The Boilermaker 2.0

 In Notes, Thoughts & Personal Expressions

Boilermaker2And so it goes…

” I will run the Boilermaker 15K next year and want to run, run, run in more races in the meantime.”

This is what I wrote in my post this time last year about my very first organized race of any kind. Happy to say the Boilermaker 15K was a great experience and one I won’t soon forget. I ran the 9.3 mile race in 1:41:10. I was slow, but steady. And I finished.

I’ll take it.

It was the finale of a very emotional week that started with tragedy. I learned my cousin Jimmy died suddenly in Michigan over the fourth of July weekend. He was only 38 years old. Funeral plans were made for Thursday and Friday and we drove 12 total hours to be there. 6 hours to Michigan on Thursday to go to the funeral home. Then the funeral on Friday with a return 6-hour trip that evening. We didn’t mind though. The pain on my Aunt and Uncle’s faces was all I needed to get snapped back to reality. Nobody should have to bury their children. Honestly, I’m not sure how I could go on with any normal existence if that happened to me. My heart breaks for them and Jimmy’s three sisters for his loss that will never be replaced. Jimmy was a good kid. Funny, creative, and a good but troubled soul. He was my age, and one of the few cousins on my mom’s side that I grew up with and knew (Remember, I have over 51 cousins on the Reiss side…yes 51). At the funeral I offered to sing with the choir and they allowed me to canter. It’s an honor I don’t take lightly. I’m glad I was able to offer even the slightest bit of comfort to my family, and it was the least I could do for my Aunt Darlene and Uncle Jim and their three daughters. I wish I could have done more.

On Saturday Julie and I drove to Utica, NY to meet our friends Tom, Mike and Rachel for the race. In the evening we all spent some time in the Turning Stone casino. It’s a depressing place where few people smile. I think casino’s are where dreams wither in smoke filled rooms of bright lights and carnival game sounds. I do enjoy watching certain games like roulette, blackjack, or craps, but in all I would never willingly go to spend an evening gambling my own money away. I don’t understand the draw (yes, pun intended).

In the morning race prep started at 6 a.m. and if you know me, you know that 6 a.m. is a time I rarely see. (Apparently exceptions are made for plane flights and road races.) The Boilermaker was hot. The humidity was pegged. Many times I thought how crazy it was to be running with so many people, all for the promise of beer at the end. The miles were hard fought, and I was slow, but I finished. Mike, Tom, and Laura and I (pictured above) stayed pretty close for the duration of the race and we kept a good pace. I did think of stopping to walk toward the end several times and I thought back to my cousin Jimmy. His memory kept me going and I pushed through. There are no guarantees that I will be able to run the race next year so figured I better make it count. No guarantees that I will even see the next sunrise, holiday, or friends and family another time, so I figured I better suck it up. Today I lived for the moment. Today, I ran the Boilermaker 15k and enjoyed every step. No matter how hard the course or hot the temperature.

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