Hey You – 1990


So I know that this has become a popular gimmick/format to write in but It seems like a worthwhile exercise to me. So here is my attempt at a letter to my marathon self 25 years ago:

Hi Lawrence

So you can’t imagine what you will be like in 25 years, well now you know or rather I know. I won’t give away much because you will want the surprise and so much of the next 25 years is pretty great. You are still running and that news is a good thing in so many ways. The remarkable health you took for granted is still with you, the desire to run is still inside you and the economics are there so you may run with the time to enjoy it. Just a couple years ago, your time, you ran your first Boston (1988). So many runners, nearly a mass of 6000. Wait till you see the starting field of Boston 2015! You will run another in 1992 but that will be your last for a while. Kate will be born and things will change for a little while at least. On that April day in 1988, and in every Boston to come, you will stand at the start and say the same thing ” Today may be the only day”. You will look around, take in the view of the church, share in the enthusiasm of the crowd and feel the beat of thousands of hearts racing and getting ready to race. The big moment will never fail to electrify and almost overwhelm you.

At your first Boston Expo you bought a print. http://www.artofrunning.com/newsite/site/BOS-88.htm It will hang on many walls (Woodfield, the cottage, Westwood, etc), always a reminder of that first day. Slowly its brilliant colours will fade until only the blues remain. The yellows, reds and oranges of the balloons will all fade to an inky hue. The print won’t just sit in a sunny window for a few days and the colours washed away. Time took them. Year by year, time took from you the colours of your most favourite race. Like your own memories, only bits and pieces will remain. You are 27 and invincible. Your PB in 1992 of 2:44:59 won’t seem like much at the time. You cursed the more than 10 minutes you spent throwing up just over a mile from the finish. The sub 2:30 slipped away and you struggled/wobbled down Boyleston. You think there will be so many other days, so maybe next time. Seemingly an infinite number lie in front of you now but 1992 will be the last Boston for 12 years. You will never stop running, at least until today because I can’t guarantee the future. Lots of great days are just before you. Hundreds of races and lots of wonderful shorter races await but there would be no more marathons for a long while and you will begin to think those days are behind you.

Then suddenly in 2003, 10 Ks and halfs won’t seem satisfying enough. You will enter the Buffalo Marathon and blow up but run fast enough to get back to Boston. You will begin a streak of Patriot’s Day starts It is now 11 years in a row I think. You will be 40 and thinking you are old in running years. Boy wait till you see what’s coming! A whole bunch of New York Marathons are just ahead as well. You will train so hard and be so disappointed in your times for almost a decade. That 2:44:59 will sit there and seem much more unattainable as each year passes. Kate will console you time and time again. Her wishes of “just let my dad do well, please just this once” will go unanswered. Boston after Boston, New York after New York and a few others thrown in and still you will wait. A 2:46 and a couple 2:47s will give you hope and you will be oh so close.

This year (2015) you will go to the Expo looking for a few Gatorade energy gels, which are by far the best, and you will chance upon a booth, The ART OF RUNNING. “Oh wow” you will say, “these guys did the print that hangs on my wall and means the world to me”. They will have a few copies of prints from previous years for sale. You think there is no way that they could still have a copy of that very limited edition print from all those years ago, but they will. They will have one copy, a very costly copy. You will hum and haw and debate endlessly but just in the nick of time you will buy it, just moments before someone else wants to. Good move because in running, timing is everything. You will take it home and frame it in museum glass this time, so it will never fade agin. The colours will remain vibrant and time will have no effect on it. It will be that one day, bright and forever. That only day, which will last for always. As time passes it will remain the same, much like my marathon PB (sigh).

OK, so this part of the story/letter that ends with me setting a new PB at Boston the day after I bought the new (identical print) right? What a wonderful wrap around story with symmetry and poetry. But, it doesn’t end like that. In 2014 not 2015, you will have your best marathon year yet. You will crush your PB at Boston with a 2:42:12 and again at Brooklyn with a 2:43:15. So Lawrence, you will take 22 years to usurp that day in 1992 but at age 51 and after dozens of tries, you will. There will be many many “only” days but please never ever stand at a start line and take any of them for granted, not in your future nor in mine.



PS. You are right about Kalamari and Sushi, they taste awful. That little undersized golden retriever pup that your daughter wants – get that one. The stress fracture in the summer of 2015 will heal and the really cute inky gal who likes the American Southwest – She’s the one.