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A lesson from Nemo

Posted by Ty Velde  February 10, 2013 10:26 PM

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Nemo's Leftovers

What a difference a year makes.

In 2012 between January and March, we had a grand total of 8.3 inches of snow in Boston. Needless to say, it made for a very unique 2012 Boston Marathon training season and in hindsight, the fact that temperatures rose into the upper 80’s on race day maybe should not have come as a complete surprise.

However, that was 2012 and 2013 is already shaping up to be a much different training season.

Yes folks, the snow is back and boy has it come back with a vengeance. Yes, just this past weekend our good friend Nemo graced us with a grand total of 24.9 inches of snow, which was good enough to rank as the 5th largest Boston-area snow storm of all time.

Call me crazy, but when the news of Nemo’s arrival started to circulate, one of the first things that popped into my head was its potential impact on my training schedule. While I could have technically hit the road for a run early Friday morning, I decided to pass, and by mid-day Friday it was clear that it would likely be a few more days until I would venture out for a run. As the weekend is my time for long runs, if I knew that if I didn’t get one by Sunday, my training schedule would be thrown off by a week. Not the end of the world, but certainly not ideal.

Well, once Sunday rolled around and it was clear that things had settled back to a relative state of normalcy, I decided that it was now or never. If I was going to get my long run in, today would need to be the day.

I have say that simply mustering up the motivation to do a long run less than 24 hours after the statewide driving ban had been lifted was a true exercise of “my heart” over “my mind”. What I mean here is that when I looked outside and saw the massive snowdrifts and knew that what likely awaited me were snow covered roads and slush, everything in my mind just told me to wait and stay home. Yes, it was certainly tempting. At the same time, my heart was telling me to put on my shoes, get outside and take on this challenge. Yes, I knew it would not be easy and likely not be a whole lot of fun, but this was also something I knew I could do. Well, in the end “my heart” overtook “my mind” and soon I was heading out the door for a 15 mile run.

As expected, most sidewalks still were not plowed so I was forced to run on the road. It was a bit perilous, but I was also being very careful. Needless to say within the first half-mile of my run I was greeted with what would be the first of many “slush showers” from passing motorists. While many roads were plowed, all that meant was that they were “passable”, not that the snow was gone. Therefore, the fact that snow still covered much of my running ground made it quite a bit more challenging, particularly on hills, as I was just not able to get as solid traction and it forced me to be very cognizant about maintaining my balance.

However, as I started to rack up the miles; and one turned into three and three into eight and then eight into 15, I started to feel very inspired by what I was doing. I realized that what I was doing was not normal, but what was driving me was my passion for running, my dedication to a goal and my love of the marathon. In the end what had motivated me to get out the door was not just the desire to rack up my desired number of weekly miles, it was more than that. While Nemo had made today’s conditions far less than ideal and I was completely soaked, what had been put forth was a challenge and I did not back down. In the end when I returned home, I had not only fulfilled my training goal, but I also returned with a much stronger sense of the will, dedication and passion that continue to motivate me to run and train day-in and day-out.

Ultimately, for me the run was in some ways a microcosm of the marathon experience. First off, you have no control over the conditions on race day so you need to be ready to run in whatever awaits you. Training is a journey and throughout it, you will encounter many highs and some lows, but to be successful, you need to keep focused and always be ready meet the challenge. You need to always stay motivated and focused on your goal, as this is what will keep you going and ensure that you not only get to the starting line, but also across the finish line. Most importantly Sunday taught me about the power of “running from the heart”, and importance of focusing on your passion, goals and sources of motivation.

While Sunday’s run was not easy, it’s now part of my story. I’d also like to think that Nemo taught me another an important lesson about the marathon experience. Simply stated, success is not defined by the miles or the clock, but more importantly in my ability to:

Love every moment.

Love every challenge.

Love each mile.

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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