did not log everything. I use a blend of Strava and Garmin (they're conveniently linked,) but "dreadmill" runs, swims, and "running naked" I typically either texted myself, or took a photo to log or enter later.
This was not a "lazy" thing, but given my ortho's advice at the start of the year, I literally was not sure what each week or month brought me. For once, I didn't map out the whole year, and took what running gave me.
The Seeking Boston Marathon and Furman First hybrid program seemed to work based on the results above. The knee bothered me for most of the year as did my back towards the end of the year, but I continued with a variety of treatments including massage, chiropractic treatment, laser treatment, and few other "wacky" things. As I write this, both the knee(s) and the back feel better than they have in fourteen months. #whateverworks
A Change in Ambassadorships
For the last four years, I've proudly worn the jersey of the local powerhouse running store, Runner's Roost. As I approached the end of the year, I did some "soul searching" on the time and volunteer commitments as being part of their race team. I love their store and even more so, I love the good run
|Love the Pain Triathlon Suit (not me)|
In terms of ambassadorships, I continue to support SOS Hydration and decided to go after two new products I'm passionate about. Drum roll please...
|Pro Compression Rocks!|
I'm excited to announce that I am a Pro Compression Ambassador this year AND a Love the Pain Mojo Racing Team member with Liam! I am truly passionate about both these brands having spent my own money on their products over the years. Pro Compression has arguably the best compression products on the market with some fantastic colors and patterns. Love the Pain is a Los Angeles-based company with a blend of running and wide range of triathlon gear with an edge. Very proud to wear both these products this coming year.
I was also fortunate to have Adidas reach out to me last year unsolicited with their #GiftedByAdidas team with a sweet box of swag including a pair of their Ultra Boost shoes (my two sons have both admired and I have to keep locked away from them,) and Boston Marathon jacket and long-sleeve t-shirt. With a blog named Seeking Boston Marathon, you can never have enough Boston swag. HUGE thanks to Adidas for their generosity and going the "extra mile" by sending Liam some of his own swag including some sweet "Jay Z" white-on-white shoes for the Denver Half.
Hard to say for sure as the cartilage in my knee didn't magically regenerate nor did I go in for Stem Cell treatment. I do however have a brighter outlook than I did on January 1 of last year. I have never mapped out all twelve months, but certainly have "circle the calendar" races on the books. The first is (another drum roll...) the Carlsbad Half Marathon in two weeks with "master Liam!"
|Ty, Liam in my fave Love the Pain tee|
The cherry on top is that I'll be attending the Team Hoyt San Diego Chapter dinner on Saturday night and get to meet the man (the legend) whose name appears on Liam's running chair. Also attending with be Micheal DiDonato who partered with Dick to build "blades" for other assisted athletes. I was also psyched to learn last night that Brogan Graham is the keynote speaker. I met Brogan (who's one of the founders of November Project) in 2016 at the Runner's World Half and Festival as a blog ambassador. The dude is the most energetic and positive person I've ever met.
This month I will work with Liam and his parents on hopefully targeting more races with him and filling up my triathlon calendar. Thanks for continuing to read and support my journey. Your help through my ups and downs means a lot.
Lastly. My tiny little blog surpassed 402,000 lifetime page views. I didn't know my mom's mouse had that many "clicks" in it. Thank you to my loyal readers.
|Sporting my Pro Compression Socks and Love the Pain Trucker Cap|