Over the course of the previous twelve years I had my share of highs and lows. Athletic careers are like a tough cross country course. Mine was no different, I enjoyed a modicum of success.
I did not achieve my ultimate goals, winning the Boston Marathon and making an Olympic Team. I did live the dream and strove toward whatever perfection I might achieve. That is what athletics/running was for me.
There were moments, sometimes in competition other times just out for a run, when everything would fall into place, mentally and physically I felt un-stoppable. I ran for those moments, it was then I knew who I was, a being in motion.
That is the power of athletics/running like art, discovering something within your self.
I was wondering what your feelings are on the trials in 1988 since you placed high with a 2:16.56 (7th). Your still a ways away on your website from writing about ’88 so I wondering if you could describe the race a little now. Also, did you have any conversations with Gompers after the race since he said being passed for third was the “ultimate depression.”
After the 84 Trial in Buffalo where I placed 17th in 2:18:10, I never thought I would be competing again in 88. In 1985 I worked full-time for an athletic shoe co., If I had been happy doing that I would never have returned to the running wars.
86 & 87 were two of my best years so I decided that I would continue and make 88 my last intense year before easing off and into semi-retirement. I had debated running Boston in 88 and then preparing for the track trials only, but decided to take a chance on the marathon, where the possibilities seemed greater.
In 1986 I ran three marathons including a 2:14:50 @ Boston. 6th pl. All of these were conservative efforts due to hamstring and other injury problems.
At the 88 trials I would run full out at the front as I had always run as a grasshopper, one final major effort. In preparation I competed at the New Bedford 1/2 Marathon running 1:04:03 at the end of a 125 mile week.
Two weeks before I ran a 15k leg (44:55) on an Ekkiden Relay held in NYC, competing for the Mass. team which finished 2nd. After the race I viewed the Trials course in NJ with M. Curp, Ed Eyestone & Paul Cummings.
I didn’t care much for it. A RW writer told me Cummings had picked me to make the team! I thought I had a fair shot.
The race started on grass at Liberty Park for the first 300m or so. The first half was a steady climb into a fairly brisk wind temps in the 40′s. ran in a pack of 20, no one made a serious move. The half split was 1:06:25.
Shortly after the half there was a steep incline. I gravitated up to the lead and made a slight break just stetching my legs a bit. The pack was now down to 10. At 16m Eyestone began to push, the course was downhill slightly the rest of the way, by 20m the lead pack was down to six (Spence, Curp, Eyestone, Connover, Gompers, Hodge) with Pfitzinger & Norman (spiney) just a bit behind.
Here my hamstring began to cramp. It was very frustrating as I felt I had plenty of gas in the tank but could not get into a nice full stride. I began to slow and chop my stride struggling and stopping a couple of times.
I never had a chance to commiserate with Gompers but “I felt his pain” I was overwhelmed myself with the finality of it as it is a terrible time when you decide that this particular dream is over. You know when it’s time.
That’s my/a version, sorry for the long-winded message. This is a record length for me.
Just a quick note to mention how much I enjoyed your reply, Hodgie-san, and also your website. I’m a (reasonably!) young female aspiring to become an international-class marathoner. I find it extremely helpful and inspiring to hear the ‘war stories’ of competitors of a different generation. Thanks.