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2016 Boston Marathon Race Report – Joy, Disappointment and Closure

2016 Boston Marathon Race Report – Joy, Disappointment and Closure

(Note – this week I take a break from my usual leadership content in my post to share with you my experience running the 2016 Boston Marathon. There are many leadership and personal development lessons in this story but I will save those for another post. Enjoy!)  The race didn’t go as planned – here’s the story I had mixed emotions about returning to Boston for the first time since I was 50 feet from the bomb shortly after finishing the 2013 marathon. (Related – 2013 Boston Marathon Race Report) I was mostly excited because I was in great shape, injury free, and would get to experience the event with my family this time, with my wife running as well and my kids along to watch. In 2013, I had crossed the finish line and just sat down in one of my favorite restaurants, Max Brenner’s, when the blasts occurred 50 feet away. This year, the plan was for my family to join some friends immediately after the race at the same restaurant to finish the meal I didn’t get the chance to have last time. Ready to Go! Coming into the race, I feel I was in the best shape I had been for any of the 4 previous marathons I competed in. For the first time this year, I worked with a specific running coach who was guiding me through a specific 14 week Boston Marathon training program. The training had gone well for me, experiencing only a few minor injuries along the way, nailing all my workouts in the last 6 weeks and achieving a new...
2013 Boston Marathon Race Report (updated map links)

2013 Boston Marathon Race Report (updated map links)

Shawn Stratton 2013 Boston Marathon Race Report – Note:  This is a detailed personal account of my thoughts and experiences; it is not meant to be a philosophical account of my views on the race and the bombings. I realize that I am extremely fortunate to be minimally affected by the tragic events of April 15, 2013 My account is not meant to downplay the tragic loss and suffering that ensued that day. This is simply a brain dump of what happened to me to share with friends and family who are interested and as something I can look back on in years to come.  Feel free to share. Pre-race: Having been participating in road-running races since I was 16, the Boston Marathon, the granddaddy of all amateur races, has always been on my radar – to participate in some day. I was thrilled when on September 22, 2012, I reached the qualifying time to run 2013 Boston; I registered for the 2013 race the next day. Despite winter conditions in Newfoundland, my training had been going well until about three weeks before race day. Over several training runs, and culminating with my last long run, I developed a spasm in my lower quad muscles and it was affecting the tracking of my kneecap. During this time I started to experience painful tendonitis-type pain around my kneecap. Not wanting to have to re-qualify for the race, and knowing that running in 2014 was not an option due to other commitments, I was determined to run this year despite my knee pain. I figured I had reached my peak fitness...
Embrace the Adventure

Embrace the Adventure

“It wouldn’t be an adventure if you knew the ending” The Feeling of Adventure When was the last time you could hardly sleep with excitement? When was the last time you closely watched the calendar for an upcoming event that your had prepared for but had no idea how it would end? This is what happens when you have an upcoming adventure. For kids, these feelings happen all the time, whether it is the first day of school, tryouts for the all-star team, the first time on a plane, or a family camping trip. As adults, in the bubbles of being busy, we often lose this feeling of adventure in our lives. We have our monotonous daily, monthly and yearly routines that control our lives. We have obligations and commitments to others, and we have society’s expectations to continue living up to. To liven things up, many people take a vacation to the same spot every year and do the same things. Adventures Keep Us Alive! Sure, you may think of adventure as an activity with a higher probability of death than your normal routine but the lack of adventure actually presents a far grater health risk. Analysis of brain chemistry shows that we are usually healthier and performing better when there is risk and exploration in activities. Adventurous experiences release endorphins that act as a type of mood and pain regulator, produce mild euphoria, decrease appetite, and boost your immune system. A deficiency of endorphins causes depression, chronic unexplained pain, and a low tolerance for pain. In many instances, low levels of endorphins are misdiagnosed as depressive disorders....
The Thrill of Achieving Personal Goals – Why I Run

The Thrill of Achieving Personal Goals – Why I Run

Next week I will be running my second Boston Marathon, in lite of which I thought I would address the question I often get: why do you run? (Related – 2013 Boston Marathon Race Report) One of the most emotional moments I have ever had in achieving a goal was completing my second marathon. No it wasn’t finishing my first Ironman or the Boston Marathon with thousands of people cheering me on at the finish line. In fact, it was completing the St. John’s Marathon with a dozen or so spectators at the finish. The reason for my emotion was that I had achieved a long time goal of mine, i.e. running a marathon under 3 hours. I didn’t hoot and holler at the finish. No one around would have known the enormity of the moment for me as I choked up and that was just fine. I achieved a massive personal goal that I had worked my ass off for years, that only I cared about, and that is the joy of it. For me, running is a personal goal I have direct control over. A run is completed by only me and for the most part the success and failure I achieve is directly from my actions, not anyone else’s. Many of the other goals in my life revolve around other people, namely business and family goals. Sure, I can have a significant impact in these areas but the results also hinge on the desires and actions of other people. I have sales goals and audience growth goals for my business but at the end of the day, I can’t directly control if someone buys from me or signs...

Ironman – the story

Warning this is 5 pages and is more of a journal for my memory than a “short story”. Enjoy. Shawn Ironman Canada 2009 – Race Report The day started with my alarm going off at 4 am, with a 7 am start I wanted to have my 3 packets of oatmeal 2.5 to 3 hours before the race start. Other than getting up to relieve my over hydrated bladder I had a surprisingly solid 6 hours of sleep. I ate my oatmeal in bed as I flicked channels on the TV, taking advantage of the last hour to rest my legs. Alexandra and I left our motel room at 5:25 and walked the 15 minutes to the transition area in the dark. Surprisingly this walk down Lake Shore drive was one of the most emotional parts of the day for me. After dreaming about this day for 17 years I couldn’t believe it was actually happening, I was choking up and holding back the tears. It really is true when people say that the hardest part of these endurance events is getting to the start line and after 17 years I finally made it. As we got closer to the transition area the crowd of athletes walking along side started to swell and my anticipation level greatly increased. Before entering the transition area we stopped briefly to look out at the flat calm lake as day break was happening. As we entered transition Alexandra and I held hands tightly knowing that if we lost each other now it was a good chance we wouldn’t find each other amongst the...