1984: Fear and Doubting

In late 1983 I had reached a low ebb with my running but I knew what I had to do, if I could. In November 83 after just beginning to resume a good running schedule I was felled by a bad blister on my heal which became infected. I would miss several days before resuming full training and I ended 83 with three solid weeks.


I had chosen to run the Houston Marathon in January only because I needed to qualify for the Olympic Trials. I find it detrimental to our future Olympic hopefuls to have to qualify for a trial when they are already “proven” marathoners or potential marathoners. I considered the race a sort of time trial and not a normal competitive effort. I had agreed to run with Mark Anderson a World Cross Country team member who was running his first marathon. We decided that 5:15 pace would give us a comfortable cushion for a projected 2:17:30. Our first mile was 5:15 exactly. We stayed with this pace chatting amicably for 23 miles before Mark picked it up some. I stuck close to the pace until the last mile where I picked it up slightly to finish comfortably in my hoped for time. Mission accomplished. The next morning I went for a 10 mile run before traveling back to Boston. I covered 100 miles the next week.


My next goal for the year was the World XC Trial to be held at the Meadowlands horse race venue in NJ, the site for the 84 World XC Championship and site of the 1982 National XC Championship. I ran a solid race finishing 14th but I did not make the team. Training was going well and I had planned some track races both as preparation for the marathon and to get a qualifier for the 10k trials which was 28:44, this time also happened to be my PR from 1982.


In April I ran solo from the first step of the 5k at the Boston College Relays running a PR 13:54. A week later I finished 5th at the Penn. Relays 10k in 28:24, another personal best. It was just after Penn that things began to unravel a bit. My body was warning me but I just did not listen. I began to feel a bit listless after Penn but I chalked it up to allergy season, and pressed on with my training. My track sessions became harder than they should have been and on May 5th I did a 30m run in three hours. My last race before the trials was a 10m road race on May 13th. I ran fair but again did not feel anywhere near as strong as I had a month before.


I hoped that in the last two weeks before the marathon trial on May 26th I would come around with rest. I went out and ran with a large pack and got tripped up at around the eight mile mark. I caught back up to the lead pack but never felt strong. Breathing felt difficult with the allergies. I faded after 25k and wound up 18th in 2:18:10. Extreme disappointment.


Four weeks later I ran 29:24 in my heat of the 10k trial not advancing to the final. After the trials I accepted a full time position as the head of running promotions for my shoe company sponsor. I continued to train while adapting to working in an office all day and planned to run the NYC Marathon. I ran well in several races that fall but fell apart in the heat at NYC Marathon dropping out at sixteen miles.


I began to focus more on the business of running for awhile to see if this might work out as a career for me. It didn’t and so 84-85 transition became a final push in 86-88 to scrape the bottom of my competitive desires then put the dream to rest.