Handling a major disappointment

Participants in the 2010 Boston Marathon in We...

I'll be missing the excitement of Boston this year.

Just after lunchtime today, I called the American Youth Hostel in Boston and cancelled my reservation for April 13-17. All serious runners will read that sentence and think “Oh, man! I bet he is really bummed.” And I am.

For you writers and others who occasionally read my blog, The Boston Marathon will be held April 16 of this year. Boston is arguably the marathoning experience most distance runners long for … and the one comparatively few get to enjoy. It is one of the hardest to gain entry to and it is expensive, both in entry fee and travel/lodging costs. I qualified for it at the last possible moment—in the Top of Utah marathon on September 17, 2011. Now I have to drop it from my schedule and hope that I can qualify again in some future year.

At one point, late this past fall, I had visions of a triumphant Boston experience. The launch my new collection of short fiction—Running Scared—would be at Boston and sell thousands. I’d have a blast meeting hundreds of Dailymile friends at the Boston meet-up. A major personal best in the marathon was all but assured. Now the only thing major about April 16 will be the disappointment I’ll feel as I watch the race on TV.

I think I’m handling the situation pretty well … I haven’t broken any furniture, taken my frustrations out on the dog, or sunk into a pit of despair. So, what’s my secret?

First – I immediately shifted my focus to future events. Two weeks after Boston is a 24-hour run that will raise money for Engineers Without Borders. I signed up for it when the possibility of a Boston meltdown was raising its ugly head. I’m also planning on running the Madison (Montana) Marathon in July with my daughter, a race I’ve really been wanting to run.

Second – I accepted that the reasons for canceling my Boston plans were valid … and they were my choices, hard as they may have been. A launch in Boston was cost-prohibitive; they were asking $7500 for the smallest booth and the location of the expo wasn’t conducive to holding the launch nearby. (Which would have been problematic anyway.) An untimely illness cut into my training and seriously reduced my odds of a major PR and then a flare-up of my achilles tendonitis dropped the odds further. Finally, a conflict with an important volunteer commitment meant that I’d miss the meet-up if I was able to go at all.

Third – I tried to identify the positives. The decision was made soon enough that I’m only out the (hefty) registration fee. It was also soon enough that the intense speed work that would have happened over the next couple of weeks can be switched for the longer, more relaxed training an ultra requires. I won’t be missing my wife for the five days, since she wasn’t going to be able to come. Same for my grandson, Chaitan, who counts on me as nanny.

Fourth – Now I’m thinking about the Bolder Boulder for my launch. More people. Closer. Hopefully less expensive.

Fifth – I’ve decided that, despite being fifty-five years old, my best running is still ahead of me. I’ll just have to qualify for Boston again.

8 Comments

Filed under Personal, Running

8 responses to “Handling a major disappointment

  1. Ann

    I can’t imagine how bummed you must be. Sounds like you are taking a very positive attitude and that’s great. Just re-read your blog if you start to feel bummed out. It sounds like you made the right decision and I hope your new launch location works out for you! And I am SURE you can re-qualify! Running keeps us young!

    • As always. thanks for your support, Ann! It is looking like Boulder might be a really good venue for the launch. Logistically things will certainly be simpler. You’re right about running keeping us young!

  2. Michael, I glad you are taking this and seeing what good can come from it. I know you will qualify again and when the time is right, Boston’s glory will be all yours. I’m cheering for and hoping you make it Bolder Boulder. If you do, I would love to meet you and congratulate you in person for all your hard work and accomplishments. All the best to you and kind regards, Danica

    • Thanks, Danica! I’ve talked to a guy on the Dailymile team and it looks like I might be organizing a DM meet-up for the Bolder Boulder. I’ll be sure to get you the details.

  3. Bolder Boulder is a great idea! One door closes and another opens. Runners have to deal with setbacks often…that’s what separates the marathon runner from the casual runner.

  4. Sorry about you not being able to do Boston. I ran it once in the 90s. It is an experience. You’ll make it again!

  5. I produce the Sports Exhibit and Race Day EXPO for the BolderBOULDER. We’d love to have your launch at our event and it IS less expensive than Boston! You can contactme at alice@bolderboulder.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

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