Goodbye, 2013! Hello, 2014!

Alright gang, put your head on a swivel because today we’re looking back at 2013 and then spinning around 180 degrees and looking ahead to 2014. Try to keep up.

2013

When 2013 entered onto the scene, Laura and I were already knee deep into marathon training as we prepared for the Myrtle Beach Marathon and our first shot of the year at qualifying for Boston. This year I planned to focus on getting back to Boston.

On January 1, we ran the Tightwad 5K in Davidson only two days after running a tough 18-mile progression workout, and while we didn’t exactly PR on our long-run-weary legs, as runners it was a great way to kick off the year. And the entry fee, free, was right in my price range.

We both ran Boston-qualifying times at Myrtle Beach. Laura by a guaranteed-to-get-in 18 minutes or so, me by a uh-oh-that’s-probably-not-good-enough 10 seconds. But I knew everybody that ran a qualifying time had gotten into the race for 2013 so maybe I’d get lucky and the same thing would happen for 2014. I should have known that I’m never that lucky.

laura and allen at mile 35

Laura and me on our way to a couple of Boston-qualifying times.

Spring rolled in and, as is my habit, I took Monday April 15, Patriot’s Day, off from work so I could lounge around and watch the race I should have been running. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the race unfold as the usual suspects from Kenya and Ethiopia battled for the victory. The broadcast ended, I tracked a few more of my friends online for another hour or so after the winners finished, then I closed up my laptop and started to get on with my day when I received a cryptic text from my buddy Scott, “W T F?!?” When I responded with, “What?”, he answered with something along the lines of “Bomb at Boston finish”.

I flipped on the TV and virtually every channel was covering the bombings as my phone sounded incessantly with texts from friends (“You aren’t in Boston are you?”) The next day I wrote this angry letter to the bombers. I vowed I’d be running the 2014 Boston marathon, no matter what it took to get there. Now it was so much more than just my personal quest. Now it was about telling terrorists everywhere that we are not afraid. I had to get in.

Here’s the rest of my 2013 running year in a nutshell:

In May, after 30 years of racing, I got my first road race victory when I won the Free to Breathe 5K. It was an incredible, surreal feeling. I retired my aptly named Super Lucky Reckless Running singlet after never having lost while wearing it.

Me, undefeated in my Super Lucky Reckless Running singlet, showing off my winner's medal.

Me, undefeated in my Super Lucky Reckless Running singlet, showing off my winner’s medal.

In August, I ran the Santa Rosa Marathon and beat the Boston qualifying time again, but only by 30 seconds.

In September, our JITFO Blue Ridge Relay team came one wrong turn shy of winning the mixed team competition. Shortly after the race, Laura, who had been sidelined for weeks by a pain in her hip, was diagnosed with a stress fracture.

So while Laura bounced around doctors looking for her best chance at a speedy recovery, I continued to scramble to find a way into the Boston marathon. I registered but due to the surge in interest, it turned out my time wasn’t fast enough.

Ultimately, Dick Beardsley came to my rescue as I applied and was accepted to run in the 2014 Boston marathon for the Dick Beardsley Foundation. Go here to read all about it and/or to donate.

I’ve spent December ramping up the mileage. To spice up training a bit, I issued the Mt. Michelin Challenge. Basically, I asked the question, “Who can run up this hill faster than anyone else?”  The challenge has taken on a life of its own as it’s now trending as one of the top Strava segments in Charlotte. Currently, one Mike Moran, aka ‘Ghost’, leads with a time of 41 seconds. If you’re interested in knocking Mike out of the top spot, you have until Tuesday (Dec. 31) at 11:59 PM. So you’d better hurry.

2014

Now we get ready for Boston. I’ve committed to raise $7500 for the Dick Beardsley foundation and as of this post, I’m at 13% – go here if you’re interested in helping out.

I’m five weeks into a 20 week training plan. Laura’s off crutches and will start running again soon. We both have the same singular vision – spend the next 15 weeks or so getting our bodies ready to cover the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, it looked like neither of us would be in the race. Now we have optimism that we both will.

Look for us in the starting corral in Hopkinton.

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