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Holland Haven Marathon (BOSTON 2018, HERE I COME)

Wow. I feel a strange mixture of excitement and exhaustion. I am officially a BOSTON MARATHON Qualifier!

I gave absolutely every ounce of energy that I had. I left nothing on the course. In fact, I was unsure of my ability to even walk immediately after crossing the finish line. With a little help, I got to a chair, drank several bottles of water, and eventually made it to another section of the finish area where I just laid on the concrete for several minutes. 

My kids thought that was hilarious. “What’s wrong with daddy?!”

This morning’s run started well. I felt great! I was probably running too fast, but I didn’t feel like I was using a lot of energy. I was just kind of in the zone. Every mile put a few extra seconds in the bank for my goal time of 3h 6m 59s. 

Jodi, the kids, and my dad came out to watch the run, and it was so encouraging to see them on the course at several different mile markers. By the time that I came through the half, I waved at my little cheering squad and celebrated the fact that I had banked more than 2 minutes total. 

I was running with my buddy, Ed. We were both feeling good, but he was the voice of reason. He kept reminding me to slow down, which was super smart, but my legs didn’t want to listen. 

After running through the halfway point, we ran several miles at our goal pace together, and then something bad began to happen. I began to pull away from Ed (which was not my plan), but I was not really gaining in pace. I was actually pulling ahead and slowing down at the same time

Stop it! (My legs wouldn’t listen.)

Suddenly my banked time started being withdrawn. Mile after mile, I was slowing down, and I couldn’t stop it. 

I began doing the math, which is not something I am good with -especially when running. At the rate of depletion, my banked time would be completely gone by the end of the race. 

Please, legs. Do the thing you have been training to do!!

Nothing. 

At mile 24, finally, some guy passed me. This was actually a good thing! I had been running on my own for probably 5 miles, and I was really wanting someone to chase (and someone to lead the way to ensure I didn’t make a wrong turn somewhere). 

I chased my new best friend for a mile, and I can’t stress how helpful it was to have a target running just a bit in front of me. At this point I also started to realize that my goal time was slipping away.

No!

I have to dig deeper. 

I have been training for this. I am positioned to qualify. I refused to get to the end and know that I could have given more. If I could just hang on, I would be right where I wanted to be. 

At mile 26 I saw my brother, Brian. 

“Run, JP!! Every second counts!!”

He was right. I had no seconds left to lose. 

I threw him my shirt, which had come off several miles earlier as the sun and heat began to become a factor. He ran with me for about a tenth of a mile until I turned towards the finish and ran like a world class runner towards the line. Anyone watching would have said that I looked more like a half-dead, three-legged goat, but I felt like a champion. I knew I was right there!

I came through the tunnel (which I though was the finish) only to find out that I had several steps to go. I nearly died (my heart sure did). I collected myself and gave one last burst across the finish line. 

That was it. 

Done. 

The medics came to ask if I needed help. I needed help. As I mentioned before, I made it to a chair with a bit of help and began drinking as many bottles of water as I could. 

My official finish time was 3h 7m 1s, which was 19th overall. My goal was 3h 6m 59s. I was two seconds off from my goal.  

A long time ago, a very wise man of God whom I love, admire, and trust once told me, “Jeff, when you draw the line for sin, draw it so far from actual sin that when you accidentally step over the line -and you will -you will not step into sin!” That quote has been with me ever since. 

Someone may read that I was 2 seconds away from my goal and assume that I did not manage to become a Boston Qualifier. Thankfully, that is not true. I had actually drawn my goal line far enough away from missing my BQ that I am technically a Boston Qualifier by 2m 59s!

3h 10m is my official needed qualifying time. 

All that to say, BOSTON 2018, HERE I COME!!!

I am going to train harder, run faster, and become stronger. And just in case you are wondering, I’ll be wearing my G.O.S.P.E.L. shoes in Boston!!

Thank you to everyone who was praying for me, rooting for me, and following along for the race!

Thank you to all of my running buddies who have helped me reach my goal! Thank you to Brian for catching my sweaty shirt today and for preparing a running plan for me each week to help me reach this ambitious goal!

Thank you to Jodi, the kids, and my dad for coming to support and cheer!

Thank you, JESUS, for your constant goodness to me (when I don’t deserve it), for giving me legs to run with, lungs to breath with, air to breath, creation to enjoy, and for running with me every step of the way!

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