So this post is one of the first ones written from another city than home, Boston, Mass and I'd like to say that this has been an amazing experience. There are places that I've never seen before that have integral to the birth of this relatively young country. This opened my eyes to the fact that as much as I love this country, there's so much that I don't know and I can't call myself a Patriot until I know more about my country. However, this post isn't about that. It's a lot simpler. It's about my family and my loving girlfriend. But ultimately, this trip has taught me an important lesson:
And it only took one man, a strong desire and 90+ degree weather to teach me about the real meaning of perseverance...
So let's get this out of the way first. The Race Director, because of the unusually high heat decided to offer a deferment. Now, let me explain what that means: Usually, a deferment allows a runner to put off his run until the next year. The Race Director strongly urged runners to defer if they were feeling in any way, shape or form uncomfortable or worried about their health to take the deferment and to help ease the process, anyone who defers this Boston Marathon wouldn't have to re-qualify to run next year.
(Now, the next part is just from my understanding and anyone who reads this can comment and correct me.)
Usually, the runner would have to re-qualify which means has to complete a qualifying marathon in a particular time. Usually the feat of qualifying is an accomplishment in and of itself so to defer is usually unheard of. So this offer is a once in a lifetime "free pass" to avoid further injury and risk to your health (which from walking around on race day was a real issue: multiple ambulances and paramedics attending to runners and rushing off in the direction of the race). Now, I told all of that back story to tell this.
My brother earned the right to run the Boston Marathon. He didn't raise money for a charity to get a pass in Wave 3. He had another marathon (The Kentucky Derby Marathon, go figure) that he ran and his time there was enough to qualify him for Boston (a HUGE deal if you don't know) which meant he would have been in Wave 1 with other professional runners. However, my brother came into this week injured already. A shin injury plagued him all week however, he still planned to run this race as it's not every day that you get to run in a marathon that has been run 115 times before this. My brother, for the record is a tough SOB and to run 26.2 miles on an injured shin is something that I couldn't fathom but for him he couldn't imaging NOT running.
So, when the deferment was offered and highly pushed (when the Race Director says, "Hey, you guys really, really don't have to do this..." you have to really take that warning into account. So after two days of soul searching, my brother (with GREAT reluctance, decided to not run the race but instead promised that not only would he run it next year, it would be one of his best times in any marathon he's run so far.
Although he really, really didn't want to, logic dictated that he had to defer his dream.
Nothing however, would keep him from reaching his goal. And it is this that is the most important thing that my brother has taught me. Despite whatever comes your way, some days, the only option is to sit the battle out but that doesn't mean that you give up, you just rest, and plan and the next time the opportunity presents itself, you attack with zeal and ferocity and you conquer that which made you falter. A lot of people who read this will think, "Poor J..." because he couldn't run his race but to those people, I say:
"J will run his race and it will be more satisfying than anything that those around him do on that Monday, in 2013. But between now and then, how many of us will sit out and defer our personal races and never return to the course?"
"You say, 'Poor J.' I say, 'Poor us...'
Dedicated to my dear brother, John. Although you may not realize it at the time, your strength gives me clarity and the knowledge that as long as I never stay down, I can overcome any knock that comes my way.