I am excited to feature a different runner each day as we count down to Boston. I love that each runner is unique, coming into Boston with a diverse background and goals. Their journeys all lead to the same place. You can read about my journey, Reflection and Countdown to the Boston Marathon.
I’m excited to introduce our featured runner today, Nicolas Deault.
Nicolas took a slightly different approach and answered the questions in one response. His journey is very relatable. I really enjoyed reading the journey from our new runner friend, up north, aye.
Name: Nicolas Deault, Montreal, Canada
Check out Nicolas’ Blog- http://www.barelyinsane.com
Let’s starts from the beginning of my journey with a short recap, shall we? Back in 2013, I got off the couch and started running. I signed up for an obstacle race 8 months away and a half marathon 4 months later. Was it the results of a mid-life crisis or the idea of running after new upcoming kids, who know? I quickly discovered how the years had negatively affected my body and how alive I felt after each training run. I struggled in the obstacle race and completed the half marathon using each and every parcel of energy I had. For the whole week, as tired as I was, I still felt invincible. I was willing to take any challenge, no questions asked. Bring ‘em on! I guess now everyone understands that I was hooked. I signed up for more local races, trail races, snow races, and the same half marathon the next year. I really liked all the races and the training runs. Then, one morning, I received an email that the company where I work, Abbott, is sponsoring the major six and they are holding a draw to give race waiver. I did put my name in for New York (2015) as it is one of the closest to home. My name came out; my training had to get in a higher gear. I really pushed myself and I ran the Five Borough Marathon, the big apple, New York as my very first marathon. Came back to Montreal, the next day – side note, it is a very bad idea to go 6 hours in a car the day after a 26.2 miles race. I was at my desk, working on Tuesday, aching but proud. Three days later, on Friday; my name came out for Boston (2016). At this point I’d like to mention that I totally felt lucky, blessed and mostly, very excited. I kept on training despite health hiccups and Canadian winter. I was ready and able for the great race on Patriot’s day. Picture this, within 6 months, I graduated to a full marathoner and ran both New York and the most famous, Boston. Since then, I conquered Montreal Rock’nRoll marathon and other local races. In the 2017 draw, I was once again invited to Massachusetts. Can I really refuse? Of course not!
So 2017 will be my second Boston. Last year, I’ve performed very well. I clocked a personal best of 4:36 and I was able to run the whole course, I never needed a walking break. To run the most famous marathon in Americas twice in two years is a blessing. This year, I know the course a bit, I know the feeling of its crowd, I am ready to enjoy every miles. The prestige and fame that comes with the experience of running this legendary course is huge. Even non marathonner knows about the Boston mythical race. Some even heard about the infamous Heartbreak Hill. In short, this is the Superbowl, the Stanley cup, the World Series of running. Being a contender, being part of this great dance is a once in a lifetime experience; and I’ll be going for a second round.
Of course, I don’t expect to be as nervous as last year where I forgot my headband at the hotel, and didn’t put sunscreen on my calves. I suffered minor sunburn that I realized later in the hot tub, the water felt really hot. Up to 25 days before Patriot’s day, I only had one illness that kept me from training. With 3 marathon’s training history, I was able to list how many miles to run each week, how long should be the long runs and up to now, I’m sticking to my plan. I began the official training on the second week of January, which is a bit later than I’d had like but I was able to catch up on expected mileage. I’ve ran mostly on the treadmill at the gym but spring is just around the corner and I’ll be able to run mostly outside from now on. My longest long runs are planned, I’ll be able to fulfill them in the upcoming weeks and perform a great race. Consistency is key and I was disciplined enough to execute most of my training. Of course, the plan changed, the schedule was adjusted to fit with family life but overall, it challenged me and I grew.
For most of the endurance events, I tend to define 3 goals; on April 17th, I want to complete the event, I want to PR below last year’s 4:36 and if everything goes well, I’d like to be below 4:15. If I succeed in one of the 3, it will be a mild success, 2 would be good and 3 would be fantastic. The thing is, on race day, anything can happen, whether or not you’ve had the best preperation. The hazards on a 4 hours ride are numerous and some just happen. This is a sensitive topic as I wouldn’t want to jinx myself. So yeah, everything’s gonna be all right.
As most runners, I’ll lay all my gear the night before on the bed, making a list, checking it twice. I’ll most likely wear my UnderArmour compression shirt and my red headband to keep my hair away from my face. Obviously, my Garmin 220 will be on my wrist. At this point, there is nothing that you can train for, the focus will be only on not forgetting anything, don’t sabotage that day by a simple mistake. To me, the toughest part of the challenge is behind; the months of gruelling training, all the miles in the gym, all the stretching and the wierd walking the days after the long runs are done. The race isn’t easy, but it is simple. When you’ve prepared correctly, your body knows the task ahead, your brain foresee and understand the struggle you’ll go through and you’ll embrace, whole heartedly everything that come your way that day.
It will come as no surprise to you, the reader, that The Boston Marathon is my favorite event. I love running marathon and if you grant me a few more lines, I’d like to give you why I like it so much. A marathon, is a no bullshit race. Of course there are the cheaters and some who are physically naturally gifted but there isn’t anybody that can just get up one day and run a Marathon. You can fake a half, you can “wing it”, but not a marathon. The required training builds your character, tests your discipline, and asks you, every time, “Do you really want it?”. The race drains all the energy you have, demands to reach your limits, forces you to dig deep, body and soul. You give all you have. It’s a commitment to training and the completion of the course is a true achievement. When you can perform, on the same road where legends ran before you, from Hopkinton to Boston, you are signing your name in history’s big book.
I realize that some may find that my motivation is rather selfish but let me assure you, it gives as much to others than I get for myself. Of course, the medal and my name in the finishers list; that part is for me. Having my daughter hug me hard, and long, while I was still sweaty, seeing the pride in her eyes that her dad was a marathoner, that is a powerful moment. Talking with co-workers who saw you rise to the occasion and hear them say; maybe I can try a 5k. That is inspiration. When I share my ordinary story to friends and planting the seed of challenging themselves and becoming greater than they already are; those are amazing fragments of life.
In a few weeks, I’ll be running the Boston marathon like it was my last time. I doubt I’ll ever BQ and I can’t really rely endlessly on luck so I’ll take it all in, enjoy every moments, share some high-fives, some fist-bumps, smile for the cameras and the crowd, be thankful that people are cheering, say thank you to the volonteers and hopefully won’t meet the medical tents.
Finally, I’ll take to opportunity to give credit where credit is due. Thank you to my girlfriend who lets me spend so many hours at the gym, or outside running. Thanks to my daughter for the encouragement and support. Thanks to Abbott, my employer for the waiver. And also, to the twitter running community for the support and kind words. For those who would like to connect, I’m on twitter @dohsky and I have a blog where I share my moments of training and life itself. http://www.barelyinsane.com